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Plant vigor

Hello Folks:
     I have been in the hobby for over 20 yrs and have only as of Nov
decided to  make my dream come true.  I set up a 30 gal (actually + or - 25
gals) and did so based on all I could understand from my reading and this
lovely group of fellow aquarists.  I used red potters clay mixed with other
nutrients on the bottom layer, covered this with some pond plant medium and
pumice and then covered this with sand and small river pebble for the final
aesthitic effect.  I planted 6 Sword plants and 12 Crypts and there are 2
Java fern.  So far all is not crowded for the army of Ottos, and 4 Discus,
as well as Bettas.
     I have good filtration in a Fluval 404 and have done my best with
lighting.  I have assembled 2  150 watt halogen lights over the rear for the
sword plants and have 4 flouresents in a Phase 4 hood --two grow lux 18
watt, 1 Aquastar 18 watt, and 1 Luxline 18 watt.  These four flouresents
came recommended by the manufacturer.  
     I plan on running the flouresents 8 hours a day and the halogens about
4 so as to simulate high noon and get some intensity to punch down to the
plants.  Is there any obvious trouble I am headed for?  I cannot afford nor
accomodate a CO2 system yet. Will the lack of additional CO2 be a problem?  

     Also, does anyone know how the plants feed themselves.  What do they do
with all the nurtrients, CO2, and light.  Somehow they are converting all of
this to grow and become fat.  Where do they store the extra?  I heard it was
stored in the bulb or tubors or what?
     Looking forward to some feed back and help.
Thanks Diana

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