01-26-2014, 12:20 PM
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You don't need special substrate, just some fertilizer. Many say root feeders need root tabs but I have a 2.5 gallon that sits near a window (not lighted or filtered) and it's been up for a good 3 months only having been dosed one time with liquid ferts and my crypts are growing like mad. The plants won't take over the tank if you trim them.
The shrimp will really depend on the personality of the betta, some will leave them alone, others won't. I personallly don't have shrimp with my Betta but ever since the death of my Nerite, I've wanted to get some ghost shrimp to help the plants with the algae. Plants will GREATLY increase the chances of keeping shrimp with the Betta.
I keep Java Fern and Crypts. My Java Fern lines the back of my tank, there's a large piece of driftwood in the middle, and the Crypts run down the side. I got all of my plants at Petsmart. The Crypts actually came in a bag instead of those tubes. Also, my substrate is sand.