Setting up my first planted aquarium
Hi, this is my first post so I'll make a little introduction. First of all, I've been keeping tropical fish for several years as a bit of a hobby, keeping mainly community fish such as various platies, mollies, tetras, barbs, etc. My current tank is a 20g tank which is rather high than wide. I've tried keeping live plants before with limited success and until recently, I hadn't realized that such intricate variables come into play when keeping a healthy planted tank. Originally I had thought that all I needed was some gravel and sunshine but as I read more into it is how I realized my blunders. Which brings me to where I'm at now; trying to create a healthy planted aquarium on a limited budget.
I have two aquariums; one 20g (mentioned above) and a 10g. With both, I pretty much have the same setup of filter, heater, light. However, for my current project, I wish to move my current fish into a newly planted 10g tank. Although, I hear bigger tanks are easier to maintain, either way I'll be pretty much starting from scratch as it seems I started on the wrong foot: insufficient lighting, large pebble gravel, etc. Now, I have a couple of questions regarding my new setup. Both aquariums have hoods that support one fluorescent tube. I went to a local pet store and walmart and it seems pretty hard to fill the 2wpg rule as most 15" fluorescent tubes (which my 10g supports) are only 14w. After some reading here, it seems as though most people use compact fluorescent screw in bulbs which brings me to my question. Would I need a whole new hood for my tank that supports screw-in bulbs for higher wattage? Next question is how long do I need to cycle for if I use 100% of the water from my 20g and swapping filters with the established one?
Finally, any suggestions as to a substrate (i'm hoping to get away with a black or darker colour) and anything else I may need for my new setup? What are some good plants to start off with (trying to create an Amazon-style aquarium)? Sorry for the lengthy post, however, I'm glad to find a quality forum with a wealth of new information.
EDIT: btw, the filter is an AquaClear 150 and the heater is a Rena Cal Top Light 50W.