I use the metal bands as well, and unfortunately, I put all the stems together which might be a reason why my stem plants do not grow as quick. My question is for everyone, how do you keep your stem plants down then? Every time I stick it in the substrate, it eventually floats up. I have a little convict who is a nuisance once and a while, but I completely redid my tank, so she really can't pick at them as much. Also, every time I try to plant any type of plant , if I disturb the substrate my tank gets a little cloudy (flourite substrate is what I have). Just wondering if anybody else has these problems. Thanks.