Is it a Natural Planted Tank, Mineralized Substrate Tank o rare you using one of the Flourite/Ecocomplete substrates? Also, how do you plan on feeding the plants?
If you're planning on using a substrate as a feeding medium for the plants, then you'll be using to layer Colorquartz as a top layer. If you plan on dosing your own fertilizers on a schedule, then you may go in for 100% of Colorquartz as your sole substrate.
If you decide to go with a Natural Planted Tank (NPT), you will not have to dose nutrients. However, there are some initial preparations to get to the stage. Here they are and others can add or critique these steps:
1. Make sure that you're using Top Soil
2. Cover it with a layer of regular substrate
3. Plant densely and use some floating plants like frogbit or duckweed. This will absorb some excess nutrients in the water initially. You can remove them after 2 months.
4. Use a filter or just a powerhead for water movement.
5. Place it by a South-facing window and supplement it with 1-2 wpg light.
6. Add fish at the time of setup and monitor the water specs closely for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. Should it exceed the normal, do a partial water change immediately. Feed the fish based on your regular schedule and you can feed in excess as the unused food breaks down and becomes fertilizer for the plants.
7. During the first two weeks, you'll see the organic stuff breaking down in the top soil and the nutrients will start leeching into the water column. My recommendation would be to test the water daily and do partial water changes to bring it within safe range.
8. Another option would be to do more than 50% water changes twice a week for the first month and slowing down towards the end of 2 months.
9. Once the excess nutrients are replaced and the tank comes to a stable state, you can slow down your water changes to once every 3 - 5 months.
I'm currently over the initial 2 month period and haven't changed my water for 1 month so far. You can read my thread about my NPT here.
If you haven't read Ms. Walstad's book, I'd seriously recommend you read it. This is the bible for NPTs.
Hope this works for you.
I would also recommend that you post a new thread in "El Natural" section if you're going with NPT.
wow great info. Thanks a bunch. Well I guess this is out for me though. My tank is 72" and it only fits in one place of my house. Only one side gets light from a window. And ontop of that its not a window, but a 9 pane glass door. Looks like I will have to stick with dosing nutes. Once agian thanks for taking the time helping me