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Not sure which subforum is appropriate for my questions, so redirect me, if needed :)

I got some mosses and stem plants (some with roots, others not). Scaped my small tank, and will use the remainder in my larger tank. However, the tank is not ready (I need a new light,among other things), so I need to hold/grow out the plants.


So far I have had everything just floating in containers; I assume the stem plants need to be planted.

I do have a (terrestrial) plant rack with a grow light that I can make space for a small (5g) fish tank.

So I guess I will plant the stems in the small tank and have the mosses floating in small containers if there is not enough room in the tank.
My first question is, what would be better to use for substrate - sand or gravel? My gravel is pea sized.

Is it OK to run all this with no aeration? I would top off every few days, I'd guess, with extra water.

Also, no idea what distance I should keep the lights at. My fixture has 2-40W T12s (old school, lol). Not sure what to look for to tell me if light is too high/low. I am new to all these plants so I don't know what normal growth density looks like.
Does high light cause browning and low light cause pale growth?

Oh, and I have java fern plantlets; can they be grown on something (what?) and removed/replanted later? I do not have DW yet.
 
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