I had an old 10 gallon laying around that I had painted the back of it black. I always thought it made plants stand out and decided to set it up in Nov. of 2012. After years of trying different plants/substrates/lights/CO2 I wanted to use all of the knowledge I gained to accomplish a few goals. I've never been able to grow a carpet and secondly, to sustain stem plants.
The following is a photo update from the first week until now to track my progress.
Initial set-up: Nov 17 2012
Oct 28 2014
I'm writing this 2 weeks short of this tanks 2 year anniversary. I decided to break down the tank that got me back into plants and fish. It's not disheartening at all because of everything I have learned from this tank.
The reason why I broke this tank down was because the plants over took it to the point where maintenance was nearly impossible. The crypts in this tank were starting to become stunted because of the immense root structure that developed. There simply wasn't enough substrate and room for them to go anywhere or get bigger. Pulling one plant turned into pulling the entire substrate and every other plant in one big carpet.
I started this tank with a single crypt balansae. It was a meager, weak plant that got tossed in here instead of the trash. I really didn't think it would make it since it had a single leaf and a few small shoots and hardly a root. Fast forward 2 years and it has propagated vigorously. There were so many plants, with so many leaves that grew so fast they covered the top of the water. I had to cut feet of leaves back weekly so that light could reach into the tank. I pulled dozens and dozens of strong healthy plants out of this tank as a result of the weak, singular plant.
The Crypt. Wendti red and the Crypt. lutea green weren't as dramatic but they multiplied well also.
The microsword nearly went away in favor of hemianthus micranthemoides for a while but it was replaced from the initial stock and did fairly well considering it was the low man on the light totem pole in this tank.
Please compare the amount of plants of these three species. They original photo is the amount I started with and never added additional plants of these species. I have sold a few balansae so this is a few short of what could have been even. Still can't believe all of this came out of a ten. It will be for sale on the forum soon.