I got into planted tanks almost a year ago. It's a decision that I'm glad I made - my tanks look so much better, the fish are happier, and the water parameters are more stable. I decided to start simple and stick with low-light plants (1 - 2 watts per gallon) like Java moss, Java fern, swords, and anubias. These plants don't grow particularly fast under low-light conditions, but they are difficult to kill unless you have plant-eating fish.
The biggest cost involved with planted tanks is usually the lighting.
What size tank do you have, and what kind of lighting did it come with?
Is it incandescent or fluorescent?
How many bulbs, and how many watts each?
I replaced my 36 inch 2 X 15W fluorescent with a 36 inch 3 X 25W fixture - cost about $80. (Plus the electric bill for running 75W, 7 hours a day, every single day.
) All of my tanks, (except quarrantine), are low-light planted (1 - 1.5 WPG
The extra work involved? Well, I spend a little more time each month scraping the green spot algae off the glass, and I have to prune once in a while. Gravel vacs are slightly more time consuming because I have to work around the plants. That's basically it.
Someday, I hope to set up a high-light planted tank with CO2
injection, but that will cost money that I just don't have right now.