04-02-2010, 03:47 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping. Your enquiry concerns planted aquaria, so I'm going to move this thread to that section where more with this interest may see it.
The light, is it a fluorescent tube? If yes, it will do but you may need a different tube for it. Full spectrum, daylight, enhanced daylight...these provide the best colour for plant growth and colour rendition of plants and fish. A kelvin rating somewhere around 6500K is good.
Small gravel/sand is fine for a substrate, and being dark makes it excellent in fact (better for the fish, also shows off the plants).
"Low" or "moderate" light are terms I don't like because they are subjective, and the truth is that the majority of aquarium plants will grow under what some would term "low" light. With 15w over your described tank you have plenty. As for the plants, it really depends upon what you want; you really have almost unlimited choice. Stem plants grow fastest and thus require regular trimming and maintenance. Substrate-rooted plants (swords, crypts, vallisneria...) much less maintenance. Some attach to wood or rock (Anubias species, Java Fern, Java Moss), then there are true floating plants that help to dim the light for the fish plus provide food browsing sites and fry protection.
There is a 4-part series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the top of the Aquarium Plants section of the forum that will probably provide some info and details on various aspects I've mentioned above.