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Setting up new tank

I am thinking about setting up a new tank and going for a more
unified look than my current mishmash of fish and plants.  In
particular, I'm thinking that I'll have a large driftwood piece
with lots of bolbitis, and anubias nana covering the substrate.

1.  Is there any reason to use anything but plain sand with these
    plants?  Obviously the bolbitis is not going to care, but would
    anubias do better (or worse?) with some laterite/flourite/

2.  Due to neatness constraints, I think I'll probably use an
    Eclipse hood, so the lighting is going to be on the low side.
    That is in part why I am planning to use anubias.  Any other
    good low-growing "ground covers" for a low light tank?

3.  I'm not planning to supplement CO2, again because the lower
    light levels will probably be the limiting factor for the
    plants.  Right?

4.  Should I deliberately harden my soft (GH 1-2, KH 1-2, pH
    6.8-7.0) water for these plants?  Add a little crushed coral?
5.  The feature fish will be a school of cherry barbs.  Any
    suggestions for a good compliment to these?

David Ozenne
Berkeley, CA