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Old 03-08-2012, 10:08 AM   #1 
ParadisMutts
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Plants for a 5.5 Gallon

Hello everyone. I am thinking of placing live plants into my tank, give my future Betta some places to hide and help my tank in general. I already getting 2 moss balls for the tank because I love them! But I wanted opinions from other people who do have plants in smaller sized tanks.

Where I live we have very few places to get plants, the only fish specific store closed down half a year ago. Petsmart up here doesn't have a lot of variatey. I am looking for an easy to care for plants, floating ones as well as ones that can be planted or tied down.

I read the plant sticky and thinking anubias and java fern would be cool. Can these be floated as well? I am not sure were to get duckweed or water lettuce (I noticed these can be floating) and also I have never seen Java Moss.

I have a friend who grows water plants, so I am going to ask her what she has and maybe she has some different stuff. But I want to make a list and have an idea of what to look for or buy. Again something easy (will buy liquid fertilizer if necessary) and something good for begginers.

Also, before I forget, I heard that you can tie down Anubias and Java Fern with string to what you want it to root to, but wouldn't the colour on the string bleed into the water? I am just worried about this, if I got white string it shouldn't be an issue right?
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #2 
Bombalurina
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Cotton thread is generally the best thing to tie plants down with. The dye is generally not an issue, but undyed thread is of course the most risk-free.
Java fern and anubias can indeed be left floating.

Other easy plants include hornwort, anacharis, lacefern, cabomba and ambulia. However, these will need regular trimming (not difficult, literally just snip bits off) to stop them from overtaking the tank. :)
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:56 PM   #3 
ParadisMutts
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Thank you, alright cotton thead and dye free it is!

Okay, glad both can be floated, I know for sure I can get thouse. I know petsmart has hornwort and cambomba, I will check for the other ones. I like the look of live plants and I keep reading how benificial they are, I am defintly going to keep researching so I can add them.

Any advice is most welcome.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:08 PM   #4 
inareverie85
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For a low-light, low-maintenance setup, I'd recommend:
Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus
Narrow Leaf Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Anubias nana - Anubias barteri v. 'nana'
Petite nana - Anubias barteri v. nana 'petite'
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Cryptocoryne parva
and/or mosses

Just google these for more info. :) They can also be bought online.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:50 PM   #5 
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Not to hijack or anything, but I'm in sort of the same place. I have a fish store nearby with an okay variety of plants, but what about the bulb? I have a 5.5 gallon top fin tank and I was just going to buy a 23 amp spiral bulb from the hardware store, but when I checked the hood I saw a warning that says 15 watt max. I have a red tiger lotus and a java fern in there and am about to add an Amazon sword. The lotus will be the trickiest and I have nutrient for it, but what about lighting?

To the OP: With Java ferns, Anubus, Moss Balls, and actually quite a few types of mosses you only need low light. If you do not have a hood on your tank there are a lot of clip on lights you can get that will brighten your tank enough for any plant, but the key is space. Try to get some dwarf plants for the front, and I'd get a sword for the back middle because they spread out and make beautiful centerpieces. What about getting some stackign stones, sanding them, and making your betta a hidey cave as well? You could attach the anubus to the cave. Or get a small piece of drift wood (from a fist store... artificial is fine) and attach moss to it? It'll grow to cover the wood and you could create a cave that way. Does your betta like to nap on leaves and decorations? Try the Tiger Lotus. I got it because my fish props his head on the rubber of his heater and snoozes. He loves to swim on and around things.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:58 PM   #6 
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If you want spikey, go for hornwort over cambomba- cambomba is high light and can be temperamental from what I hear. Hornwort doesn't care if it goes through high levels of abuse... Also, I have a hornwort, totally healthy, it's rather common for them to shed large amounts of their needles, my vacuum clogs from them every week, sometimes I clean the substrate of them twice a week.


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Originally Posted by IndeedPanda View Post
Not to hijack or anything, but I'm in sort of the same place. I have a fish store nearby with an okay variety of plants, but what about the bulb? I have a 5.5 gallon top fin tank and I was just going to buy a 23 amp spiral bulb from the hardware store, but when I checked the hood I saw a warning that says 15 watt max. I have a red tiger lotus and a java fern in there and am about to add an Amazon sword. The lotus will be the trickiest and I have nutrient for it, but what about lighting?
Always use fluorescent lighting.. A long tubular lamp hood will work best. A hardware store/walmart is a fine source. You should look on the box for the kelvin rating.. Watts isn't important at all as long as you have at least 1 watt/gallon (meaning you'd need around 6 watts). After that it's more complex plants, high light plants usually require some CO2 injection to make use of all the light and avoid algae. Try to find a light that's 5-10 watts. The box should say the kelvin rating, between 5000-7000k, 6500k is pretty ideal. This is the colour temperature, and lower rating of light, plants cannot detect and therefore cannot use the light (algae however can). You should also replace the light every 6 months, as the kelvin does get weaker over time :D
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #7 
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The beow listed plants all require low maintence that have been known to grow magnificently in low tech setups with little or no ferilization. My bettas over the years have highly appreciated these plants and I would mostly recommend the selected plants compared to any others regarding floating plants

