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I have a 46gal tank. I have had a fish tank since I was 10, however, I have just recently became vary intrested in growing live pants. I have had 2 or 3 plants at a time and even managed to keep them alive for a period of time. I need plants 101! I intend on re-designing my tank. I want to dump around $400-$500 into it and get all I need for a plant enriched tank. I want to educate myself as much as possible before I commit. I would like to learn how to grow even the more difficult plants. I dont even know whare to start. I don't want to look like a dummie but I realy want advice on what equiptment, lights, and whatever else I need to know about plants.
 

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Welcome to the forum! To start you will need substrate, lights, ferts, and possibly co2. I am a co2 advocate so I would go with a pressurized set up and don't mess with the diy. With that budget you should be able to afford a good strip light, go with say 2-3 watts per gallon and a 6700k light spectrum. Study the estimative index for dosing and read, read, read. Start out with a short photo period until the tank gets stabilized say 6 hours or so, then slowly go up as the tank matures. Always ask before you buy any thing and read, read, read. Hope this helps.
 

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First, welcome to the forum and secondly, there are no dummy questions. Those are the ones that aren't asked.

Anyway, I started with the hobby in June of this year. I have never had fish in my life ever before. Then started getting interested in plants, stumbled into this forum and I believe that I can call myself an intermediate or close at this point. Majority of the dues go to this forum and some for the books that I read.

It is not difficult. Actually, having planted tanks are easier than having a tank with plastic plants. The only thing is the initial research and setup work.

Keep reading and you'll be a pro in no time. Just follow TexGal's links and you're on your way. :cool:

regards,
 

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The light system is the first to think of. It is the engine. All else follows.

For lights some buy from AH supply, some use shop light and daylight tubes from Lowes and some use clip on lights with daylight bulbs.

 

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Most plants will grow in any light but maybe not like you want them to. If the spectral quality of the light changes the plant adapts and manufactures a different pigment type to match the new ambient conditions. You can see in the leaves during the Autumn when the green chlorophyll is withdrawn leaving the other pigment types behind.
http://www.barrreport.com/general-p...ting-bulbs-plants-2.html?highlight=wavelength

Some examples of different lights:
http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/lighting.htm

Non-co2 tanks
With slow growth rate the fish waste alone is enough to feed the plants. If more light added CO2 would become limiting and allow algae to grow A lower light level is required, generally about 1.5 to 2w/gal is good.
http://www.barrreport.com/articles/433-non-co2-methods.html?

For substrate I did something like this. Since I didn't have time or place to let it dry shifted the dirt then mixed everything up and let it sit with water 1/2 above the dirt in a 10G tank. I used ferts I had which I bought at Rex Griggs site.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...-mineralized-soil-substrate-aaron-talbot.html

I picked a few 10 gallon tanks for free that I found at craigslist.org. An extra 10 gallon tank or big buget would come in handy for incubating new fish. Setting up an incubation is still something I am having trouble with. Next time I will add some hornwort to the tank with the old water. Hornwort or anarchis plants are great for aiding in the cycling period.

Hoppycalif is doing an interesting experiment with a diy RFUG filter at this link:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/78505-rfug-blast-past-diy.html

Hope this info helps prevent you from making a lot of mistakes, as I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here are some wonderful articles that will help you a lot. Each have discussions about keeping a planted tank, fertilizing, water parameters. Happy learning! :D

http://beginneraquarist.petfish.net/Beginner%20Aquarist/Home.html
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html
http://www.rexgrigg.com/
Thank you for the awsome sites! i checked them all out! got lots of info. honestly they kinda scared me just a little. i'm still going for it but i see alot of chances for error. basicly i learned alot about co2, ferts,different substrates, light ect. the one thing that i need and will not get is HOW MUCH? there is no way to write amounts of anything because every tank is different and has different needs. that SUCKS! that is what i need. although i did get enough info to get a basic start. the rest can be adjusted as i go. at first things get a little "hairy" anyway. if i have problems ill be right here asking for help.
 

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Just start out with a lot of easy plants like: anubias, java fern, onion plants, Hygrophillia genus, hornwort, and Egeria densa. This is what I wish I had done. The last 2 plants are floaters but can be planted and help absorb nitrates.

As for ferts my favorite is flourish. It helps kill a lot of varieties of algae, thus will give you time to get the ecosystem balanced. I find it cheapest on EBay. Dr. Foster site (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/) is a good place to buy when buying in bulk. My second favorite is potassium nitrate. I didn't have time to order it so I bought stump remover by Spectracide at Lowe's, for read another person used and it was the best brand for adding potassium nitrate. Also at Rex Griggs site you will find info on ferts and he sells them quite cheap. I would just start out slow, like aporx 3ml mixed in a cup of aquarium water. Abrupt changes can kill fishes.

Here is a picture of a low maintenance tank I saw
http://www.pbase.com/plantella/330hnlme
 
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