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My plant order arrived last Friday and after placing the stump a bit to the right (from its original spot) and adding another bag of Flourite I was ready to plant. I had ordered 5 bunches each of 4 different types of stem plants but only received 3 types. I had ordered Anacharis, Hornwort, Moneywort, and Wisteria but the Wisteria was left out. I had more Hornwort than the others so I used it for the right corner. I used the Moneywort in the left corner and the Anacharis went in between. My plan called for 20 bunches for a 55 gallon tank. Will I have any problem with only 15? I can get more locally but each bunch had so many stems I felt I had enough but I am open to suggestions.
Finally, I also ordered a Java Fern and was expecting to attach something about 6 inches tall to my driftwood. As you can see from the picture its closer to 18 inches tall. I am pleasantly surprised but don't know what to do with it. I rubberbanded it to a rock and placed it next to the stump. Any comments on how it looks currently or where it might look better? As it is about three inches of one blade stick out the top of the tank. Is that bad?
 

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Interesting choice of plants for an aquascape, to say the least: anachris, hornwort, and Bacopa monnieri. Let's see what we can do with this tank. :)

First of all, you seem to have pretty much all the plants you need to start off your tank. I am curious to know how much lighting you are using and if you are using CO2?

As far as driftwood is concerned:
The placement seems well done. The only problem I see is that the driftwood looks too raw. Personally, I would soften its appearance by tying patches of java moss and several small Anubias barteri var. nana to it. Bolbitis heudelotii is a favorite of mine, and one which I would consider. If the driftwood is at too much of a vertical, lean it farther up to the front.

As far as plantings are concerned:
As I see it currently, the tank is planted a bit linearly from right to left. You may want to make some plant switches as the aquarium matures. Hemianthus micranthemoides (baby tears) and/or Heteranthera zosterifolia as midground hedges in the front corners would be better than the Anachris/Bacopa. As the tank matures and gain more experience, you may want to replace the bunch plants in the back with more visually impressive species such as Bacopa caroliniana, Rotala rotundifolia, Alternanthera reineckii "rosaefolia," etc.

A foreground plant would be a good idea as well. I'd recommend Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (brazilian micro sword) or Eleocharis acicularis if you want a grassy texture. Glossostigma elatinoides and Marsilea sp. are excellent 'clover-like' plants for the foreground as well.

As a side note, the java fern leaf sticking out of the water will probably be dry out. However, it should not hurt the overall plant.

Welcome to APC!

Carlos
 

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Thanks for your reply. I started the tank using a method that calls for lots of stem plants initially. Locally I was finding an average of $3 per stem so I was looking at $60+ if I went that route. I found an online source, however, and for $30 (including shipping) got the stems plus the fern and some Glosso. The stems were selected simply because they were available and matched my list of recommended fast growers. I plan to remove the stems eventually so any attempts at aquascaping with them (like the front corners) is to make the tank look its best and to give me a chance to experiment with different looks.
The tank is a standard 55 gallon with 160w of Normal Output flourescent at 6500k. I am using a DIY CO2 setup with 2 bottles and a modified HOB protein skimmer (SeaClone from my saltwater junk pile) as a reactor.
I like the idea of moss on the driftwood. I saw something called mini moss. I liked the look a little better than Java moss. Do you know the name of this mini moss and if its hard to find?
On the long term planting of the tank...I want a V shaped background with tall plants in both corners descending to a valley someplace in between (to the right of the driftwood). I am also planning a V with the Glosso to somewhat complement it. What is a good transition plant to go next to the Glosso that would be a little taller? What would then be a good plant to go next in the progression of small to large? I want to give my fish a lot of swimming room so I want to keep a good portion of the front of the tank in either Glosso or something else relatively small outlining the Glosso area.

 

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The java fern looks like a mature emmersed specimen, showing the "winged" fronds of the species "pteropus". The plant will eventually grow submerged leaves from the rhizome, but don't throw away the emmersed leaves. You can cut them off or leave them as it is, but either way, new plantlets will sprout from the leaf edges, which you can pluck off and retie to the wood.
 

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I think that your V shaped idea is nice, but you must remember than a 55g is very difficult to aquascape. In fact, the greatest weakness of this tank is the narrow width --with abrupt transitions from foreground to background with no space for the midground. That said, the following plants would be good for the midground position of a wider aquarium:

Anubias barteri var. nana
Blyxa japonica
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Tropica'
Cryptocoryne x willisii "lucens"
Lobelia cardinalis 'small form'
Riccia fluitans covered driftwood or rock... same with java moss.
Hemianthus micranthemoides (baby tears)
Heterranthera zosterifolia (stargrass)

And many others.

Carlos
 
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