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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently had my old betta of about 1.5 years tick over and was my first ever fish. I was very newbie when I started but I think I'm ready to tackle a slightly larger task. I'd love to get a 10g but I'm not sure my budget can fit that in at the moment SO I would like to set up my 5G for a new betta...planted tank and all. I've seen a few people with Amazon Swords for Betta tanks and was wondering if these are a good idea? If so, what kind of substrate would I need? I currently just have small rocks as the base. I have a good heater but the filter I had was a bit strong for a betta..although mine eventually got used to it so if there are any recommendations for a good filter in a 5-10G tank that would be awesome!

Also, should I completely drain and clean EVERYTHING in the tank since my Betta died? And just start over fresh and put some plants in to start? I do have a mystery snail in there..I'm not too fond of him but I'm curious if I should keep him in a filtered 5g with plants?

ALSO a big question I'd like to ask since the tank is reasonably small...is recently our park water has been VERY subpar. We had an e-coli outbreak about a month ago and now that that has been taken care of, the water quality has been pretty awful. Not yellow or anything..but we don't drink/cook with it anymore. So I was wondering if I should continue to cycle my tank with this tap water? Or would I be able to cycle it using say, distilled water or something of the sort? Any info on this would be greatly appreciated

tl;dr
Wanting to go from UTP to PT in my 5G tank. Currently have heater/filter and small rocks as substrate. I have 1 mystery snail in the tank as it stands. Wondering if I need to completely clean the tank and start anew or how I should go about making the tank planted?
 

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Definitely clean the tank thoroughly. I would disinfect it with vinegar, then rinse it multiple times.

The type of plants you can put in will depend a lot on the lighting you'll have. Do you have a particular tank in mind?

For substrate, you can use a planted-tank specific substrate, like Eco-Complete or Flourite, or you can use organic potting mix (you have to sift it through a colander to get out the mulch and rocks and so on) and top it with sand or gravel.

The mystery snail is fine to keep; really up to you.

If you are using a good-quality water conditioner like Prime, you should be fine to use your tap water still.

As a last note, I highly recommend you get frogbit for your planted tank! Floating plants can help you get a "silent" cycle, and bettas love frogbit.
 

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Hi there,

There are alot of substrates you could use for a planted tank. I personally prefer miracle grow organic mix/soil topped with black diamond blasting sand or some type of not to fine sand. Gravel and rocks didn't hold my plants down well enough when i tried them and i like the looks of the thicker sand better. You could do an inch to 1.5 inch of soil (sifted to remove mulch and rocks) then cap it with a 1.5 inch cap of whatever substrate you prefer.

Amazon swords grow pretty tall but for a background plant if you trim it and keep it from getting to tall, it would work for a year or so. After that it would probably be a little to big and tall for a 5.5. Other type of plants if you are going for a well planted tank would be -
Wisteria
Various types of hygrophilia
Cabomba
anacharis
ludwiga
rotala
crypts
dwarf sag
Vallesnaira
Scarlet temple
Water Sprite
Java Moss
Java Ferns
Floaters - Frogbit, dwarf water lettuce, greater duckweed, salvinia

So long as your snail is a mystery snail and not a huge apple snail, it will be fine with plants and won't eat them. So it's up to you if you keep it. Mystery snails do great in eating algae from the tank walls and keeping the tank clean. If you go the route of live plants, you will more than likely wind up with other snail types unless you dip all the plants well when you get them. I, personally, love snails - all of them.

Lighting is something you will want to look at. Unless you have a stronger LED, it's better to get some type of Lid or light that goes over the tank that you can put a flourescent light into that is rated 6500/6700k and that will grow plants very well for you. Lighting is the biggest hurdle to growing plants well. A 5.5 pretty much any lamp or hood that you can put this type of CFL light into will grow plants perfectly for you.

You can wipe down the inside, filter and heater with a bleach solution, let them soak for a day or so and then drain and sit the tank for a day or so in heavily declorinated water to get rid of the bleach residue. This will clean it and get rid of any lingering germs from the death of your other betta and get it ready for new inhabitants. It will mean you do have to re-cycle the tank so be ready for the water changes and spikey perimeters for awhile until it gets cycled.

It's usually best to use declorinated tap water for fish and live critters as the water has things in it that they need to be healthy. Distilled water removes these things and take the minerals they need out of it. If you are truely concerned about the safety of the water, you can throw it in a bucket and let it sit for a week for the next weeks water change or boil it for a few minutes, let it cool and then use it for the tank. I wouldn't recommend using distilled water permanantly for fish tanks.

If you have any questions when setting up feel free to PM me, be happy to answer questions for you as you run into them. Also you can watch for my sale threads, i sell clippings from our tanks from time to time and could find you a starter package of plants when you are ready for them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you both for the info! Will definitely be referencing this in the future...I was checking my budget and I think I'll be able to afford getting a nice 10G tank and pretty much just start over as it shouldn't be too expensive and would be a nice upgrade from my dinky 5G.

About how many plants would be good for a typical 10G tank? I'm interested in the frogbit for sure...is there anything special you would have to do for floating plants?
 

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Thank you both for the info! Will definitely be referencing this in the future...I was checking my budget and I think I'll be able to afford getting a nice 10G tank and pretty much just start over as it shouldn't be too expensive and would be a nice upgrade from my dinky 5G.

About how many plants would be good for a typical 10G tank? I'm interested in the frogbit for sure...is there anything special you would have to do for floating plants?
According to a lot of people for a NPT to really work you need 75% of your tank covered in fast stem plants, I recommend cabomba, hornwort, anacharis, etc.

Any floating plant would work if you want floating plants, frogbit works exceptionally well as a floater and it won't overtake your tank nearly as bad as duckweed will. . .

Maybe water lettuce, but the choice is really up to you.

Hope that helps.
 
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