An old friend George Farmer has demonstrated just how you create a planted aquarium with just one pot of Micranthemum 'Monte-Carlo'. This is no easy task and unless you have A LOT of experience, do not try this at home. I always recommend a high plant mass from the beginning for creating balance, but if you know what you are doing, you can experiment.
Here George mentions why he thinks this tank has been successful:
- Controllable LED lighting - without which it would be too easy to have too much light
- Super (and already mature) filtration with lots of Purigen - mature bio-media and chemical media result in zero ammonia spikes and low organic waste
- Time to do water changes every other day - lots of water changes help prevent algae by diluting organic waste
- Large shrimp population - constantly cleaning all surface inside tank to prevent algae
- Low fish population - less organic waste = less algae
- RO water - I find I need less CO2 compared with hard tap water, and there's other anecdotal benefits
- Active soil - high nutrient content, ideal grain structure, and stable low pH to encourage root growth
So take note, replicate, rinse and repeat. Do as George says and you shouldn't go far wrong.