Howdy from new member


Just a quick "howdy" from a new member of this list to y'all and a
little^W long introduction.  Okay, I'm a talkative guy, I promise after
this I'll keep my mouth shut :-)

I've been an aquarium enthusiast for something like fifteen years or
more now.  As teenagers, my brother and I had a collection of 10 to 30
gallon tanks which we'd keep some critters and fish in, along with
whatever plants we could find in the irrigation ditches.  We grew up in
Japan, so Japanese newts and "dojo" fish were fairly typical of the
temperate water fauna we kept.

In college, my roomate and I came upon a great deal for 10 gallon tanks
(pet store going out of biz).  We bought a pile of them and built glass
"bridges" such that our Cichlids could swim from one tank to another --
like a big aquatic hamster cage.  With Cichlids we didn't even try
keeping plants.

Then about 8 years ago, I established a pretty generic "community" tank
which I quickly added several species of plant life to.  I don't
remember what they were, but they flourished pretty well.  I was
definitely really low-tech then.  I was familiar with the ins-and-outs
of freshwater fish-care, but plant care was pretty much limited to
little fertilizer sponge-things things I'd bury in the gravel.  I think
back then the conventional wisdom was that UGF's are bad for plants, so
I removed the lift tubes (left the plates in) and got a bigger external
power filter.  I do recall that the duckweed I had all got sucked into
the power filter.

Back then I'm living in Texas, and my brother comes visiting from
California.  He catches a crawfish in the creek behind my house and
introduces it to my tank.  My flourishing plant growth is all gone
within a few days.  :-(  I try some tougher species of plants, but Mr
Crustacean handles those with no problems.  So it's time for the fake
plastic plants.  This is about four years ago.

Crawfish, community fish, and fake plants survive an early winter move
to Illinois three years ago.  They did not survive the house fire last
Spring.  Mister Crustacean survived a few hours longer than the fish
did; we pretty much had to dump all the aquarium supplies.

So last weekend my wife gets me a 55-gallon tank as a birthday gift to
replace my old-faithful 20-gallon.  :-)  Boy oh boy oh boy!!  Since the
crawdad is gone and I haven't messed with aquatic plants in four years,
I read up on the current state-of-art on growing the stuff.  I'm
reading about MH lights and CO2 injectors and laterite and Dupla and
all kinds of interesting stuff *YIKES*!

I've pretty much decided I'll probably try out the yeast-method of CO2
generation (at first), but my first immediate problem is.... you
guessed it: lighting!  My wife, who's fairly naive about aquarium stuff
(but she's learning!), got a Really Tall Tank -- the kind that goes up
to your armpits if you do anything with the gravel.  This means, of
course, I'll need something like 200 watts of lighting if I want
anything to grow on the bottom.  She's already spent money on a generic
one-bulb tank cover, so that's something that'll have to go into the
garage sale pile.

Anyway, from reading all the FAQ's and what not, something I haven't
found is: where can I find a tank cover that supplies adequate
lighting?  Also, I'm a little unclear about when plants should be added
during cycling -- is it okay to add plants in from the start?  or
should I wait a while?

Thanks for indulding me by reading this longish intro.  I look forward
to reading all the fun stuff here.


Richard M.
Richard F. Masoner                         Central Data Corporation
richardm at cd_com                            Champaign, IL 61821  USA
+1 217 359 8010                            http://www.cd.com/