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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if my questions are stupid or have been answered a few thousand times already but I figured I should just ask. I like to garden above ground and the idea of keeping water plants with a future Betta sounds really appealing. I have never tried keeping the water plants and since I have a brand new out of the box tank, now should be a good time to give it a shot.

I guess the first question is what sort of soil/bottom should I put down? I saw someone mentioned potting soil but that sounds...strange. Do you use potting soil? If so, what kind should I look for?

Do you just lay down the soil, add plants then the top layer to hold the soil in place? Or is there a method of doing this?

Are there plants that are slow growers or that won't completely take over the tank that I should take a look at? Are there specific plants that do well with a Betta?

I am sure I have way more questions but for now, I'd like to learn the basics of starting up a tank. Any advice you guys have would be awesome :)
 

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I also just started my first planted tank. I chose to do a natural planted tank with miracle gro organic potting soil capped by petco black sand. I picked this because it is low tech low maintenance approach. It was actually extremely easy to set up and I have seen amazing results (see pic below. Top pic was when I first planted my 5g tank an bottom pic is now, 2 weeks later).

At the top of the planted tank forum is a sticky by Old Fish Lady on how to do a natural planted tank. If you read through all the pages of the thread there is a lot I good information (more than I can type here) on the easiest way to set up a natural planted tank. I also detailed my progress in my Journal on the journal forum here.

There are many other ways you can have plants in a Betta tank but this seems to be the easiest (at least for me) but I am sure others will fill in with more info to help out! Magpie you found this somewhat helpful! :)
 

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Some people use top soil. The substrate basically depends on the type of plants you have. Finer soil for smaller plants with shorter roots. Loose soil for larger plants with longer roots don't have a hard time growing out.

Aside from the substrate, you might want to look into the types of plants you want to grow - make sure you only keep plants with similar pH, temp, lighting requirements. They're going to be in the same tank after all.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Right, good point! I am planning on going shopping a bit today for the substrate and the plants. I just really don't want to mess it up :)

I know we shouldn't place a Bette in direct sunlight, but will the lamp the tank came with provide the light the plants will need to survive or should I invest in another lamp?
 

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Depends on the specs of your lamp and the lighting requirements for the plants you intend to keep.
 
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