Alternate Grassy Plants for Vals?
I have a 60g tank, running for a year and a half, and the entire back corner is vallisnaria. I love my jungle val, but it grows just a bit too tall for the 24" high tank. I have about 12" of overhang shading one side of my tank, and I'd like to be able to grow more light-loving plants in more places.
Since my friend is planning to buy a 200g for her living room, I will probably give her the jungle val for her taller aquarium, as she wants easy-care plants that will be big and create a good backdrop for her fish.
This leaves me with a chance to put in something else.
I want something shorter, but there's a lot going for the val too, like the fact that the jungle val provides cover, the lovely wall of green, and I like that I don't have to top it and replant like stems. My angelfish female hides in there as her egg laying times approach when the amorous male gets too enthusiastic. The fry use it for cover. The cories use it to spawn.
What could I use instead? I'm considering just switching to spiral val, as it is nearly the same but shorter. However, I'm already using that in another tank, and I'd love to take the opportunity to try something new and different.
Other options I have mulled over included taller hairgrasses, tall/thin cryptocorine, sag, or even a couple specimins of a larger sword species (which the angels would love for spawning), if I can find one that would be tall enough without being too wide.
I want to avoid most stems, as the stand will be rather deep and tall, and I don't want to deal with the shed leaves on the bottoms, nor the frequent trimming required on that size of a planting. I don't mind controlling a moderate number of runners, as I do that with the val already, but the plant should top out between 15 and 22 inches tall to achieve what I want, or finish just a bit above that and tolerate a one-time trim.
Current other plants include a kliner bar sword, a green ozelot, a red flame sword, 2 small narrow-leaved swords of unknown species, marsilea, a few small crypt wenditii, and some stems and potted plants being grown out for another tank (rosette swords, java fern, hygrophilia, ludwigia, rotalla macranda and wallichii, and pennywort).
Tank gets micros 2x weekly, liquid carbon at 1/2 dose, and has an off-brand but decent LED fixture (couldn't tell you the PAR, but the rotalla is turning nice and pink). Substrate is a mix of flora-max and eco-complete capped with plain gravel. I don't dose macros, but everything is growing nicely with no indication of deficiencies. I'm ok with adding root tabs for very heavy feeders though.
I'd love suggestions from all the folks here who have had the opportunity to grow other species, especially since experience will tell so much more than what an online sale site would. Also, any experience with some of the plants I mentioned above as ones I was already looking into would be awesome, especially the tall hairgrass, which looks pretty awesome.