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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if there would need to be an initial layer of soil, with gravel or sand on top for an aquatic plant to thrive in a tank with a betta.
Or could the plants survive with only gravel? Would they need sand instead of gravel?
I really want a planted tank but don't want to deal with the soil, or sand for that matter. Its so difficult to clean and settle in my 10 gallon. :cry:
 

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Soil is more useful for plants that are root feeders (and even then some of the easier ones can be helped along with a root tab instead). Other plants feed from the water column so soil is not as important.

Like you defiinitely don't need soil for floaters like duckweed and water lettuce.

Anubias is another easy one since it's just as happy tied to a rock as anything.
 

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You don't need soil at all, there is a style of planting which calls for it (NPT--Natural Planted Tank) but for the average fish keeper, gravel or sand does just fine for all plant types!

The things you will need is a good Daylight light. What kind of lighting do you have?

The other things you may need eventually is liquid fertilizer and root tabs (compressed dry fertilizer). All plants will use both types of fertilizers though some will prefer one over the other, they will all benefit from using both. Except for floating plants like duckweed, salvinia minima, frog-bit, dwarf water lettuce; those just like the liquid stuff :) I recommend SeaChem Flourish Comprehensive (NOT Excel, that's something different) and either SeaChem or API Root tabs as well.

Start off with some easy plants: Anubias and Java Fern (don't need root tabs if you just have these types) need to be tied to something, not planted totally in the gravel, Green Cryptocoryne, Amazon Sword, Water Wisteria, and Cabomba are all pretty easy for you :) Stay away from red plants at the moment, they require much more care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You don't need soil at all, there is a style of planting which calls for it (NPT--Natural Planted Tank) but for the average fish keeper, gravel or sand does just fine for all plant types!

The things you will need is a good Daylight light. What kind of lighting do you have?

The other things you may need eventually is liquid fertilizer and root tabs (compressed dry fertilizer). All plants will use both types of fertilizers though some will prefer one over the other, they will all benefit from using both. Except for floating plants like duckweed, salvinia minima, frog-bit, dwarf water lettuce; those just like the liquid stuff :) I recommend SeaChem Flourish Comprehensive (NOT Excel, that's something different) and either SeaChem or API Root tabs as well.

Start off with some easy plants: Anubias and Java Fern (don't need root tabs if you just have these types) need to be tied to something, not planted totally in the gravel, Green Cryptocoryne, Amazon Sword, Water Wisteria, and Cabomba are all pretty easy for you :) Stay away from red plants at the moment, they require much more care.

my aquarium is secondhand so it took me a while to figure it out, but they have LED lights attached to the hood ;w; the aquarium also gets indirect natural light if that makes any difference.
i started out with anubias because it wasn't too expensive at my LPS and right now it seems to be doing fine, but should i grab a bottle of API leafzone and some root tabs too? i didn't bury the anubias very much, just the end of the roots under the gravel so it wouldn't free float everywhere... most of the roots and the entire rhizome are still showing!
 

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Most stock LED lights are pretty poor in terms of lighting, it's okay for easy plants such as your Anubias and Java Fern but not too many others. If you just have an Anubias, then you probably won't need any fertilizers since it grows slowly and it's only one plant. If you have a tank full of them, that's when you'd want to look at liquid fertilizers for them :) Otherwise, you'll just be feeding into algae!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Most stock LED lights are pretty poor in terms of lighting, it's okay for easy plants such as your Anubias and Java Fern but not too many others. If you just have an Anubias, then you probably won't need any fertilizers since it grows slowly and it's only one plant. If you have a tank full of them, that's when you'd want to look at liquid fertilizers for them :) Otherwise, you'll just be feeding into algae!

ah, okay! is there any certain lighting that you prefer for your fish? i remember reading this one horror story of the fish cooking alive but don't seem to remember what lighting they used... it was one of those aqueon minibows?
 

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Oh geeze, it's probably incandescent's, those give off heat. You want to stick with Fluorescent's usually or high tech LED's. My absolute favorites are the Finnex Planted+ but those are for high light tanks with looooots of plants, otherwise, you'll just get a bunch of algae lol. You can use the Finnex Stingray light though! Lower light output but does great for low-medium light plants and is cheaper than the Planted+, if you wanted to stick with LED's.

If you want to go for Compact Fluorsecent Lights (CFL) or regular straight Fluorescent tube then you need a different hood. The CFL's can be placed inside of these as well: Clamp Light and you can clamp them to your tank. I use one for every 5 gallons usually, so a 10 gallon would need two.

As for CFL lights, I usually get mine from Wal-Mart actually in the light bulb aisle. Look for ones that say Daylight on them, they're usually in blue packaging. On the back they'll have a small scale that says Kelvin Rating and will say 6,500K, the soft light and white light are usually around 2,000K which is too low for plants. I get the 13 watt mini CFL's from there and plug them into those clamp lights for cheap but good lighting.

So it's up to you on what you want to chose. CFL/Fluorescent tubes will need to be replaced every six months but LED's usually last a very long time (many, many years!) but are more costly up front.
 
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