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Nebby (R.I.P.); Lillie.
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My first attempt at keeping live plants in my betta Nebby's aquarium failed, but after a few months of using silk plants I decided to give them another try. So I recently obtained the following live plants:

*2 Anubias
*2 Microsorium
*2 Echinodorus

I would like to get them into the aquarium before they die (I already lost 2 Cryptocoryne and 1 Anubias), but before doing so I want to have an aquascaping plan that will set the live plants up for success this time (while also providing enrichment for Nebby, of course). In the past I had my live plants spread all throughout the aquarium, and I find this option appealing because I feel like it would provide a more natural tropical jungle look. However, I am also considering an "island" aquascape as I feel like that would be much easier to maintain (especially with the gravel vacuuming, which was a pain when the live plants were spread everywhere).

Which of these options would be preferable for a beginner aquascaper? The aquarium is a 10 gallon, and Nebby is its only inhabitant. In addition to the live plants, I also have 6 pieces of driftwood (5 small, 1 medium) and 2 small rocks that I am considering for usage in the aquascape. Any suggestions from more experienced aquascapers would be highly appreciated!
 

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If you have live plants the best vacuum, IME, is a piece of airline tubing. Remove the plastic end from the siphon and use just the tube. This allows you to get in and out of plants and around decor.

As Betta are shade-loving fish that do best in thickly-planted tanks, you could use silk to fill in around the live plants and gradually change out. My favorite thing to do is weight down a bunch of stem plants in each corner and let the ends flow over the waterline.

Crypts should remain in place once planted. And, often, they will melt when we first get them and then come back....but not always.

I'm sure you know to not plant the Fern and Anubias rhizomes; just the roots. Or, let them float or attach to decor.

You will need substrate ferts for the Swords as they are heavy root feeders. I recommend https://www.nilocg.com/ for both substrate and column ferts.

Here is a good site for researching plant growth requirements BucePlant.com - Aquascaping and Aquarium Plants Super Store I have a code for free shipping if you decide to buy from them. Just send a PM.
 
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