05-28-2012, 05:46 PM
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I'm adverse to changing out the gravel because the tank is so heavily planted. A lot of the plants have really formed good root structures. I'd be afraid of damaging them and losing plants. E.g., the cryptocoryn undulata in particular.
I went with light gravel because it's near impossible to see ADFs on darker gravel. The whole reason I got this tank was for them.
As for leaves and branches, I've done the best I can, I think. All the plants are real and the Corys really seem to enjoy perusing amongst them. All the plants have made the bottom darker for them as well. Lastly, I have 3 good sized pieces of Malaysian driftwood in the tank, which they like to pick at. The tannins also keep the water slightly darker.
So all that said, I don't think I'm ready to start the arduous project of switching substrates just now. Here are some shots, so you can see what I'd be dealing with to even think of beginning that: