:) okay. oh, I've been researching different water plants, and looking through the forums here, and java fern comes up alot. Do you know what it is and where I could buy it? Also, does it grow quickly or too large?
I think java fern is "apparently" at most fish stores, although I never saw any here! I think java fern is hard to kill. I believe someone said "You'd have to try to kill it, and even then you'll have problems killing it." I also think the main thing is to tie it to something, rather than pushing it into the gravel, but I'm not sure.
It's a very pretty plant! You should google it, haha. I think it does grow a bit big, but I'm sure that info is all over the internet.
Java fern requires low light, and gets its nutrients right out of the water. You have to get it to root in driftwood, though (by tying or rubber banding it until the roots have a chance to grow into the wood). It won't survive in gravel. And soak that wood really well before tossing it in the tank, as it'll leech and turn your water yellow. I soak new driftwood for 4-5 days in a bucket of water. Some people go so far as to boil it, too, to prevent micro-organisms that might be on it. Yes, it grows very fast, but trimming it isn't that big of a deal. A fish such as a betta will really appreciate it for the security factor, but I don't know anyone who has been able to keep one in a 1/2 gallon. Then again, I'm not sure I know anyone who has tried!
Try to get yourself a good light, too, when you upgrade. For java ferns, I'd try to have at least 1.5 watts of full-spectrum per gallon. There are some good F/S lights out there that fit a normal light socket, but I can almost guarantee you that the aquarium won't come with full-spectrum.
I've been told the WPG "rule" doesn't apply to smaller tanks. And with that size hood for a 1.5, even for a 5 gallon, you'd probably end up using compact fluorescent as well. Different than the other fluorescent that ties in with the WPG. I may be saying baloney (I'm unsure), but let's see if Byron comes on over and says differently.
The wattage-per-gallon rule of thumb is about as precise as the "inch-per-gallon" rule. It's just an easy to remember, and somewhat reliable, means of trying to gauge how much light you need. Finding a 10W compact F/S, or a 10-20W light between 4,000 and 6,000 Kelvin, is not too difficult, and would be plenty for a 5G with just about any of the "easy" plants.