Planted tank advice? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Planted tank advice?

Hopefully for Christmas, I'll get the 5.5 gallon Top Fin aquarium starter kit, and I've been thinking it'd be nice to try doing a fully planted/aquascaped tank. Would I need a different light or anything? In my current 3.5 gal, I've only been able to keep marimo moss balls and a java fern alive. I used to have some anacharis, but they were messy and wouldn't stay in the places I'd want them to, and they didn't live that long either. Which plants would be suitable? They have to be relatively easy to maintain, since I'm not very experienced yet. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 06:37 AM
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Top Fin 5.5 starter Kit

A 5.5 starter kit is always a good idea for your betta. The tank size is great in limited spaces. Now with that said the Top Fin starter is a great way to start, but know this, the kit does not give you a heater. and the filter is one that you can adjust the flow. It sounds good but adjusting the flow to the lowest setting does not filter the amount of gallons per hour that is needed to keep the tank healthy. Yes i'm going to chach all kinds of flack for saying that. However reading the instructions it states the same as what I just said. They say to adjust the flow for feeding or when making a water change. I have found if your filter is set for optimum filtration you can divert the flow in a way the filter does it's intended job. Use a warer bottle (small) and cut off the ends, than cut the bottle to size to cover the discharge shoot. cut the bottle you will use length wise, and using tape, tape one end to the top of the tank and the other end to the top of the filter. The flow will be diverted and the water will have less current. Also by placing a piece of filter sponge about 1/4 to 1/2 the height of the discharge shoot, and held in place with a rubber band, will also cut the flow and not restrict the filter process. But it will cut down the current. As far as a heater Get a 50 watt adjustable heater anywhere from $11.00 on up being able to set your heat between 76-80 degrees is better than using a preset heater. all heaters work with ambiant outside temp. A preset will only raise the water temp about 10- 15 degrees above outside temp. Using a heater that you can adjust will give you a little more control and stay within 1 degree up or down and keep the tank at a steady setting. Also an adjustable heater will set 17 degrees above room temp.
When you get it started you will find the lighting is low light, and does well to light the tank, and is good for low light live plants. You can have a real nice tank for the money you spent and be very happy knowing your betta will be very happy also.
Oh one more thing about the filter. (for me the filter would work but getting the replacement pads was not going to work. I live 2 hours away from any pet shop) and ordering them on line was not really reasonable. I would need to pay 2 to 3 times more because of shipping. However if you live close to Petco or petsmart you dont have this same problem.
Good luck and post a few pictures when you get it set up.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Would it be better to just get a different filter? If so, what kind do you suggest? I'll be sure to remember to get a 50 watt heater, I think Walmart has one for a good price. I'm not sure how much money I'll get for Christmas, but I'll most likely make a follow-up post by then, if I remember to. I'll probably get around fifty dollars, maybe more, so I can't get super expensive stuff. What kind of inexpensive gravel would work best to keep plants alive? And how big of a bag would I need to buy? I live near both a Petco and Petsmart, and there's a LFS around a 20 or 30 minute drive away, so I'll definitely look around those places when I get the chance.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 06:38 PM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Since you have a PetCo near you maybe you can convince someone to make their 5.5 gallon empty tank a separate present. It is $15.00. You can then buy substrate, a heater and a filter for less than $50 and use a desk lamp with a plant bulb. Low-light plants like Anubius do not need much light at all or even fertilizers. They are the ultimate Beginner's Plant.

If your parents will order online you can get this filter (which I love, love, love). I have switched all of my tanks to it to the benefit of my Betta and community fish. It has adjustable flow and allows you to give both your Betta and plants a healthy water flow. You do not want the current so strong it blows your Betta around but you do want it to have enough so that he or she can exercise and strengthen in the current. Start the current low and gradually increase as your Betta gains strength. ($13)
FORZA 5-15 Power Filter PFE-1 - 45GPH

This is the heater I use in my smaller tanks. Both the 25 ($19) and 50 ($21) watt are only seven inches. I would spend the extra for a 50 watt. Make sure whatever you buy is adjustable!

This thermometer takes you to their free shipping minimum if you opt for the 25 watt heater. ($3)

Total is $37.00. You could almost afford that tank....but do not tell anyone.

If you get more than $50 you can buy the canopy.

I used plastic wrap on my tanks before I bought canopies.

You need 10 lbs of substrate. I like sand.

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Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 11-27-2018 at 06:40 PM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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The thing is, my grandma already bought the tank on Black Friday, it was around 23 dollars. I'm just not sure if I'll be able to keep it, since my mom doesn't know about it haha. For now I'm trying to get my grades up so hopefully she will. I'll take a look at the filter! Usually any money I get is cash, and I just prefer buying things in person. I've heard Petsmart does price checks compared to Chewy since they're run by the same company or something like that, so I could hopefully save some money by doing that, too.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-27-2018, 11:06 PM
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Did not realize you already had it. That is a nice tank. It is the same in design as the Fluval Spec V, I believe. Set the filter flow at its lowest and gradually increase as your boy exercises and gains strength.

I believe PetCo has the Hydor Heater but it is so much more expensive that Foster and Smith. Chewy only carries the 150 watt. I am almost sure you can place the heater in the filter compartment but double check.

Marimo are not plants but a specialized form of algae and are so slow-growing that they do little, if anything, for habitat environment.

Anubias would be my first choice for plants.

Anacharis needs temperatures no higher than around 78 or they will melt and it is best to let them float or anchor with lead weights instead of planting. You need fast-growing stem plants to help absorb Nitrates, etc.

Cryptocoryne has lots of small species for smaller tanks.

Hornwort is another good floater. It does not have roots so anchors are needed.

Amazon Swords are too big but there are many that stay small. You just have to search.

More fast-growers are Cabomba, Water Wisteria, Pennywort, Guppy Grass, etc. Check for temperature requirements. Many stems need cooler.

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