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introduction and questions from new member

dear aquatic gardeners,

i have subscribed to this list for a few weeks now and i would like to
introduce myself. my name is tsuh yang and i live in new york city.  ever
since i was a child growing up in brazil, i have always wanted to raise
fish and keep aquaria, something that i didn't get to do until 4 years
ago when i moved into my first apartment.  i now have 6 fish tanks (one
55, one 29 and four 10 gallon tanks).  the 55-gallon is a south american
fish setup, 29 is an asian-african mix and the four smaller tanks are
used to breed fish (mostly apistos).

i am also very interested in aquatic plants (and other plants, i grow
orchids and other tropical plants in my windowsills) and have tried
growing all sorts of plants in these tanks.  currently, this is what i

55-gallon (setup 4 years ago with laterite and gravel as substrate, lit
by 2 40 watt tubes, fluval canister filter): java fern (which covers a
large piece of driftwood), 2 crinum, 2 large echinodorus, barclaya

29-gallon (setup with only gravel, lit by one 20 watt tube, eheim
canister filter): java fern, several anubias, 2 crinum, 1 echinodorus, 2
valisneria, limnobium and salvinia.	

10-gallons: java moss, anubias, cryptocorynes, nymphoides (banana plant),
bacopa, valisneria, many floating plants.

as you can see, i don't grow a huge variety of plants but i have tried
many different kinds.  in the 55-gallon, for example, i started out with
a large selection of plants but in the end many would not survive
(including some that initially grew like weeds -- heteranthera
zoosterifolia, for example-- then died out), and 2 species (namely java
fern and echinodorus) ended up taking over most of the tank.

as aquatic-growers go, i try for a low-tech, low-cost approach but i
would like to learn more about aquatic gardening techniques and hope to
learn more from you all.  

i have a few comments on some postings and questions (sorry for the long

1) on the topic of mail-order sources, i would definitely NOT recommend
horizon growers, in california.  when i ordered from them a few years
ago, i ended up with lots of terrestrial or swamp plants that were
definitely not aquatic plants.  also, the shipment that was to be a 2-day
delivery took ten days for ups to deliver and many plants arrived in poor
health by then.  i find apalling the practice, most often encountered in
many petshops, of selling terrestrial plants as aquariums plants (such as
palms, caladiums etc.).

2) i have not had much luck with bulbous plants.  how does one grow
nuphar, nymphoides, barclaya, etc.?  i have had nuphar with huge, fat
rootstocks that withered away once planted.  my barclaya originally
flourished, even bloomed, but since has divided into smaller plantlets
and none has grown to be as big as the parent bulb.  

3) has anyone grown a plant that looks a little like a colourful cabage,
somewhat purplish-leaved?  i'm told it is an aquatic lobelia.  

4) finally, how does one get rid of lemna (duckweed) once it gets
infested in your tank?

thanks for any help or info.

tsuh yang chen, new york city