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Joe's tank


I've studied your photos a few times and have some comments.

The back of the tank isn't covered, or is covered in something very
white.  I think it would look quit a bit better if you closed off the
back with something.  Black poster board has been suggested.  I use
black fabric.  You many be able to use other colors (particularly blue
or green) to a good effect.

As I see it the layout contains two major elements; a prominent
solitaire sword plant on the right side of the tank and a piece of
driftwood that sweeps upward and to the left across the tank starting
from near the base of the large plant.  The height of plants on the left
side of the tank increases to the left, following the line of the wood,
and that is a nice effect.

I think you might enhance these elements by isolating the large sword
plant on the right even more than you have; perhaps clearing everything
around it except a very low carpet and maybe something that fills the
back right corner (anubias, maybe) but which doesn't encroach on the
sword plant itself.  Sword plants are difficult to aquascape around, but
that may be one way to handle this one.

The plants on the left side of the tank follow the line of the wood
fairly nicely, but I think you can improve that effect even more by
planting some intermediate height plants in front of the wood so that
they hide the base of the sword plants on the left and block
front-to-back visibility below the wood.  The Saururus might work well

A few comments on stem plants.  A lot of us grow H. polysperma, and I
wouldn't be surprised if almost all of us grew it at one time or
another.  H. polysperma is a pretty much a weed.  It's easy to grow, but
honestly it isn't a very decorative plant--not even the colored
varieties.  It's one of those plants that's great for beginners but we
should probably get away from it as soon as we can grow plants to
replace it.

You have some nice reddish stems of Rotala indica (rotundifolia) at the
back center, in front of the giant hygro.  You will get a better effect
(but perhaps not a better color) by keeping those stems off the water
surface -- maybe no more than 3/4 tank height.  R. rotundifolia is
another fairly weedy stem plant--literally a rice paddy weed in its
native range.  

Generally stem plants arranged in groups should be planted so that the
stems are not all the same height.  The whorl of leaves at the top of
the stem that is usually the stem's most attractive part, so that whorl
needs to be kept below the water surface and open to view.

It might improve things generally if you moved the D. diandra out from
behind the big sword on the right side of the tank and put it where the
R. rotundifolia is now.

H. corymbosa is one of my favorite large plants, but I think it displays
much better in 3-dimensional groups.  Putting it in a row across the
back of the tank doesn't display the plant as well as (say) a triangle
of three plants arranged with the shortest plant in front.

The plants look nice and healthy, Joe.  I think you have a good start on
a beautiful tank.

Roger Miller