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Re: Decorating suggestions

Matt wrote:

> I have the following plants in my 10 gallon tank, and I'm wondering about
> some decorating suggestions, I have pics at http://sabotaged.cjb.net, since
> i've taken those pictures the tank's grown twice as many plants.


Take a look at the entries in the small aquatic gardens category in the
AGA showcase (http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org).  The showcase
includes some beautiful examples of well-done small tanks and it should
give you a good start on your own design.

> I'd hate to have to replace most of the plants. I trim like
> every 2 days, especially the anachris.

Unfortunately you will probably need to replace some plants.  Some of
the plants you have now will be difficult or impossible to maintain in a
10-gallon tank.  You've already found the high-maintenance requirements
for the Elodea and H. polysperma.  When things do get growing you'll
find that the val and the melon sword gets far too large for a 10-gallon
tank.  The melon sword can grow emersed for a nice effect, but since
it's leaves reach over 18" long (giving it a 36" radius) it won't fit
for long in a 10-gallon tank.  Common varieties of val will grow leaves
4 feet long, and I've had it grow 3-foot long leaves in a 10 gallon
tank.  I understand that the "gigantea" variety can have leaves up to 8
feet long.

The H. polysperma and E. densa will require frequent pruning, as will
most stem plants.  You will need to keep the stems from laying out on
the water surface; that makes the tank look terribly small and the
shorter plants get shaded.  You might try stem plants that tend to grow
more slowly and/or stay smaller.  Pearl grass and baby tears are good
examples.  Lobelia cardinalis gets large, but not too quickly, so it
could also be used in back corners.

The lileaopsis, java moss and Anubias are good choices.  To fill out the
rest of the tank you might look for small- to medium-sized crypts in the
place of the melon sword.  Riccia (even though I hate the plant) can be
used for great effects in small tanks.  Dwarf tenellus, dwarf hairgrass
and (if you can find it) dwarf lobelia are very useful.  Regular E.
tenellus get's too large to grow in the foreground of a small tank, but
can be used in the middle ground and background.

You really need to grow small plants in small aquariums.  Unfortunately
many of the commonly available aquarium plants get large or grow too
fast to be maintained in a small aquarium.

Roger Miller