09-27-2010, 10:41 PM
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Yes, plants can help process the fish wastes. I suggest you consider getting a canister filter instead of using the undergravel filter. Then you can use plants in your gravel.
The fish and plants that are best are ones that are suited to your water parameters and the size of your tank, and which are compatible with each other. Don't buy soft-water fish if the water where you live is hard. Don't try to shove some enormous monster-fish in your tank. Don't choose a fish that isn't for beginners that will require you to test your tank more often than usual to guard against changes in water chemistry. Don't overfeed your fish - excess food will mess up your tank.
As far as I'm concerned, the least amount of work is to do it weekly, without fail. Pick a day to do your tank, and do it. I haven't timed how long it takes to do my tanks, but it isn't long - maybe half an hour or so, an hour at most (I don't rush, I like doing it - the most time is waiting for the water to drain out, and fill up the tank). It can be enjoyable, not just a chore. There's a sense of satisfaction afterwards, when you know your fish are swimming around in lovely clean water.
If you really aren't keen on maintaining your tank, there are businesses you can hire to come and do it for you. If you really, really aren't interested in spending a bit of time on a tank, maybe fish-keeping isn't the hobby for you.
ETA: In addition to the regular water changes, you will also need to clean your filter out periodically which will be additional time you'll need to spend. Maintenance will depend on the type of filter you have.
Last edited by tanker; 09-27-2010 at 10:46 PM..