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Hi everyone, Thank you for reading this and trying to help me. I am new to the whole aquarium world. I have a 20 gallon aquarium with about an inch and a half of aquarium gravel that ive had running for about 7 months now. Everything I have read says real plants are so much better than fake plants. I love the look of real plants and would really like some. Before I ask all these questions let me tell you one major thing.... I'm on a huge budget. Price is the one thing thats been holding me back. My first question is can i have a planted aquarium with just the light i have on my aquarium, and do i absolutly need all the co2 and chemicals? What all do i have to have. What plants should i get. And finally, if possible could you give me a final cost? Thank you guys so much for your help!!
 

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Im in the same situation as you been on a tight budget, so heres what my tank is like.
I have a 25 Gallon tank
20watts of light
~76F
no CO2
and the only ferts I use are root tabs that I got for $5.00
All I have for plants currently are java fern and amazon swords, and I get a fair amount of growth. The fish that I have seem to produce enough waste to keep everything going.
 

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One more question, I have also heard a great starter plant is hornwort. Does anybody have experience with it? I've heard it's messy.
Hornwort is indeed a great starter plant, as it grows like a weed (I believe it is classified as a weed in certain parts of America). In my experience, it likes to shed needles, however.
 

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I did not see anything back on the lights. Along with wattage color is also very important. If you have a run of the mill hood that has standard light bulbs, screw-in tungsten then you need to change to a compact fluorescent Lights (CFL). the spiral type, lowes sells OTT Light brand CFL, they are about $6 each and have a color temp of 6700 Deg K which is spot on for planted tanks. This is what i use in my 10g grow-out tank. It had a run of the mill hood with screw in bulbs. works great! I also do DIY CO2. just google or bing diy co2 and you will get back more info than you need.
 
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