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Old 11-24-2011, 11:23 PM   #1 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Michigan, USA
Tank Upgrade?

My two boys currently live in a divided 2.5 gallon tank, a product of my ignorance when I bought them. They have been that way for awhile now, but it pains me to see them making such a little space work! So with Christmas right around the corner and some money saved up, I think the time has come to start planning my upgrade! I'm still new to this, so any polite advice and help is appreciated!

My plan is to get a 10 gallon OR a 20 long. I can't firmly say one or the other, as I haven't seen 20 longs at any of my local pet stores. Also, I plan on asking for the tank and hood for Christmas, so whatever I possibly get will have to make do. I would like to divide the tank four ways, giving me room to put one of my current boys in, as well as two new babies. My friend is going to house her betta there as well, as her parents are newly divorced and she can't care for him as she used to because she's switching houses every week. Is dividing a 10 gallon four ways still ok? I figured it would be fine since that still gives each fish roughly 2 gallons apiece.

I would also like to attempt my first planted tank! This makes me extremely nervous...and excited! I have a million questions. The first of which being, which sorts of plants should I purchase? I know my local Petco sells plants (not the kinds in the tubes, but plants that are grown in tanks to be sold) so whatever is available there would probably be easiest for me to get. Another question I have is what substrate should I use? I'm guessing this depends on what type of plants I get, but would regular gravel work fine for most plants? Soil based tanks sound incredibly messy! As for lighting, what types of bulbs best support plant life?

Last question has to do with filters and heaters. Any suggestions as to which brands work best? Purchasing filters and heaters without hearing advice from this community first scares me!

I've probably forgotten some questions, so I'm sure there will be more to come! (:
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:48 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
IMO, the 20 long would be the best to divide up into 4 sections, as it would give each betta around 5 gallons, which is what I tend to consider the minimum tank size for bettas, though others would say different. Just my personal opinion I suppose, having upgraded my bettas tank and seeing the huge difference in behaviour. You could divide it 5 ways and have 4 gallons per fish I suppose, which would allow you to keep another fish.

As for the plant part, I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable on plants, but I do know that if you liked the look of java fern or anubias, they should really be grown on something such as driftwood rather than in the substrate :)
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Old 11-25-2011, 05:58 PM   #3 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Michigan, USA
Yeah the 20 long is really what I'm pushing for, but if Petco or PetSmart doesn't have them in stock, the 10 gallon would have to do. I've most commonly heard 2 gallons per fish is the minimum. Obviously I would love to provide more than that if possible, but if someone is unhappy, I can always pull them and get them their own space.

I'd heard that about java ferns and anubias and plan on them being in the tank, hopefully tied to some nice driftwood! I love that sort of look. (:
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:39 PM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2009
I'm still not really experienced with plants yet, but I'll try and answer your questions:

Gravel will work for most plants if you get root tabs to fertilize the roots. You'll want fairly fine grain size though, gravel with really big stones is difficult for rooting.
I use eco-complete for my planted tanks, which is an aquarium plant substrate. It clouds up the water initially but after that isn't much of a mess at all. If you get that then you don't need root tabs. It may be hard to get enough root tabs if you want a carpet look (a low growing plant covering the entire substrate), in which case you might just go with eco-complete.
Regardless of which substrate you get you'll want it to be fairly deep - 3 inches minimum I'd say.

For lighting, try and get a light with a kelvin rating of about 5500-6500 K. For tanks as shallow as 10-20 gallons watts per gallon doesn't apply normally, so you don't really need to worry about that as much. If your hood fits a long fluorescent that's great. If it only has fixtures for incandescents you should ditch the incandescents it comes with and trade them out for compact fluorescents, which will be much better for plant growth.

I agree that Java Fern and Anubias would be good. Those are both extremely hardy beginner, low light plants. Same with Anacharis, Vallisneria, and Crypts. Let me try and remember what else they carry...Wisteria and Dwarf Sagittaria will both require fertilizers, but are otherwise not too demanding. Hornwort is a nice floating plant they carry a lot, that you might want to give a try.

For a filter, I really like the Aquaclear 5-20 gallon power filter. Its adjustable so that you won't have too much current for your Betta's. And it will work whether you get a 10 gallon or a 20 gallon aquarium.
There are lots of good heaters on the market. I have the Jager Thermostat heaters myself, but most heaters that allow you to choose the degree setting yourself and that have an automatic shutoff are good.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:49 PM   #5 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Michigan, USA
Thanks for the suggestions Akeath! I might get to go to Petco this week to check out their plant stock and see if they carry 20 long tanks. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the plants you suggested!
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:56 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Boise ID
Originally Posted by Badjer View Post
Thanks for the suggestions Akeath! I might get to go to Petco this week to check out their plant stock and see if they carry 20 long tanks. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the plants you suggested!
If you have them closer Petsmart has there 20 longs for about 10 bucks less then petco. At least here in idaho.
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