-Java Moss



Bio
this is a very beautiful, hardy, fast growing, and very rewarding aquarium plant that will be the best addition to almost any home aquarium setup. due to its low care requirements it will grow green in the worst of conditions. this plant has many advantages including it being one of this plants that will help with ammonia issues, there have been studies with java moss, and it took 2 weeks for a small female betta to produce .25 PPM ammonia in a 1 liter tank. from my own experience my fish love to swim through the tangled up moss, this plant has helped my fry survive to adulthood as they retreated in it as soon as the bigger fish came by.other than that bettas will enjoy swimming through the tangled mess of small almost wire like "threads"


-Bacopa Caroliniana




Bio
This is an easily found, beautiful, hardy, popular aquarium plant that I personally love myself, because of its few requirements and the fact that when placed in the mid ground it adds what looks like layers or dimension to the tank itself. The green colors will compliment lighter colored fish in large schools. I have green this plant from high to low logo and it's been known to d much better in high light so if I were you the. Would only get this plant if you can provide somewhat higher lights. It has been known to turn a light red color in the right conditions. I would recommend this for any setup if you can provide the right things for it. If you can this plant appreciates light liquid fertilization as it feeds through its root feeders out of the sides. Betts will love resting, and swimming through the leaves also.


-Hornwort



Bio
Hornwort is a very attractive, easy to care for, floating aquarium plant that is oftenly sold in small bunches and is somewhat easy to obtain, while this plant does have very few requirements, there is a key part into keeping and understanding this plant. It has been known to go through its own adjustment periods in which it can lose many if it's pine like leaves. Other than that bettas will highly appreciate striding through the clumped leaves, hiding in them, and playing through them, it has also been known to support well water quality


-Anacharis



Bio
Anacharis is a very popular aquarium plant that is readily found at most places that sell aquarium plants. this plant has small slender, green leaves that range in the hundreds on one stem, if planted correctly in a compact position it can almost look like a very attracting underwater bush. I recommend that you plant it this way as it looks magnificent, the fish love it, it helps protect fry, and it helps with establishing territory among the fish. this plant appears like underwater seaweed almost, it has a very pretty dark green color to its body. it also grows to enormous heights under the right conditions meaning tall tank, etc. anacharis it is almost like a huge ammonia, and nitrite mop. it will clean the tank water, but dont depend on this plant for water changes or perfect water conditions, it will help but not do everything for you. Betta also love to intact with this ants and at amongst the leaves, momentarily resting towards the top of them in some cases.

-Water Wisteria



Bio
Water wisteria is a very fun to keep, very attractive plant with little requirements and has been suscesfully grown in a wide range if setups such as little light and no added supplements regarding ferilization, and Co2. Bettas will appreciate having this plant for safety, hiding, interaction, and striding through, it has also been known to support well water quality


-Water Sprite


Bio
Water sprite is an especially beautiful aquarium plant that has few requirements for is exceptional beauty. It h been known to support all aspects of growth as well regarding attractiveness in a very broad range if setups such as little light, and no supplements regarding fertilization, and Co2. it has also been known to support well water quality


-Rotala Rotundifolia



Bio
this beautiful Aquarium plant is the best choice for almost any aquarium for lots of reasons but mostly because of its beautiful long, slender leaves that can even turn the loveliest shade of red. It is also very hardy for such a little delicate stemmed plant, It has grown in so many bad conditions for me, ive had it grow successfully in a 1 gallon, unheated tank. they help so much for quality, but dont depend on these for ammonia removers as they wont do the full job. From having this plant in my tank for so long i have found that it adds a layered look to the tank, it looks spectacular in the back round or mid ground for these specific reasons. If you can provide these every few requirements then you should definitely get this nice little plant here. Bettas also are known to hov around the leaves striding and hiding throughout them at times


-Rotala Indica



Bio
Rotala indica is a very beautiful aquarium plant with very few requirements, it has been known to grow in low tech setups but unlike Rotala Rotundifolia it will show its true beautiful green color in low tech setups. It does have many benefits such as increased activity due to the increased amount of plants, it can Benifit water quality, bettas love striding through the leaves, and they love to hide amongst the leaves


-Hygrophila Polysperma



Bio
Hygrohila polysperma is an exellent beautiful plant with very minimal requirements, such as moderate light, no fertilization, and no Co2 supplements. I have grown this plant in a wide range of setups and have noticed that bettas have appreciated the long slender like leaves to swim around and under, hide in, and play with. A beautiful specimen of this plant is found in my avatar


