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Old 02-04-2012, 04:19 PM   #1 
nintendobratkat
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Low Light Plants or Fake Plants?

I have a 5 gallon tank with a betta and ... well one ghost shrimp. The other decided to jump to his death a few hours ago.

Anyways... this is my tank. Fluval Chi, 5 gallons I think. It's taller than it is wide. I guess it looks cloudy but it really isn't. I can't get a good shot of it with my camera phone in the dark. The other one is when I first got it and was letting it run to do whatever tanks do before I got the fish. Gives a better idea of the dimensions I'm working with. It's like 12.3" tall and 10" wide.



As you can see, I just have one thing in there - fake driftwood. I wanted something for my betta to be able to play around and something for the ghost shrimp to hide in.

I keep my tank in the hallway on the counter (my housing choices around my husband's base suck!). It's the only place it's out of the grasp of my one year old troublemaker of a daughter. That being said, there is little to no light that really reaches it at any given time of day.

I found this website http://www.aquariumplants.com/Low_Light_Plants_s/25.htm but I have never had an aquarium plant much less a fish! So I need to know answers to the following questions:

1. What plants can I realistically keep with my betta fish & ghost shrimp?

2. If I add live plants, how do I keep the plants alive?

3. Do they need soil or is there some sort of water additive that I can put in the tank to give it the nutrients it needs?

4. Is my tank too small to keep live plants in? Should I just get plastic plants instead?

Thank you in advance! I am new to this fish thing and want my betta to be happy. :D

Last edited by nintendobratkat; 02-04-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:33 PM   #2 
Bombalurina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nintendobratkat View Post

1. What plants can I realistically keep with my betta fish & ghost shrimp?
Anything. Bettas are carnivores and ghosties are scavengers. Neither will eat your plants. The ones I would recommend for a beginner are java moss (great for shrimps), java fern, anubias (makes a wonderful betta hammock), anacharis and lacefern. These guys are all incredibly easy to care for and will give you lots of variety and few, if any, difficulties. :)

2. If I add live plants, how do I keep the plants alive?
The beauty of the plants I mentioned is that you really don't need to do much. The most important thing is your light. I'd suggest PMing OldFishLady, as she is the planted tank ninja and can recommend what strength light etc you need. Don't bother with fertilisers or anything like that for now. The plants I've suggested don't need it.

3. Do they need soil or is there some sort of water additive that I can put in the tank to give it the nutrients it needs?
None of the plants I have mentioned are heavy root feeders. They'll get most of their nutrients through the water column, so you don't need soil or additives unless you want to go for a Natural Planted Tank (again, talk to OldFishLady). You can just use plain old gravel. :)

4. Is my tank too small to keep live plants in? Should I just get plastic plants instead?
No tank is too small for live plants. I once saw a nano-tank that was, and I kid you not, the length of an adult ghost shrimp. I saw it and thought, oh, pretty tank. Then I saw the next photo, where he'd put it inside his big tank to show how small it was and I went, . It was incredible.

Thank you in advance! I am new to this fish thing and want my betta to be happy. :D
What I'd do with a Fluval Chi (and btw, I am so jealous, I love those tanks!) is this. I would put a bunch of lacefern in the back left corner and anacharis (also called elodea) in the back right. Both of these plants just get stuck in the gravel and trimmed when necessary. I would fill that central square thing with java moss, then tie a java fern to a pretty rock (just tie it on and eventually it will root onto the rock - don't bury it!) and place it on top of the moss, then fluff the moss up around it. I'd have a white or black sand substrate (depending on the fish's colours - light sand for a dark fish, black sand for a light fish) around the central square thing. Then I'd try and work an anubias in there too (again, they get tied to wood or rock, not rooted in the substrate).

Sorry, I've been wanting to plan out my dream Chi for a long time. :p
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:07 AM   #3 
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My second shrimp killed itself last night. Stupid Ghost Shrimp. I could understand if the fish was harassing them but I watched the remaining one climb the side while the fish was enjoying the centerpiece. I need to get a lid before I go any further I guess.

TYVM for the response.

I don't have much light to work with so I will try a few things. I'm not sure if the light on the chi can be changed with something that works with plants or not. I guess I still need to do a lot more research about them. They didn't have any Anacharis since I had looked into that before. I'd probably have to order it from a website somewhere.

I wanted an Edge but my husband thinks pets and fish are stupid so I could barely justify spending $50 muchless $120 on a tank. I got away with "it's designer and matches our contemporary furniture" for the time being. Of course I have a 1 year old so my fish tank can't go on its intended stand for a few years.

Keep an eye on craigslist like I am doing because I want another Edge or another Chi. People have sold them as low as $10! I am just not that lucky I guess lol.
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Old 02-05-2012, 10:27 PM   #4 
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Not in the USA, so no Craigslist here. :P Even if the lights aren't great for plants, java fern, java moss and anubias will still grow well enough without proper lighting. :) The light has broken on my 5 gallon and it is taking ages to find a replacement, but my anubias is still doing well even though the tank is pretty dark.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:18 PM   #5 
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I highly recommend Water Wisteria, aka Hygro Difformis, if you like a jungley look, and Anubias for a more tidy look. (:

I love the messy jungle look, so I have Water Wisteria floating in my betta's tank, and I find it grows insanely fast even under the worst lighting conditions. I found it at my LFS, and plopped a tiny piece of it in my tank. Within a week, it was huge! Even leaves that accidentally break off will sprout roots and grow into whole new plants -- that's how easy it is to keep alive! When left floating, the roots reach down for the substrate and create little tunnels and vines for the fish to swim through and hide in. It's quickly become my all time favorite plant, and it can go in pretty much any tank. (:
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:42 AM   #6 
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I got a moss ball, java fern and some amazon something that are supposed to be low light plants. I guess I'll see how they fair before I bother adding anything else.
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