Help me decide on plants, decor, types and placement. Please.

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HOWsMom

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I've never really tried my hand at planting a tank with any purpose in mind - got a few plants in a little 6g that seem to be growing okay, but that's it.

This tank will be in my living room. I desperately want it to look 'pretty'.

The tank is currently cycling, so it's an empty slate at the moment. I've got the start of an idea, but I don't know how well it would pan out in the long run.

Tank is 32g. 31.5" long. 13.75" wide, and about 17" deep.

I have easy access to a variety of fairly common plants - crypts, java moss, anubias, etc through a LFS.

What I'm thinking of doing is putting some sand up front, leaving it an open area mostly, with a couple of 3.5" terracotta flower pots placed on their sides - one at either end.

Then in the back, a deeper substrate, a combination of regular aquarium gravel and flourite - both are dark / black.

But I don't know what plants to choose, where to place them, etc.

I *think* I'm going to have gouramis, neon/cardinal tetras, and otto cats. Probably.
 

Annadvn

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What lighting are you planning to run?

With low light levels I would try crypts and anubias attached to driftwood and java fern.

If you have good light levels then you could try other plants, like amazon swords etc...

Anna
 
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HOWsMom

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2x 20w T8 fluorescent. Both 6,700K which is changeable.
The wattage is not changeable.
 

AlexW

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With that lighting I'd go with low light plants; the crypts, anubias and java moss would all work great... another couple to consider are bolbitis and java fern.

The problem I think you're going to have is keeping the sand and larger grade substrate separate... during water changes it's just about impossible to keep from disturbing one or the other.
 

Nutter

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It's very difficult to work out plant placement without knowing the size, shape & positioning of your wood & rocks. Is it possible for you to draw those into the diagram? For picking plants, let lighting restrictions be your guide as to what plants to select from, then work of size to decide whether the plants belong in the back, mid or foreground. Look for contrasting leaf shape & colour to give the best effects. For example you wouldn't plant sagitaria in front of a bunch of vallis as it would just blend in. You would pick a broad leaf plant like an anubius to go in front of the vallis or a plant with red leaves like a red tiger lotus.

Alex has a point aobut keeping the substrates separate. Will you be using a divider of some kind? Sometiong like a couple of pieces of wood or river pebbles siliconed together to make a wall across the front would work & look pretty natural.
 
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HOWsMom

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At the moment, I have a piece of garden edging that I'll be using to keep the sand / substrate separated. It's just plain black, but until I can invest enough money into large/flat rocks or wood pieces to use instead, it'll have to do.

The driftwood, I'll be putting in sort of a inverted "V", with the point pointing towards the back of the tank.
 

Nutter

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Given the lighting I would probably do a broad leaf plant like an Ozelot Sword in between the two pieces of wood, near the back where they will meet. A row of Vallis along the back wall covering all but 6" in the middle back. Right side glass I would line with Sunset Hygro. A Water Wisteria in the midground between the Sunset & the Sword. Left glass I would line with Ambulia. A Red Tiger Lotus would go in the midground between the Ambulia & the Sword. Underneath those plants I would scatter various Crypts, probably relying pretty heaviliy on Cryptocoryne Undulatus & Cryptocoryne Wendtii. I would attach some moss to the rocks. Attach a Bolbitus Fern to the wood right where it meets at the back. I would attach Anubius Nana 'Petite' to the other parts of one piece of wood & leave the other bare.

Does that all make sense? I think those plants should all be ok under your lighting & would offer a good contrast in colour & leaf shapes.
 
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HOWsMom

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I'll have to go see what those plants look like - but thank you, Nutter - that's a nice, concise list and I truly appreciate it.
 

harpua2002

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I have nothing useful to add per se, just that I LOVE Nutter's suggestion for aquascaping and I know it would look fabulous in your tank. Also, I totally agree with his plant ideas for the lighting that you have.

BTW- I picked up some bolbitis at a recent auction and I have to say it is one of my favorite plants now. It has beautiful dark green leaves and is super easy to keep like java fern, but in my tank at least it is a much faster grower than java fern.
 
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