Tank remodeling!! Plant light and fert. Q's
Okay, so my betta's tank looks depressing. It's a 3.5 gallon kritter keeper, bare-bottom with silk plants and a plastic rock. I did this because I wan't sure I could keep plants alive, but I'm beginning to think it would be better for him if I redid the tank to have substrate and live foliage.
First of all, should I even bother redoing the 3.5 gallon tank, or should I just upgrade him to a 5 and mess with that? I'll probably catch a ton of flack from my parents for buying yet another tank (I have three in use and one 10gal in the basement), but I'd be willing to take it if it would be good for him.
Second, if I was wanting to use low-light (easy) plants like java ferns, anacris and anubias barteri/nana to put in this tank, what kind of light would they need? Anything special I should look for? Would they need any fertilizers? Feel free to suggest other plants as well.
Would having gravel in my tank make the wastes and ammonia build up faster, or would the plants help to prevent this? My bare bottom tank is very easy to clean, of course, but it's just.... depressing.
The tank already has a filter and a heater, which I would keep, and also a fake rock (yes, it's fake. A fake rock) that's not so bad.
java fern is a low light plant where as the anacharis is medium to high so if the lighting too high the java wouldn't do well in the tank being a small tank i don't think you'll have a shady place for it and as for the anubias it needs a bog wood to grow. if you want to use normal gravel you will need liquid ferts and no carbon in the filter.as for the lighting a 2 ft tank will do well with two 30W 5500k-6500k full spectrum tube but in your case a sigle bulb should suffice cause your not planning a heavily planted tank.
Ah, okay, nix the anachris then...
Yeah, I was aware that Anubias needs to be attached to something. I figured I would either attach it to the rock, or root it extremely loosely (like, with two roots stuck in) the gravel. I do have a piece of driftwood I could use to attach it to, but I was afraid my betta would tear his fins on it, so I haven't used it thus far.
The tank probably wouldn't be extremely heavily planted, but I would like it to not look barren. The only occupants will be the betta and a few ramshorn snails.
I don't think my filer has any carbon (though, I'm not sure how I'd check). Are there any other easy plants that would grow with the java ferns if the anubias is a bad idea?
Thanks for the input. :)
you have to remember all plants need a bit of light.it doesnt mean if they are low light a tank without light will do.read this http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...er-tanks-1741/
Yeah, I've been surfing around for good lights, but I can't seem to find any for under 40$. :c It's also hard to find lighting for anything under 20 gallons.
If you have a glass hood then just go to lowes or home depot and grab one of those cheap screw in bulb shop lights (about $5) that have the clamp on the end. Then find a CFL bulb rated at 6500k I had to go to walmart to find mine (about $8 for two) one 13w one should do fine. It won't look finished, but will accomplish your desired goals. You can probably even use the anachris, it just wont grow to its full potential.
To check if your filter has carbon in it, take it out and feel and look at it, if it looks and feels like it has little black things in it, then its probably activated carbon.
Good suggestions from others, I am only going to comment briefly on your question about waste and gravel vs bare bottom.
Waste will accumulate if there is a fish in any tank. Bacteria breaks down the waste into liquid, and if plants are present they will use the organics as a source of nutrients. I would always recommend a substrate of gravel or sand, with some substrate-rooting plants. Anubias and Java Fern are not substrate-rooting, they have rhizomes that must not be buried or they will rot; they are attached to objects (wood, rock, whatever) and will soon grow hair roots to firmly attach themselves. You also need substrate-rooted plants. I'll suggest some species momentarily.
The plant roots in the gravel release oxygen for the anaerobic bacteria that convert the waste to nutrients which the plant roots then absorb. There is quite a complex level of activity occurring in the substrate of healthy aquaria, and it should be encouraged as it is a great way to keep the environment cleaner and thus healthier by natural means. You needn't vacuum the substrate if there are rooted plants. And you will never see the waste. I have several tanks with hundreds of fish (140 fish in my 115g) and I never see "waste" on the gravel. They are largely smallish fish, true, but a betta is no larger.
As for plants; Echinodorus tenellus is ideal, as are most of the crypts. Click on the shaded name to see the profile of that plant. I am adding crypts currently, so not much is there yet. If you can grow Anubias and JF in your setup you will have no problems with these. And floating plants are beneficial to betta, Ceratopteris cornuta if you can find it is ideal; or some of the stem plants just left floating: Brazilian Pennywort is good, or Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis).
You will need some light source; either the suggestions of earlier posts, or daylight if you can place the tank next to a window. Have a look at the photo of my 10g sand tank, which sits in front of a window. No filter, no artificial light, just a heater. Thick with plants.
Liquid fert will also be essential. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium is one of the best.
Thank you SO much!! That's extremely helpful.
I'm looking for a good lighting system for a five gallon - this is the best I could find. Think it will work?
You might want to track down an incandescent hood for a 5g. It will be less expensive, and you can use the compact fluorescent screw-in bulbs; these can be purchased from many hardware stores for a few dollars and they come in various types of light. I recently got an incandescent hood for my 20g and use two 6500K CF bulbs; it is super light, and half the cost of fluorescent. Plus it uses less energy.
Edit: Just noticed you have a 3.5 not a 5, but you also mention getting a 5 (good idea). Not sure if a "hood" comes for a 3.5... there are lights you can clamp on, something like those for bookshelves, but they are somewhat pricey. And a cover over the tank is good, and for betta mandatory to maintain warm moist air for it to breathe, so upgrading to a 5g is the best way to go in my view.
Also, I would disagree about the anarchis- I have anarchis in a low light tank and it's got pretty low light.
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