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Old 07-31-2013, 02:29 PM   #1 
Namialus
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1.5 gallon Planted

I've been wanting to start looking into live plants for my tanks. I don't think I'll add some to my 10 gallon, but I do have a spare 1.5 gallon (not in use for anything) and I was wondering if I could set it up for one betta. I'd plant it but it won't have a filter, it would be heated, and it'll have a betta and maybe a nerite snail. Would it work? What maintenance would have to be done? I was thinking since it would be quite planted, I'd change some water every week but never 100%. About the gravel vacs, some people say it must be done and some say never. So what about that? What do you guys think? Would it work? What plants do you recommend? Here's the tank: http://www.epinions.com/review/Tetra...409233540?sb=1

Thank you!
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:51 PM   #2 
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I keep lots of Betta successfully in 1-2gal unfiltered soil based planted tanks without issue. Once the system is mature I don't even make water changes in the soil based but maybe 3-4 times a year other than top offs. Without soil and/or lots of active plant growth I would make at least 50% weekly water changes-vacuuming usually isn't needed when you have live plants-the mulm/debris will break down for plant use, however, in the smaller tanks it can start to look unsightly and you may want to remove it for that reason.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:04 PM   #3 
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I keep lots of Betta successfully in 1-2gal unfiltered soil based planted tanks without issue. Once the system is mature I don't even make water changes in the soil based but maybe 3-4 times a year other than top offs. Without soil and/or lots of active plant growth I would make at least 50% weekly water changes-vacuuming usually isn't needed when you have live plants-the mulm/debris will break down for plant use, however, in the smaller tanks it can start to look unsightly and you may want to remove it for that reason.
How long would it take for the system to mature? Let's say I added in the plants on a day, and then the snail and the betta on the next day.

Also, can I use gravel instead of soil?
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:18 PM   #4 
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How long would it take for the system to mature? Let's say I added in the plants on a day, and then the snail and the betta on the next day.

Also, can I use gravel instead of soil?
Do not add the betta/snail the very next day! Soil tanks need a long time to setup.

You have to make sure the soil does not become anaerobic and start releasing nasty stuff into your water! Soil tanks take a long time to establish and you need to properly make the appropriate soil. Top soil can be come easily anaerobic due to the amount of organic stuff, you need to add clay and sometimes sand. You can Google recipes for proper aquarium soil. Than you need to soak the soil to do the so called 'soil-cycle', than layer some rocks on top to set it down or you will have debris everywhere. You will also need to have good light as the nutrients in the soil can create algae blooms if the plants don't use them up.

I had a 1.5 gallon soiled tank before upgrading to 2.5 gallon, it took well over a month before I added anything living into the tank and made sure the soil didn't smell like rotten eggs. Between the two tanks I tired, the non-soil tank is less work in my opinion. Unless you have a huge tank with CO2 supplement, high lighting and have rooting plants, soil doesn't really have that many benefits since soil most aquatic plants take in nutrients through their stems/leaves.

In a tank that small, I recommend you buy a lot of non-rooting plants like hornwort and do bare bottom or large river rocks. Water changes will be easily and you can easily suck up poop/guck.

Last edited by darkangel; 07-31-2013 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:20 PM   #5 
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Do not add the betta/snail the very next day! Soil tanks need a long time to setup.

You have to make sure the soil does not become anaerobic and start releasing nasty stuff into your water! Soil tanks take a long time to establish and you need to properly make the appropriate soil. Top soil can be come easily anaerobic due to the amount of organic stuff, you need to add clay and sometimes sand. You can Google recipes for proper aquarium soil. Than you need to soak the soil, than layer some rocks on top to set it down or you will have debris everywhere. You will also need to have good light as the nutrients in the soil can great algae blooms if the plants don't use them up.

I had a 1.5 gallon soiled tank before upgrading to 2.5 gallon, it took well over a month before I added anything living into the tank and made sure the soil didn't smell like rotten eggs. Between the two tanks I tired, the non-soil tank is less work in my opinion. Unless you have a huge tank with CO2 supplement, high lighting and have rooting plants, soil doesn't really have that many benefits.

