>Hi everybody!
>From reading through I am assuming that you are all pro's at
>this.  Well I need some help.  I just bought a new 86 gallon
>tank for my boyfriend for christmas.  Any suggestions on
>plants, even fish for that matter?  Right now we have no
>plants, 2 bleeding heart tetras, 2 black sharks with red
>tails and now three neon tetras (we had five but two got
>sucked up in my filter.  Don't laugh!!  I have an Aqua 500
>filter if that tells you anything.
>Any suggestions or tips would be a big help.

Some of the people here are more experts than others, and I won't claim to be 
one of those, but here goes.

My first question has to do with lighting.  Most aquarium "kits" just flat 
don't come with enough lighting to grow anything but the most shade-tolerant 
plants.  Can you tell us whay type of lighting your new tank has (fluorescent, 
incandescent, metal-halide, etc.) and how many watts of lighting your current 
setup supports (flourescent tubes are roughly 10w/ft.)?

My other comments have to do with water quality and tank size.  I don't know 
what the dimensions are on an 86 gallon, so I'll just toss out a few 

Depending on your tap water source, your water may be tough on certain plants.  
Tap water characteristics that can really affect plants are:  pH, hardness (GH),
 alkalinity (KH), copper, and nitrate content.  Many places have tap water that 
works well for most plants.  Some places have tap water that is hard on most 
plants, and some places have near perfect water (not where I am).

4ft tanks (48") are often the cheapest to light with fluorescent tubes because 
the widest variety of fluorescent lighting is available in 48" lengths.  Some 
tanks, because of their length, work much better with MH (metal-halide) 
lighting than fluorescent.  MH lighting is extremely bright point-source 
lighting, while FL (fluorescent) is dimmer, linear-source lighting.  You pretty 
much always need to have at least 2 and sometimes as many as 6 tank-length 
lights in FL, while with MH, you usually use much fewer lights.

This is really only a minor point, but tanks that are deeper than your arm is 
long can be somewhat difficult to work on.

Some plants that will grow just about anywhere are anubias nana and Java fern.  
These are both slow-growing plants, and can easily get covered with algae under 
the wrong conditions.

David W. Webb
Enterprise Computing Provisioning
Texas Instruments Inc. Dallas, TX USA
(214) 575-3443 (voice)  MSGID:       DAWB
(214) 575-4853 (fax)    Internet:    dwebb at ti_com
(214) 581-2380 (pager)  Text Pager:  pgr at ti_com Subj:PAGE:David Webb