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Plants for Low-Tech Tanks

If you're a newcomer to plants - or just want a planted tank without all the work - go low light and low maintenance.

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Many new hobbyists see pictures of beautiful planted aquaria in books and magazines, and they immediately envision the same thing in their living rooms. They then begin doing research online and are overwhelmed with information and advice on websites and forums. They read that in order to have such a beautiful tank, they have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on specialized lighting, CO2 injection systems, pH controllers, specialized filters, undergravel cable heating and test kits.

This often intimidates new planted-aquarium hobbyists, scaring them away not only from the idea of keeping a successful planted tank but from the aquarium hobby itself. The fact is that aquarists have been successfully keeping planted aquaria in their living rooms since the mid- 1850s — nearly a generation before the invention of the light bulb and more than a century before the invention of things like pH controllers and CO2 injectors. Don’t get me wrong — these wonderful inventions can help you set up a beautiful planted tank with challenging aquatic plants — but to just have a beautiful, simple and easy-to-maintain aquarium in the living room, none of them are necessary.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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