In a tank that small, I recommend you buy a lot of non-rooting plants and do bare bottom or large river rocks. Water changes will be easily and you can easily suck up poop/guck.
Yeah, I wasn't planning on doing soil. My plan was for the plants to act as a filter so I'd never do 100% WCs and that would be it, but some people said water changes would hurt the plants so I began to wonder. My original plan was a 50% change per week, never 100%, with gravel and a betta.

Last edited by Namialus; 07-31-2013 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:33 PM   #6 
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but some people said water changes would hurt the plants so I began to wonder.
O_o I have no idea why they would say that...it doesn't even make sense.

plants are perfectly fine with water changes, they are are far less sensitive than fish so as long as your changing your water like you regularly do, there shouldn't be any problems.

your water changes should be based on ammonia tests, unless you know for sure your plants are keeping the water clean, you should do 100% every 3-4 days in a 1.5 gallon.
btw, you can do 100% water changes with plants if they are not the rooting kind. I have a bucket of horn wort sitting outside and I do 100% every single day because dead bugs fall in.

My 2.5 gallon has lots of plants and I test the water every week for ammonia, I get 0.25ppm after about 2 and 1/2 weeks so I do a 50% water change every 2 weeks so its always 0.

If you want hardy plants that use ammonia, hornwort, java moss and guppy grass are good ones. The popular ones like java fern and anubias don't grow very fast or use that much ammonia so they don't make a difference.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:35 PM   #7 
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O_o I have no idea why they would say that...it doesn't even make sense.

plants are perfectly fine with water changes, they are are far less sensitive than fish so as long as your changing your water like you regularly do, there shouldn't be any problems.

your water changes should be based on ammonia tests, unless you know for sure your plants are keeping the water clean, you should do 100% every 3-4 days in a 1.5 gallon.
btw, you can do 100% water changes with plants if they are not the rooting kind. I have a bucket of horn wort sitting outside and I do 100% every single day because dead bugs fall in.

My 2.5 gallon has lots of plants and I test the water every week for ammonia, I get 0.25ppm after about 2 and 1/2 weeks so I do a 50% water change every 2 weeks so its always 0.

If you want hardy plants that use ammonia, hornwort, java moss and guppy grass are good ones. The popular ones like java fern and anubias don't grow very fast or use that much ammonia so they don't make a difference.
Yeah, me neither.

But for me I don't want to do 100% changes as I think it really stresses the fish out. That's why I thought of plants.

Hmm..
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:51 PM   #8 
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Well, if you have lots of plants, than you can probably just do 50%-75% water changes. Most people do 100% because its easy to just dump the entire water than slowly suck up 50%.

Do you have a ammonia test kit? Just test your water every week and do 50% water changes before you reach 0.25ppm. There is no need to do water changes if you don't have any ammonia.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:52 PM   #9 
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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
I keep lots of Betta successfully in 1-2gal unfiltered soil based planted tanks without issue. Once the system is mature I don't even make water changes in the soil based but maybe 3-4 times a year other than top offs. Without soil and/or lots of active plant growth I would make at least 50% weekly water changes-vacuuming usually isn't needed when you have live plants-the mulm/debris will break down for plant use, however, in the smaller tanks it can start to look unsightly and you may want to remove it for that reason.
I have followed Oldfishlady's advice when I set up my 10 gallon NPT, my 6.6 gallon NPT and my 2 1/2 gallon NPT. I have never had a problem and my plants, shrimp, Betta;s and snails are fine. I set mine up on 5/3/13.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:06 PM   #10 
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Well, if you have lots of plants, than you can probably just do 50%-75% water changes. Most people do 100% because its easy to just dump the entire water than slowly suck up 50%.

Do you have a ammonia test kit? Just test your water every week and do 50% water changes before you reach 0.25ppm. There is no need to do water changes if you don't have any ammonia.
How many plants would be needed? Would it just be easier to have a non-filtered, non-planted tank?
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