Hi, I am new here and I have a planted tank. I just wanted to share how i set my tank up. May help some people, and it may generate question, comments and suggestions for other users I'm not sure. Either way if I am wrong or I am doing something wrong feel free to comment.
History: I originally started with a 1 gallon tank. So i poured some water into it and threw a snail and some fish in there. In a week half were dead, the others sick. The water was brown, and very dirty, and i thought to myself "well this isn't working very well." which is about the time I starting reading about tanks, at first i was overwhelmed by all the stuff i need to do. But after spending some money and time on my tank, and my new tank (10g), I found that i could easily keep fish. I bought all the test kits, medicine, chemicals, and food any of my fish and critters could eat. All of my plants are healthy, and growing insanely fast (6 inch to 14 inch in about 2 weeks). My fish are healthy, happy, and in some cases fat and lazy. So how did do this in about a month from when i got my tank? It was easy for me, and could be for you too!!! (cheesy I know).
What I Did: So after I got my 10g tank I put gravel, rocks, and some fake plastic plants. I had tetras and guppies. But i soon got bored and got cooler fish, like gouramis, mollies, platys and many more. I also grew board of the fake plastic trees (Radiohead lol) in my tank. So i bought some plants from a dealer online. The plants came in 2 days. The shipping was a lot but the plants grow like a mad man. Plus a lot of the plants in the fish stores, like petco, are not aquatic plants so they will eventually die. So my advice would be to go to a LFS or buy online for the best plants.
I made the switch to sand in order to have a better substrate for the plants, the fish and shrimp love it too. So i got some potting soil form out side, put some gravel in it. mixed it up until it was almost mud. Put that at the bottom of the tank, and poured filtered sand on top of it. On a side note be sure to clean your sand like a mad man before you put it in your tank, or it will be a huge mess for you. Then I filled my tank with water, cleaned the plants and put them in the tank. I upped the watts and lights in my tank hood. So i have plenty of light. The plants have already rooted and grown a whole bunch. Pretty soon i will have to clip them. You can plant the clippings and they will grow. So i may make the ground a little more plant dense. Or i may give away the clippings.
Oh and btw i do not use a CO2 bubbler, i have not put any CO2 in the tank and the plants are looking great. The fish must make enough (not sure).
Well thanks Peace Chazzy