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A 5 gallon hex has almost the same footprint as a 2.5 gallon....The added gallons would not only give him more room, but also keep water parameters more stable. It's hard to effectively heat smaller tanks, and I worry constant temperature fluctuations would be awful for the betta.

I don't think E. tenellus would do very well with only 10 watts of light. You could give it a shot, but there's a lot of other plants out there which would be more suitable. Some java ferns, moss, crypts, pennywort, and anubias would do fine though. Get some nice manzanita driftwood branches, a couple rhizomes of narrowleaf java ferns, several anubias nana petites, whatever moss you fancy and some crypts. Pennywort and hornwort make great floating plants my bettas love to hang out in.
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