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Hi there, I'm new to this forum and to aquariums in general. I read Walstad's book and am about to attempt her method with a 30 gallon tank. I was wondering if you guys could help me out with a few things.

I bought a 20 W 5200°K fluorescent bulb (long). Will that be enough? The tank will be getting indirect light from a window as well.

How far in advance can I prepare the soil/clay/gravel and water in the tank before adding plants? I've got all day Wed to prep but the plants will not arrive until Friday, when I will only have a few hours in the evening free. Can I have a tank full of the substrate and water for a few days without plants, or is this asking for trouble?

I've ordered about 30 plants so far. How many would you suggest I get if I don't plan to have a filter? I will have a powerhead for water movement though.

I have red clay to put in the soil layer. I am unsure if I randomly insert the clay into the soil or around the plant roots.

And finally, does anyone have experience Wisteria? Is it a good choice to use as a floating plant?

Many thanks to anyone who can offer advice!
 

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The lighting will limit you somewhat on plants you can keep You'll have to experiment with what plants with thrive under that amount of light. As far as filling the tank, you can do that anytime, as long as there are no fish going in at that time.
Filtering once again depends on if fish are going in immediately.
 

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yeah, that is going to be low light, so you'll need appropriate plants for it, Anubias, crypts, etc... But on the bright side (no pun intended) it means you'll have less algae worries!

Fill any time you want, I have a tank I filled a month ago, just to get the filter cycling, and have yet to put plants in there.
 

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Blend the clay with the soil so it is well mixed.

Good to get the soil ready before the plants arrive. Lets some of the dust in the water settle out.
I would drain the water out before planting, though. Then refill by putting a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and running the water in slowly. Let it seep over the edges of the plate or bag. This will minimize the clouding.
 
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