I found the planted tank site many months ago and it inspired me to take up a hobby that I sucked at in my University years. I was never able to successfully grow any plants at University, rather I would measure my success by the length of time it took for a plant to die.
I thought I would start with a mid range tank so I found a second hand 3 foot (40 Gal) marine tank on [Ebay Link Removed]
When I got the tank I did some DIY to the stand and fitted it with a number of sockets and wired them to a single lead.
The built the tank up as follows
First building a row of rocks to stop my beach from spreading and mixing with my EcoComplete.
Putting in the EcoComplete. I baked 1/3 of my EcoComplete with some wet powdered Laterite. I spread the EcoComplete/Laterite mix in the middle third of the substrate.
Adding the sand which I took from the marine tank (after heavily washing), driftwood I found on the beach (needed to weighed down – even now 2 months later), and I also buried a number of Blood & Bone pellets where I expect plants to be growing.
This is the tank planted, and filled. I was running 4 bulbs, two of which are Actinic which makes the light look blue. I’m not running them now.
A couple of weeks later.
The plants I added here were:
3 x Amazon Swords – Still growing well 2 months on
3 x Riccia Bag – growing well as long as receiving good direct light.
2 x Hairgrass Pots – growing well although has slowed in its advance across the tank floor
1 x Corkscrew Val – Growing well, has started 5 new plants on runners.
3 x Giant Ambulia – This grows like a weed. Important to not plant to heavily otherwise lower leaves get dark and excess roots appear.
3 x Lilaeopsis Pots - Grew but infested with algae and eventually removed in favour of hairgrass across the tank floor.
2 x Anubias –Grows very slowly (well not dying yet anyway) Seem to be doing better since moving it to the driftwood.
2 x Aluminum – I learned this was not even an aquatic plant, so removed it as it didn’t die but never took root or did well.
1 x Dragon's Flame – Never took roots and removed as I did not like it.
5 - December 2010: A few weeks later I took this pic. My tank was full of snails at this point and I foolishly added a lettuce leaf to the tank in the hope they would be attracted to it and I could remove them. I had 10 glass shrimp in my tank at the time and I didn't wash the lettuce leaf before adding. In the morning I had 10 dead glass shrimp. Some nasty stuff on the food we eat.
I've made some changes since 5 Dec, and things are growing really well after some sound advice from PlantedTank Memebers.
I hope to put up some more pics early in the New Year as I'm heading away for the next 2 weeks.