06-23-2011, 12:06 PM
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I second Inga.
On the snails, consider them your greatest friend in keeping the aquarium healthy. The best are the Malaysian Livebearing snails; usually you will have to buy these, as they seldom "hitch a ride" on plants. But they are invaluable, as they burrow throughout the substrate and assist the bacteria by breaking down large bits of organic matter into much smaller bits that the bacteria can more easily and readily handle, and this provides nutrients for the plants. The pond or bladder snails are also helpful. None of these will eat plants, only dead plant matter and of course all sorts of other organic matter. Inga had ramshorn snails, I would avoid those, some say they will and some say they won't eat plants.
We have plant profiles, same place as the fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. The plants Inga mentioned are all in the profiles.
You might also like to read the 4-part sticky "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section of the forum. A basic background to natural planted tanks.