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Checking I've got everything right for my first planted tank

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Okay, I just want to be sure I've got everything I'll need for a healthy planted tank. I've already had one crack at it, but it was fairly half-hearted and I ended up with a seemingly indestructible algae bloom. I'm starting the tank all over again and this is what I've got:

A 2ft Tank (about 18 Gallons)

2x T8 18w lights (36w all up, for exactly 2wpg)

Very fine black gravel

1.5kg of Laterite (according to the box I'll only need to use 500g)

Liquid Fertilizer (Seachem Flourish)


Is there anything missing from this list, that my tank will need to remain healthy? It probably won't be planted and filled for another week or so, so I've got plenty of time to correct any mistakes before they happen. :lol:

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um... a filter.... a heater....

Very fine gravel is not always ideal for planted. It tend to compact, restricting nutrient flow through it, and roots dont travel as well through it. Also, fish poo tends to sit on top rather than go down into the substrate where it is needed. Having said that, many create planted tanks from straight sand, so it is not a necessity. It just a personal preference. Consider some coarser gravel, say 4-5mm for the top inch or two. If you arent having fish in there, you may well need some form of nitrate fertilization. Nitrogen (nitrate) is not in flourish. Some cherry shrimps and ottos will be very beneficial to steadying the flow of algae. It always happens. As I am learning, the trick is to give the plants plenty of co2 so they can outcompete the algae for nutrients. It cant be eliminated, but it can certainly be controlled dramatically. I have found not enough co2 is the primary cause. Not enough water flow, and nutrient for the plants are also causes. I have also learned to make sure I have a number of fast growing plants initially. They are the ones that compete with the alage the best. A tank full of anubias and crypts only is very difficult to get started without algae probs :oops:

Be ready for the algae, then it wont smash you and get on top of you. Get some ottos or sae and possibly some shrimps.

How will you deliver the co2?

Other than that, sounds great!!!

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