Good evening all! This is my first post here. I just wanted to introduce myself and perhaps ask a bit of advice in the process. I really enjoy fish tanks. My mother had a 75 gallon gold fish tank when I was growing up. Now that I'm grown up, I have my own fish tank that I've had for over 2 years now. I don't do a lot of forums or social networking, so bear with me.
I have a 40 gallon long aquarium. It's got the large dyed rock gravel, artificial plants, and some general plastic and rock decorations. I have a Marineland Penguin 350 hob filter. My light is a single tube fluorissant. I'm very much interested in turning my current tank into a low/medium tech planted tank. My fish are: an opaline gourami, a black skirt tetra, two platys, and an upside down catfish that I never see.
I bought the Planted Tank Guide and read a few stickys here. Lots of very nice info and pics in there. I recommend the guide to all new aquarists.
My plan is to put all my fish, decorations, and gravel into a separate 25 gallon fish tank. I have a spare hob filter for it. Then I plan to take the rest of the gravel and most of the water out, and replace the gravel with 60 pounds of CaribSea Eco-complete planted aquarium gravel.
Now, I'm not really sure about what water to use once I have the gravel in my tank. I've been using distilled water, but that gets to be a pain to purchase and haul around. My tap water seems unreliable at best. After this winters snow melt, my water got really nasty. Still safe to drink, but I don't think for much else. I do have an RODI filter. Would that be good to use? I think there're some chemicals I can buy to reintroduce the good minerals needed in a controlled manner.
My next steps, I'm not really too sure on, once I know what water to use. Would doing this start a cycle? Should I re-introduce my fish into the main tank, or keep building on the new tank? I plan on doing most of the things pretty slow, as funds allow. I still need to purchase an upgrade to my light. I plan to get a Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED daylight. The plants I plan to purchase are: Micro Sword, Anacharas, Java Fern, Water Sprite, Chainsword - Narrow leaf, Amazon Sword plant, Cryptocoryne, Ludwigia - Broad, Anubias nana, Cabonba, and Four Leaf Clover. I'm also unsure if I need CO2 for these? Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post. Better to have too much info then not enough! If anyone can help me out with some advice on this, or point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.