Re: lighting, fertilizers, etc.
I believe the standard recommendation is to have at least 2Watts/ gallon of aquarium water.
Of course, the amount of lighting also depends on how deep the tank is. A standard 55g
tank should do fine with 4, 48" fluorescent bulbs. Remember to go with a combination of
some high intensity lights (tritons, vita-lights) and full spectrum bulbs (Coralife
trichromatics). Plants preferentially absorb light from the blue (450nm) and the red
(680nm) parts of the spectrum.
Concerning the substrate additives, there are three or four on the market that people have
been successful using. In my opinion, they are all to expensive. I have a 20g tank set up
with a lower layer of vermiculite-loam and a top layer of sand. This is working great for
me so far. Together the vermiculite, loam and sand probably cost me about $5 and I have
enough left over that I could probably set uup another 20g tank! All of my plants are
growing like crazy and I even saw oxygen bubbles rising from a couple of leaves from my
pygmy chain swords.
As far as the hood goes, I use one of the versa-hoods made by All-Glass Aquarium Co.
They are made to fit AGA tanks, but I believe they are fairly universal. Well, good luck!
Robb D. VanPutte
Dept. of Biology
Texas A&M University