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Planting Established Aquarium

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I am new to the aquarium hobby. For the past 2 months I have been keeping my betta in a 5 gallon tank. Not knowing, I bought all plastic decor and I have recently noticed a fin tear on his dorsal fin. I am really wanting to plant live plants. I have watched the aquarium co-op video on beginner low maintenance plants. I was wondering is it possible to take everything out of his tank and place substrate, plant the plants, and then just add him back into the tank? Or is it best to place him in a new tank and wait about a month for the plants to take then move him into the tank?

Thanks for all the advice looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.

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Hello @adamg2407,


Sounds like a good idea you have there. I also have a similar sized Betta tank and he loves all his live plants. Well as it seems like the tank is established and stable I think there is a way to do this without having to take your betta out. Is there a reason you want to remove your substrate? I think if you kept it this would make your plan a bit easier (more good bacteria stays in the tank) and to be honest with the right plants and fertilizer you can work with almost any substrate.

This is what I would do

-Buy your new plants

-Take our the fake plants

-plant the new ones and I would recommend planting heavily.

       remember they will help to filter the water and will also come with their own bacteria which should help them establish.

 -Start out light but begin to fertilize with a quality aquarium plant fertilizer. As we are on the Coop forum might as well recommend easy green 🙂 Follow the directions accordingly.

-If you have test strips or a test kit maybe test the water every day / other day for the week or so after you plant. If not just check in everyday on how your fish is doing, maybe feed very lightly / every other day for a week to just let the bacteria and new plants establish and not overburden the new setup. If anything is off, especially ammonia, normally a water change is the way to go (at least 25%).

That is just how I would do it and of course no need to follow my advice but I think with the right planning, your already established tank can transition to live plants! Let us know how it goes 🙂


Edited by Lyon Aquascapes
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Start with anubias, Asian water fern,Java fern and swords. Those the roots will work themselves into the substrate. Use a plant weight and just sit it on your pebbles. No need to even move your fish for it. Sit a few pebbles on the edge of the roots not the rhizome (harder thicker portion roots and leaves extend from). 

Betta love to rest on anubias leaves

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