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I wasn't into planted tank back then but I would assume much of the plants they used were much the same now. However, the trend in aquascaping dictates the look of the tank.
 

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Way back it was easier to keep plants that are used often in low tech setups. The harder to keep varieties that thrive with co2 injection wouldn't have done well before co2 was used. That was waaay before I was born though.

Swords, crypts, anubias, etc would have been common as well as easy to keep stems. New types of plants are brought into the hobby all the time. Many plants may now have been available 40+ years ago.
 

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The books I had from the 1960s would give layouts that were pretty much the same as jungle type with some stone and wood. Lots of the same plants we use now were in the books but just try and find anything but eleodea, hornwort, vals and sword plants.
 

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They did have CO2 back in the day. They mostly all used yeast. CO2 injection has been suggested since the 70s (probably earlier). Old dutch tanks also used a stupendous amount of light. Several T12s in tandem over a tank was the standard lighting for any dutch tank. Back then it was believed that you'd have to use a bunch of bulbs (one repsenting a segment of the spectrum) in order to mimic the sun and get best growth. Maybe they were on to something who knows because looking in my old picture book the tanks looked just as good back then as they do today.
 
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