Help starting a planted tank! - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Help starting a planted tank!

I'm toying with the idea of trying a low maintenance small planted tank. My brother just bought me a 2.6 gallon Fluval Spec for a belated birthday present and I was thinking maybe I would try planting a few low maintenance probably lower light plants, see how it goes. I guess I need to know what I need to get started? I have looked at some posts and other things online but I'm not sure where to begin. Also I wonder if the light that comes with the tank is suitable for plants and which ones. Also looking for recommendations for substrate and any other tips you may have. I'm really nervous to give this a try for some reason!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 12:14 PM
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Tracking because I'm in the same spot
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 01:43 PM
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OK. I hope I can shed some light here. First being a 2.5 gallon tank I would say there is no filter, no heater. If you want to put in low light plants, Most plants need a stable temp. Between 76-80 degrees. and a PH of between 6.8 and 7.8. You can achieve this with a 2.5 gallon but it is harder to cycle and maintain the water parameters.
For plants I would suggest tropical ferns (java ferns), Anubis maybe even some low light bunch plants. These are some low light plants and easy for beginners.
I would also recommend sand as a substrate. Most plants that are well rooted like ferns would require Plant tabs in order to grow. In some cases where the plants are floating SeaChem flourish added once a month would be ideal for the plant's growth.
I will recommend a 25 watt heater for the tank, and I recommend an adjustable one. However You might find it hard to find one that fits the tank.
I would also recommend getting either a fresh water test kit, or test strips. I also recommend an ammonia alert SeaChem makes them and sold at Petco, Petsmart. Or amazon on line. The alerts are sold as a 2 pack of 1 Ammonia alert, and 1 PH alert.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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This tank would be heated and filtered. I failed to mention I already have many other tanks that are cycled, some big and some small. But this will be my first one with live plants. My ph is closer to 8, will this be an issue with any plants? What substrate do you recommend and what do I need to know about the light I use? I am hoping to use the light that comes with the fluval spec III as I am somewhat on a budget right now. I am trying to look at what the initial must haves are to begin. :)
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bettatanksalot View Post
This tank would be heated and filtered. I failed to mention I already have many other tanks that are cycled, some big and some small. But this will be my first one with live plants. My ph is closer to 8, will this be an issue with any plants? What substrate do you recommend and what do I need to know about the light I use? I am hoping to use the light that comes with the fluval spec III as I am somewhat on a budget right now. I am trying to look at what the initial must haves are to begin. :)
The substrate depends on what plants you want to grow. Some have delicate root systems that are not suited to gravel, while others do fine in just about any substrate, still others are water column feeders and substrate does not matter at all. Personally I like sand as a substrate, but it must be very, very, very, well washed or your tank will end up looking like the desert in the middle of a sand storm, your filter will get clogged with sediment, and for months afterwards sediment will settle on everything in the tank. With sand you'll need to use root tabs to feed any plants growing in the substrate. Some other options are a substrate geared towards plants like eco-complete, organic soil with a sand or gravel cap, or gravel. I've used them all and they all have pros and cons imho.


I'm not sure how good of a light comes with the tank you are getting, from what I've read the lights on the tank will grow low level lights. If you want plants that require brighter light you'll need to replace it.

Whether or not you need root tabs depends on the type of substrate you go with, and the type of plants. Whether you need liquid fertilizer depends on the plants you get.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 04:13 PM
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Hey! This is my planted tank in the same, fluval spec III. The light they provide actually works pretty well for the plants I've used. The only thing is my staurogyne repens is struggling a bit right now because I don't really use fertilizers, so I need to put some root tabs in to help. (I've always been bad at the fertilizer game haha)

It's currently been up and running for about 6 months. :) The plants I've got in there right now are...
Anubias Bateri (round leaf)
Telanthera Cardinalis- also called Alternanthera Reineckii
Staurogyne Repens
Cryptocoryne Beckettii
and one Marimo Moss ball. :)

I use fluval stratum, works great but after further research you may have to use some fertilizers or something after a couple months since it loses a lot of the nutrients. So far though, everything has flourished under the regular lighting! I have my battles with algae every once in a while but the nerite snails I've got in there help.

I've found the best thing is to just buy one or two plants and give it a try!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 04:18 PM
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PS I just love that fluval spec III, its a great tank, I've never had any issues with it! A heater fits right in the back near the filter if you haven't gotten one already. I recommend the hydor 25 watt if you don't have a good one already. I've never had an issue with the light provided, most of my plants seem to do fine. (including the telanthera cardinalis, which I've heard won't really grow the red color unless its got good lighting, which it seems to be doing fine for me!)

If you plan on putting a betta in it though once its planted i would recommend getting a sponge to cover the end or poke some holes in the filter tube to slow the flow a bit.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know, I was on the fence about getting it. I already have the Fluval Chi and I love that tank so I wanted to get another Fluval. It was half off on Amazon! I do have a Hydor Theo 25 I can put in there. I plan to move one of my female betta in there eventually. Your tank looks awesome, I will probably do that and just pick a few plants to start while I'm getting the hang of it.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Plants camas last night unexpectedly. I was so mad because it was really cold out like 14 degrees then I had to rush set up last night after work. Anyhow leaves looking funky on anubias. Anacharis mostly ok I think with a few small soft pieces. Waiting for one more decor piece for in the back to arrive. Added some cycled media and a sponge to the spray bar. I want to put my female betta in eventually. For some reason these plants are making me nervous lol! I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing . I have some Seachem root tabs and Flourish on the way!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 08:07 PM
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I know the urge to plant the tanks when the plants arrive. However, I have found letting stem plants float for a while to develop roots somehow makes transitioning easier. The exception, of course, are those which already come with a healthy root system.

You did not plant the Anubias, did you? Can't tell from the photos. If you do plant make sure the rhizome (where the leaves attach) is above the substrate or it will rot.

As the Anacharis grows you can cut off tops and start new plants. One of the nice things about stem plants.

You are going to have a gorgeous home for your boy when it is done.

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