Hesitant newbie hoping to get some advice here!


Hello! Lurked around and finally made an account so I can ask questions directly. I'm still in the research phase trying to make a list of links to amazon products I need lol. Having major conflicts between seeing bad reviews on some brands but also too expensive for some sites fish youtubers suggest,, as a college student I unfortunately cannot afford expensive tree branch even if they're pretty- So I really need to budget products below $30 each or my parents will question my sanity; This much money into fish? Blasphemous.

Only thing purchased is a 5.5 gallon tank. I want to do a planted tank with a betta and a couple of shrimp if that's ok. I live on the west coast of US.

Things I've noted down so far are "AquaClear Hagen Power Filter" for 20 gallon tanks, API tap water conditioner, and a clip-on LED lamp. Water conditioner there are so many types I don't know if there's a specific one I need or are they all okay? Reviews for plants I find are all iffy, is there a good site for plants? (Youtuber I found suggested buceplants) There's a small local aquatic pet store here that has some plants I think. It's getting colder around here (6C outside) and I'm worried if I order, the plants will freeze to death on the way here.
I'm not sure if I'm putting way too much thought into which product to buy or if this is normal to think so much ahaha.

But anyways yes hello! Hi! I am very new! xD


Hello! Welcome to the forum! Okay I'll try to move through this an help you out where I can. So the general consensus amongst most hobbyists is that Seachem Prime is the best water conditioner. It removes chlorine, detoxifies heavy metals, and is one of the few conditioners that is safe with Paraguard for Ich, as many conditioners are not safe with Ich medication. I've had good experiences with Buceplant, however I get most of my plants off of specialty store fronts on Etsy (such as MarcusFishTanks, CanonAquatics, and AquaticMotiv). They all provide quality products and have some unique offerings. As for filter, I would go with a sponge filter and an air pump due to the small size of the tank and the low flow required by bettas. Hope this helps!! Also, just a warning for someone getting into the hobby: once you start a tank you'll feel an impulse to continuously upgrade/set up new tanks.... so either beware or embrace that. Cheers!


Hi all ,
Azkhar I am a big fan of sponge filters but. They are often run on air which means there is the sound of bubbles 24/7 and the sound of an air pump humming away. A sponge filter can also be run on a water pump that is quite but perhaps not ideal for a small betta tank? .

Yes to using Prime. Bigget bottles are cheaper in the long run. And as fish keepers we must never be without conditioner in the house.

I would suggest frogbit as a floating plant .
With a 5 gallon tank you will not need more than one or two plants.


Definitely go with Prime. It will last for forever. All you need is 2 drops per gallon so find yourself a childs liquid medication syringe like you get from the pharmacy at Walmart they are easy to get and great for counting single drops.

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With 5 gallons there won't be a need to go pouring it in the cap for each water change. You will waste it.

Please don't give your betta a 20gal HOB filter.
He will hate life. You need something much smaller.

Not that I would condone keeping a betta this way....but lets be real.
People keep bettas in bowls and vases with no heat or filtration and the fish still live for a long time.
So even adding a simple air stone to keep the water oxygenated and moving will be ok.
If you have a low budget don't spend a chunk of it on an overkill filter.

Have you read up and are you prepared for the nitrogen cycle?


I've been gone for a bit sorry! School been busy. :c I hope still replying is okay, it's been a while.

So I have some uncertainty about actually getting a betta. My original plan was really just to have a shrimp tank because I really want more plants than fish aha. So I might just not get a betta if I can find the shrimp I want. Will the seachem water conditioner work for shrimp as well?

Are there good HOB filters for a 5.5g tank? There are a few 3~5g internal filters I saw at PetSmart/Petco but I want more space inside? If that makes sense, I dunno if that makes sense lol.
The only reason I googled for bigger filters is that I'm worried about having to clean it too often and not being able to clean it if I need to leave for a few days. Also just genuinely worried about filters sucking shrimp up and my first day of owning a tank ending with me being a murderer. Sound shouldn't be too much of an issue, my fridge makes a humming noise already-

You can buy plants on Etsy?? I've only ever bought crafts on there, this is new to me. Thank you for that tip.
I did make a list of plants I'd like to get at some point, but if it's unwise to get too many plants (carpets are really pretty though) even without the betta, please let me know because my priorities are very much 'plant first, animal later'.

I checked 'no' for the question about nitrogen cycle when signing up to the site but I've been reading up on it after I posted this so.. kinda? I'll figure it out soon!!


The water conditioner should work fine. The main point is to dechlorinate the water after all. No water critter does well at all with chlorine


Welcome to Fishlore! I love my fish but I have grown to have a pretty large fondness for plants. I highly recommend MarcusFishtanks for the plants. They seem to have the best value and prices. I have tried others. Just tried Cory a few weeks ago and of the 4 plants that I ordered, only 1 is surviving. I had 2 Anubius that basically rotted within a week or two while still in the pot that they came in. Very disappointing for a place that seems to have a lot of good reviews and I like the videos for!

Sponge filters work really well. I have had some nano style filters that I've used on smaller tanks and they have worked well too. I bought this one (https://www.amazon.com/EA-Performance-Hang-Power-Filter/dp/B07X63WRZC/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=nano+tank+hang+on+back+filter&qid=1635029943&sprefix=nano+tank+hang+,aps,369&sr=8-10) on Amazon about a year and a half ago and really like it. It is super quiet. This one says that it's only for up to 4 gallons, but there are other types like this that say that they work for the size that you're looking for.

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