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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

I have 7 bettas of my own, and I also care for 1 additional, so with a total of 8 tanks to manage, I am looking for a way to have the tanks be more self sustaining. I am interested in moving from faux plants to real plants, however, I have some questions.

1) I read OFL's sticky at the top of this forum on Natural Planted Tanks. It talked a lot about dirt/soil... is that the only way to keep a live planted tank? I have gravel that I would like to not waste if possible. So, can I add soil and gravel? Can I keep gravel only? Or do I need to completely scrap the gravel for this to work?

2) Almost all of my betta tanks are large glass bowls that are 3-4 gallon in size, with the exception of (1) 12/gal bowl, (1) 2.5/gal traditional tank, and housemate's 2.5/gal tank. All of the glass bowls/tanks are different heights. All of the "bowls" are spherical or cylindrical. So, are there certain plants I need to use for reasons of size/shape (i.e. ones that cannot be cut or ones that shape is not conducive to a cylindrical shape)?

3) All tanks & bowls have 1 betta and 1-2 snails (2 snails in 12/gal). Do I need to have shrimp to complete the eco system, once set up correctly? Or is 1 snail/1 fish enough to contribute to the ecosystem? Also, do, I need to worry about over planting?

4) What are some affordable suggestions for the dirt and plants (i.e. buy X type of soil. Buy from X pet store or online market)?

5) Anything else I need to know? Changes in how I chemically prep the water? Other issues? How to ensure that it's set up properly? Issues with mixing faux and live plants? Anything!


Thank you for your suggestions. It's greatly appreciated.
 

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You don't need dirt or sand for a live planted tank, but a natural planted tank has dirt to kind of creat an evironment without the need of a filter.
Gravel and live plants work just fine. For the size of your tanks, I recommend Java fern, java moss, ludwigia, rotala, anacharis, hornwort (fast grower), and anubias. There are so many others you could choose as well. =)

You could use ferts or plant food additives to help the plants grow and thrive. And you'll need proper lighting depending on which plants you choose.
 

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Just google low light aquarium plants. They will normally have all the information you need in charts and they can give you the most accurate information because they are information sites for just plants. I did that and found a lot of information and things you aren't 100% on you can just ask. I just set up my planted tank last night so I just went through this process. for your gravel, if you have rooted plants that get nutrients from their roots, you can add root tabs that will add nutrients. I have a 2.5 gallon, non filtered bowl that has a lucky bamboo, a split marimo moss ball and a anubias floating on a bowl waiting to be put in too. Good luck and welcome to the planted world haha!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all for the information thus far.

Does anyone know if there needs to be a certain amount of free space for swimming or if once can "heavily stock" without fear of overcrowding?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also, is it recommended that people go into say, a petsmart to buy their plants or order online?

I order almost everything online if I can, but I am not sure about live things.
 

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I bought all of mine from petsmart on Sunday. I looked on all the threads for ideas of low light plants, then wrote the names down and entered them into google for a more thorough description and then I saw pictures so I kind of knew what to expect to make sure I got the right ones. I have hesrd a lot of good things about anabius and I will be adding one to my 2.5gallon non filtered bowl in regular gravel that is shared with a lucky bamboo and moss balls.

My newly set up planted tank that is filtered has wisteria, java fern and a type of amazon sword and its in a 5 gallon and gotta upgrade my light. Its with ferilized gravel so its larger than sand :)
 

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I bought my moss ball, Java fern, Green Crypt, and Anubias Nana all from petsmart. The moss ball was in a cup like a betta. The aubias nana and Narrow leaf java fern were in the plastic tubes, an the green crypt was in a baggie. All adjusted well to my tank right away. My tank has gravel, ghost shrimp, and 1 betta. I do add seachem flourish once a week. Just to boost them, but I am sure they would be fine without it.

Also, my dumb self thought when the tube said "snail free" I thought it came with a free snail, and searched the tube to find him before it kicked in that it meant no snails lol. Best of luck
 

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I got mine from an aquarium and they weren't in the best of shape so hopefully they get better. Yours must have been in nice shape ^^ I got mine home, rinsed them, soaked them in tapwater overnight and put them in and I'm finding tiny snails on some leaves. Cutting those leaves off so I don't become overrun by snails.
 

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Be careful, because some stores sell non-aquatic plants as aquatic plants research is the best ally.
I second this. I was at petsmart today to get some plants. I am completely new to the hobby. Brought a list with me of the easy to care for plants to get. I seen one plant that I hadn't heard of, but looked pretty. Forgot the name of it but it was some kind of fern I think. I looked it up on my cell phone and it said you cant put those plants in water lol. Glad I looked it up first.
 

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I recommend buying from someone on here. Peachii has supplied me with all of my plants and they're doing great! My tank is filled with plants, but my betta and cories love 'em. I don't think it's too crowded. They can easily fit through the plants, and they aren't too hard to move or wiggle in between.

I have gravel with mine. I tried using soil before, but it was a mess and I got frustrated and went back to gravel. My plants seem to be happier this way anyway.

I don't think buying from Petsmart is the best. I've noticed that their plants usually look sickly or they aren't actually aquatic. I learned that the hard way. So, ordering from an online shop that actually knows their plants, or just searching through the classifieds here would be a good idea. :) Keep an eye out for peachii. Her tanks are like, on steroids and they never seem to stop growing.
 

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I made sure to take my phone and do research on every name on the container and match pictures. Of course all chain stores will be different. I would have preferred to buy from a friend or person. But I don't have that option currently
 
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