Advice wanted - when is plant growth too healthy and vibrant?

HamishT

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As you can see I am very much a "spoilt brat" of a beginner, having first purchased a small
IMG_2325.jpg
second hand tank around 2 years ago, I quickly progressed to the "wine rack with fish" and have to say find it very calming and therapeutic to look after the fish and gradually build the community.
Having progressively upgraded my lights thanks to Gumtree, I now find that I get quite vigorous plant growth and I am just looking for advice as to when there is too much growth and I should cut back - if so, how much?
As can be seen from the photo, I try to have two clear "swim and feed" areas with a few "lurk and hide" spots in amongst the plants and a Japanese stone lantern. For me, this looks like it is "cut back" time but I am never very sure as to whether or not I should always leave plants growing right up to the surface.
Feedback, comments and suggestions welcome.
 
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It’s up to you really but visually it does look ready for a trim to me too. I would be tempeted to trim a quarter of the way up and replant the tops over on the far left and right corners (the lower quarter should regrow with two shoots at the cutting point and grow even more bushy).
 

HamishT

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Matt, Is your thinking to "mask" the back of the tank, by doing that replanting to the left and right hand corners?

I (perhaps rather stupidly) had always been keeping these areas "clear" to allow clear water for the fish to swim in (even though they can easily work their way through the existing planting) but as I look at more of the pictures of others' tanks in the gallery, I'm starting to realise that it looks as though I could go for more growth at lower levels and use my planting to get better overall coverage. Is that in line with what you were thinking? Obviously welcome the opinions of others too - including recommendation for complementary low-growing plants.
 

mort

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I like the overgrown look but agree it does look like it needs a trim. You could have the best of both worlds by leaving a few bits longer, stretching to the surface, and trim the majority.

Fish love plants and I'd try leaving your open water areas above the plants and adding more to the back corners so they can swim the whole length of the tank. Perhaps a tall contrasting background plant like vallis would look good mixed in with your current plant.

Dwarf sag is a great foreground plant and you could also consider some moss or stones with anubias for a little contrast.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'd try a few slower growing plants, as well as the suggestions you already have. Cryptocoryne spp. are good, and come in a range of sizes and colours. I'd add them to the plants you have. Have a look at <"Low maintenance aquarium"> and <"How do you...">.

I'm also a <"floating plant fan">, which allows you to have plant cover at the top of the tank, but without entirely filling up the swimming area.

cheers Darrel
 

HamishT

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Has been interesting to read along - in the meantime I acquired a second tank (off of Gumtree) which came with a CO2 system so have set up the tank, introduced plants to get stabilised and now frantically finding the time to read and learn as I go. Have trimmed back "the jungle" and looking forward to the bushier growth that Matt predicts. One question on CO2, I am assuming that there is a danger that if I get the settings wrong I could kill all the fish quite easily?
 

HamishT

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Am being super gradual and checking pH of the water too using dip strips, but thanks for the video tutorial on the drop-checker
 
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