Simple Set-up Questions - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Simple Set-up Questions

If I got a light like this- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X84LNS8 - would I be able to grow a low-light plant in my 3g tank? Or would it probably not be strong enough/the right spectrum/etc. Historically I have been a miserable failure at planted tanks (I have killed duckweed on two separate occasions) but I keep wanting to try, and the fact that this light is submersible is a neat gimmick that I like.

And if that is an okay enough light, or if there's a better light that's not too much more expensive, what sorts of plants could I have with it? Would I really need anything like fertilizers or dirt substrate or is that only for if you're hoping for lots of growth?


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:07 PM
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I don't know that it would be considered as a strong light (it will illuminate a tank) and really any light on the tank would do for low light plants like Anubis, and java fern. For a substrate I would use something like river sand. The Anubis doesn't need to be planted. You can float it in the tank, they both have rhizome that can not be buried in the substrate. The roots can be but the rhizome must stay uncovered. This is why Anubis is usually anchored on a rock or driftwood. or the roots covered in substrate. As far as fertilizers you would use a liquid supplement like SeaChem flourish once a week and then only a few drops for a 3 gallon tank.

You really killed duck weed???
I think you need to get a hold of RussellTheShihTzu She has never been able to get rid of that stuff for years. I think she'd like to know how you did it.

Last edited by Old Dog 59; 03-05-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:18 PM
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I grew plants for years in a tank with plain gravel, no fertilisers except fish poop, and an old style flourescent strip. It was a nice tank, too. And happy fish.

So yes, 🙂 you can definitely grow plants in a tank with ordinary substrate and that light. But only really tough ones will do well.

But (as with most things) a little extra money, and care, will reap huge benefits. A few drops of fertiliser and a bit more $ and you could have magnificent plants. But I recommend slow growing ones or they will swamp a 3 g very quickly.
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70litre tank: (Kham) mature setup; betta, purple rasboras, 2 nerites, amano and wood shrimp. Heavily planted.
22litre cube tank: (Valentine); betta, 2 amano. Heavily planted.
57litre cube tank: (No Name); betta, ember tetras, 2 amano, 1 nerite, heavily planted.
200litre tank; (Valentine), honey gourami, cherry barbs, green neons, kuhli loaches, otocinclus, 4 nerite, pond snails and 1 assassin doing his thing. Heavily planted.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! The Stingray light I keep seeing mentioned isn't as expensive as I thought, so I might splurge on that instead, which I think will improve my chances of keeping plants alive. Right now I'm set up in a dorm so I don't want to get too fancy because I'll have to tear everything down at the end of the semester anyway, but if I can keep a plant or two going until then I will probably upgrade my level of care for them.

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You really killed duck weed???
I think you need to get a hold of RussellTheShihTzu She has never been able to get rid of that stuff for years. I think she'd like to know how you did it.
I really did and I wish I knew how I managed it! The second time around my goldfish ate some, but even the stuff I had in a separate tank just wilted away, despite being next to a window and under a supplemental light.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:31 PM
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I have always recommended Finnex lighting. I have the Planted Plus on every tank I have (3 5.5 gal. 1 10 gal. 1 29 gal. 1 75 gal. and my newest a 55 gal. When ever I set up a tank I figure everything I'm going to need for that setup. Finnex lighting is the third thing on my list every time. I have always had planted tanks. I find it easy to care for the plants. Three main needs of a planted tank are Water quality, lighting and depending on the plants I'm going to put in the substrate. With these three things your plants have a great chance to survive. In some cases I need to use plant tabs for fertilizers and supplement that with SeaChem flourish. And depending on the plants need for food I will dose the tank daily with CO2. A three gallon tank would be a very nice nano tank size. heavily planted and a nice betta for a splash of color.
for any betta keeper that wants a planted tank the rule of thumb is, If you can see your betta in the tank at a glance you don't have enough plants. You may not have room for more than 3-4 plants but realize they grow and spread.

My newest 5.5 gallon tank is a complete jungle. I have 18 different plants 6 mystery snails, and a Petco black orchard betta named Ben. The substrate is plain white sand. I have not used any plant tabs since the plants thrive in the tank. I do however dose with flourish once a week to supplement their nutrition. I have a 16 inch Finnex planted plus light that I have on for no more than 8 hours a day.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 07:19 PM
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If you are determined to use that light then you are going to need to stick to low light plants.

I like a sand substrate but it needs to be washed really well before using it or you will get a sediment cloud that could last for weeks. You can opt for a sediment that is made for plants, but you really only need that if you are going to be growing plants that need to be planted in the substrate and that require higher light then the light you linked to. You can also use gravel.

Depending on the plants you grow you'll need either a liquid fertilizer or root tabs (fertilizer that goes in the substrate). I started with Flourish Tabs for the plants I grow in the substrate, and Flourish (NOT Flourish Excel) for the plants that feed from the substrate.

Some good plants that are undemanding and don't require much light are anubias, java fern, and anacharis. They can be floated in the aquarium, or attached to rocks or driftwood. Dose the tank with some Flourish a couple times a week once they start growing and they'll do fine.

One tip I can give you is that most plants do not do well if the water gets above 80 degrees.

Oh and I managed to kill duckweed to! No idea how I accomplished it or why it died..
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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I'm definitely not married to having that particular light, I mostly just liked the price (heh) and the fact that it's waterproof, which is nice for someone clumsy like me. But I think I can see more benefits with upgrading to the Stingray, so I'm going to wait for my next payday and splurge on that one.

I was planning to use gravel, since I already have it and it's easy to clean up, but when I move back home and get the tank set up more permanently I will definitely consider switching substrates. I've never had anything but either gravel or bare bottoms, so it'll be an experience if I try dirt or sand or whatnot. :)

Looks like anubias is going to be at the top of the list for plants! And a bottle of fertilizer. Thanks for your advice, guys.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 05:25 PM
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I went to Home Depot and got a full spectrum light bulb and a heat lamp fixture. I know it might not be as attractive but if you are looking for great grow light for your aquarium plants at a lower cost. I killed dwarf water lettuce myself, but now they are growing great. It's bright enough to light both 5.5 gallon tanks. See pics.


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If I got a light like this- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X84LNS8 - would I be able to grow a low-light plant in my 3g tank? Or would it probably not be strong enough/the right spectrum/etc. Historically I have been a miserable failure at planted tanks (I have killed duckweed on two separate occasions) but I keep wanting to try, and the fact that this light is submersible is a neat gimmick that I like.

And if that is an okay enough light, or if there's a better light that's not too much more expensive, what sorts of plants could I have with it? Would I really need anything like fertilizers or dirt substrate or is that only for if you're hoping for lots of growth?
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Last edited by Ma Betta; 03-12-2019 at 05:31 PM.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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I did think about doing something like that! I have a plant bulb that I use for my terrestrial plants (part of the reason I want to try aquatics again is that I've gotten my African Violet to not just survive but to bloom, yay) and I was considering just putting it over my tank, but I decided I wanted something with less of a spotlight effect. I actually just ordered the Stingray last night so hopefully I can get this project rocking and rolling soon. :)
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 09:29 AM
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Great. Can't wait to see the results!

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I did think about doing something like that! I have a plant bulb that I use for my terrestrial plants (part of the reason I want to try aquatics again is that I've gotten my African Violet to not just survive but to bloom, yay) and I was considering just putting it over my tank, but I decided I wanted something with less of a spotlight effect. I actually just ordered the Stingray last night so hopefully I can get this project rocking and rolling soon. :)
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