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Re: Tips on planted aquaria startup

Rich, I am no expert but sometimes it is nice to hear success story of other
less experienced folks.
I been doing planted tanks only for couple years and have started about 20
planted tanks. Some months ago I started a new tank of about what you are
intending. Plants grew well from start and I had the least problems, least
algae of any new tank. At one point water looked like it was going to go
green but cleared spontaneously.
Here is what I did.

> Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 06:54:23 -0600
> From: Rich Schiek <rschiek at pobox_com>
> Subject: Tips on planted aquaria startup
> What advice exactly am I looking for?  Answers to the following and any
> other advice you might have as well:
> - --If a tank has good or strong lighting (2 to 4 watts per gallon) is it
> a good idea to only run the lights for short period of time during the
> first few weeks.
 65 gal tank-3+ watts/gal. Set on 10 hr photo period from start.
> - --Is it best to introduce the plants to the aquaria for a few weeks
> before you add any fish?
couple days after planting tank when it was settled, was satisfied with
location of plants etc, I added 4-5 inches of fish in SAEs and Ottos.
> - --Is it a good idea to start CO2 fertilization from the start, or should
> one wait a week  for the plants to start to root.
started CO2 at set up and fertilization by end of first week but went light
on KNO3, about half dose if I remember correctly.
> - --While root tablets are a good way to avoid putting too many nutriants
> in the water column, should liquid fertilizers be used on a new tank, or
> held off until later?
No experience with root tabs. I have been using PMDD and have found that
adequate for the plants I grow which are easy/moderate to grow water column
and substrate feeders.
> - --Should partial water changes be done from the start, or should one
> wait until the tank has cycled?
Started wc one week after started fertilizing. Experts please correct me,
but I wouldn't expect wc's to effect cycling. Plants are using up nutrients
at get go. On testing I didn't see ammonia and nitrite spikes in my planted
tanks. If one had high fish loads at start I expect they would be present.

I used Flourite in this tank. Highly recommend it. Pricey but don't think
you would be sorry in long run.
I did test water and adjust nutrients along the way.
I think I started slowly adding rest of fish after couple weeks. Added
Bristle nose pleco, small school tetras,  3 cory cats and couple Rainbow's
for light fish load.