I have had this tank set up for over a year now and have made multiple changes to it, but have never been completely happy with it. It is in my kitchen, which is in the middle of the house and is a room we are constantly walking through and spending time in so I want it to look good. However, I think it is only mediocre right now... This is where you guys come in.
The plants I have in the tank are plants that I personally like. I would prefer to keep most of them, though I am open to selling some of the italian vals and some of the trident java fern. I am also open to buying a few plants but prefer to stick with low maintenance plants... I have been considering buying a jungle val or two. I have so far stayed away from crypts because the "leaf melt" they are known for scares me. However, I am open to trying some of the more readily available, EASY variations. I bought the frogbit because I read that the gouramis like it. After a rough start, it has been doing really well recently, and I think it is getting close to being thin it out.
I do have a couple pieces of hedge branches that I've used in the past. I have a few, small white rocks as well, though I'm not so sure that they fit with the black sand in the tank.
I would like your help figuring out how to arrange things for the best effect. I really like most of the pictures I've seen of the scapes I've seen on here, but I am one of those people that must see it before I know if it looks good. This is where you guys come in.
My original plan was to have the italian vals as a "curtain" along the back. They didn't stay as tall as I had hoped, though. The amazon sword was supposed to fill in most of the middle portion of the tank, and I was going to put smaller swords in the middle of the spaces on either side of the amazon sword. Then, I changed my mind and decided bolbitis on one side and java fern on the other. Neither of those has worked as well as I had hoped. I originally wanted the crinums to cover the top of the tank, but then the frogbit took over the area I had planned for it and then some...
Basically, my design failed and I need input!
Suggestions? Opinions? Please!
The current inhabitants:
5 pearl gouramis
3 bolivian rams
10 cardinal tetras
2 crinum variations
trident java fern
narrow leaf java fern
needle leaf java fern
2 species of anubias
marimo moss ball
LOTS of italian vals - spreading fast
water wisteria - not growing as fast as I expected
This is a 55g tank. I have a high ph (~8.0). The other water parameters are in normal limits.