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substrate heating and lighting

>>>Question 1 (Substrate heating):
From reading many articles in various sites, substrate heating is 
recommended by many people for long term growth and maintenance of a
a) Wouldn't this mean that the biochemical processes and water
'movement' in 
the substrate be limited to times where the plants are not

Yes, it does mean that.  Many of my North American aquarist friends do
not use heat cables because they are off most of the summer.  Their
benefit is a little hard to prove too and some of us don't believe they
are worth the expense and trouble.  I would either heat with traditional
heaters or use an under-tank reptile plastic strip heater, which is what
I use myself.  They are very inexpensive.   It does not provide the
substrate mixing but it provides "warm feet" for the plants, which some
plants like.  I still turn it off in summer.

Question 2 (Lighting):
>>>The generally accepted figure for a normal planted tank is 2-4watts

(depending on plant selection, aquarium depth etc). This figure seems
to be 
only pertinent to fl?
a) What are the generally accepted figure for those using metal
halides? Do 
I have enough? I am planning to keep a mixture of fast (e.g. hygros)
slower growing plants (e.g. anubias sp. Java ferns) in various regions
the tank.>>>

With even some high light plants, you will need more than 2 watts/gal
to get good growth.  I don't know the calculation for halides, but I'm
sure it's not like that for fluorescents.  I believe the 2-4watts/gal
only apply to standard fluorescents.  Those of us using power compact
fluorescent lights certainly often brighten our tanks with more than 4
watts/gal.  Hopefully, someone who has used metal halides can answer the
"is it enough?" part of the question.

Roxanne Bittman