My general idea is to develop the background with "grassy" foliage. The major constraint for the plant growth habit and shape is that they scale well with this smaller tank. I think I have some pretty good selections for this concept. All of these are well-recognized as growing in wet/marginal aquatic situations.
I have several ideas for midground emersed plants to be grown on trellis rafts. I will come back to describe these with another post.
Of these three plants only the first, Pogonatherum crinitum
is a true grass (Graminae). The Cyperus
is a sedge (Cyperaceae) and the Acorus
is a sweetflag (Acoraceae).
This one is still untested for riparium culture--I only recently acquired it--but it looks like it might be a winner. Known with the common names "baby panda bamboo" or "miniature bamboo", among others, it is not a true bamboo, but it is a grass. I am confused as to whether Pogonatherum paniceum
(another plant that appears in searches) and P. crinitum
are synonyms, or two distinct but similar species. I get the impression that they are the same thing. Descriptions for both describe plants growing with bamboo-like foliage to about 18" tall. It is very popular as a bonsai subject or houseplant and also makes a good houseplant. This could be a great riparium plant.
Acorus gramineus "dwarf"
I am still uncertain about the best classification for this plant. I have the species right, but I have run into some conflicting information on the variety, so I just identify it with "dwarf" in double quotes. The foliage is neat and tidy and has a perfect shape for a setup like this, with leaves that arch forward from the creeping rhizome at about a 45 degree angle. The top of that planter cup is three inches or so wide. The leaves reach to about 9" in length. Bruised foliage of this particular Acorus
variety has a wonderful sweet spicy smell. Sweetflags are highly susceptible to spider mite infestation and damage, so it will be important to watch for these plants and treat promptly if they appear.
Cyperus albostriatus 'Nanus'
I have had this plant for a couple of years. It is unusual among Cyperus
in that it has a running rhizomatous growth habit, instead of clumping habit. It is a bit difficult to see in this photograph, but the foliage includes leaves that arise in whorls from axils on the tops bare flowering stalks, like other umbrella sedges, as well as longer leaves that grow out of the ground from the plant crown. It grows to about 12" tall. This is a hardy plant and it stays looking very nice all winter long when kept as a houseplant. It dose well as a marginal aquatic, but thrives best with the crown at least an inch or so above the water surface.