Originally Posted by jmlampert23
it is a 30 inch
Good, I was hoping that would be your answer. You can get a suitable tube that will enable you to grow quite a variety of plants including the swords and possibly the ribbon plants depending upon what they actually are. My recommendation would be a Life-Glo tube made by Hagen/Nutrafin; most aquarium stores seem to carry these. There are several types in the "-Glo" series, but the Life-Glo is the best when you have one tube. It is full spectrum, with highlights in the blue and red that plants need and it is balanced with green for a natural appearance of plant and fish colours. There are two types, a Life-Glo and a Life-Glo 2, the former is preferable as it is slightly more intense due to a special coating inside one half of the tube that reflects the light more. Otherwise, they are identical in light colour. At 30 inches I believe it will be a 20 watt, but they are standard so there is only one at that length.
A second suggestion is the Zoo Med Ultra-Sun tube. It provides very similar light, and may be slightly less expensive if cost is an issue. If not, I would recommend the Life-Glo. Both will produce far more intense light than the tube you now have.
Once you have the tube, get a timer so it can be on for 10-12 hours every day, the same time. The fish will provide some nutrients, as will fish food when it breaks down, and some mineral may be in your water (the hardness and pH will tell us that). But almost certainly it will not be sufficient to provide the 17 nutrients that plants require. A good comprehensive fertilizer is the best way. I can recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium and also Kent's Freshwater Supplement. I have used both with success. Once a week, after the partial water change, will probably be sufficient; if after 2-3 weeks the swords have yellowing leaves, twice a week with the liquid fertilizer will probably resolve that, since yellowing leaves usually indicates a nutrient deficiency.
This should get you started. If you do track down the name of those other plants, let us know. I'm only guessing, but they might be Vallisneria or Sagitarria, both of which have long ribbon-like leaves.