Help selecting background plants . . .

Wookii

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I'm after some suggestions please for a couple of background plants. Tank is 60 litre with 40cm height, so I don't need plants that necessarily grow significantly tall to fil the background area.

I need something with very small leaves though to maintain the scale I'm looking for, something that's fairly easy to grow and maintain, but ideally isn't going to need trimming and replanting every other day like some stem plants seem to.

For the left hand side I'd ideally like a plant with a fine bushy structure.

I really like the look of Myriophyllum Mattogrossense as a possible candidate for one of those two, but as appears to be frequently the case when I research plants, I've read numerous horror stories of it being difficult to keep.

myriophyllum-mattogrossense-[2]-2307-p.jpg


Another alternative is Rotala wallichii (but again I'm concerned by Tropica's 'Advanced' rating):

4.jpg


So maybe I should go with something else instead of these fine leaf stems, and instead something thats got a reputation for being a lot easier (I don't want to bite off more than I can chew with this tank!), some like Heteranthera Zosterifolia?:



For the right hand side I'm aiming for something with a slightly more open leafy structure.Candidates so far are:

Limnphila Hippurdiodes (edit - looking at the image below that I posted, this could be big if those ate Platy's!)

4.jpg


Ludwigia Arcuata:

101_d169da4b-9e43-4b4b-a210-b7ef9cabdfd5.jpg


Or Limnophila Aromatica:

14.jpg


Please let me know your thoughts on the above options, and let me know if anyone can think of alternatives that might be better suited.

Cheers, Gareth
 
Last edited:

alto

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Myriophyllum matogrossense is relatively “easy”, just takes some effort to have it looking as good as that photo - trimming, light, nutrient balance but it’s also forgiving while you sort it

Ludwigia arcuata - one of my favorite stem plants though not available locally since Tropica removed it from their general list - I’m still hoping for it’s reinstatement (I believe it’s in their limited edition series BUT those are only available in Europe/UK), “easy” as I recall (at least in soft water)

H micranthemoides is much easier than R wallichii, and very forgiving (in soft - moderate water, perhaps there’s a reason it’s less popular on ukaps :confused:) Green Aqua uses it has both foreground and background plant :)


Both the Limnophila sp. are bigger than what you’re looking for (and they aren’t that happy if heavily pruned)

Tropica LE Rotala Vietnam looked quite nice in Jurijs mi JS video (just a quick frame unfortunately) - more of a needle leaf like R wallichii but much easier to manage (acc Jurijs)

R wallichii needs high light, CO2, nutrients all in good balance to look grand (it’s easy to have the upper few inches looking nice but lower stem loses leaf structure and color)
 

Wookii

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Myriophyllum matogrossense is relatively “easy”, just takes some effort to have it looking as good as that photo - trimming, light, nutrient balance but it’s also forgiving while you sort it

Ludwigia arcuata - one of my favorite stem plants though not available locally since Tropica removed it from their general list - I’m still hoping for it’s reinstatement (I believe it’s in their limited edition series BUT those are only available in Europe/UK), “easy” as I recall (at least in soft water)

H micranthemoides is much easier than R wallichii, and very forgiving (in soft - moderate water, perhaps there’s a reason it’s less popular on ukaps :confused:) Green Aqua uses it has both foreground and background plant :)


Both the Limnophila sp. are bigger than what you’re looking for (and they aren’t that happy if heavily pruned)

Tropica LE Rotala Vietnam looked quite nice in Jurijs mi JS video (just a quick frame unfortunately) - more of a needle leaf like R wallichii but much easier to manage (acc Jurijs)

R wallichii needs high light, CO2, nutrients all in good balance to look grand (it’s easy to have the upper few inches looking nice but lower stem loses leaf structure and color)

Thanks for the input, that much appreciated.

It looks like i can get the Ludwigia arcuata fairly easily (I am in the UK) either in-vitro (Dennerle) or in bunches from eBay etc - though I don't know how reliable those kind of sources are - though they appear to come in submerged for at least. I think I've pretty much settled on that as my right hand side more open leaf stem plant.

I'll discount the Limnophila types then, I did think it looked a bit big when I did a double take on the image I posted lol

As for the Myriophyllum matogrossense, do you think that's worth giving a try then? It's just that I've read of people having issues with leaves rotting on the lower half, and it take months to throw down roots, then growing really fast after it does/

Were you suggesting the Hemianthus Micranthemoides as an alternative to the Myriophyllum matogrossense? My water is, I believe, considered fairly hard (Nottingham, UK).
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
As for the Myriophyllum matogrossense, do you think that's worth giving a try then? It's just that I've read of people having issues with leaves rotting on the lower half, and it take months to throw down roots, then growing really fast after it does/
Yes that was what happened to me.
some like Heteranthera Zosterifolia?
It is a good plant, but a bit of a rampant grower, even low tech. I'd still start with it and/or Myriophyllum mattogrossense.

