Best substrate for unfiltered, planted, no fertilizer tank.

what type of substrate would you get for a 5 gallon unfiltered planted tank?

  • fine sand

  • coarse sand

  • gravel

  • big pebbles


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betta06
Member
what do you think would work best? I am looking right now and there is a lot to chose from... also I would love to know what colour of substrate you think might look good. the betta I have is a black orchid crown tail male.

as for the tank the main thing will be one huge terracotta pot on its side in the corner of the tank and coming out of it will be some marsilia. the other plants will be Anubias, salvinia, some large plant (let me know if there are any you think would look and do well in there) and some strawberry plant roots.

oh and stocking is a betta and nerate snail.
thanks!
 
Patman0519
Member
betta06 said:
what do you think would work best? I am looking right now and there is a lot to chose from... also I would love to know what colour of substrate you think might look good. the betta I have is a black orchid crown tail male.

as for the tank the main thing will be one huge terracotta pot on its side in the corner of the tank and coming out of it will be some marsilia. the other plants will be Anubias, salvinia, some large plant (let me know if there are any you think would look and do well in there) and some strawberry plant roots.

oh and stocking is a betta and nerate snail.
thanks!
Suspend pothos at the top of the tank,submerge only the roots,they are nitrate hogs and will be a sweet addition to the tank!
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
If your not using any nutrient rich substrate then you are going to need fertilizer. From the options what I like best is fine sand
 
  • Thread Starter
betta06
Member
AggressiveAquatics said:
If your not using any nutrient rich substrate then you are going to need fertilizer. From the options what I like best is fine sand
I have all these plants in my other tanks and they do okay without fertilizer... but I might get some anyway I am sure the plants would appreciate it! would liquid fertilizer work?
 
Freshfishguy
Member
betta06 said:
I have all these plants in my other tanks and they do okay without fertilizer... but I might get some anyway I am sure the plants would appreciate it! would liquid fertilizer work?
Yes definitely liquid fertilizer would work. Easy Green would probably be perfect for you. I’d also recommend getting root tabs for your rooted plants. Aquarium Co-Op also makes these if you just want to get everything from there.

I like sand as well, but just so you know in case you’re not aware—you have to make sure if you go the sand route to not get super fine sand, as super fine sand can suffocate plant roots and also won’t allow for proper oxygenation of the substrate which could lead to deadly pockets of hydrogen sulfide in the substrate. I think since your betta is a dark color, a light color substrate would be best.
 
  • Thread Starter
betta06
Member
here is what I have so far...
this is the sand I already have in white and black I obviously wont get the blue colour but you can see the texture.

I just found this and it looks really good! but it is grey and my fish is black so it will be harder to see him.

couldn't find easy green but this one looks good.

this probable won't work for planted tanks?

I love this but it is way to expensive.... is there something like this under $50?

I am considering this in a 10 gallon cause the price is practically the same.
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
betta06 said:
here is what I have so far...
this is the sand I already have in white and black I obviously wont get the blue colour but you can see the texture.

I just found this and it looks really good! but it is grey and my fish is black so it will be harder to see him.

couldn't find easy green but this one looks good.

this probable won't work for planted tanks?

I love this but it is way to expensive.... is there something like this under $50?

I am considering this in a 10 gallon cause the price is practically the same.
Here’s easy green Easy Green All-in-One Fertilizer

Although I personally use this and it works wonders for my plants
 
Freshfishguy
Member
betta06 said:
here is what I have so far...
this is the sand I already have in white and black I obviously wont get the blue colour but you can see the texture.

I just found this and it looks really good! but it is grey and my fish is black so it will be harder to see him.

couldn't find easy green but this one looks good.

this probable won't work for planted tanks?

I love this but it is way to expensive.... is there something like this under $50?

I am considering this in a 10 gallon cause the price is practically the same.
Yeah for what you are looking for, I would just go with some type of finnex. Affordable and good for low light/easy medium light plants. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LMH10HC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_0SWTJMW9YE3S9R8RG02P.

For the background plants, are you open to stem plants? What kind of background plants are you open to?
 
  • Thread Starter
betta06
Member
Freshfishguy said:
Yeah for what you are looking for, I would just go with some type of finnex. Affordable and good for low light/easy medium light plants. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LMH10HC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_0SWTJMW9YE3S9R8RG02P.

For the background plants, are you open to stem plants? What kind of background plants are you open to?
thanks for the light suggestions I will definitely get one of those instead! and I am completely open to all plants! I was looking at java fern and might attach to some driftwood above the pot.
I still need a few more smaller plants though to fill in the back. would red ludwigia work? I think I would be nice to add a bit of colour in the background.
AggressiveAquatics said:
Here’s easy green Easy Green All-in-One Fertilizer

Although I personally use this and it works wonders for my plants
I will take a look but I don't know if it is sold in Canada?
 
Freshfishguy
Member
betta06 said:
thanks for the light suggestions I will definitely get one of those instead! and I am completely open to all plants! I was looking at java fern and might attach to some driftwood above the pot.
I still need a few more smaller plants though to fill in the back. would red ludwigia work? I think I would be nice to add a bit of colour in the background.

I will take a look but I don't know if it is sold in Canada?
If it isn’t, which I might remember people saying it isn’t, the Tropica all in one that you mentioned is also a good option.

If you want to grow red plants and for them to actually be red and thrive, you’re not going to be able to get by with that particular finnex. For red plants to really show, you need a strong red/blue spectrum light. What is your max budget for a light? The ONF Nano is one of the best nano lights, and it’s what I use on my 6.8 gallon.

There are some budget options though. How wide and how tall is the tank?
 
  • Thread Starter
betta06
Member
Freshfishguy said:
If it isn’t, which I might remember people saying it isn’t, the Tropica all in one that you mentioned is also a good option.

If you want to grow red plants and for them to actually be red and thrive, you’re not going to be able to get by with that particular finnex. For red plants to really show, you need a strong red/blue spectrum light. What is your max budget for a light? The ONF Nano is one of the best nano lights, and it’s what I use on my 6.8 gallon.

There are some budget options though. How wide and how tall is the tank?
$50 is probable my max price but I would love something like the finnex. I know there is not a lot of options with that price though..... if I don't do red ludwigia what plant would you recommend?

tank dimensions are 16x8x10 for the 5 gallon and brand is marineland
 
Freshfishguy
Member
betta06 said:
$50 is probable my max price but I would love something like the finnex. I know there is not a lot of options with that price though..... if I don't do red ludwigia what plant would you recommend?

tank dimensions are 16x8x10 for the 5 gallon and brand is marineland
Okay, I think the best option is this: Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Cliplight Amazon.com : Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, Cliplight : Pet Supplies

Second best option would be the Aqueon Planted Aquarium Clip-On:Aqueon Aquarium Clip-On LED Light https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DT31PZ8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_3SJZE727VT5SEZAW3CRA. Should be able to grow pretty much anything in your tank as well with this.

I think if you go with either of these, you can do the Ludwigia. Another great option is AR Reineickii as a foreground accent red plant. With both of these and red plants in general, you want to make sure their access to the light is completely unobstructed and not shaded.

EDIT: I just realized the tank you’re talking about. It’s really deep, so I would suggest going with 3-4 inches of substrate to decrease the distance from the substrate to the light.
 
Pfrozen
Member
Special Kitty unscented non-clumping is Sodium Montmorillonite coated with an inert aquarium-safe teflon. It swells around root structures and has a super high nutrition content so its fantastic for plants. I've grown crypts in it without root tabs. I use it in all my tanks right now. Calcium Montmorillonite is also good, it doesn't swell so some prefer to use the calcium version
 

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