Mix and Match or Plants in Groups?
As some of you know, I am thinking of re-doing one of my tanks. By that I mean, pulling out all of the substrate and replacing, then replanting and redecorating. I look at many different kinds of aquariums and am undecided as to the look I like best.
I am curious as to which all of you find more visually appealing. Plants in groups (like 3-4 Amazon swords in an area) or sort of Mix and Match. Sword space, Pennywort space, java Fern space etc...
I have some serious limitations including I have a rather ugly plastic log I will be putting into the tank again as it is home to my Rainbow shark. I think it would be cruel to stick him back in without his house. I will however by changing the area of the tank it is in. Also, I need to have some drift/mopani wood because I have a Sailfin Pleco in the tank. After that, I Love the look of a heavily planted tank so... I am sort of open as to how to replant.
I currently have groups of plants to make a "thicker" planted look. Whatever I do It tends to fill in pretty heavily in no time at all. Anyway, any input is good here.
If you want a "natural" look, as in nature, then groups of whatever plant species will achieve that, and not too many different species. Tank size and plant size obviously impact this, but for example with the common Amazon sword a group of 3+ in the entire tank or in one portion (depending upon size) will achieve this. Always 1, or 3+; 2 of anything tends to be very obvious. Mixing species to achieve some interest with different colour (even just shades of green) or leaf shape or plant height works visually. But too many different species begins to look "unnatural". In habitats plant species tend to be very limited. Next time you're out rambling in the forest, take notice of how plants grow and you'll see the same thing. Plants tend to grow "around" wood or rock. A sword growing from a rock crevice for example. Hope these ideas help; I think they are illustrated in the photo of my 115g Amazonian riverscape.
Yes, I think in my quest for change, I got too many different things going on. So when I look now at my tank, I see a tank that needs help. So now... what will I do to fix it? Change it again, of course. ha ha
Here is what I have going now that I pulled a few dozen plants out. It was so thick that the fish had little room to swim. I wish I hadn't tossed so quite as much of my background plants. Not sure what I would like back there but I know I don't care to see the back of the tank so the more plants the better.
My thoughts are, I would like to move the plastic log to the far right, in front of the heater and plant several swords and maybe the grassy stuff close to it. Maybe get an Anubis or something to tie to the log. Will it grow on a plastic log? I have to keep the ugly log for my Rainbow. He would be lost without it and it helps to keep peace in the tank if he has his happy home despite how ugly it is.
Also, I am thinking of removing the giant peace of wood that is on the right and adding another smaller one nearer the left. I like the sponge more toward the right also and wish to hide that AND the tubing with plants. I had Pennywort wrapped around the tubing as well as the electrical cord for the heater so it wasn't visible but had to remove a bunch of that as well. It was such a thick ball that it didn't allow for movement.
Any specific directions you might have (or anyone) or thoughts at least will be appreciated.
Inga, I must say I rather like that tank as is. And I mean that, it is very natural and lovely. I would not touch the wood in the right rear (can hardly see it anyway, but I think in life it would be more noticeable and I would leave it). The artifical log is fine, some Java Moss should attach to it and be lovely, or Java Fern though this might grow up large. Maybe some Pennywort at the back, but I'd be more inclined to leave that too but definitely some floating plants. Either Water Sprite or Pennywort would be my choice here. Floating plants are good for angelfish.
Yeah that tank looks great as it is.
Yes, the wood shows up much more. The picture is actually missing about a foot and a half of the far right part of the tank. The wood is quite a large piece but is in shadow of the Hornwort that is floating. I currently have floating plants on both ends. I did just remove the giant Pennywort ball. Do you think it needs to be over the entire tank? If so, how do you keep it from getting covered in Algae and do the plants under neath the floating plants get enough light? Also on the right side are 4 Amazon Swords that are currently about 5 inches shorter then the tall swords you can see in the picture.
What is the grassy stuff? Is that the Valisneria you were speaking of? I do really like that and would like to add a little more. I do seem to have difficulty keeping my floating plants from getting kind of yucky on the top. I am sure they are too close to the light and getting too much but how does one avoid that and still allow enough light though? Admittedly, I do like a bright tank that I can easily see but offers enough dark hiding spots for the fish.
Also, as of late, I seem to be having difficulty balancing light and nutrients and I am getting more yellow leaves showing up. I cut the light back by 2 hours because I am getting some algae on some of the leaves (more in my 25 gallon tank) and I just can't seem to get that under control. It won't go away.
One other goal in making changes is to make more visual block as my Angels mature, I don't want fights so I would like to maybe create a few different sections, if that is possible?
Also, any thoughts on how to deal with giant Pleco poop on plants? It hangs on the plants like Garland on a Christmas tree. Yuck!
Strand, Thanks for the complement. Guess I am just ready for a change.
Except for the floating Pennywort, all the plants in my 115g are sword species, Echinodorus (or Hellanthium). The shorter plant that has expanded all over the place is the pygmy chain sword, formerly Echinodorus tenellus and now Hellanthium tennelum, or more accurately a related species. But chain sword is close enough.
Algae issues come and go with the seasons. And plants need "rest" periods during the year. I have Pennywort floating in several tanks, and it will be fine for months, then suddenly start to yellow and get spindly. A few weeks later, it comes back. Most plants actually do this, it is there way of having rest periods which in temperate regions would mean winter die back. My frogbit which was covering the surface in the 70g suddenly died off to a few spindly leaves a few weeks back; I noticed yesterday during the water change that is is slowly re-growing. It has done this regularly since I first got it 2 years ago.
Pleco are messy fish, period.
Beautiful tank. I kind of like the artificial log, the color contrasts nicely.
I noticed you had floating swords but stupidly thought they were just babies and you were waiting for root developement before planting. I actually didn't know you could just float swords. I had a few babies I floated for awhile hoping roots would grow. I think my fish nibbled at them enough to kill them off. Those were the Guppies though and they are no longer in that tank, i moved them all to smaller tank. Do the swords get enough nutrients just out of the water with Flourish?
I like the idea of floating the swords because they would allow more light through and they offer an interesting look that appeals to my need for something different. Glad to hear it is normal to get a little algae. I am becomming a phobic tank cleaner and trying everything to avoid it. Guess I will just have to deal with those periods. Do you always cut off the yellow parts or just allow them their rest period? I have been hacking my poor plants to death.
Thanks DKRST I think it looks better in the picture then it does in real life. In real life it looks plastic, at least the bottom does so if I can plant a few more plants around it and cover the "rock" edge, it will look alright. If I can get some moss to stick on it and grow it would be really cool. ha ha
In my 10g I planted some pygmy chain sword and when the runners appeared let them continue across the tank midwater rather than on the substrate, and they continued and produced floating plants all over the place. Been that way for months now, quite effective. I only float Amazon sword daughter plants in a couple tanks, mainly to fill the space. But they do last long. Provided they obtain sufficient nutrients via their roots, whether in the substrate or in the water, no difference. I only use Flourish Comp liquid now. The 70g has Flourite substrate, but the other tanks are all sand or fine gravel. Ironically the swords are no better with the enriched substrate.
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