I just got a new 50 gallon (36"x18"x19") aquarium and got it set up. I'm super excited because my largest tank before now was only 10 gallons(!) I've got it cycling so now I've got a month or so to get it planted and would appreciate some advice.
The fish I'm planning to stock are all from the Rio Orinoco and although I'm not planning on doing a strict biotope I do like a natural look and want to stick mostly to plants from the region (really just South America)
I think I'd like vallisneria around my filter intake and heater to help hide the hardware and emulate a the reedy shore of a river or oxbow lake, are there any varieties that max out around 20 inches tall? Alternatively, does anyone have experience with growing eleocharis montevidensis?
Towards the other end of the tank, around where I'd like to have some big driftwood, I'm thinking about some Amazon Sword. Does that get too big?
What are everyone's favorite South American plants?
Really, I'm just looking for some ideas and inspiration
My substrate is a mixture of peat, topsoil, and sand, capped with play sand.
The light is currently only a 30 watt T5 that came with the tank but I plan on replacing it, probably with a Finnex Planted 24/7, as soon as I have money.
Thanks again for any guidance.