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mischievouscat 01-13-2010 05:46 PM

Plant Newbie -- 5 gallon
Hey, guys!

I'm setting up a little 5 gallon aquarium, and I'd like to do plants with this one. I have one Anubias nana in my other 5 gallon (I may convert that into a planted tank eventually, too), but other than that, I have no experience with live plants.

I would like to do this low-tech, without CO2 injections if that's possible. I have no problem using ferts or changing lightbulbs. Currently, for lighting I have the 15W bulb that came with the Aqua Culture 5 gallon kit. Also, our pH is around neutral (will be adding driftwood, however) and the water is soft.

So now I drill you all with questions! Feel free to direct me to a website or a topic instead of answering these. I realize I'm probably asking the basic newbie questions that get asked a billion times.

1) Substrate - I would like a dark, natural-looking substrate that would work both with plants and pygmy corys or shrimp. Should I go sand? Small gravel? Specific for-plant substrate? Any recommendations?

2) What types of plants would be suitable for my setup? What do you think would look good? Where would I purchase these plants? Should I buy online or in store?

I gotta decide whether I'm making this a betta & invert tank or a sparking gourami & others tank. Hmmmm. Feel free to share any input you have whether or not it answers my questions. Even if it's just to share what you've done with a small tank, I'd love to hear it!


Byron 01-13-2010 06:45 PM

For some background info, have a look at my series of 4 stickies at the head of this section. Some of your questions will be covered therein.

As for plant suggestions, almost anything you want is possible in a natural set-up. In a 5g I would look at some of the smaller swords, crypts, anubias, Java Fern and floating plants like Ceratopteris or stem plants allowed to float. Floating plants are useful in any set-up but especially so with fish like betta and gourami that you mention; these spend a lot of time "breathing" air at the surface and hunting for food in the tangled roots of floating plants, plus use them for building bubblenests.

I wouldn't plant stem plants as rooted plants simply because in a 5g they will need constant pruning due to their rapid growth. A more stable environment can be had with substrate-rooted plants and those that root on wood and rock like anubias and Java Fern. And of course Java Moss.

This will get you started, more questions will likely occur from the articles.


Angel079 01-13-2010 06:54 PM

There's no need for s CO2 injection if you have a well stocked tank, which I'm just gonna assume you have.
Most important for plants is the light: You want something full spectrum with around 5-6500 Kelvin and something with about 10 watts over your tank. These particular bulbs are often labeled as 'Daylight'. If you have one under the hood already- GREAT. If not unscrew what you got there and go to Lowes/ Homedepot etc and buy yourself a low wattage daylight bulb in the size that you need (I pers pref the Bright Effects Bulbs at Lowes).
If the light's fixed, you're all set:-D
You can use a comprehensive liquid fertilizer, but you don't have to. If you look at my tanks under the tap "Aquariums" here to the left, all these tank, and only ONE get's ferts from me, the reast I'd wanna say speaks for itself. So I'd pers try it with propper light and w/oout ferts first. You can always add some later if need be.

If you have Corys & Shrimp, I'd suggest dark Bron or black sand, the sand will be much appreciated by them and the look with that and plants is just awesome IMO (see my 10g set up picture of the shrimp farm). Alternatively fine gravel will do. As long as its small gravel or sand your plants are fine, just not the big chunk pea sized gravel. No special other substrate needed.

Here's where I get my plants Sweet Aquatics
For plants I'd chose plants that grow slow and/ or stay small since its a small tank, so maybe something like different Anubias, Kleiner Bar Sword, maybe some Cryptocoryne (mix red & green ones will look good) or even something like Narrow leaf chain sword (but only buy 1 they grow runners wayyy quick).
Really the best is to look over plant sales pages, see what you LIKE and we can discuss how well that'll work in your tank in the long run :-)

mischievouscat 01-14-2010 12:59 PM

Thank you both for the responses! I was taking a look at different plants on Sweet Aquatics, to see what I might be interested in. Funny, they're located really close to where I live. I could do pick-up, rather than shipping. Yaay!

