Originally Posted by AmyK
I do like the color of it, it just kicks up a lot of material everytime I do something with the tank. And the gravel you have in your tanks is exactly what I want to use for my next tank. (Sorry if my link wasn't exactly what I had in mind). Anyway, your tanks are beautiful; I still haven't got the "hang" of planted aquariums yet!
Thanks Amy. You should be able to find the natural gravel (brown/buff coloured one) at most fish stores; the darker gravel in the 90g I found at one store years ago but have not seen anywhere since. I buy gravel in bulk as it is always cheaper than the commercial plastic bags, and the larger aquarium stores usually carry bulk gravel. Just make sure it is the smallest-grain size and it will be the one. Back in the 1980's my lfs got in some "sand" gravel that was real gravel but the grains were very small to the point of being sand; it was great stuff, I set up a 25g SE Asian tank with loaches and chocolate gouramis, and it looked terrific. Ubnfortunately I haven't seen it since.
I think I got two 50-pound bags of natural gravel when I last set up a tank, my 70g. Some people suggest keeping a thin layer of Eco under the gravel. One caution on this though, they will (I assume) mix over time, but with enough gravel it may not make much of a mess. I like to have at least 3-4 inches minimum (at the front), and deeper towards the back and for terraces, etc.
Planted tanks are not difficult. You need full spectrum light and liquid fertilizer (amount depends upon the plants and conditions, I currently dose twice a week). I have never used CO2, and I have minimum light at 1 watt per gallon (two 40w full spectrum tubes over each tank). That's it. Rooted plants (swords, crypts) do well in this setup, stem (bunch) plants not so good [insufficient light, and more light would mean CO2 to balance] except for the Brazilian Pennywort
in the 90g that grows like a weed.
Good luck, and keep us posted on progress.