Red Plants, their specific requirements

Subject: Red Plants, their specific requirements

> I would like to take one of my systems and limit the
> plants to only those with red or almost a red color.

> I would like opinions based on experience about what will make R
> macranda respond in the strongest manner?

In my tanks, R. macrandra grows best potted with potting soil, 
laterite and micronized iron.  It is in a 55G tank with 4 4' T-8 
full spectrum 5000K bulbs over it, supplemental CO2, pH 6.6-6.8, 
moderately hard water, and Tropica Master Grow trace elements.  It 
also grew well with Duplaplant 24 drops.  It definitely seems to 
need high iron content both in the water and the substrate to grow 
really large leaves and show its best bright magenta color.  In my 
experience there's no happy medium with R. macrandra.  If it's not 
happy, it fades away.  Given conditions it likes, it's almost 
weed-like, needing weekly trimming to be kept in check.

I also grow Ammania (gracilis, I think) in this tank.  However, it 
seems to be just as happy directly in the substrate. (#1 aquarium 
gravel with laterite and substrate heating)  This plant took a 
long time to acclimate to the conditions in my tank, but now grows 
quite vigorously.

Of course both R. rotundifolia and R. wallachi get nice rosy tips 
if given lots of light and iron too.

There are several nice red Echinodorus, my fdavorites are the red 
x red Ruby Mellon Sword, and E. 'Rubin', which is similar to E. 
horemanni (red) without the accompanying size problems.

I have a large variety of C. wendtii (red) that is very striking 
and a strong grower.  It does OK in almost any conditions... treat 
it well and it will reward you with size.  C. blassi is another 
red Crypt that I'm quite fond of.

Of course Ludwigia sp. are a red "stand by", but I can't use them 
due to the copper levels in my tank water.  Alternanthera does 
well if given _lots_ of light and the iron it needs.

There's also quite a pretty Red Marble Val, but I've never done 
very well with it, probably also because of the copper levels I 
have to deal with.