So I did a looooot of diggin and browsing Michigan Flora and looking for native plant nurseries (no, I don't want to buy 100 plugs, i just want 2!) and I'm starting to think that I should keep the structure of this tank simple, with no above water portion but still a shallower and deeper side, with a combo of emersed plants rooted underwater and riparium-style planters (will probably DIY these as the actual riparium stupply ones are $$)
I have organized the likely plant selections into a few cagtegories, and selected a few genera/ species that I can choose from (based on availability) in each category.
Fully Aquatic Plants
Pretty self explanatory, the plants that grow only underwater, with only floating leaves or flower spikes emerging.
I already have this so it is definitely going in.
Will likely have some of this in the deepest parts.
I may have to collect this myself but look at this habitat, this is exactly what I am recreating.
many members of these genera are native or naturalized, and they form attractive underwater mats such as these.
Cool, smaller floating leaves and an interesting flower. Member of Cabombacae.
Another smaller floating leaf plant but this one has attractive, undulating submersed leaves. I observed this in the location where I first found the topminnows.
Again, many native species to choose from. Good for the shallow water. Though these might pose a hazard to topminnow fry, I'm not sure how small they are.
These plants are rooted underwater but grow vertically above the water surface.
This one is actually in the hobby, grows floating and emergent. Useful for filling up space between other plants as it grows low.
/Bogbean is a wetland plant but can tolerate a wide range of wetness and grows emergent.
An aquatic bulrush.
Another wetland plant
Very interesting loosestrife that may get too large for this tank.
This is sort of an aquatic but it readily grows emergent and flowers so i'm including it here.
These are plants that are true water lovers but do not do well with their foliage submersed. Some of these grow as emergents in shallow water, but will be planted in riparium planters to contain them.
/ Marsh marigold, very common little yellow flowering plant.
Milkweed! A classic Michigan plant for sure. The large alternating leaves and thick stems of Asclepias sp. are very attractive imo.
Bidens cernua/ Bidens trichosperma/ Bidens Sp.
Hydrophytic sunflower family. This is trichosperma, the most attractive.
/ Swamp rose.
native sweet-flag. Gets very big and I may substitute the asian one, which is also naturalized. Classic riparium plant.
Well I now realize that's a lot of pictures but hopefully this gives a better idea of what I am going for. Tomorrow I have the whole day to do chores and work on this so I will likely be building my egg create frame and starting to sort out my substrate, for which I will be using soil with (???) to cap it, I will sift the soil and start soaking it. I will also prototype the filter-planters with the two tetra whisper filters I have and some possible substrates.
As always thank you for reading and stay tuned, and please feel free to drop any comments or advice if you think I am missing something major!