In all seriousness, I have my hands full with a salt water reef tank right now, but my wife wants to upgrade her awful 5 gallon Wal-mart tank to a planted fresh water tank.
Right now my brain is aching from all the reading I have done on salt water tanks as well as fresh water planted tanks.
I have an Aquapod 12 gallon tank that will be her planted fresh water tank. It comes with 2 compact florescent lights. Each are 27 watts, but one is an actinic useless for plants. I have a couple extra regular 6700-10k bulbs, but don't think I should use more than 1 or should I?
I figure with a 12 gal tank the single 27 watt light is over 2 watts per gallon and I do not, even remotely, want to be CO2 dosing. I don't need high light, demanding plants. I repeat, I will not CO2 dose with an injector or chemical solutions for this tank. Plants need to be OK with that. I will add fertilizer if necessary a couple/few times per year.
I have flourite for a substrate, a nice piece of driftwood and the tank, pump. I am thinking about using some polyester fill (filter floss) for a mechanical means of filtration like I do in my reef tank. Biological filtration will be the plants and chemical filtration will be either nothing or chemipure or purigen depending on feedback. I am thinking neither would be desirable in a planted tank.
I would like some shrimp, a few snails for cleanup (nothing that breeds out of control, though I do understand I may get that with plant hitchhikers) and either a couple 2-3" fish or a small herd of tiny fish along with low maintenance plants that will do well with the lighting and substrate with minimal maintenance other than water changes. For fish my wife is partial to gouramis (dwarfs are fine) and the genetically modified to be brightly colored danios, tetras and similar. She likes the bright colors, genetically modified or not.
I can use tap water or RO or RO/DI water. I have a RO/DI filter for my reef tank and I can bypass the DI. The tap water tests at 450ppm impurities though I have no idea what they are.
Help me please. I just don't want to read anymore. I want some folks with experience to make some recommendations. Please.
Edit to add: I don't want a tank completely filled with plants. I want a tank with plants. I want to be able to see the shrimp and snails and fish. Therefore most plants should be 6" or under at max growth with some background plants that get 12-18" tall.
Thank you for anyone willing to help me out.