I am very interested in crossing over to the world of planted tanks, but I'd really like some advice before taking the plunge.
I have kept non planted tanks in the past and am pretty well versed in how to take care of fish. I know about the nitrogen cycle, and have cycled tanks many different ways (fishless, with fish, seeding from other media). I know about checking water parameters and general aquarium up keep. However, as far as getting aquatic plants to grow (or anything for that matter), I am a complete novice. If there is one thing I've learned from keeping aquariums, its that being prepared and doing things right the first time is always the way to go...which is what brings me knocking at the door of this fine forum.
I don't think anyone would argue that there is a TON of information to sift through, some of it conflicting, about how best to grow aquatic plants. I have read many beginner articles stickied on this forum
) and have been following threads for a few days now.
Here is what I've decided so far:
I'm thinking I want to start off just learning to grow a few easy species of plants, though I don't necessarily
want to just limit myself to low light. My eventual goal will be a heavily planted tank (40 gallons +) that is nicely aquascaped, but for now I think I will start smaller.
I have a 10 gallon + stand in my basement that I would like to set up + use just for growing plants. I want to really load it up with plants and I am not interested in aquascaping, or fish selections at all. I just want to get really good at growing some basic, tried and true species. I could then later use some of these plants for other aquarium projects.
My dilemma is, would it be best to start out low tech or high tech, and...is there truly an in-between? Depending on which, what do you recommend for possible lighting setups for a 10 gallon? What about CO2...if I decided on a high light setup I feel that buying a whole co2 rig might be a little premature as I'm just getting into the hobby. What are your experiences with DIY co2? Do you regret not just making the initial purchase from the start?
I think I'm planning on using eco complete for substrate because of its availabiity, though I am certainly open to other suggestions. Is there anything else I need to layer underneath the eco complete?
Also some plant suggestions would be super helpful.
The first thing I plan on doing is buying the necessary test kits to check my tap water parameters to see what I'm working with. I have moved recently so I have no idea what my water is like, and I'm sure all my test kits have expired. I'll post water parameters as soon as I can.
I apologize if this comes off as long winded or scattered...there is just so much info!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.