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None of the plants you listed are out of the realm of doing well together. Placement is important. For example, shade low light plants ( Javas, Crypts) with moderate light plants. The highest light plant you listed is the red ludwigia. That should be in a position to receive plenty of light.
 

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Oh that is interesting... I suddenly had an "ah ha" moment from what you said.... :shock: Why I didn't get this before is beyond me.
I have Giant Vals in my back left corner which travel across the tank.... the plants that need the most light should be over at the right end of the tank? right? Cause it is darkest where the val's are thickest. (or cut them back, which I really don't want to do.)
Does cutting Giant Vals' back promote spreading instead? (Like cutting off the extra flowers from a pumpkin vine so one big pumpkin will grow?)

What is the best way to get your new purchases to multiply? Stem plants you grow tall and cut them and re-bunch right? But what about spreaders?

Jeff alot of buying plants seems to be trial and error but I'm following your thread hoping to learn from you here. My first planted tank too. But like you I hate seeing something melt away or get yellow/brown leaves and spots.
You are right about the placement. I wouldn't cut back the vals either, unless it gets to the point where they're shading everything. Cutting them back doesn't promote spreading or bushiness. Since they are heavy root feeders, the best way to get them to spread is healthy root conditions. The prune and replant method is correct for stem plants.
 

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Yes, where you cut most stem plants and making sure you plant a healthy node is important. Most stem plants do branch out after they are pruned. If memory serves me well, pennywort doesn't react as well to frequent pruning as most other plants. Don't know the reason for this.
 

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I suspect it is due to the single leaf with its own little branchlet rather than a terminal node with a few leafs sprouting right from the node and the relatively longer distance between nodes.... but that's just a guess or two.

Jeff.
That makes perfect sense. I'm using it as a floater. The African Dwarf Frogs and betta use it as perching spots close to the surface.

I took the new plant plunge last night and placed an order with Aquariumplants.com.. Still looking for the right mix myself. I think my problem is overall lighting intensity. I have the right tubes, just not enough of them. My fixtures are all old single tube types. Trying to come up with a way to increase intensity without breaking the bank on new fixtures.
 

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Wow, quite a difference in the plant sizes between the bright and moderate sides of the tank. I have been tempted to try some root tabs with some of the heavy root feeding plants but, like you said, they'll only do as well as the weakest facet allows and, for me, it's lighting. Right now, I believe that my best tank insofar as lighting is concerned is an inexpensive 20 set that came with an incandescent fixture. I replaced the bulbs that were supplied with daylight CFLs. They seem to give me the intensity I was missing. I might replace all my old fixtures with cheap incandescents if this works out. Floating plants do add a whole new dimension to a tank. You're probably right about the barbs preferring the plants. Maybe try the cucumber and blanched lettuce or spinach and see if that keeps them off the plants. I have a rainbow shark that is currently keeping all of the water sprites and water wisterias in his tank mowed down. Best of luck !
 

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Great looking tank and nice photos. I love the little fish face in the first one. I have the "roots" of a couple Java Ferns planted in the substrate up to but not over the rhizome. I don't have any real driftwood and the substrate keeps them anchored. My new plants arrive Friday and I'll be spending some of tomorrow getting the tanks ready for them. My 2 biggest tanks are in the basement (no room upstairs) so I bought a 2 lamp shop light and intend to hang it over the 55 gallon tank. Also bought clear acrylic to replace the hood. Hoping this helps with my lighting.
 

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I have been looking at planting and, specifically, the plants that I have in my tank so far.

It appears that the best piece of advice that I have seen so far is to only plant the roots of the plant below the surface of the substrate. I might think that this is more important with a sand substrate as it will reduce the water flow beneath the surface more than a gravel might. Leaving the sand up over some of the green stem part will promote rot and will kill the stem/branch/shoot. I have already seen this on a small level with my dwarf swords which I left floating until I figured out how to best situate them... they have been replanted about a week.

Now, while I am sitting at work, I am thinking that I still have some plants planted too deep... there are no signs of problems yet so they mustn't be deep enough for an immediate response but I plant on playing in the water tonight and pulling everything that is specifically substrate planted up out of the sand a bit more. Even just fanning off some of the sand might suffice. I need to rely more on the roots holding things in place as opposed to letting the sand do the work farther up the stem.

Jeff.
With stem plants, you can plant a fairly long piece under the substrate and just barely cover a healthy node. This keeps the plant in place while the node develops roots. With substrate planted specimens, I wouldn't let them float around too long because they are disconnected from their nutrient source. I agree that planting depth is probably more critical with sand than it is with gravel; however, I wouldn't take any chances with either. From what I've seen, you seem to have a nack with plants.
 

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All of my tanks have that narrow depth also. They used to make a 40 gallon that was a lot deeper than the average tank. I think people refer to them as grow out or raising tanks. It seems you could really create some interesting features in a deeper tank. Paths, grottos, etc. You definitely have an eye for aquascaping.
 

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I'll bet you'd see the fish picking their environment in such a setup. For instance, if you had cherry barbs and neons, the cherry barbs would probably enjoy the flow while the neons would prefer the quiet side of the tank.

I've seen very attractive tanks that feature only two or three types of plants. Of course, those tanks also contained massive, very expensive looking wood features. Another thing I've noticed is a tendency to vary substrates within the same tank and have a terraced or undulating substrate surface. I'm still at the point of trying to keep everything healthy and happy.
 

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Your tank is looking amazing, Jeff. I use API Ammo Lock as my conditioner. It doesn't neutralize heavy metals. From what I understand, most conditioners do neutralize heavy metals and that is why it is recommended to wait a day. Being able to do everything at once works best for me.
 

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Between the two choices, I'd say your plant is the Pygmy or Narrow Leaf Chain Sword. If so, they do like stronger light. Mine just gradually disappeared. I think the gravel substrate in that tank was the problem.
 
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