01-27-2011, 09:24 AM
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Welcome to the forum!
Java Ferns and Java Moss both do well in low light and neither requires special substrate or anything of the sort. They do better with a liquid fertilizer, but they'll grow fine on their own. You can buy more Java Moss than you can arrange in your tank for about 5 bucks at your lfs. Java Ferns are also kinda cheap, 5 to 10 bucks depending on size at my store of preference. I like swords, and common types are about $2-6 per plant. Just to give you an idea. (These prices are from my area, it might be different where you live, but I doubt it)
You should browse our Freshwater Plant Profiles, it has been, and still is, a big help to me. It has pics and all the info you need on many aquatic plants that will help you pic out what plants will work best for you and your tank. (Click on “Tropical Fish Profiles” at the top of the page, then scroll down to browse or you can type a specific plant into the search bar)
If you are going to go the plant route, I'd probably just put a dif bulb in your stock hood. If it’s incandescent, go to the hardware store and buy some "day light" CFL bulbs with a kelvin rating around 6500k, they are really cheap. If its fluorescent, check to see what type of bulb it is (probably t8), the length, and go to the hardware store and get the same bulb but with a color temp of about 6500k. Either of these bulbs is going to be less than $7.
Are you running activated carbon in your filter? I don't have any supporting data, but word on the street, as they say, is that they remove a lot of the nutrients plants need to thrive. So if you did get a lot of plants in your tank, you might consider not running activated carbon in your filter.
Hope some of this info helps you out, and good luck with you tank, plants really add a lot to your tank.