I am completely new to aquarium planting. I recently saw some amazing photos of planted aquariums, and I just couldn't resist taking on the challenge! In a nutshell... I've basically been obsessing over researching types of plants, conditions, lighting, etc, and I'm to the point where I'm actually drawing diagrams or "floorplans" of my future setup:
Very basic, but it helps me stay organized. My tank is a tropical (80*F) 29 gal, 30" X 12" X 17" and the picture above is just a basic start at what I am looking to create. I am trying to find good information for hardy plants that don't require too demanding of light conditions (medium-low preferably). The "grass" in the front I was thinking of microsword or dwarf hairgrass, however I've heard from several different places conflicting views on what their lighting conditions are - what are your personal experiences with these plants?
I'd like to use a dense sand (obviously nothing that is going to go flying around for days if my fish bump into it), but really have no idea on what is safe to use, and none of the LFS's have sand (crazy.. I know x.x).
The pebbles and 'rock cave' are just for decoration, but I'd like to get ahold of some java moss, or similar moss to attach to the rock, and possibly some along the empty space in between the pathways. I think that Riccia is beautiful, however I keep reading about having to reattach it every so often, and I keep getting these horror images of never being able to keep the stuff down (along with the high light requirement).... am I being a bit overdramatic? =P
I still need some larger background plants, and was even thinking of Xmas moss or willow moss attached to mesh for a backdrop. Is Rotala indica adaptable to medium light conditons? It looks as though it would be nice as a background filler as well, although again, I am still learning and have no idea on what the temperature ranges are for these plants.
(eesh, I'm writing a novel!)
One thing I am somewhat stressed about is that I would like to have a "practice tank" before I go all out on my 29 gal, but the only spare tank I ahve is a 10 gal, and from what I've read, they are not very great for plants. I've even read that 15 or 5 gal vs 10 is preferable, but what has condemned the 10 gal? Or is this just a myth?
I currently have 4 dojo loaches (a bit worried about them digging up plants, seeing as they like to burrow in the medium gravel as it is now), 1 betta, and 5 black neon tetras - My loaches have proven to be extremely hardy, and I know that the betta will survive in even the most demanding situations (temprary home for example), but I'm not so sure on how much I can push the tetras. Would it be better you think, to just set up my 10 gal as a temporary home for my fish until I can get my 29 gal organized?
Cripes... So much stuff I ahve already said. I think I will cut myself off now before I make you all fall asleep! Sorry for the novel, but thanks tons for any help... I just get so excited about my fish/tank and get all these thoughts rolling at me at once!