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Re:plant selection, setup, and planting schedule

>>I'm planning on setting up a 180 gallon planted tank with
a single silver arowana.  The tank is in a room
that has large windows on three sides and has a double-light flourescent
fixture (the bulbs are just the ones that came with the fixture). There
are only goldfish in the tank now to cycle the singal large-volume
cansiter filter; the arowana won't be added until the plants are
established.  When I start to add plants (in a few weeks) what kinds of
plants should I add first and how long before I add the rest? Or do I
just add them all at once. Enclosed is a tentative list of plants that i
will consider (i'm not putting all of them in; maybe you can help me
narrow down the list).<<

Your biggest challenge IMHO will be your lighting. It will be interesting to
see if you get enough light from these windows to suppliment having just two
flourescents on that large a tank. Some of the plants you chose are very
light demanding, and you already have two or three floating plants on your
list. Remember that these floaters will block light to the plants below.

>>For substrate, I will plant the nutrient-hungry species in individual or
group pots of a homemade potting mixture that has worked well in the past.
Would you suggest I add laterite to the mixture?<<

Depends on whats in this home brew. Most potting soil and commercial
fertilizers are going to be fairly high in nitrogen and probably contain
some minerals as well as organics. The laterite would mostly give you a
source of iron and CEC, which the potting soil may already provide. By
nutrient hungry species do you mean heavy root feeders like Echinodorus, or
fast growing stem plants that need more light and more nutrients?

>>I don't plan on using CO2 supplementation and would avoid it at all costs,
but I will periodically treat the water with some kind of liquid
iron/potassium supplement.  I plan on keeping the temperature in the
high 70s.  I may also add a dozen malaysian live-bearing snails to help
"aerate" the substrate.  Any additions, suggestions, and criticism would
be appreciated.<<

The need of CO2 is in direct correlation to the light intensity. The
brighter your light the more of a demand is put on additional CO2.  I think
the benefit of MTSs is overstated. When my substrate went sour last year, I
had hundreds of MTSs in there.

Robert Paul H