Substrate Help and Building a light

Subject: Substrate Help

> I have been reading a lot about everyone using substrate and wou
> wondering indeed what that is.  I am currently using gravel ( mi
> a 45g 40% planted tank, but I'm willing to switch to "Substrate"
> benefits.  Could someone shed some light on the mysterious conte
> substrate?

Substrate is what ever substance you put in the bottom of your 
tank.  No more, no less.  Gravel _is_ a substrate.  That said, 
some substrates grow plants better than others.  Most are gravel 
based, with some additions.  The most common choices of additions 
among aquatic gardners include laterite, soil and peat, with a 
small group of proponents for the inclusion of vermiculite.  Good 
results can be had with any of these substances.


Subject: Building a light

> I am in need of any suggestions for building a light that would 
> with 48" standard flourescent tubes and fit on a 55 gallon tank.
> not know much about electrical aspects nor do I know where to ge
> supplies.  I don't want to spend a fortune, but I feel that I ne
> than one tube over my tank.  By the way, I will be using CO2.

The easiest, least expensive solution is to get a glass cover, and 
lay 2 4 ft shop lights across the top.  This gives you 160W, and 
plenty of light for almost anything you'd like to grow.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA