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Bryce's New Tank
> Hi! I am just starting up a 20 gallon aquarium and I
> was wondering if anyone knows any good plants for
> beginners(btw, this is my first aquarium). My friend
> said that Anubias plants are good to start out with.
I offer my congratulations (and condolences ;) on your
first planted tank. Trust me in one thing--both of
what I offer are appropriate.
Anubias are undemanding plants, but they are slow
growers and are some of the most expensive aquarium
plants you can buy. I think I avoided a lot of
problems with a dense initial planting. If I had
chosen to plant a lot of Anubias, the plants in the
tank would have cost a small fortune. In fact, if I
were to spend that kind of money on a first plant
tank, my wife would shoot me for not using the cash on
a much larger tank. I don't want to talk you out of
buying plants you really like, but if you are doing
this on a budget, you might want to look for something
One of the easiest plants to grow is Cryptocoryne
wendtii. It tolerates as wide a range as the Anubia,
but is faster growing and less expensive. It comes in
a lot of flavors, too. ;) My planted tank is an
experiment. If the experiment fails, I don't feel as
bad tossing a $3.00 plant as I would if I were tossing
a $10, $12 or even $20 plant!
> I also have another question: I don't think that my
> fluorescent light is powerful enough for a lot of
> plants(I think it said 17 watts #:O). Anyway, would
> it be alright if I hung a shop light(4 ft. I think)
> above the aquarium(with, of course, fluorescent
I don't think 17 watts is enough either. That's less
than 1 watt per gallon, and the general rule is 2-3
watts per gallon is 'average light.' One 4' shop
light fixture with a pair of 40 watt tubes will get
you about 4 watts per gallon. That's enough light to
grow almost anything, *IF* the tubes are within an
inch or so of the surface. The farther away your
lights are, the less light you have penetrating to the
floor of the aquarium.
I built a wooden light hood using 3/4" cabinet grade
plywood and a flourescent 'repair kit' from the local
lighting supply store. This turned out to be a bit
more expensive than I planned, but the results are
worth it, IMO.
I strongly recommend Erik Olsen's site,
http://www.thekrib.com. You'll find a wealth of
information on that site, covering just about
everything you'll encounter in the weeks (and months,
and years) ahead.
My planted tank experiment has been running now for
about 6 weeks. So far, it has been the most exciting,
most horrifying, most puzzling and most satisfying
experience I've ever had with plants.
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