- Pennywort



Bio
Penny wort is a very fun to keep, beautiful, hardy, aquarium plant that can readily be found at most big chain stores or LFS's. this plant loves high light and thrives in it, along with light ferilization. Most bettas love to swim through and rest on these broad, bright green leaves that this plant provides. honestly though, its not the best choices for low light setups as it will shed its leaves, and look like an empty stalk sticking out of the gravel, but dont be alarmed if it looses a couple of leaves when you first get it as this plant always does that when acclimating to a new aquarium
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #8 
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Duckweed



Bio
Duckweed is a small floating aquarium plant that isn't found at most LFS for no appearing reason. I had gotten mine when a small amount came with a shipment of fish and within a week it had covered the top of a 10 gallon tank. It is probably the easiest aquarium plant available to the home aquarist and known to thrive and grow very fast With low light setups, no added fertilization, and no Co2. When keeping this plant with a tank that has substrate rooted plants, you might need to trim the duckweed regularly due to its accelerated growth rate, and it blocking out light for other plants.

This plant has a very beautiful appearance with multiple small bright graceful green leaves, the small root trailing out of the bottom look very interesting.. Bettas will especially appreciate gliding under the leaves. And swimming under the floating roots, I have also noticed that some small creatures such as scuds, and mosquito larvae will love hiding from bettas in them meaning that the bettas are known to skid the surface looking for more after you've fed live foods. It's very cute.


Java Fern



Bio
Java fern is a relatively easy to care for plant with minimal requirements regarding setup, and nutrient requirement. Java fern will grow very well, and vigorously in a wide range of setups, such as with little light, no added fertilization, little circulation, and no added Co2. but appreciates Just a small amount of added liquid ferilization and will grow much more vigorously and will show an elevated amount of vivid green colors with it. this plants propagates through small plant lets forming off the plant. When small rows of brown spots are seen on the plant, don't be alarmed. This is a sign of it reproducing.

Java fern is a very beautiful, non substrate rooted plant, which means that it has roots yet it doesn't do well in the substrate and will rot if placed in there which is why it is usually seen tied to rocks, driftwood or left to float. When tying it to ricks you can easily use a small cotton thread to tie, and after time the cotton will disintegrate and the java fern will attach to the material it's tied to. It's appearance looks very pretty, and gives a graceful appearance with the long slender dark green leaves, or sometimes a bit wider leaves, along with small branches sometimes seen forming on some parts of the leaves such as the one in the provided picture above. The appearance of this plant might look pretty to you and possibly the fish but herbivorous and omnivorous fish avoid this plant due to its bitter, hard taste which is the primary reason it's recommended for cichlid tanks, out of all the other plants


Anubias Barteri var. Nana AKA Broad Leaf Anubias



Bio
This specific type of Anubias is very easy to obtain and care for. This plant can be grown in a broad rane of given setups Such as low light setups, no fertilization, and no added Co2. It will thrive with the addition of added liquid ferilizers as it derives most of its nutrients from the water itself and not the substrate due to it being non substrate rooted. Which means that it has roots yet it doesn't root to the substrate. It ideally even shoudnt mbe placed in a tank with very high light, or in direct light as it develops unsightly brown and yellow Spots along with discoloration of the leaves. Sometimes Turning slightly clear. Anubias will grow very slowly in most setups which makes it very susceptible to many types of algae. Ideally you would want to maintain almost perfect aquarium requirements and only keep the tank light on for 8 hours, to keep the algae minimal.

The appearance of this plant is quite stunning with the graceful, broad, bright green leaves. The leaves are one of the many reasons that bettas love this plant. The are known to swim under, stride through, and rest on the magnificent leaves. This plant is easily planted by tying to a rock, decoration, wood, or sometimes even is left to float as it does fairly well that way. You can tie it using cotton threads, and as they disentigrate it should root to the material it's tied to
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:47 PM   #9 
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Thank you SO MUCH Olympia!
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:14 PM   #10 
Olympia
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No prob! Lights can be rather confusing at first, especially since kelvin isn't a day to day term used. Always thought it weird that flourescent lighting is considered the most "unnatural" looking in general, but it best simulates the sun. :D

If you can find one, I say get an apongeton. They are pretty easy care, and are quite lovely. I have a natans which is pretty average. An interesting species is the crispus- it has frilly looking leaves (the next species I plan on getting). Cute little plants, plant them in with 2/3 of the bulb under substrate, and the rest sticking out. They can have occasional dormancy periods or periods where the tallest leaves die off, this is totally natural for them, they usually have a period in nature where they are dried up on land, and sometimes they just go dormant even in the aquarium. :D
Hopefully your pet smart has them..
IMO you should go there, write down all the species they have, then go home and look up their various needs. I do this all the time, especially with something that catches my eye.
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