Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello :)
I am fairly new at this, and I need your advice!
I'm getting the 5 gallon Fluval Spec later this month for my male crowntail, Finley. I have a few questions regarding substrate, plants, and heating.

I currently have Finley in an unheated 1.5 gallon filtered tank with gravel and a bubbler. He's doing fine.

Now I plan to have live plants in the new tank, but I'm very new to this so I don't know how it will go. I'm interested in the lower maintenance ones since I'm a beginner. So I'm thinking Amazon Swords, Marimo balls, Anacharis, and maybe Java Ferns. What will I need for these plants?

I was thinking of using just a sand substrate, but I see many people use soil topped with sand in their tanks. I just don't understand how one would clean this!

I also don't understand what type of heater I should get for him. Because I hear a lot about heater malfunctions. :( Which types would you recommend?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,462 Posts
Swords get too tall for a 5g. I'd stick with Java ferns, Anubias, Moss balls if you just have room light. Sand is lovely, just be sure to hover the siphon over it so you don't suck it up. I tried a soil/sand tank for my first planted tank... till you have more experience don't bother with soil lol trust me. I have a sand bottomed 5g with just a clamp light with a "daylight" 6500k CFL and my plants grow well.

Depending what light source you have you can also do Crypts, Hygros, floaters (duckweed, dwarf water lettuce, etc.) and there are lots of fast growing low light stem plants. But generally you can't go wrong with Javas and Anubias.

As for heaters, I know what you mean about malfunctions as I've had a bad run of luck but Adjustable heaters are your best option. Heaters are something you don't want to go cheap on. Eheim Jager, Aqueon Pro, and I think Fluval are some of the best heaters out there. I've personally had luck with a Marina heater and I like mine a lot. Others will probably throw some more suggestions out there.

Anyways you should go for a 50w adjustable heater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow thank you so much! I'll stick to sand. I'm thinking either Tahitian moon sand or black diamond blasting sand, as I hear those are good. I'll stick with Anubias and Ferns. And yes, I'm prepared to spend a bit more money on a heater. All of these stories I'm hearing about heaters are actually frightening me! Thanks again for your help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,462 Posts
You can also just get Play sand (crayola brand comes in a few different colours) or pool filter sand (white), unless you were going for the black colour - I think petco sells black sand too. Just be sure to rinse it well, if you don't know how just youtube "rinsing sand for aquariums".

Don't get too scared about the heaters, there is a low chance on something going so horribly wrong that it hurts your fish before you can catch it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I was going for the black sand but white can work too. Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,462 Posts
White/bright substrate can be a little more stressful on the fish, but it depends on the fish, some don't care. Personally I want black diamond sand, it's just not available here! I have regular brown play sand, real natural looking but took so much washing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,405 Posts
For very low maintenance plants, you shouldn't need to use soil. For my 5 gallon tank that I am just starting to add plants (anubias, moss balls, and floaters) to, I just use gravel. For the 29 gal I'm planning, I'll probably use sand, but I doubt I'll bother with soil since low maintenance plants don't really need it, and I doubt I'll ever be able to move on past the "beginner" types of plants! I'm thinking of going with black sand as well; i think it will offset the colors of the fish nicely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
I can highly recommend the Petco brand of black aquarium sand. It comes in either a 5 or 20 pound bag. The 5 pound bag will definitely cover the bottom of the tank, but you may want to get two bags if you want a thicker layer.

I have the Petco black sand in five of my own tanks (soil capped with the sand), and it is great. It is very clean right out of the bag. In fact, I have never rinsed it before adding to my tanks, and I have never had a cloudiness issue with it.

Definitely go with a 50 watt adjustable heater. I use and can recommend the Hydor theo and ViaAqua brands. Also, be sure to get a thermometer, either a glass floating one or (even better) a digital one - no stick on the outside of the tank ones (they are not accurate).

Be sure to make it a habit to actually look at the tank temperature at least twice daily. Seems obvious, but it is easy to forget.

As long as you are consistently monitoring the tank temperature, it is unlikely that a heater malfunction will do serious harm to your fish. Temperatures in even the mid-upper 90's are tolerable to bettas (my tanks routinely get that warm at times in the summer in my non-air conditioned house). In a five gallon tank being closely monitored, it is unlikely that a heater malfunction would cause more extreme conditions than this.

Good luck with your new tank and a big :thumbsup: for improving your betta's living conditions!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,356 Posts
Hi there! First off, great job getting your betta a suitable home - he will love it!

As for plants, I just started into aquatic plants myself and I'd definitely recommend java fern, anubias, water sprite, and water wisteria. All are really easy to grow. In fact, I have bare-bottom tanks (just a thin layer of sand/gravel siliconed on the bottom for a natural feel and easy cleaning) and really enjoy that these can be grown without substrate (you can plant the water sprite/wisteria too, but you don't have to). So if you go with these plants, you don't have to worry about what substrate to use, and you don't even need to use a substrate at all if you don't want to (although I'd recommend siliconing down a layer of something if you choose bare-bottom just to make the fish seem more secure). I've done dirt in a plant-only tank before and while the plants loved it, it was just to dirty (excuse the bad pun!) for me to ever consider using with fish. Plus the tank developed all sorts of little critter populations that I've never had before in any of my other tanks. While I wasn't too concerned about the little aquatic creatures in this tank because it was only for plants, I wouldn't want those little buggers in with my fish!