The other option/addition is floating plant. I like <"Amazon Frogbit">, but any floater will do.
but ideally isn't going to need trimming and replanting every other day like some stem plants seem to.
I know they aren't exactly what you are after, but long term a planting based on Moss, Ferns (Bolbitis heudelotii & Microsorum pteropus), Cryptocoryne spp. and Anubias barteri cuts down a lot of the day to day maintenance.

cheers Darrel
 

Wookii

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Hi all,Yes that was what happened to me. It is a good plant, but a bit of a rampant grower, even low tech. I'd still start with it and/or Myriophyllum mattogrossense.

The other option/addition is floating plant. I like <"Amazon Frogbit">, but any floater will do. I know they aren't exactly what you are after, but long term a planting based on Moss, Ferns (Bolbitis heudelotii & Microsorum pteropus), Cryptocoryne spp. and Anubias barteri cuts down a lot of the day to day maintenance.

cheers Darrel
Thanks Darell - I will be adding some moss, Anubias and Crypts to the mid-ground areas, these taller background plants will sit behind the hardscape, and will only be visible for the top half of the plant, so I need them to have a bushy and softening effect on the look of the tank and help with the perception of depth, which is why I've shied away from larger leaf options like the ferns, swords and larger crypts. I may add some Frogbit later on, as I had that back in the day, and always loved the look of its hanging roots.

When you say the Heteranthera Zosterifolia is a rampant grower - what is required to manage that? If it's just a matter of pruning back, that isn't so much of an issue - but if it's more work like pulling out, snipping of the lower parts, removing lower leaves, and replanting, then that's obviously more time consuming.
 

Conort2

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Thanks for the input, that much appreciated.

It looks like i can get the Ludwigia arcuata fairly easily (I am in the UK) either in-vitro (Dennerle) or in bunches from eBay etc - though I don't know how reliable those kind of sources are - though they appear to come in submerged for at least. I think I've pretty much settled on that as my right hand side more open leaf stem plant.

I'll discount the Limnophila types then, I did think it looked a bit big when I did a double take on the image I posted lol

As for the Myriophyllum matogrossense, do you think that's worth giving a try then? It's just that I've read of people having issues with leaves rotting on the lower half, and it take months to throw down roots, then growing really fast after it does/

Were you suggesting the Hemianthus Micranthemoides as an alternative to the Myriophyllum matogrossense? My water is, I believe, considered fairly hard (Nottingham, UK).
Have a look at myriophyllum sp Guyana, tropica do this in one two grow. Is easy once it gets going and isn’t as large or rampant as matogrossense. I grow it in hard water and does fine. Nice light green with a very fine leaf structure.

Another one which is nice is limnophila sp Vietnam. This doesn’t get too big.

Are you using co2?

cheers

Conor.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
When you say the Heteranthera Zosterifolia is a rampant grower - what is required to manage that?
You need @Mick.Dk to give you a definitive answer.

One problem with it is that it has <"quite fragile leaves"> and they tend to end up marked with horizontal brown lines, if you muck about with it too much.

When I had it, <"I just let it get on with it">, which ended up with a <"huge mass of stems"> and after that it produced floating leaves <"and flowers">.

After that I pruned it fairly hard and it dwindled away, almost certainly due to lack of light, the bottoms of my tanks are pretty <"dark and gloomy places">.

cheers Darrel
 

Wookii

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Have a look at myriophyllum sp Guyana, tropica do this in one two grow. Is easy once it gets going and isn’t as large or rampant as matogrossense. I grow it in hard water and does fine. Nice light green with a very fine leaf structure.

Another one which is nice is limnophila sp Vietnam. This doesn’t get too big.

Are you using co2?

cheers

Conor.
Thanks for those suggestions Conor, I'll check out that Guyana variant - how long do those Tropica en-vitro cultures actually take to make a full plant - they look tiny?

Yes, the tank will have CO2, Tropica Soil Powder, EI ferts, and a decent amount of lighting.
 

Conort2

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Thanks for those suggestions Conor, I'll check out that Guyana variant - how long do those Tropica en-vitro cultures actually take to make a full plant - they look tiny?

Yes, the tank will have CO2, Tropica Soil Powder, EI ferts, and a decent amount of lighting.
They are tiny at first unfortunately, but within around 3 weeks you’ll have a full sized plant with good nutrients, co2 and light. I normally stick them somewhere in the open at first to give them as much space as possible to grow, then once they reach a suitable size I stick them where their final placement will be. If you try sticking them behind hardscape or bigger plants at first they can struggle.


Cheers

Conor
 

Wookii

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They are tiny at first unfortunately, but within around 3 weeks you’ll have a full sized plant with good nutrients, co2 and light. I normally stick them somewhere in the open at first to give them as much space as possible to grow, then once they reach a suitable size I stick them where their final placement will be. If you try sticking them behind hardscape or bigger plants at first they can struggle.


Cheers

Conor
Thanks - we won't be planting the tank until the Christmas break - is it worth me trying to grow on some in-vitro plants in a bucket before hand? I have some old large white buckets I can rig up an old metal halide on a timer, a heater and mini filter, and dose the water. I was thinking of doing this with some Staurogyne Repens and a carpeting plant (probably Marsilea crenata) so I have more cuttings to plant when the time comes. Would that be worth while or a waste of time?
 

