Newbie Planted Betta Tank Setup Questions for Low Tech Tank


Sep 14, 2015
Hi! I'm new here and new to planted tanks. Please help me chose items for my first tank setup.

I bought the ADA Mini M 5.5g tank but that's the only expensive item I can afford. So for now, it means no expensive high lighting or CO2.

I think I'll buy the Up Aqua Aqua Sand for its hardiness/resistance to turn to mud and because I don't want too many nutrients to contribute to algae in my low to low medium light tank. Is that substrate a good choice? Any better recommendations?

What affordable (the cheaper the better) LED lighting should I buy for my 14" tank? I want some low and medium light mosses, ferns, and some stem plants. I love swords and crypts. Will these thrive or even survive in my setup with my lighting and no CO2? I checked out the Finnex Fugeray+ but have concerns about too much light for mosses and ferns. What other lights, no more expensive and preferably cheaper, would you recommend?

I am planning the tank as much for a half moon Betta as the plants. What very, very quiet or silent and dead slow filters would you recommend for a 5.5g tank? I need a cheaper one but I prefer reliability over finances if there's a conflict. I want what's best for my fish and plants after all.

I had a Cobalt Neo Therm 25w on a previous Betta tank but I've been reading on forums about them exploding. Is this limited to larger models? I'd really like a shielded heater because past bettas tended to rest on them, and I don't want them to suffer any burns. So any suggestions?

Is there anything else I need to consider?

Thank you.

Looking forward to growing planted tanks with you!


PS - I'm thinking about Tropica tissue culture plants because I can't stand snails or worms, and I fear introducing baddies into my tank. Anyone have reliable sources for other clean plants so I could save money?

How many mosses, stem plants, etc. would I need for a 14L x 9D x 10H tank? Is driftwood recommended for newbies?
Last edited by a moderator: