07-28-2012, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by drewo
Hey guys, I'd like to start greening up my tank beyond the two amazon swords in there I have right now and was hoping for some more advice. I live in the SF Bay Area and have seem some decent selection, but not really the full scope of what I was looking for in terms of being able to pick and choose. One store in San Francisco had an impressive array of plants and some really gorgeous planted tanks, but few South American species (still planning to go the amazon biotope route.) At the moment, I'm thinking three or for pygmy chain swords for the foreground and another one or two larger plants for the back -- maybe a marble queen sword? Any particular suggestions that I'd have trouble killing as a beginner?
And as far as broadening my selection horizons, it seems like buying online is pretty reputable these days. Any dos and don'ts I should watch out for? Any particular sites you guys are fond of?
You should have good luck with most of the swords (Echinodorus species), at least the green-leaf ones. The red leaf plants are fussier, requiring brighter light and even with this they frequently do not attain the true red that they will with CO2 diffusion and more frequent nutrient supplements. They may still survive, with dark green/brownish instead of red leaves, at least mine are like this.
You might want to limit species, if you are after a more authentic aquascape. In nature you normally find may plants of each species, and in a specific area seldom more than 2 or 3 species. Within this i aim for some contrast in colour. Among the swords this can be achieved by a large species like E. bleherae, then for a much darker green the E. parviflorus "Tropica," one of the chains for lighter green, Helanthium tenellum or H. bolivianus, and one of the "Marble" species with their variegated spotted leaves or the reddish leaf ones (that will be more brown/red as I noted).
As for online plant sources, I will leave this to other members who have used them, which is something I have not.