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Re: Maintaining Groups of Plants

>Does anyone else have something they'd like to add about maintaining
>groups of plants?  I'm looking especially for experience with other
>crypts, small groups of stem plants and "carpet" plants.
>Roger Miller

As I've mentioned before, I'm a compulsive redecorator.  However, my basic
design stays pretty constant.  Tall curtains of rotala, hygro sp.,
watersprite, or anything else that's tall and full in back; a centerpiece
plant or two, individual plants/small groupings spread throughout, and a
carpet of dwarf sag in front.

Background groups --
I trim them just below the surface of the water (occasionally let them
spread across, for effect) and plant top trimmings, of staggered heights, in
front of the group.

The rotala is great for this.  Every few months, I need to uproot the group
and thin out the scrawnier strands,  but on the whole, it's self-sustaining.
I trim more or less weekly.

The hygro, however, is a pain.  It will look great for a few weeks, and then
the roots start.  Overgrown rotala looks fine, it just blocks some of the
light to other plants.  Overgrown hygro, though, looks like a mess when the
roots start growing down.  I'm constantly camouflaging the root growth on
the plants in back, by planting top trimmings in front, and it's like a game
of roulette, guessing whether the roots are going to set in, or the plant
will grow for a while without them.

I've kept individual plants, not groups, of crypts and the like.  Not much
room for large groups of them in a small tank, and my design concept hasn't
changed, now that I've moved up to a 75 gallon.

I've got a carpet of dwarf sag, which spreads like mad.  It doesn't seem to
choke out other plants, though.  There's a nice visual transition, from the
dwarf sag (1" tall plants), to the larger variety (3-4" tall plants) to the
medium-sized swords and crypts.  I haven't confronted many 'issues' with
keeping the sag as a group, except that it collects debris.  A couple of
corys have helped with this, though.

Alysoun McLaughlin
Wheaton, Maryland