Watch out for the Java Moss. If you use artificial light of any kind it will try and consume your tank. I used to solve the problem by dividing it off once a month and selling it back to the Aquarium shop, or trading it for fish that I wanted. At the height of my live-plant tank craze, I had a 55-gal, a 33-gal, and a 5-gal with small landcapes in them. The 55 was a terrarium-style bog environment, where the frogs and orchids and flytraps and duckweed and whatnot lived, and the other two were submerged landscapes. Java Ferns are a beautiful addition, and if you can find them, Apenogeton 'Madagascar Lace' is gorgeous, and so is the Red cultivar of Nymphaea.
Also watch out for the dread Algae, which will develop if the tank is in sunlight. If you don't have a fish already, may I reccommend a Cory Cat or other catfish? They'll help keep the algae population under control. Whatever you do, if you value your plants don't get a Pleco. They uproot and then eat live plants, or at least all of mine did. And if you want to rescue something beautiful, let a Betta live in there. He'll be so much happier than he is in that little plastic cup in the store, and they're actually fairly good community fish so long as they're with other species. Mine used to nest in the Java Moss, which was pretty neat to watch.
Yo Lorax and
blake, you may know my friend
barbara LLoyd who directed me to this site... I'm thinking of a a couple of female bettas and a couple of algae eating shrimp..as much s I like plecos, they seem a bit too much for a tank this size. they usually lose the fight in my experience... thanks again, B
Lorax, thanks so much for the detailed message. That 55 gal tank of yours sounds like it was really neat.
I have little sunlight and mosty all artificial light. Thanks for reminding me about the Cory cat. I was thinking about a male betta and a cory cat, until someone scared me off of putting anything in with male betta. Or I might get two female bettas. 5 gals seems pretty small, especially now that it's planted.
I'll keep an eye on Java Moss, and thanks to you I won't be afraid to divide it! I'll also keep an eye out for those other plants your recommended. Thanks again for the suggestions.
The male Betta is much more interesting as a tank fish; if you're going for female Bettas, you might as well get showy guppies. 5 gal is sufficient for two to three larger fish (the size of the Cory and the Betta) or for a small school or smaller fish (Tetras or Danios), but you shouldn't mix the two. Tetras are fin nippers, and they'll drive your Betta nuts.
Don't be scared of putting things in with the male Betta. Unless they're other flowing-fins type fish, he'll be perfectly docile with them. Hence the reccomendation of the Cory Cat. Do you have a Big Al's near you? They generally have the best selection and most humane conditions for their fish; in Edmonton, some of their male Bettas free-ranged with the Cats and whatnot.
you can easily have a male betta in with other fish!! the only kind that would really cause a problem are female betta's! or any kind of fish that would eat the beautiful fins of the male beta...
i almost always had a male betta - in with tetra's (usually more than one type), glassfish, suckerfish (i used them for the algae issues and general cleaning because i don't like cat's or pleco's) and i had another type of fish...i can't remember what it was atm, it was about the size of the beta, maybe a little larger, and was irridescent pink in color.
when you have a male betta you just need to make sure you don't have any other aggresive-type fish or any that like to nip fins. they generally get along with everybody and make for a nice addition to a group tank.
i never got to the point of live plants in the tank...took it down because i needed to paint the room and i've not gotten it set up again...i will do live plants when i do get it set up again, though. always wanted to do some of those shrimp in a tank...never got to that either...
Thanks Lorax, for the input. You are helping me arrive at decision. I think I'll go with a male betta as they are soooo beautiful and fun; a cory cat, and a couple of algae eating shrimp as I understand the shrimp won't add to the waste load in the tank.
Thanks joclyn for your message and the encouragement. I've been wanting to get a couple of shrimp, forgot to mention that. With all the input I've received, I think I'm ready to commit to a male betta, a cory cat (I've always been fond of catfish), and a couple of shrimp. I live on a small island and have to go to the mainland for supplies, so it may be a few days before I can get to the fish store.
Re: live plants, I purchased a substrate material for the floor of the aquarium that is designed for live plants. I was going to get gravel and the fish store (which specializes in aquariums) recommended this other material. I forget the name, buyt it is pretty neat. Dark in color, has nutrients and "soil" in it, and it looks good and the plants seem to like it. It was $1.49/pound US, but for a 5 gallon tank I didn't need that much. Have to let it settle, but it cleared up really nicely and the dark color sets off the plants. Can't wait to get the critters in there!
I just had one other thought. I put the plants in the tank 5 days ago with no animals yet. Do I need to do a water change if I only have plants? I need to get a test kit, but don't have one at the moment. Any thoughts?
you shouldn't need to do a water change since there are no fish in the tank...especially if you've got a filter system and aeration going. not much toxins put out by the plants - they take in the bad and put out good.
definitely get a test kit and use it before you add the fish, though!! just to be sure that it's balanced as it should be for the fish.
i almost didn't do that when i moved into my house...last second i decided to and boy! was i glad!! there's a ton of ammonia in the water here, so i had to treat to get rid of it - i'd set the tank up with the water and gravel so the water could sit for a couple days as i did the moving. (i kept the fish in the small tank back at the apt). even with the water sitting and airing for 3 days, it didn't matter with the ammonia (absolutely no chlorine left tho). if i'd put the fish in before treating for it, they'd have died almost instantly (it's THAT high).
so, definitely test before adding the fish - you just never know what's in the water...and that's a sad thought, isn't it.
i filter my water here - never had to do that before. i got sick from it though - i drink a lot of water and was ill within 2 weeks...turned out to be whatever they treat the water with here. so, now i filter and i can tell when the filter needs replaced as my stomach gets all yucky.
so, test, just to be sure all is okay!!
did i mention you should test the water before adding the fish?? LOL
Hey, I think I'll test the water before adding the fish. Do ya think? THANKS. I hadn't thought about all the other nasties that might be in there. Forgot about the test kit when I bought the plants. Yikes. That could have been ugly.
I filter mywater at home because it reaks of chlorine, but my tank is at work and they don't have a decent filter there so must totally rely on chemical detoxifiers. Sorry you had a bad experience. It is sad that our water supplies are so messed up.
Thanks again for this invaluable advice. With gratitude, Barbara
Wow! I like your tank! I suggest to you if you want to add more plants, try these slow-growing low light loving plants. I have crypt parva and usteriana, african water fern, banana lily and anubias nana petite which stays so perfectly small for years without trimming. In floating plants you can try hornwort(can be invasive), duckweed(super invasive) and water lettuce. Just remove half of them each month to keep their numbers in control. Try also adding snails like ramshorn. And shrimps like cherry red or ghost. Have fun with experiments in your aquarium!