I've decided to take on the challenge of starting a 90 gallon planted tank. I have a substrate base of Flourite 2-3 inches deep. The tank is 3/4 of the way full of water. Wondering what my next step should be?
My favorite tank was a 90. I used a soil/vermiculite substrate topped with Texblast, pressurized CO2, ferts, and lighted with 4 t12 NO flourescents. It would grow anything. My Madagascar lace plant bloomed and bloomed in that setup.
I feel like, in a way, the best thing for beginers to do when starting out is to decide whether to go high tech or low tech.
I don't think or really find the concept of high tech super difficult when you think about it. Its just a matter of picking if you want a tank that will be higher maintenance but can grow just about anything you want, or a tank in which you have limited options, but don't have to do as much to keep it looking nice.
After you have decided that, figure out what plants and hardscape you want, place your hardscape where and how you want it (without their being water preferably), make sure you have the lights and filter and co2 (if you are doing high tech) that you need, plant your plants while everything is nice and moist (or fill only part way), fill the rest of the tank, and tada you have a planted tank set up.
I feel that medium light for the first timer would be difficult because I think the most common mistake with beginners is to much light....which is avoided if either doing a high tech setups or avoided if you purposefully aim for a rather low amount of light.
90 gallon tank is full of water. 1/3 Tap water 2/3 R/O water with Kent R/O right conditioner (personal preference). I have a Coral Life T5 High Output Lamp (2 -10,000 watt bulbs) 24 inches above the substrate which is 3 inches of Flourite. I'm filtering with a Fluval 406 canister filter. I have 2 pieces of Driftwood and a few rocks. I would like to start to add plants. Wondering what my next step should be.
Others can talk more knowledgeably about lighting but I think you might want one or both of those T5 lamps to be ~6700 instead of 10,000. Something to research.
I take it you are NOT injecting CO2 so you might spend some time looking at tank pictures in the Low Tech forum to see what plants they grow that you like and want to try. Or browse the Plant Profiles on this forum and see what appeals to you. For me, nothing beats looking at pictures and taking some notes at this stage. The more you learn by reading, the fewer mistakes you'll make. Don't expect to eliminate them all though.
However you do it, take your list of plant ideas into the real world and see which ones you can find and purchase.