First Planted Tank
I recently discovered a local pet shop near my college dorm with a huge selection of very healthy-looking freshwater fish and plants. Since, with a 5.5 gallon, I'm limited with my fish selections, I thought I'd indulge my aquarium obsession by exploring aquatic plants a little bit.
I would need something that would work in a 5.5 gallon with a 14 watt light and minimal care. I don't mind using fertilizer (unless it would harm my oto cat?), but I'd like to stay away from CO2 for now.
I have a java fern from a Petco (not the nifty local place I mentioned earlier), but I'm kind-of reluctant to put it in my tank. It's hanging out in a little one-gallon on my desk, in "quarantine." There are a number of dark, icky spots on the leaves. Should I use this plant in my 5.5 or find healthy ones from the better LFS?
Also, I've read that there are a number of recommended gravels for planted tanks. I have a traditional, natural-colored kind with no fertilizers. Is that a problem?
I also just set up my first planted tank. I think that most of my initial problems came from not having enough light, but since you seem to have plenty, this should not be a problem. If you like your gravel I would not change it, just get some root tabs. Flourish excel is good for tanks with no CO2, but not always necessary. I know of people on here who do nothing for their plants and have great tanks. :? The plant that is doing best in my tank is a crypt red wendtii. In a tank your size you would probably have to give it regular trimmings, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is beautiful too, with its red coloration. Someone more experienced with plants can probably help you with your java fern. Good luck and have fun!
I would agree somewhat with Kim. The plant she listed, (too lazy to quote) is ok in small aquariums. In a 5.5 gallon, you should try to aim for 2-3 watts of light per gallon, so a little more light is perferable, although what you have should work. I would just stick with the fert Flourish, just the basic one, because you dont really need a whole lot of extra stuff in such a small tank. Hope it works out! If you have any other questions, dont hesitate to ask!
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