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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so my experience with Bettas is the typical one, you get a fish get a 1 gallon bowl/tank etc...and throw the fish in and that's it...clean it about once a week or so and feed it.

Not a very educated fish care but I figured it worked because I've had fish live for a few years like that.

But moving on, I've decided I really want to get into soil based NPTs.

I want to start off with my 2.5 Mini Bow Front tank, that I want to turn into a future Betta home.

I really want to plant the tank and make sure the plants are flourishing before I pick out/add my betta. (I also want to wait until my LFS gets their new shipment of Bettas).

Questions:

1. Is it alright to plant the tank first before adding the fish?
2. What types of soil should I be on the look out for to use?
3. How many plants should I start with for a 2.5 gallon? I've read you should make sure you have enough stem plants, so I want to know what the minimum should be?
4. Can I add a couple of MTS without the fish? If I can how do I feed them?
5. What are good "beginner" plants that don't require too much?
6. What type of lighting should I use?
7. For the plants, do I have to dose ferts and/or have a CO2 system? I've read a few different things.
8. Where would you recommend getting my plants from? LFS or ordering online?
9. I have city water, can I just let it sit overnight or do I need to use a water conditioner? Is there anything else I need to do for the water?

That's it for now, I may think of more questions later on.

Thank you so much in advance for any and all answers and help. Tips and advice are much appreciated as well.
 

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1. Is it alright to plant the tank first before adding the fish? Yes
2. What types of soil should I be on the look out for to use? Some experts use actual dirt, I like tank soil like the stuff Fluval sells, Fluval stratum has worked well for me for years
3. How many plants should I start with for a 2.5 gallon? I've read you should make sure you have enough stem plants, so I want to know what the minimum should be?2.5 isn't a whole lot of room so maybe just a few rhizomes and half a dozen stems depending what you like, plants will grow and fill in.
4. Can I add a couple of MTS without the fish? If I can how do I feed them?Don't know what mts are
5. What are good "beginner" plants that don't require too much? Java fern, Moss's, Moneyword, Swords, Crypts, Anubias,
6. What type of lighting should I use? Compact Flourescent or LED works well, as long as you get enough watts per gallon
7. For the plants, do I have to dose ferts and/or have a CO2 system? I've read a few different things. Not if you keep the plants basic and use a good starter soil/planting material
8. Where would you recommend getting my plants from? LFS or ordering online? Petsmart carries most of those basic plants. Just follow a bleach/salt protocol with them prior to adding to the tank to avoid snails and what not
9. I have city water, can I just let it sit overnight or do I need to use a water conditioner? Is there anything else I need to do for the water? You should use a water conditioner like Seachem Prime. While chlorine evaporates off the surface, chemicals like chloramine don't, and youre likely not going to sit there and agitate the water all night long so just use a proper conditioner.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
4. MTS are Malaysian Trumpet Snails
6. How many watts per gallon is needed?
8. What is a bleach/salt protocol? Why is it needed? I've never read about this in anything I've read...
 

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Pest snails, ich, flatworms, Anything and everything can and will be found on plants.
I always dip plants before I add them to any tank.
Heres a link I found yesterday for somebody else
I usually use bleach at a concentration much stronger then listed on this page and still had critters join me from the plants.
http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatf...ping-plants-to-eliminate-snails/#.VbKV8ek5DnF

I don't know much in the care for Trumpet snails. But if you do add them before the fish and the tank is cycled just ensure their waste doesn't build up and you have spikes in your cycle.

And as per w/gallon it honestly depends..... Some people say 2-5w/gallon. I like Compact fluorescent bulbs designed for aquariums or LED's that use 1 or 3watt chips. I've just ordered a 15w so 5x3w LED PAR bulb for my second tank.
 

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I currently have MTS and they are certainly a hardy bunch! I quarantined them for about 2-3 weeks, and in the meantime I fed them my old betta flakes that I had from a while ago. They will honestly eat anything! Right now I have a few in a barebottom tank eating flakes, but in an NPT they will probably find microorganisms to eat!
 

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Snails will help expedite the planted tank set up process by providing a source of nitrogen and breaking down rotting organic material :) They're an integral part of all my planted tank set ups :D
 

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3. How many plants should I start with for a 2.5 gallon? I've read you should make sure you have enough stem plants, so I want to know what the minimum should be?2.5 isn't a whole lot of room so maybe just a few rhizomes and half a dozen stems depending what you like, plants will grow and fill in.
What about for a 20 gallon tank? I'm planning on setting up a community NPT in the coming months. I've read through the stickied thread, but I can't seem to find how many of each type of plant I should start off with. I've seen that the floor should be about 75% covered, but I don't know how close together to plant.

Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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What about for a 20 gallon tank? I'm planning on setting up a community NPT in the coming months. I've read through the stickied thread, but I can't seem to find how many of each type of plant I should start off with. I've seen that the floor should be about 75% covered, but I don't know how close together to plant.

Any help would be much appreciated.
This really depends on the plants, your light, substrate, etc etc. There aren't any hard and fast rules. You could have just one or two types of plants or fifty, in the end they are going to grow, thrive, survive or die however they want. You may want to create your own thread, this one seems to be a bit dead. =)

I was about to reply to the main post but it looks like the OP hasn't been active since July, so I think my time would be wasted typing all that up. =P If they come back I'd be curious to see what they did!
 

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I got my plants from petsmart because it's all that is nearby to me at college. I have a marimo moss ball which is an EXCELLENT beginner plant. All you have to do is squeeze out old water when you do water changes and put it back in. No soil needed and pretty easy to maintain. I also have another plant (it looks like an amazon sword but is a smaller foreground plant) and I'm blanking on the name but I got it in an individual plastic container that was guaranteed snail free and pest free. Haven't had any issues with it and they said if I did I get a full refund. Anyway, you just rinse off the gel stuff it's planted in and I QT'ed it since I was adding it to a tank with my fish already in it. I use soil tabs under my substrate. Hope this helps!
 
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