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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #201

On Mon, 13 Apr 1998, "Harry" wrote:

> I am a newbie who has lurked for a while, spent a lot of time studying the
> FAQs, and read many of the recommendations at many of the excellent sites
> on the 'net. I had planned on setting up my first planted tank with
> Duplarit in the substrate, 90 watts of fluorescent lighting (46gal tank),
> Fluval 303 filter, and probably DIY C02.

> Is there somewhere a recommendation for a newbie's first tank that is
> somewhat agreed upon by the "planted aquarium experts" that I have missed?
> I, for one, have no problem "practicing" for  period of time (a month, a
> year, or whatever) in order to "do it right", but I do want to know what to
> do in order to "do it right".

From one newbie to another, I'd recommend the low-tech approach.  If you
spend a lot of money on expensive gearand later decide aquatic plants
aren't your cup of tea, you've wasted a lot of money.  If you go low tech,
you can always upgrade later if you really enjoy the hobby.

Here's the cheap low-tech approach I've been using for the past 4 months:

 * 2-3" standard Petsmart-type gravel
 * fertilized by medium-high fish load (originally used tetra initial
     sticks buried sparsely in planted areas with low fish load)
 * No water additives
 * 2 watt/gallon lighting using kitchen/bathroom bulbs (doh!  the GE
     aquarium bulbs at home depot were packaged wrong!)
 * Simple and cheap plants (water sprite, anacharis, bacopa)

I get a lot of growth out of the sprite and anacharis, and the bacopa grow
very slowly, but I'm happy with them.  Strangely, java moss is the only
plant I've tried that died out, but I'll try it again in the future.  I'm
very happy with my plants, and have just started spending more money on
them (Seachem Flourish additive, one Penn-Plax Aquari-lux bulb).  Maybe
someday I'll even add CO2, but I'm not in a hurry.

Whichever approach you take, start slow and simple, and work your way up.
Have patience, and lots of it.  Patience is probably the cheapest and most
effective tool in your arsenal.