Planted aquariums are one of the most attractive freshwater setup one can create. A good size aquarium is the first step. I would recommend using an iron enriched substrate to help encourage the growth of the plants. Flourite is one of the most common medias to use. Lighting is also important to a planted aquariums. Just like land plants, aquarium plants need light to provide food. I would recommend using a bulb that has a Kelvin of over 6500K is best for live plants. Low light plants can still do great in aquariums with standard florecent lighting. Another piece of equipment that most planted aquarium owners use is a co2 system. It is rather experive and will require new sources of co2, but this along with a co2 difussior provide direct nutrition to the plants.
Plant aquariums were never our forte but planted aquariums should be designed to have shorter plants in the foreground and taller plants in the rear. This will provide the illusion of depth to the aquarium. The more common foreground plants include mirco swords, hair grass, chain swords. Mid ground plants would include anabuis nana and Amazon swordplants. Background plants would include corkscrew vals, and large sword plants.
Some of the more common questions that we answer would have to be about buying plants. When buying plants, of course make sure they are green and overall healthy looking. One thing to look for when the plant is in the bag, would be for snails. While it may be impossible to get all of the snails, it is very probable that a hitch hiker snail might be on the plant. If you dont mind the snails then go ahead and leave them. Personally they breed to fast and have no benefit to my sytle of aquariums. Also most aquarium stores sell their aquarium plants in baskets or bases basically. Yes you can remove them from this, basically the media you can throw out and take the bare root plant and place it directly into the substrate.
If you are having trouble with most plants, a great plant is anaubis nana. I truely love this plant, cureently we have one mother plant that has been with us for around 10 years. Very low light and very forgiving as far as water parameters are concerned. It is a hard leaf plant which means that fish wont generally eat the leaves. They are rather expiencive but worth the extra money for an aquarium plant that is hardy.
A new era of planted tanks are becoming ever popular. Nano planted tanks with java moss and java ferns in small under 3 gallon aquariums. These aquariums are best placed with shrimps. While shrimps arent plants, they seem to fit right hand to hand in our planted section. Ghost shrimps are very common in the aquarium trade, this rather cheap shrimp is clear and non aggressive to fish tankmates. Can be considered a food source in the aquarium hobby, ghost shrimps will do fine in a planted nano aquarium. Cherry shrimps are also a very popular item. They have a very bright red coloration in the males i believe, and very prolific. These are great desktop aquarium inhabitants to a freshwater nano tank.