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I am about ready to set up my 120g that I bought last fall. It came with two 36inch Perfecto lights. I recently ordered a kit from AH supply to convert the standard lights to 96 watt cfl, so I will have just under 200 watts for the 120 gallons. I have a large piece of driftwood I am getting ready to prep. I want a decent amount of plants in the tank but I am hoping to avoid having to go with CO2 as I would like to stay as low tech as possible. Right now I have about 10 small java fern starts from two plants in a 75 gallon tank. I was also planning on some anubia and swords. What would be the best type of plants for me to get with this amount of light so I can avoid getting too high tech. I am new to planted tanks so I don't know a lot about CO2 injection. Does the use of CO2 depend on the number of plants or the type of plants. IE would a bunch of slow growing plants still require CO2?
I plan on stocking the tank with about 8 angel fish, a large school of cory's and maybe some neon's but I am not 100% yet.
Any plant suggestions would be great.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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The number of plants has nothing to do with having to use Co2, but the amount of light and type of plants would. 200 watts over 120 gal will put you in low to mid light range. There is a lot of plants that will do good in this situation. But addition of co2 even to a low light tank will cause plants to really thrive. But that can come later on when you feel more comfortable with trying it.

Most swords, anubia, crypts, java ferns and moss should do good. There is also several stem plants that would do good also. You want a mixture of fast and slow growing plants to help take up nutrients to out compete algae. You would also want to dose ferts, but can get away with once or twice a week.
 

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+1

based on what I have found in aquarium stores over the years I use anacharis, vals, small potted (crypts), plus amazon swords. On 10-20g tank I use 4-8 bunches of anacharis, 4-8 vals, 4-6 potted, and a single amazon sword. You could upsize to the 120 but would probably not need to do a direct porportional upsize.

For a substrate I use 1" peat moss ($10/bale), 1" play sand ($3/50 pound bag), 1" pro choice select ($8 50 pounds bag). For a 120 I would google pro choice select and contact the factory for a local source. You could also use aquarium gravel but that would be more expensive.

I add a layer, fill with water, clean the tank and level the layer then add the next.

After all three layers have been added I plant the plants. Then fill the tank with water poured over a dish.

I let the set 1 week then add a single male platy. Then wait a week with no food being added. I then add a female or two. in 6 months you have a tank full of platys.

For a larger tank you could add more smaller or a larger fish initially.

For lighting your should fine. If the 120 is 4' long, home depot shop lights with 6500k tubes would be good. The fixture is $9 and the tubes are 2 for $6. 3 fixtures would be 6 32 watt t-8 tubes for 186 watts.

With that you should be good to go.

Oh yea. I use no filters, no circulation, straight untreated tap water, and no water changes. Sometimes I get cloudy water and I just kill the lights and stop feeding for a few days until it clears. the resume with less feeding and shorter duration lighting.

I have tanks run for up to 8 years with descendants for the original cycle fish.

my .02
 
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