Re: Aquascaping techniques

Another mistake commonly made (I plead guilty) is to have too many
different species of plants crammed into a tank and to fail to really
plan out the intended appearance. If you are planning a show tank,
I think it is best to plan out the placement of the plants in advance
so that there are good sized groupings of a particular type of plant
and adjacent groupings show a contrast in leaf shape, color and the
over all size of the plants. Some types of plants can be quite invasive
such as Valisneria, Lillaeopsis, chain swords, Ludwigia, Bacopa, 
Ceratopteris, Hygrophila and even Crypts! Sometimes you don't mind if
Lillaeopsis fills in the open areas but you hardly ever want Valisneria
sprouting up all over the tank. One way to contain the types which
send runners it to use rocks such as small pieces of slate to divide
the substrate below the surface like a fence. Species like Ludwigia, 
Bacopa and Hygrophila spread out by growing lateral shoots which 
send down roots. You have to prune these guys back, or (as I do) allow
them to grow to a reasonable size then remove them for sale or replant
them to replace shabby original pieces. Ceratopteris just expands in
all directions and can't be trimmed attractively IMHO. Just plant a
small amount and let it grow until it reaches the nice dimensions
you want. It won't stay that way though. :-) Pity, because it is a
very attractive plant for contrast when healthy.

Another thing I've seen and like is the use of branching drift wood,
free of algae and tan in appearance. I use white quartz, slate and
dolomite rocks but algae can ruin their appearance. I use these to
construct hiding places for the fish.

Vancouver Steve  ..........growing an aquatic jungle!