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I have a well established 20H tank (24L*12W*16H), I would like to grow a nice thick carpet plant in there along with my other plants.

I tried adding some java moss 2 months or so ago and most of it has by now disappeared. thwre are small spots on the large peice of driftwood but I am not sure if that is moss or algae spots.

What do I need to do to get a good carpet plant to grow. What is the best plant?

I bought some seachem Flourish today and will start using that. Also the tank has a 15W flourescent bulb. To upgrade to a 36W on AH supply looks a touch pricey (nearly $70).

Any suggestions
 

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If you want plants you need light, there's no way around that - except for plastic! In this hobby there is some essential hardware that's worth spending for. In my experience, if you're keeping the price for lighting under $100, you're actually getting off easy. Look at some of the folks running high light set ups and talking about Tek light fixtures!:eek:

36w will just barely put you in the game; you'll still be at LOW light levels. It really becomes a lot more fun when you at least get to medium light levels and the selection of plants which grow well opens up. I'd suggest at least 40 watts, better yet would 50 or 55.

Of course, it all really depends on what you're goals are.
 

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If you want to do it on the cheap,
buy some incandescent fixtures,
and screw some energy saver spiral fluorscents into em.
You can get a bulb and fixture for like $30 max
They'll grow plants for sure.
You will lose a lot of light going into the tank,
but just buy a higher watt bulb if you need it.

I'm doing it, and am happy with the results.
 

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The AH Supply kits are good for one-stop shopping, but you can do just as well by piecing things together yourself.

Some ideas:

Some people overdrive regular old fluorescents by powering a single bulb with a ballast meant for several bulbs. All the supplies you'll need to do this can be had at a hardware store for cheap. VHO ballasts can be cheap, and you can use a VHO ballast to overdrive NO bulbs, too. Hellolights.com has some nice VHO stuff.

You want to think about long-term costs if you expect the tank to be running for more than a year or two. With compact fluorescents, the bulbs are pricey. With an overdriven plain fluorescent setup, $3 bulbs from the hardware store down the street will work just fine.

Also keep an eye for used bargains. Check the for sale sections on reef forums too, but keep in mind the bulbs you buy from a reef keeper might not be appropriate for a planted tank (usually too "blue" in spectrum, i.e. high k ratings, and actinic bulbs are no good at all for planted tanks.)
 

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VHO ballasts can be cheap, and you can use a VHO ballast to overdrive NO bulbs, too
Is that true? I currently run a VHOs but i cant find any good VHO bulbs. If i just a regular NO bulb with the spectrum I want will it work the same it would with a real VHO bulb? Will it still put out the charge from the ballast?
 
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