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Excitement and fear.

David Brown wrote:

>      I'm doing it!
>      I fished my saltwater fish out of my 100 gal. tank, took them to my 
> LFS,
>and traded them in on 6 bags of Flourite Red.  My next steps are draining and
>cleaning the tank, putting in the new substrate and driftwood, and getting my
>canister filters ready.  I won't add water until I figure out how/where to
>get plants, and until I get the CO2 ready.
>      All this advanced chemistry talk has me concerned that this foray into
>your world is a mistake.  I hope not.
>      Does anyone have a recommendation for the best (simple) books to get
>this on track?  Reading the posts on chemistry is like reading Greek.  I'll
>add your recommended books to my Christmas list.
>      Also, should I get plants from LFS or pay about 1/3 less online?  Is
>Arizona a good bet?
>      Thanks, veterans.
>David Brown

Well, David, I'm no veteran---heck, I think I'm still in boot camp most of 
the time---but I went for quite awhile with nothing but Ines Scheurmann's 
book, _Aquarium Plants Manual_, and had pretty good luck with it.  It left 
some gaps in my knowledge, but fortunately the good folks of the APD have 
been filling them in for me.  The book contains some basic info such as 
planting techniques, maintenance tips, trace deficiencies, and more.  The 
end section contains profiles and photos of a relatively small but nice 
range of plants.  The photographs throughout the book are excellent quality 
and enjoyable to look at.  Perhaps the best part of all is the price...~$9 
US new and probably much cheaper used.  I think the book is a good overall 
introduction to planted aquaria.  The book is published by Barron's and its 
ISBN is 0-8120-1687-4.  It has ~93 pages (it just happens to be sitting 
here beside me).

I have also found Diana Walstad's book, _Ecology of the Planted Aquarium_, 
to be a revelation even though most of my tanks do not follow her low 
light, slow growth method.  Since you don't like the chemistry stuff much 
right now, this one might be better to get later.  You can get this one 
through most book outlets, Diana Walstad, or the AGA (I think).

I've also found the following websites to be a lot of help (most of these 
belong to APD members):

--Tropica ( http://www.tropica.com/ )

--The Krib ( http://www.thekrib.com/ )

--Aqua Botanic ( http://www.aquabotanic.com/ )

--Aquatic Concepts ( http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts/ )

--Chuck's Planted Aquaria Pages ( http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/ )

There's probably some more that I'm forgetting, but I guess that'll get you 
started ;)

As for obtaining plants, I usually pick up odds and ends wherever I find 
them, but I usually buy them online when I'm after something specific or 
populating a whole tank.  I've ordered from Aqua Botanic (see above) and 
Aquarium Landscapes ( http://www.fishvet.com/ ) and was well pleased with 
both.  I've also had my LFS order directly from Florida Aquatic Nurseries 
for me.  Oddly enough, Robert H at Aqua Botanic is an AL dealer and a FAN 
dealer, so he's who I recommend.  He was patient with my questions and 
shipping time was excellent.  Just to give you an idea of the plant 
quality, I bought a sword plant from him that now has 5 "babies" only 3 
weeks later!!!

Welcome to the club, David.  I can't say that it won't be a challenge, but 
I promise it'll be rewarding if you hang in there.

Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee  USA
mailto:grendel at usit_net