Welcome to the community I am a fellow newbie. Take it from me if your starting with a 5 it 10g tank your going to want to go bigger lol. I have a 10g tank right now that I got for turtles and quickly decided it was not no where near big enough. In the process now of getting a 55g tank. From I know of planted tanks make sure you are choosing low light plants if your staying with the stock light. Also stay with plants that require low co2
. You can use sand as your top substrate or a finer gravel as long you have your fertilizer down as well don't over due the fertilizer as it can release toxic gas bubbles when there is too much. You should put your plants in while it is cycling as they can help speed up the process. Also a hardy fish in there can be beneficial do not stick though as good chance they will die.
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