hello ive been keeping aquariums for about 8 years now started out with a community freshwater tank with some live plants then i evolved into the salt water world and reef keeping and i have noticed how beautiful some planted tanks are and can be and i want one but need lots of help i already have most of the equitment i think i have a 55 gal tank that is up and running as a fresh water community tank been set up for over 6 years now i do have some plants in it and driftwood running two 4ft t5 lights one 10k and one plant bulb running some hang on the back carbon filters gonna upgrade to a canister filter what would be a good one what do i need to as far substrate co2 what kind of water parameters do i need some help would be greatly appreciated
Welcome to the forum watty.
Usually the first decision is to decide what size tank to use. But since you already have the 55 (which is the most common size) lets start with it. All I will add to the subject is that some people prefer the 75 over the 55 because of the 18" depth allows for more plants than the 12" of the 55.
Anyway, the most important and next decision is going to be the type of substrate to use. This will determine the type of plants, lighting, Carbon, Fertilizers and amount of maintenance that is required.
If you want to have a low maintenance tank, with minimum cost of lighting and need of filtration I suggest you begin reading about "dirt" tanks in the low tech forum. This is a method by which most of the nutrients the plants will need will be in the substrate, and suplimented simply by feeding the fish. Fish food and waste is good plant food.
If your set on keeping the gravel as is and just working the tank over into a planted tank, thats cool too. Most people have gone that route but success is dependent on adding nutrients via root tabs. But this method would be a smart choice for your tank that has 6 years of ecology developed.
Another choice would be the high tech tank. The advantages would be fast growth, wider choice of plants. This method requires investment in high output lighting matched with carbon dioxide added manually to the water, and routine fertilization of the water column. The results can be spectacular as you can see from the users tanks on this forum.
I believe with time and patience the previous two methods can produce similar results.
Can you post pics of your current tank, I would love to see what you have done so far.