Emersion / Bog Plantings

I need to set up an emersion or bog planting tank to winter over some of
the tropical marginals from my pond (mostly stuff like dwarf umbrella palm
and black princess taro).  

Last year I brought some of these in and suspended them in some clean
washed #2 gravel in "livebearer fry holders" at the top of my plant tank
(C02, MH Pendant), which didn't work overly well as they were largely above
the light, or got burned by the light.  This year the addition of cats to
the household means this is now a closed-top tank -- I lost a bunch of
siamese algae eaters before I figured out how good at fishing one of the
cats was :-(

I don't want to go terribly extreme on this (the cost alternative is simply
to replace the plants next spring), but I have available a 30 gallon (36"
long) tank in a cat-free location that can be run open-topped, and was
thinking about suspending 1 or 2 shop light fixtures over it with some
daylight bulbs.

I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone has on:

Substrate mixture (preferably #2 gravel with amendments, as I have a ton of
it around).


Lighting height above substrate surface.

How to handle water in the tank -- should I keep it over the level of the
substrate, should I make provisions for circulating it, etc.?

Other plants that might do well in this setup for a permanent display.

Anything else it looks like I might be overlooking :-)


- Chuck Lawson