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I will speak for myself and not set an example for unlike some I am not blessed to live at a place where aquarium hardware, substrate, plants, fishes are easily available. I never put a name to it -- Aaron T calls it a 'farm tank' -- and yes I do have tanks like that in which I keep plant varieties for display tanks, but then these only can supply small amount of the species needed. I also keep 50k bags of lateritic clay for making substrates. I have a collection of stones and wood of various types which I have collected in my various outings (and some gifted to me by young people who crowd my fish rooms on holidays). I even have a collection of submersible pumps (mainly used for cooling air) of various sizes, which I adapt for aquarium use.

You would wonder at my disclosure of near LFS proportions; but it was necessary as we here have formed a group of planted tank enthusiasts, and the stocks I keep allows others to follow the hobby.

I quite often have to setup small planted tanks for newbies. I also plan with more experienced followers their dream tanks. Sorry for the overlong introduction.

Now the choice of plants might result in different approaches. In a tank with plants like crypts or vals, you might need to create hidden substrate areas to limit the adventures of their rhizomes and suckers. This you do even before you add the substrate. With such tanks you are forced to plant for maturity and plan accordingly.

Tanks which are predominately stems, stones, driftwood, moss have a different approach of plant and adjust. Trimming and widening clumps -- or thinning them -- as your fancy desires and the plant growth allows.

Naturally sometimes both the approaches gets mixed because of the mix of plants and the layout proposed.

The limitation of the bulk amount of plants necessary for aquascaping will naturally predispose any hobbyist to plant - trim - add more - wait to mature tactics. The method suits the means and the circumstances governing you; not the other way around.
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