Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Thornton, Colorado
There are quite a few plants you can grow in a tank with a standard hood. Get some 6500k bulbs for it (get CFL's) and look for low light / and low/med light plants. Placement is going to be key for some of them. The hood is going to block alot of light from the front of the tank, so your mosses, and low lights will be good for there. Mid tank gets the most light from these hoods, so your low/med light plants should be placed here, and your back gets about the same light so your larger plants work well there. I have Amazon Swords, Cryptocoryne Wendtii (red), aquadic four leaf clover, Anacharis (narrow leaf), Java Moss, Brazilian Micro Sword, Moss balls, Anubias Nana, Carolina Fanwort, and telanthera reineckii.
The med. light plants grow extremely slow under a low light condition, if not fail. My fanwort started out pretty dense with its leaves, but has thinned itself out over the past couple months, it still grows fast, but the distance between leaves is much larger. The last one (scarlet temple) is very surprisingly growing quite well. The leaves near the surface of the water are a bright pink and red, quite a beautiful plant.
as for substrate, if your are lucky enough to have not set up the tank yet, go to the substrate part of the forum and see what others are using. I was not planning on a planted tank when I set mine up, so I have plain gravel. I rely on fert. sticks under each and every plant that root feeds (which can be a pain)
The next tank come Christmas (a little bird I call daughter, told me of a 36 gal. bow front) is going to be using eco-complete or similar for the substrate.
Welcome to TPT by the way, I am a newer person as well. The members here are super nice, and come with TONS of great information.