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Hello, I've been keeping fish for years but I'm new to aquascaping. I have a few questions.

Basic facts about my tank:
-5 gallons
-home to 3 neon tetras, a guppy and an african dwarf frog.
-15 watt incandescent light bulb.

Questions:
-What lighting should I use?
-What plants would you recommend?
-Should I change my filter? I currently am using a Whisper cartage filter.
-What substrate works best?

Pic of my project:


Help me!:shock:
 

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Welcome!!!

Firstly, I would check out the section for New to Planted Aquariums. Alot of good info there in the stickies at the top, as well as info in other existing threads.

As far as your tank goes, from the looks of it your main issue may be lighting. Try and find a flourescent bulb that will fit in your hood, with wattage in the 10-15 range. If you cannot fit a bulb, your next best bet will be natural lighting from a nearby window.

For plants you will want to do a search for some Hardy or low-tech plants that don't require alot of special care since you are starting out. You can use the Plant Finder at the top of the forum page. Java fern, Anubias(which I see you have!), Bacopa, and Crypts are common starter, low maintenance plants.

I'm not overly familiar with the tank you have, but it seems that the filter you have will work fine.

There are lots of options for substrate. Eco-Complete, Amazonia, Gravel with or without additives such as laterite, as well as other options. You should do a little research and find what will work best for you. I started out with a small 5 gal that had laterite and some well seasoned gravel that I left the nasty bits under the top layer. It still is going strong.

The first big step is read, read, read... It may be confusing and overwhelming at first, but ultimately will lead to less issues. Good luck!
 

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You got some good advice there. It looks like the variegated plant you have is not a true aquatic. It will die. Your other two plants look like anubias. Make sure you don't have the rhizomes buried. The rhizomes are the stems that the leaves grow off of. Most people tie them on rocks or something. If they are in pots (I see one pot), you can take them out of the pots, get all the rock wool off of them and then tie them to small rocks. It's the rhizomes that continue to grow larger. When the plants get too large you can actually cut the rhizomes into the lengths you want and they will then continue to grow. You might want to concentrate on smaller plants more in keeping with the size of your tank. It will provide more swimming room, better proportion and more planting area.

I'll add a few links for more reading as well.

http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html

http://beginneraquarist.petfish.net/Beginner%20Aquarist/Home.html

http://www.rexgrigg.com/
 

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if i were you i would start another tank for plants and use this tank for breeding. the amount of money you spend to upgrade this tank u'll probably almost have anough money for a decent 10 gallon setup. i used to have exactly what you have right now when i was into guppies then when i decided to do plants and upgraded for new light, substrate and plants i spent almost enough money to setup a new 10 gallon.
 
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