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Plants-How many?


New Member
24 Dec 2020
Hello All

Can I get some advice on how many plants to buy please?
I have a Rio 300 and really no idea if the below list is enough or too much for the initial planting.
I've got 2 new Classic 600 filters ready to install and the standard Multilux LED Light unit so have chosen all easy plants to go with Tropica Soil and no CO2
The tank will have quite a few bits of bogwood going from one side to the other with the front half kept more or less free of plants for swimming space for Corys.

The Foxtail will probably be floated on the surface to help prevent algae while the plants settle in; any thoughts on the below list?

2x Anubias Barteri var. barteri
5x Anubias Barteri var. nana
3x Bacopa Caroliniana
2X Bucephalandra 'Wavy Green'
3x Cryptocoryne Beckettii 'Petchii'
3x Cryptocoryne Undulata 'Broad Leaves'
2x Cryptocoryne Usteriana
3x Cryptocoryne Wendtii
2x Echinodorus Bleheri
5x Hygrophila 'Siamensis 53B'
2x Microsorum Pteropus
2x Ceratophyllum Demersum
5x Java Moss (pots)
2x Limnobium Laevigatum (Pots)

Many thanks


24 Dec 2014
You might look at Tropica’s Inspiration page for some comparisons with their Rio 180 (101 x 41cm) layouts - obviously these are grown in with CO2 so you’ll have slower growth but you can look at initial planting density/hardscape/ to have an idea how this will look in your Rio 350 (121 x 51cm footprint)

Given the 66cm height of your tank, I’d not be too concerned about loads of floating plants to reduce light intensity -you want sufficient light PAR at the substrate for plants to transition to aquatic leaf structure

Glancing at your plant numbers (and some idea of your actual scape - photos of the hardscape in place would get you a more considered opinion) it seems a reasonable amount BUT a lot depends on how well the plants have grown on before sale
(note I use mostly1-2-Grow these days)

Unless you’re quite certain of species and pots, some thoughts (I assume you’re planning a sand foreground with no carpeting plants)

Tropica’s Anubias nana ‘Large’ would do well in this larger tank, and always seems to be a generous pot
Anubias Coffeefolia is on sale if you want some contrast color, texture
Anubias angustifolia is also a lovely plant, again if you want some leaf shape contrast in your Anubias

Microsorum pteropus - I’d add 3 of these as they are slow growing and often a dominant plant, so less symmetry is more aesthetically pleasing (I prefer the ‘narrow’ version re leaf texture, color)

Java moss - if you’re planning this for hardscape element, I’d choose a more structured moss such as ‘Spiky’ but if you want that amorphous clump for shrimp/baby fish, this is excellent
Moss portions go a long way, you only need small amounts placed on wood etc (see Jurijs mit JS technique) so unless you’re planning ALOT of moss, 2-3 portions should be enough

Limnobium laevigatum - a single 1-2-grow cup is usually loads

Ludwigia palustris red - red even in moderate lights without CO2
(I added this to a recent scape and the plant looks quite different from previous Tropica version, staff mentioned that it’s now called “super red”)

Lobelia cardinalis- this is a nice midground plant that is a bright green color (good contrast to your mostly darker crypt greens)

Crypt wendtii ‘green’
Crypt x willisii - also a nice green crypt, this has a much more structured leaf (more like parva than the wendtii)

Crypt usteriana - I’d likely go with more of these taller species re the height to the tank
Crypt crispatula (balansae) - as above, a very nice plant in a tall tank, narrow leaf will contrast nicely with usteriana
(I’m thinking of Filipe Oliveira style where complementing plant species are intermingled rather than kept discrete)
Vallisneria nana - a good transition plant to these taller crypt, with similar leaf
Vallisneria spiralis Tiger - can grow quite tall, long leafs and would look amazing in the tall tank

E Bleherae - again not my favourite Echinodorus (it so often seems pale and leafs lined in algae in and there are several other “easy” swords that have more character ;) )

Tall stem plants
Hygrophila Siamensis - I’d consider adding some of this rather than all 53B (in a taller tank, I always liked Tropica’s previous variety H corymbosa)
Bacopa caroliniana - not my favourite so ignore my objections if you love this plant, I struggle to “fit” it into scapes though it looks wonderful in Pedro Rosa’s high tech aquarium
While lots of fast growing stems are an excellent start to the tank, you’ll likely get tired of trimming, and the lower stems may struggle somewhat re reduced light and non-CO2 (though higher fish stocking can provide a surprising effect)

Ceratophyllum Demersum - see my thoughts above re floating plants, I’d swap this for some Limnophila sessiliflora as this plant will begin growing immediately regardless of non-CO2

Not to dissuade you from your choices or amounts, these are just my thoughts if you’re wanting that sort of input

Pedro Rosa’s Dutch Style Tank shows many of Tropica’s plants at their best

Going Dutch by the book - tank sponsored by Tropica (I’ve never understood why this isn't in the Featured Journals as it’s such outstanding photos and plant species growth)


New Member
Thread starter
24 Dec 2020
Many thanks alto for the detailed answer; exactly the kind of input I was hoping for.
Plenty of food for though there; I'll have a look at your suggestions regarding alternatives. I was hoping to attach the moss to the drift wood so maybe better off with a different variety and the comment regarding the 53b is something that I hadn't noticed so will definitely want the taller type.
I had looked on Java plants (seems to be the only supplier with stock at the moment) for Vallis but may have missed it as I couldn't find any; I'll check again as I would like some.
Thanks again!

Paul Kettless

17 Aug 2015
Very detailed and informative information from @alto yet again, the level of input and help you put into replies is a credit to you.

Going Dutch by the book - tank sponsored by Tropica (I’ve never understood why this isn't in the Featured Journals as it’s such outstanding photos and plant species growth)

Never really looked at this style, it doesnt seem very popular among this board. Beautiful tank, I wonder why more don't go that route.

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