Newb Questions - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Newb Questions

So I am debating on whether my new five gallon tank should be planted or unplanted. Mostly because everyone on r/Bettafish really look down on silk plants. However, I don't know anything about planted aquariums, so I have a lot of questions.

-Like can I use gravel instead of sand in a planted tank? Or if I have to use sand, what brand should I use?

-Are there any low maintenance aquarium plants that are hard to kill?

-And can you recommend what other supplies I would need for a planted tank?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 10:14 PM
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While I prefer live over fake, your fish won't know or care either way. Don't worry about what members of r/Bettafish think.

If you're more comfortable using silk plants in your tank, use them.

I have a brown thumb when it comes to live aquarium plants, and there's only three species of plants I keep in my tanks. These plants receive no artificial lighting (it's very dark in most of my tanks because this is what my fish prefer), and no fertiliser.

These three plants are: Anubias, Java Fern, and Java Moss.

Anubias and Java Fern can be left to float. Otherwise, they can be grown with their roots buried in the substrate (you don't bury the rhizome as this can cause it to rot) or using some fishing line or cotton, you can attach them to pieces of driftwood, rock, or even ornaments.

Java Moss can be tied down in a similar manner, or can be left to grow as it likes.

You can use whatever substrate you prefer with these plants. Personally I prefer using sand over gravel in my fish tanks.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
While I prefer live over fake, your fish won't know or care either way. Don't worry about what members of r/Bettafish think.

If you're more comfortable using silk plants in your tank, use them.

I have a brown thumb when it comes to live aquarium plants, and there's only three species of plants I keep in my tanks. These plants receive no artificial lighting (it's very dark in most of my tanks because this is what my fish prefer), and no fertiliser.

These three plants are: Anubias, Java Fern, and Java Moss.

Anubias and Java Fern can be left to float. Otherwise, they can be grown with their roots buried in the substrate (you don't bury the rhizome as this can cause it to rot) or using some fishing line or cotton, you can attach them to pieces of driftwood, rock, or even ornaments.

Java Moss can be tied down in a similar manner, or can be left to grow as it likes.

You can use whatever substrate you prefer with these plants. Personally I prefer using sand over gravel in my fish tanks.
It's not that I'm uncomfortable with live plants. It's just that I've been known to kill cacti, so if I somehow find a way to kill an aquatic plant that'd be both sad and hilarious. Also the idea of having to clean algae kinda grosses me out. But a lot of people seem to think my betta would be happier in a planted tank, and ultimately that's what I really want.

Also I'm really glad that I can use gravel because I vastly prefer it over sand.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 01:28 AM
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Don't worry. I've probably killed hundreds of dollars worth of plants. Even 'easy' plants like Vallisneria have met their demise in my tanks. I'm sure every hobbyist has killed at least one plant in their time in the hobby, even the professionals.

You'll probably get algae at some point, regardless of whether you use live or fake plants. The one thing you have to watch out for when using live plants, is that you can inadvertently introduce pest snails into your tank.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 01:38 AM
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If you don't intend to have bottom dwellers like Pleco, Cories or Catfish, gravel is fine.

Silk is fine, too. Not everyone can grow aquatic plants even though some try to make it sound easy. If you do want to try live at some point, get ONE Anubias and let it float among the silk. Anubias do not really need fertilizers or high light. As a matter of fact, too much light can harm them. If the Anubias is fine after 4-6 weeks, try another.

It is just my opinion, but I believe that many new aquarists buy too many plants with many different needs. When the plants start looking iffy, they don't know what to do and give up. That is why I suggest trying one live plant at a time.

So, set up a tank with silk plants. As LBF said, the fish don't care. But do keep in mind you will need to pay especial attention to parameters as live plants will feed on Nitrates while silk, of course, will not.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 08:55 AM
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Good timing, here's a WIP tank that I'm currently working on.
It's an all silk tank that I'm changing over to live plants. At first glance, many people can't tell the silk from the live. As for the fish, he was interested in the live plant for about 30 secs after I put it in. All he's interested in right now is his IAL.

Quality silk plants these days will last you a few years, before they really start to fade. They require no care other than some occasional cleaning.
While I tell people to try their hand at live plants at some time, having artificial plants is perfectly fine.

Edit : And I can't tell you how many plants I've killed.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 02:33 PM
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Good timing, here's a WIP tank that I'm currently working on.
It's an all silk tank that I'm changing over to live plants. At first glance, many people can't tell the silk from the live. As for the fish, he was interested in the live plant for about 30 secs after I put it in. All he's interested in right now is his IAL.

Quality silk plants these days will last you a few years, before they really start to fade. They require no care other than some occasional cleaning.
While I tell people to try their hand at live plants at some time, having artificial plants is perfectly fine.

Edit : And I can't tell you how many plants I've killed.
Just wanted to say that your tank looks awesome! What type of live plants do you have in there?

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 03:14 PM
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Just wanted to say that your tank looks awesome! What type of live plants do you have in there?
Thanks

The live plants : Anubias (Barteri Broad Leaf and Nana), Marimo moss ball, Anacharis and I have some Java Ferns waiting for the edges.

The Anacharis will be tricky as the temps may be a little too high but we'll see.

The silk are Marina Ecoscaper Hydrocotyle Silk Plant Plant, Marina Ecoscaper Lobelia Silk Plant Plant and there's another silk one in the back you can't see. I don't remember what it is since F&S site doesn't exist anymore.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 04:43 PM
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Thanks

The live plants : Anubias (Barteri Broad Leaf and Nana), Marimo moss ball, Anacharis and I have some Java Ferns waiting for the edges.

The Anacharis will be tricky as the temps may be a little too high but we'll see.

The silk are Marina Ecoscaper Hydrocotyle Silk Plant Plant, Marina Ecoscaper Lobelia Silk Plant Plant and there's another silk one in the back you can't see. I don't remember what it is since F&S site doesn't exist anymore.
Oh wow, thanks for the labeled picture! Do you have issues with the anubias getting too much light or the anacharis not getting enough? I know that anubias are lower light and the anacharis are more moderate. I like the look of both and was considering picking up some anacharis from APF but I've only ever had lower light plants and wouldn't know if my light would need to be on for a certain amount of time for them.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 07:38 AM
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Oh wow, thanks for the labeled picture! Do you have issues with the anubias getting too much light or the anacharis not getting enough? I know that anubias are lower light and the anacharis are more moderate. I like the look of both and was considering picking up some anacharis from APF but I've only ever had lower light plants and wouldn't know if my light would need to be on for a certain amount of time for them.
The Anacharis is new, I've never really been able to keep them alive for long before. The two stems in the tank are tests to see how it fares. I have a few much longer stems destined for another tank that is cooler, has more light, more flow and a DIY CO2 system. There are also a couple of stems floating at the top of the tank to see how those fare as well.

The top of that tank is completely covered by RRF which blocks a lot of the light. I actually have a piece of airline tube in a circle floating at the top of the tank to cordon a clear area to feed Saffron.

The Anacharis in this tank are up front instead of in the back because of where my light is positioned and the RRF top cover, it gets more light there.
I'm not worried about the Anubias, they're pretty hard to kill, but the RRF shades it quite a lot.
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