So I was thinking, as possibilities:

BACKGROUND - Cryptocorne wendtii (bronze & green plants)

MID - Anubias barteri broadleaf (on driftwood)

FRONT - Sagittaria subulata dwarf

FLOATING - Some type of water sprite

How are those plants as options?

Byron 01-14-2010 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by mischievouscat (Post 305975)
Thank you both for the responses! I was taking a look at different plants on Sweet Aquatics, to see what I might be interested in. Funny, they're located really close to where I live. I could do pick-up, rather than shipping. Yaay!

So I was thinking, as possibilities:

BACKGROUND - Cryptocorne wendtii (bronze & green plants)

MID - Anubias barteri broadleaf (on driftwood)

FRONT - Sagittaria subulata dwarf

FLOATING - Some type of water sprite

How are those plants as options?

A good mix I'd say, with your water parameters and low-tech. B.

Angel079 01-14-2010 02:47 PM

Hello good ole OH :-D Yup they sure do pick up, just gotta call Mary and see how quick they can put your order together and are there for pick up :-D

Like the plant list, just one thought coming to my mind with he tank being 5g, the Sagittaria grows some taller then the Dwarf Hairgrass does and its leaf's are thicker then the dwarf Hairgrass - Just thought I'd toss in a 2nd option there:-D

mischievouscat 01-14-2010 08:31 PM

Oh, good, glad I made decent plant choices. I like the look of the hairgrass, and it sounds better for the foreground. Does that stuff grow/spread pretty quickly?

And a quick lighting question. I'm certain I'll have to purchase a new light. Just, I'm also curious about something.
My new 5 gallon's light gives off a very yellow glow compared to my other tanks' lights, which emit a brighter, whiter color. The kit didn't provide any type of label for the bulb other than 15 watts. What causes the yellow light?

Angel079 01-14-2010 09:05 PM

My latest one done with Hairgrass can be seen under my "Aquariums" on the tap here to the left "2nd new shrimp farm" I planted it about 2 weeks ago and its already building runners/ new grass shoots off to the side. And on a 5g if yu get 2 potted Hairgrass and spread them out when planting like I did there in the new 10g you shouldn't have no issue with a neat "lawn" soon. The dwarf Sagetarria I have sure grows "slower" in comparison.

Ditch the bulb (I'm sure you have bulb on there not a florescent tube) too much in the red's/ yellow's plants won't do well; now like your other light, when it appears more blue that's what they'll need.
Just take out the bulb you got, go to the next best home store near you and buy the same sized bulb that's labeled with names such as "Daylight or Ultimate Daylight" with ~10-15watts and if you look at athe packages they'll also say the Kelvin in the small prints, you'd want something rated 5-6500 kelvin (that's what the "daylight" bulbs usually run. That is then all together ideal for plants.
They're sold at the home stores by brand such as GE, Phillips, Bright Effects (my favorite). Will cost you about $3-5 for a 2pack. Def WELL worth a nice lush plant growth to invest this.

mischievouscat 01-24-2010 12:49 PM

My plants came in last week. They're in fluorite substrate because, after checking at 3 local pet stores, I couldn't find the black sand that I wanted. Oh well, it looks good. Just took a while to get all the dust out.

I do not, however, have lighting yet. Couldn't find the correct size (all were too large) of the bulb I need at Lowes or Home Depot. For the time being I purchased a 60 watt plant bulb for my desk lamp. I'm leaving the hood off my tank and hoping some light gets in there.

But I left for the weekend, came back, and my plants are... melting. o.o Many leaves on the crypts are transparent and falling apart. The tips of the Sagittaria (didn't purchase hairgrass because Sweet Aquatics was out) are brownish and dissolved too. Eap!
So why is everything melting? Is that due to the lighting?

The tank is currently stocked with a single male betta. It's heated to about 80 degrees, and has a small HOB filter (outtake flow blocked by sponge).

Angel079 01-24-2010 01:24 PM

2 Attachment(s)
That is wayyyy too much light for the 5g
What's your bulbs that go under the hood look like? like these attached?
You need to get a proper daylight bulb for this tank at LOW wattage.
The one's you see here in my pictures which is what I'm hoping you have there can be found (with lil diggiging) at Lowes from a company called Bright effects (White and blue labels)

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