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hi is there any guide that show me step by step on how to first set up a planted fish tank. like what should be in fist and what should be in next. i was thinking of putting togethor just like a hill in the middle and 1 big rock on each side and just grow grass like a hill with rock. that all i want. and maybe add some more plant later on if i want to.
 

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There is a book called "Aquarium Designs: Inspired by Nature" by Peter Hiscock you might want to look at. It gives a lot of information on setting up a tank as well as various layouts you can use as a guide.
 

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One problem you'll likely encounter is the overabundance of information, some of it great, most of it well intentioned but rather useless. On forums, many people tend to tell about some great new way of doing something, but you might not be seeing that tank six months later when it's failed completely (that's cynical, I know). One rule of thumb: look at the best tanks you can and emulate those people. While this can depend largely on taste, there are some clear favorites.

You can download a free pdf from Aqua Design Amano at this website:
http://www.adana.co.jp/index_e.php
Granted, there's a lot of product specific info there, but it's a decent summary of the process. They also have a new online AQUA JOURNAL here

Another great place to look for info is the Creative Aquascaper's Union at this website:
http://www.cau-aqua.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
Look at the photo gallery to see why you want to do things the way these guys do them. And check out their Study Room for some valuable techniques. These guys literally dominate the world of aquascaping, taking more International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest victories than any other club. I know you're a self-proclaimed newbie, but why not aim for the top?

Books: Nature Aquarium World (Amano) is the definitive must have, though it is shy on info. Hiscock's books are fairly decent. A lot of people here advocate Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, though I haven't read it myself. It's more of a low-tech approach than I prefer, but a lot of people like it.

Lastly (I'm almost done, I promise), and this is just my opinion based on my own experience, the cheapest way is rarely the best. Yes, you can use kitty litter, potting soil, etc. ad nausuem for substrate... you can use DIY yeast CO2 injection... you can use tree fertilizers, etc. etc. etc....(and I've done it all)... And these may be less expensive, but there's a price to pay. One is convenience, but the other, and more importantly is the result.

The best, most successful aquariums with the healthiest plants use high quality equipment. Buy the best you can afford and concentrate on quality, not quantity.

Sorry so long. Hope it helps.
 
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