thanks for the kind comments, there are some truly just crazy fire tanks on this forum so I humbly present my comparably minimal efforts, with a minimalist-ish setup. It sort of made itself, once planted I didn't prune for about 3 months. What you see is what I got after tossing ten different plants into a 10 gallon and torturing myself by constantly looking at, but not putting my hands into, the tank. After 4 months the setup was moved to this 20XH.
I believe the strong light I used helped, and I haven't fertilized or used CO2. It worked out for me; my goal was a low maintenance fw tank. I was so sick of daily monitoring/dosing of calcium, alk, etc. in my coral tanks, I just can't do it anymore.
So it was set up to facilitate a little contrived evolution by adding about a dozen species of plants and letting the specimens compete with each other among the selective forces of lighting temp (K), spectrum/intensity, my tapwater, temp, my negligence, etc., So big surprise after 7 months I'm left with easy to grow plants... :lol: What you see now started with 2 dwarf swords and 4 Vals, about 2-3 leaves each, the other species died off.
Seriously though, I wanted the plants to a) present with low species diversity reflecting the natural appearance of an ecological niche of only 200sq inches. b) encourage rapid and vigorous growth. Although the "water garden" look can be exquisite, I wanted this tank to represent a more natural niche. From what I've seen, freshwater habitats aren't like corals where you see 10 species in one square foot. It's more along the lines of 1-3 species at best, which is what I got (there are also floating Salvinia sp., and Riccia sp. barely visible in some of the shots.)
The approach basically left me with plants that require no care at all, grow strongly, are vigorously propagating, have grown into the substrate, around/into wood and rocks, growing to fit in with each other. Also, the theme keeps everything to one supercontinent.
Although very minimal, I think it came out kinda nice!
Thanks again for looking... !