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Hello all,

I am going to be starting up a 15gal(24"x12"x12") tank. All 4 sides are exposed!

Gravel only, 1 driftwood item (11Lx9Wx8H and 1 smallish rock formation(6Lx5Wx4H).
I will be using the Aquaclear 20 hob with a sponge (2"x3"?)on the intake spout.

I would like to try and make work 1 Betta, 2 or 3 Otto cats, then 3-4 of a smaller school type fish maybe mollies,black phantom tetra or white finned rosy tetra. Something to that effect anyway.

Moderate planting (easy care at 1st)maybe 8 plants?? I really don't know how many to put in.

My Q's are about Lighting and Carbon.

Lighting for basic plants for now Java... Anubias, Najas, water sprite type plants.
I have read that these plants seem to need at least 2wpg. But then I read that for low to moderate plants that included some I listed said to stay in the 1.5-1.7 wpg range or risk algae issues. I am trying to decide on 2x 15w 6500k daylight or 2x 20w 50/50. Or go low at 2x 13w 6500k daylight bulbs (all Fluorescent) any opinions please!!!

Then the carbon issue(if any) I have read in a couple places that some people do not use the carbon pack/filter when they have plants in the tank. Aquaclears 3 stage filter system seems to be able to make this happen if needed(just don't put the carbon pack in and use the foam and media packs only?) Any truth to this or am I reading to far into things this early in the game?

How long after I put my Betta in the new tank 3-4 weeks from now can I start to add more fish. I read to not put all fish in at 1 time.

Thanks for your time and I'm sure I'll have many more Q's as things move foreword.
 

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An Aquaclear 20 is not adequate for a 15 gallon tank - you should go at least double the tank size.

If it were my tank I would probably go with at least an Aquaclear 50 - you can never have enough filtration.

I've never done a planted tank - there is a planted tank forum on this site you can read up on.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Anubia, java fern and mosses can handle the lower light levels, water sprite, naja grass need a little higher light, but if not kept in check will fill your tank to the point of no room for the fish.

As stated above an aquaclear 50 would be a good choice, but watch your water movement as most bettas don't like a lot of it. I would leave out the mollies and just go with tetras. But your black skirt tetras would get to big for this tank to have more than 2. Look into maybe the cardinals, penguin tetras and such. Or even the glowlight tetras.

Carbon isn't needed for anything except for clearing the water in the tank, It will absorb any nutrients that the plants need to use.

Unless your planning on running co2 I would stay with the lower to medium lighting or else you will be having a algae farm instead of a plant tank.

After the betta, you can start adding the others in a week or so. Do it slowly and keep an eye on your parameters. Actually it would be best to add the betta last so that he doesn't take the entire tank as his territory.
 
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