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Old 11-13-2013, 04:33 AM   #1 
Vergil
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How feasible is a planted tank for a 2.5gal aquarium?

I'm new to aquariums and bettas in general. The little guy in my avvie is Hiko and this is my first 2.5 gal tank since keeping him in a fishbowl.

Anyway, I'd like to hear some pros and cons on keeping a planted 2.5 gal tank. I keep mine unfiltered and there is no heating (doubt it's necessary since I live near the equator but I could be wrong?).

If a fully planted tank isn't possible, what few plants can I add? I prefer light green plants but please let me know which ones are likely more to thrive and the required maintenance.

Thanks to anyone who posts.

EDIT: I only have one betta. No intention to keep anything else besides plants in a tank but let me know if certain plants will be better/more efficient with a few snails, shrimps, etc.

Last edited by Vergil; 11-13-2013 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:53 PM   #2 
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Any sized tank can be as planted as you like. :) Some people plant tanks so tiny that a shrimp can't even fit. Search for nano-tanks for inspiration.

I would use at least the following plants:
- java fern (attractive, very low-maintenance. Just tie it to something - don't bury the roots - and watch it grow).
- anubias (ditto. Nice flat leaves make great betta-beds).
- java moss (even lower-maintenance and very versatile. You can make a wall, a carpet, tie it to decor or rocks, or just let it drift around the substrate).
- hornwort (root it in the substrate. Grows very easily, and you can trim it every few days/once a week to keep it a sensible size).
- elodea (ditto).
- wisteria (ditto.
- lacefern (ditto, though it can overwhelm a small tank very easily).
- ludwigia repens (ditto. This plant turns a beautiful red under higher light. I dosed mine with a bit of Flourish Iron to maintain the colour).

A bit of driftwood or some rocks for a hardscape can act as a nice centrepiece or add structure to a planted tank. :)

Re the heater: you probably don't need it for warmth, but I'd have one for stability anyway. If you get a sudden colder front, a heater will stop things changing too rapidly. It's especially important in a smaller tank as they don't hold temperatures nearly as well as larger ones. If you had a twenty gallon, I'd say not to bother, but with a 2.5, I'd be on the safe side and have one just in case. You can never be too prepared!

Last edited by Bombalurina; 11-13-2013 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:56 PM   #3 
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I'd keep snails out in a tank that size, and build it as a natural planted tank with dirt (there's a great sticky on this forum about that). The plants will grow very fast because of all the nutrients in the dirt, and you won't have to worry about dosing supplemental nutrients. The fast growth will help keep the water cleaner without a filter.
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Old 11-13-2013, 04:32 PM   #4 
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@ Bombalurina: I see. Those are some nice suggestions. I'll try to look into the heater situation.

@ eden000: I see. Snails and other tank mates are a no-go for the time being. Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:10 AM   #5 
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Er, okay so I went shopping today at the local pet stores chain.

Here's my tank with barely anything but a mug to serve as a hiding spot:




Here's the tank now:


I tried asking the sellers for the wisteria and Java ferns but they all gave me a puzzled look and kept referring me to the next stall. So after the 3rd time, I asked for aquatic plants that could thrive in a 2.5 gal tank w/o the need for any special aquarium accessories and they gave me these.

Are these plants alright?

I was told to just keep the roots in the wrapping and they'll be fine.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:11 AM   #6 
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There are 3 plants there. This one is at the far back not sure what kind of plant this is.
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:32 AM   #7 
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Looks good! Do you have higher resolution pictures? It's a bit difficult to ID them there. I think the tall skinny one on the right is vallisneria. It's a bit big for a 2.5 - you'll have to keep trimming it down, or it will swamp the tank, but it is pretty tough.
The other picture might be wisteria, but it's hard to say for sure.

I would ignore what the shop has said and take the wrapping off. The val, at least (if that's what it is) will be just fine in the substrate. Not sure about the other two, but generally, I don't think people leave the wrapping on. I certainly don't.
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:05 AM   #8 
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Thanks, the fish seems to be enjoying it!

Unfortunately, this is the best my phone camera can do. :/ I actually trimmed everything down already before putting them in there. They're surprisingly cheap compared to the plastic plants - all 3 cost less than a single faux plant.

Thanks for the advice. I'll take the wrappings off promptly.

BTW, is it okay for the fish to chew on the plants? He's lunging at the fallen leaves/twigs on the surface.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:39 PM   #9 
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That's fine, it won't harm him. :) He's just curious.
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:47 PM   #10 
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What kind of lighting are you using? Just asking because I don't see a light in the pictures.

Definately take the wrapping off the plants, leaving it on will cause the bottom of the roots to melt and root and they need to be in the substrate and healthy to act as your filtration. :)

I've had snails in all tanks of all sizes and never had a problem. I mystery snail or some MTS or ramshorns won't hurt your tank at all.
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