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Ok. This is a big question. Let me answer it piece by piece. :)

Lighting: 2 36" normal flourescent bulbs will help you grow most of the low light plants (Anubias, Java Fern, moss, swords), but to grow stem plants at their full potential, you'll want to have at least 4 36" bulbs. That, or you could go with a pair of 55 watt compact flourescent bulbs.

CO2: do you have the money to invest in a pressurized CO2 system? You'll need a cylinder, a double-gauge regulator, and needle valve.

Substrate: I am partial toward the plant substrates. Eco-complete is my favorite. Florabase and Flourite also work. You'll want a 3" deep bed of one of these products in your tank.

A big part of this is what you want your planted aquarium to be. Do you want a beautiful aquascape like Takashi Amano? Do you want a high light, high maintenance tank full of red stem plants? Or do you want a lower maintenance tank with slower growing mosses and ferns?

Carlos
 

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Why not light the tank with those bulbs that are half 6700k and half 10,000k? www.aquariumpros.com is selling them. That would be my choice. Either way, both of those bulbs grow plants really well. Once you buy PC bulbs for your freshwater planted tank, you won't have to buy new PC bulbs again until they burn out. I have a couple PC bulbs that are a couple years old, and they still grow plants very well.

As for the CO2 system, the system you describe is the Carbo Plus system I believe. I've never used it before, but it has very bad reviews. I don't think anyone seriously growing plants uses this system.

Carlos
 
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