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RE: new 120 gallon

>Interesting. You mean to say that I have finally done something right? <g> 
>I'm in the process of setting up a 120gallon FW heavily planted tank. I drive 
>to TFP for the 12 bags of Flourite, an Eheim 2228 and two 250watt heaters 
>tomorrow. I picked up three shop lights and six Chroma 50 tubes today. So 
>I'll be ready to go within the next few days.

>I intend to plant heavily right off the bat 

Very good.

and would appreciate the input of 
>those more  experienced than I. Thus far I have decided on
>30 - 50 Val's of various kinds. Jungle, Italian crystal
>5   more or less bunches of Ceratopteris
>5 Aponogeton rigidifolius or as many as I can find
>ditto with Aponogeton crispus
>5 -  Swords (barthii, Marble Queen,Rubin, etc) ( but I concerned that I may 
>be jumping the gun here a bit)
>5 - 10 Alternanthere reineckii * Roseafolia*

Add more actually. It may seem like a lot but in a 120 it isn't.
Watersprite is great, Wisteria (hygro's), moneywort, pennywort, maybe a
floater such as Salvinia/frogbit etc.

>And whatever else that might catch my eye that is relatively fast growing and 
>likes slightly soft and slightly less than neutral pH. I'm keeping away from 
>the Crypts and other delicate lower light plants until the aquarium has 
>stabilized, the plants growing well and established shaded areas where the 
>aforementioned crytps will go.
>Any and all suggestions, plant recommendations and or comments would be 
>appreciated. But more specifically:
>1.. Lighting - - is 240 watts of Chroma 50s in the ball park or should I be 
>considing adding  another 80 watts or so?  

This (240watts)is fine. As you progress you may want more, but wait awhile
till you see the need or desire.*** Read the Krib like a FW sponge ***.
Consider mixing some different color temp's for the bulbs. I think there are
some 6500K bulbs that will help some and are not very expensive. Consider
later moving up to A&H power compacts maybe. Cheap and nice! Not as cheap as
shop lights though. MH's are very nice and would look very nice on a 120!
Cost as much as the tank if not more.

>2.  Fertilization -- with a nearly 100 percent Flourite substrate in a newly 
>set up tank, what fertilization schedule  would you suggest. I'm inclined 
>toward using Fourish + Iron  in the water column and Flourish tabs in the 
>substrate. But frankly I'd rather lose a few plants then have my tank turned 
>into pea soup with  an explosive algea bloom. 

I wouldn't add anything to the substrate for say, a month or more. Adding
Flourish is good but you will want to watch the iron as a reference for it.
Get yourself a test kits! Fe, NO3, Ph, Kh are some must haves. Too little
will cause blooms just like too much of an element/nutrient BTW. It's about
balance. Remember this one. Testing will help you and help us help you also!
After some time you will only need to test now and then if something wrong
etc. Too much of something.........do a water change.........build the
element(s) back up to the proper levels. Too little........add more. Prune
regularly. Keep a close eye on things. Be patient. Test a lot to see what is
happening. Test again to verify what you did  with your Ph, NO3 and Fe.
Email me if you want a list of "ranges" that are good for plants or look in
the Krib/archives etc for them. If you keep them in these ranges you will
likely have little problems or issues provided you do water
changes-pruning/have enough light/ and a good CO2 amount. 

>3. Initially, to soften and lower the Ph  I intend  to float nylon bags 
>filled with peat moss in the tank , and then later condition the water I use  
>for water changes in the same manner. I appreciate that quantities depend on 
>the chemistry of my water and that it's a fine tune as you go process but, 
>what type of peat would be best and or acceptable for this use?

Don't use peat. This will cause you a big headache. I have and it can be
done.... but use CO2 my friend. Much easier, cheaper(considering your
time/reworking things as you have problems which will happen....loss of
plant growth etc etc etc), and is far more controllable and no tea colored
water. Read up on CO2 in archives/Krib. Your barking up the wrong tree here
using peat. Learn the table on Ph/KH/CO2 in the Krib. Doing this will save
you so much grief. Unless you have tap water that is above say 12-15KH, I'd
pass on doing the softening/conditioning. Use the CO2. Forget pails of water
being "conditioned" and think of how many buckets it would take to do a
water change each time also. 120 gallon tank is lots O water to do water
changes on BTW! CO2 can be done with yeast but I would not do it on a 120.
Look up Dave Gomberg's or other sites for for CO2 gas tanks/kits. I built
one complete for a tank for about 120$ complete with 10 lb. tank. You can
use a disc(HP) or a needle valve(Low Pressure) methods. Both work well.
Monolith marine sells needle valves that are quite good for 19$ and the
gauges can be bought at a home brew place or from Dave Gomberg. You'll need
to read up on this topic before getting this but it's ***very important***
to learn about. 
You are willing to spend a lot on a filter and substrate, if you have the $
spend it on Lights and CO2! These are the 2 big ones to sink the money into,
not the filter!

>Thanking the list in advance.
>David Napierkowski

Tom Barr