As for heaters, I have a visi-therm, a national geographic, and an aqueon. I do not recommend the visi-therm at all (have had several break), the national geographic works fine but is really hard to adjust, so it gets a neutral review, and the aqueon is pretty good. Don't worry about malfunctions too much though. In all honesty, this has only happened to me a few times with some of the cheaper models out there (I didn't realize that the quality of the visi-therm heaters had really plummeted when I got back into fishkeeping), and even then, the worst that happened is that they just didn't heat the water at all. Buy a good brand and you'll be just fine and your fish will thank you. Like others have said, make sure you go adjustable!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For very low maintenance plants, you shouldn't need to use soil. For my 5 gallon tank that I am just starting to add plants (anubias, moss balls, and floaters) to, I just use gravel. For the 29 gal I'm planning, I'll probably use sand, but I doubt I'll bother with soil since low maintenance plants don't really need it, and I doubt I'll ever be able to move on past the "beginner" types of plants! I'm thinking of going with black sand as well; i think it will offset the colors of the fish nicely.
Thank you so much for the advice! I'll stick to beginner plants, too. And yes I've ruled out soil. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can highly recommend the Petco brand of black aquarium sand. It comes in either a 5 or 20 pound bag. The 5 pound bag will definitely cover the bottom of the tank, but you may want to get two bags if you want a thicker layer.

I have the Petco black sand in five of my own tanks (soil capped with the sand), and it is great. It is very clean right out of the bag. In fact, I have never rinsed it before adding to my tanks, and I have never had a cloudiness issue with it.

Definitely go with a 50 watt adjustable heater. I use and can recommend the Hydor theo and ViaAqua brands. Also, be sure to get a thermometer, either a glass floating one or (even better) a digital one - no stick on the outside of the tank ones (they are not accurate).

Be sure to make it a habit to actually look at the tank temperature at least twice daily. Seems obvious, but it is easy to forget.

As long as you are consistently monitoring the tank temperature, it is unlikely that a heater malfunction will do serious harm to your fish. Temperatures in even the mid-upper 90's are tolerable to bettas (my tanks routinely get that warm at times in the summer in my non-air conditioned house). In a five gallon tank being closely monitored, it is unlikely that a heater malfunction would cause more extreme conditions than this.

Good luck with your new tank and a big :thumbsup: for improving your betta's living conditions!
Thank you for all of the great advice. I'll get two bags of 5lb tahitian moon sand then! The black diamond sand costs $8 and $30 for shipping...which is crazy to me. :shock: Thanks for all of the info on the heater, too! I check the temperature almost every time I walk into my room since I know I don't have a heater. So I know I'll check when I get the new tank, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi there! First off, great job getting your betta a suitable home - he will love it!

As for plants, I just started into aquatic plants myself and I'd definitely recommend java fern, anubias, water sprite, and water wisteria. All are really easy to grow. In fact, I have bare-bottom tanks (just a thin layer of sand/gravel siliconed on the bottom for a natural feel and easy cleaning) and really enjoy that these can be grown without substrate (you can plant the water sprite/wisteria too, but you don't have to). So if you go with these plants, you don't have to worry about what substrate to use, and you don't even need to use a substrate at all if you don't want to (although I'd recommend siliconing down a layer of something if you choose bare-bottom just to make the fish seem more secure). I've done dirt in a plant-only tank before and while the plants loved it, it was just to dirty (excuse the bad pun!) for me to ever consider using with fish. Plus the tank developed all sorts of little critter populations that I've never had before in any of my other tanks. While I wasn't too concerned about the little aquatic creatures in this tank because it was only for plants, I wouldn't want those little buggers in with my fish!

As for heaters, I have a visi-therm, a national geographic, and an aqueon. I do not recommend the visi-therm at all (have had several break), the national geographic works fine but is really hard to adjust, so it gets a neutral review, and the aqueon is pretty good. Don't worry about malfunctions too much though. In all honesty, this has only happened to me a few times with some of the cheaper models out there (I didn't realize that the quality of the visi-therm heaters had really plummeted when I got back into fishkeeping), and even then, the worst that happened is that they just didn't heat the water at all. Buy a good brand and you'll be just fine and your fish will thank you. Like others have said, make sure you go adjustable!
Hello! Thanks so much for the advice. I've ruled out soil for sure. And I'm thinking about getting an Aqueon heater. If I save up enough, hopefully an Aqueon-pro. They are adjustable. :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,768 Posts
I love your choice of substrate, I have Tahitian moon in my 5g and it really looks good, black diamond blasting sand is a good deal IF you can do local pickup. Also, whenever I get new stem plants, the sand tank is the only one that doesn't make me swear up a storm during water changes from the plants getting uprooted.

As for heaters, I also recommend Eheim Jager (25W if your place doesn't get cold or 50W if it does). They're big but built like tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I'm looking into either Eheim or Aqueon... Probably a 50 watt. I live down in the southern states so it doesn't get too cold down here.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top