Conort2

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Thanks - we won't be planting the tank until the Christmas break - is it worth me trying to grow on some in-vitro plants in a bucket before hand? I have some old large white buckets I can rig up an old metal halide on a timer, a heater and mini filter, and dose the water. I was thinking of doing this with some Staurogyne Repens and a carpeting plant (probably Marsilea crenata) so I have more cuttings to plant when the time comes. Would that be worth while or a waste of time?
I think unless you’d somehow provide co2 the plants will melt due to the metal halides, they’re extremely powerful lights.

cheers

Conor
 

Wookii

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I think unless you’d somehow provide co2 the plants will melt due to the metal halides, they’re extremely powerful lights.

cheers

Conor
I was thinking of just adding some liquid carbon product on a regular basis.
 

Mick.Dk

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Rotala 'Vietnam' can take some time to adapt to new environment - existing leaves often falling victim to algae-attack. The trick is to cut the new grown tops, after a while, dismiss the lower parts and re-plant the tops. Sometimes doing this several times.
Myriophyllum 'Guyana' is a much better choice then Myriophyllum mattogrosense, for a "smaller" tank like yours. Growth is slower and more branching. Colour is a very fresh, light green. Myriophyllum mattogrosense tends to grow very fast and big, needing constant trimming and re-planting of top.
Heterantbera zosterifolia is really one of the easiest plants to grow - but it is a fast grower. It also grow very lush and dense. Trimming is needed very often and quite low on the stems, to secure light and flow in the group. Otherwise it has potential to choke itself. When trimmed often and low, it willingly branches from the low-cut stems. Re-planting a few off-cuts in the group is generally a good idea, though, as for all stem-plants. This will keep any group of stems young and virile, which is essential for long time success with stem-plants.
I really recommend the "Black Current Method", when trimming groups of stems:
When group has become a bit taller, than desired, cut 1/3 of stems. Choose the longest ones and cut quite low - let the group grow on - when group is again a bit too tall, again cut 1/3 of stems. Again the tallest ones - let group grow on - and then just continue procedure. Now and then, re-plant a few of the off-cut stems and discharge any unhealthy looking ones. This will keep the group young.
Using this method will ensure your group of stems will always be looking "in growth" and never look "newly-cut" because there will always be stems not cut.
 

Conort2

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I was thinking of just adding some liquid carbon product on a regular basis.
I don’t think that’ll work with lights that strong, the plants will more than likely melt.

maybe just wait until you get the aquarium. You’ll be surprised how fast the invitro plants can grow in conditions.

cheers

Conor
 

Wookii

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Rotala 'Vietnam' can take some time to adapt to new environment - existing leaves often falling victim to algae-attack. The trick is to cut the new grown tops, after a while, dismiss the lower parts and re-plant the tops. Sometimes doing this several times.
Myriophyllum 'Guyana' is a much better choice then Myriophyllum mattogrosense, for a "smaller" tank like yours. Growth is slower and more branching. Colour is a very fresh, light green. Myriophyllum mattogrosense tends to grow very fast and big, needing constant trimming and re-planting of top.
Heterantbera zosterifolia is really one of the easiest plants to grow - but it is a fast grower. It also grow very lush and dense. Trimming is needed very often and quite low on the stems, to secure light and flow in the group. Otherwise it has potential to choke itself. When trimmed often and low, it willingly branches from the low-cut stems. Re-planting a few off-cuts in the group is generally a good idea, though, as for all stem-plants. This will keep any group of stems young and virile, which is essential for long time success with stem-plants.
I really recommend the "Black Current Method", when trimming groups of stems:
When group has become a bit taller, than desired, cut 1/3 of stems. Choose the longest ones and cut quite low - let the group grow on - when group is again a bit too tall, again cut 1/3 of stems. Again the tallest ones - let group grow on - and then just continue procedure. Now and then, re-plant a few of the off-cut stems and discharge any unhealthy looking ones. This will keep the group young.
Using this method will ensure your group of stems will always be looking "in growth" and never look "newly-cut" because there will always be stems not cut.
Many thanks for the detailed reply Mick, that’s great. I’ll take the advice from both yourself and Conor and go with the Myriophyllum 'Guyana', combined with the Ludwigia Arcuata to give me that splash of red in the background. I may experiment with the Heterantbera zosterifolia in the mid-ground, as I’ve read it can be trimmed to keep its profile low also, and I like the look of it.
 

Conort2

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Many thanks for the detailed reply Mick, that’s great. I’ll take the advice from both yourself and Conor and go with the Myriophyllum 'Guyana', combined with the Ludwigia Arcuata to give me that splash of red in the background. I may experiment with the Heterantbera zosterifolia in the mid-ground, as I’ve read it can be trimmed to keep its profile low also, and I like the look of it.
One more if you want a splash of colour is ludwigia sp mini red. Really red plant that is super easy to grow.
 

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