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Old 11-01-2011, 10:55 PM   #1 
Indyfishy
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Question Naturally planted 5 gallon vs. 2.5 gallon, which is easier?

I'm sort of debating as to whether I should upgrade my 2.5 gallon tanks to 5 gallon tanks. I have alot of questions/options I could go with, bear with me >.< I'm doing this for ease of maintenance purposes, so whatever would be the least maintenance please let me know!

Option number 1: Stick with what I have now.
I have two 2.5 gallon tanks, unfiltered, fake plants. Good size, but alot of work, I'd like something with a bit less maintenance if possible.

Option number 2: Naturally planting my 2.5 gallons
Is this even possible? If so, how do I go about doing this?? What plants would be best in such a small volume, and what substrate would I use?? How often would I clean it?? How would I clean it???

Option number 3: Naturally planted 5 gallon tanks
It would take me awhile to get this done, but I think I could do it. I would want the tank to be naturally planted, and have no filter (I have an HM that can't take even the most baffled of currents, and a female that enjoys trying to break into filters x_x) How would I do this??? How should I cycle it?? Does it need to go through the cycling process if it has no filter?? How often would I have to clean it? What substrate and plants should I use?? Should I get shrimps or snails as tankmates??? female and male would not be in the same tank, i would have two five gallons if I did this.
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:07 PM   #2 
noahk11
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Option 3, the larger the tank the easier the maintenance. (If you have the right supplies)
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:09 PM   #3 
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Oh and no tankmates in a 5gl, 10gl is the recommended minimum for tank mates.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:31 AM   #4 
HatsuneMiku
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i vote for option 3 too ..

5g unfiltered water change schedule that i do with my 5g tanks are 25% 1 week 50% next week 25% next week and 100% 1 week .. unfiltered won't hold a complete cycle .. as the beneficial bacteria that does manage to grow doesn't have a good place to colonize properly without being disturbed every week with water changes ..

so in one month you'd only need to do 1 100% change and a lot less work ... and stress for your bettas .. =)

Last edited by HatsuneMiku; 11-02-2011 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:15 AM   #5 
bastage
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Maybe go for a larger tank & divide them. If its simply off ease of maintenance dividing the Petco Bookshelf would be a good in-between & give the fish plenty of space due to the lots of surface area. It would also be much much cheaper then getting 2x 5 gallon tanks then the appropriate heaters & filters for them. I have seen them used for NPT's as well..

Beyond that if you can I think a 10 divided would be less work then 2x 5g tanks.

Also in my 2.5g tanks it seemed to make things easier when I added duckweed to them. Just a few patches floating around the surface of each.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:24 AM   #6 
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You can do just about any size container the NPT way...or soil based with live plants....I have several 1gal NPT that work well that once mature get a water change every month or so.......no filters...my 2.5-5gal NPT are also unfiltered with limited water changes.....

With the right species and number of plants that are actively growing- function as the filter.....you don't have to worry about the nitrogen cycle....unfiltered with live active growing plants will take care of the water quality...

It can take about 3 months for a NPT to mature-until then you will have to make weekly and as needed water changes

Even in regular or inert substrate the addition of live plants can help with water quality...depending on the number and species of live plants of course.....with rooted plants you don't want to disrupt the roots-so you don't want to do any 100% water changes or even heavy vacuuming...they do need more water changes than soil based NPT-but less than a non-planted tank.....

The key to success with any planted tank...is the lights....without proper lights the plants will not thrive and without the active growth they do very little for water quality and sometimes can make it worse.....
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:39 AM   #7 
Indyfishy
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Thanks for the info OFL!!! What plant species/substrate would you recommend??? I'm willing to put alot of time into waiting for the plants to mature, I think it's worth the wait. It sounds like a good planted tank would make water changes easier on me, and my fish would be less stressed since I wouldn't be messing around with their environment too much!
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:21 AM   #8 
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If you are wanting to setup a NPT...you need dirt....I get mine from my yard...but you can also use any type of soil that is organic-no added ferts, enhancers and the like....sifted to get all the big pieces of organics out..In small tanks (under 10gal) use half to 1 inch of dirt (I use 1in) and cap this dirt with either half inch of playsand, pool filter sand, small size gravel to hold the soil in place (see my album and thread for NPT pic and more info) They all go together the same way regardless of tank size....

Plants-you want rooted plants-these are sold in bunches of 6-12 stems usually-you want more type of plants that are rooted in the soil...you also need floating plants-water lettuce is my favorite and I also use frogbit and duckweed....

What you are waiting for to mature is the soil.....it can take 3 months for the soil to start its underwater life and then it becomes alive and this life is what takes care of a lot of things in the system-byproducts, organics...etc.....that can be harmful to livestock are consumed-it never leaves the tank per se...but recycled and deemed harmless..
The soil needs oxygen-the roots of plants will bring oxygen into the soil and so will trumpet snails...this is important...without oxygen the soil can go anaerobic (rotten egg smell) Once you have active plant growth-the plant roots will take care of this and it never hurts to have a trumpet snail or two to help......

Because soil based tanks are a natural system-you also need workers in the tank in the form of snails=common pond, ramshorn type snails=these guys help the system by eating dead/dying plant material-plus they add ferts for the plants.....Shrimp are also helpful-but not all Bettas will tolerate them especially in smaller systems-the shrimp are shredders and this helps the organics to break down faster and this in turn creates natural CO2 for the plants....see how everything works together....lol.....

Lights-you need new bulbs and they need to be changed out every 12 months even though they still work....you can see the light but the plants can't to use it for energy/photosynthesis......and bulbs don't have to break the bank either....

I buy mine in the lighting dept at walmart, home depot, lowes....I get the "Daylight" 6500 kelvin...watts depends on bulb size.....

Photoperiod-the lights need to be on for 10-12 hours-I am on a 12h/day PP with all my NPT.....plants have to be given the tools to out compete algae-if you see too much algae at 10h increase to 12h....its a balance....

I explained it better in one of my post I just made on my 55g NPT and in my album I posted about the new 10gal and a couple of older ones on a 5gal and 2gal.......

Plants are endless for the low-mod light NPT-what plants work in mine may not work in yours or vice-versa...it can even vary from tank to tank sitting right next to each other......
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