How many plant species is too much for a tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 06:04 AM Thread Starter
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How many plant species is too much for a tank?

I'm working to plan out every aspect of my upcoming 64 long, and today I've been trying to figure out the plants I want in it. I realized, though, I have no idea how many species I'll be able to fit. From experience on my 20 high, I know that you can have too few plant species (where the tank looks boring) or too many (where it just looks like a mess of a million different plants).

I'll be doing a moderately- to heavily-planted tank, and I think I want to do something along the lines of a nature or jungle aquascape. I really like the look of having a ton of plants with chunks of wood and rock peeking out. Here is an album of tanks I am taking inspiration from: https://imgur.com/a/lOiBHtx. The footprint of the tank is 48" x 18".

In my 20 high, I have 14 species, so maybe 30 in the 64 long? That seems like a lot, but I guess it's a bigger tank than I've ever dealt with (on the FW side). I know it depends on a lot of factors, but is there some general rule of thumb? Or is it just impossible to plan out what you're going to plant until you actually have plants and tank in hand?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 08:03 AM
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I have somewhere between 15 and 20 species in my 25g, but many of them are crypts and so complement each other.

IMO it's best to start off with as many species as you're interested in, with multiple plants of each spread throughout the tank. If you have 30x 1 of each plant, it can look a bit like "a mess of a million plants," but several of each can give cohesion.

The other thing is that not all of your chosen plants will thrive in your tank. Give all of the ones you fancy a go (budget allowing) and then focus on the ones that work. You'll probably also end up picking up more plants along the way
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 03:46 PM
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It depends on their texture, colour, placement and amount
The more you work asymmetrically the greater amount of species you can grow IMO
You will have larger bunches of your focal plants that will be accentuated by your secondary species with much less volume of plantmass, maybe only a few stems


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:06 PM
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Plant all the things!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 03:36 PM
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One hitch to most of our carefully laid plans? Nature has a way to deciding what works and that decision is constantly changing! What fits and works will often be a matter of not only what we want to see but nature has a way of letting things grow and mature, which means a plant that gets the right light on a new tank may be shaded later and that means the plants may need to change. I find many things I do in my tank work the same as in the yard where it is always a chase to keep the right amount of sun loving plants versus the shade as trees and shrubs grow.
I might suggest starting with 12-15 types, find what actually wants to be in your water, with the way you maintain the tank and then move from there as you will certainly have far larger and possibly more plants as time goes on. Some will grow and multiply while others may wither and die so I work not on a pre-set plan but adapt things as I find what works. I have hard/alkaline water and others may have soft acidic water, so making a plan that works will have to have a better idea of what plants work best in YOUR water.
I find that plants in nature tend to grow in groups as they multiply, so I do favor groups over individual plants. In nature, this is often due to a variety of soil and each type has it's preferred type but in our tanks that can often be a limiting factor when we only provide one type of substrate.
Trial and error and adapt as needed?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Any thoughts on how many colored (non-green) plants is too much? 1/4? 1/3?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:18 PM
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You could just start off with a few plants and add more if you think they look good. I recommend anubias and java fern.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remmy View Post
It depends on their texture, colour, placement and amount
The more you work asymmetrically the greater amount of species you can grow IMO
You will have larger bunches of your focal plants that will be accentuated by your secondary species with much less volume of plantmass, maybe only a few stems
Yep, in a long tank go for different flows along length of tank, big cluster of branches here with some Buce planted on it, a few crypt down below that in slightly shady overhung spot. Out to right of that a big flat stone that you can’t plant anything in for neg space and big stand full light colorful stems behind/beyond it.

Many ways you can create depth and flow in even a modest tank the only has a limited space front to back.
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