I'm Ready to Start!

I have been "lurking" in this mailing list for awhile now.  Thanks all for
the consistently high standard of information presented here.

Well..... now its time to get my arms wet and get my new plant tank up and

I have a 55gal community tank; a mellow place inhabited by two mature
angels, three mature gouramis, a pair of dwarf gouramis, various tetras,
cats and an elephant nose.  The tank also has a few swords, crypts, a
madagasgar lace plant, vals, bannana plant and a couple of unidentified
plants I picked up at the local pet concentration camp/fish store.
Everything is alive and apparantly healthy but the plants for the most part
are a bit too static regarding growth.

The tank is lit with a pair of triton bulbs.

What I am planning to do is trash the existing UGF. I have ordered a fluval
303 cannister which I will run through a biowheel. I am giving the cultured
gravel to a friend for his new community tank. For substrate I will mix
sterile potting soil, vermiculite and laterite for a sub-substrate, and
cover with a silicon sand, add water and start over.  Once the tank is
cycled, I intend on ordering an assortment of plants from one of the
mailorder suppliers whos catalogs I,ve been collecting. My intention is to
plant heavily.  The future may bring C02 injection; but I would like to see
how this system runs prior to doing this so I have a baseline to compare to.

This tank will contrast nicely with my african cichlid tank which faces it
on the other side of the room.  One lush green, the other bare rocks and
lots of fish activity.

Can anyone advise me on an appropriate ratio of soil:vermiculite:laterite
for the substrate?  Does this plan sound reasonable? Any steps I,ve not

THank you all!

Jack McLain
<sciguy at garden_net>