My Aquatic Garden


The aquarium runneth over with plants. Earlier this year, I ordered a grower’s choice selection of six varieties. USPS lost the package and customer service didn’t respond, so I ordered from another place. I ended up with the original order, the second order, and a replacement for the first order.

All three packages included a unique mix of unidentified varieties with six stems of each. I didn’t notice any duplicates. Some were familiar, but many were not. The quality of the cuttings was less than optimal for all but the replacement shipment.

Giving 36 stems room to grow was a challenge. Then the second order arrived, followed a day or two later by the replacement. Adding 36 more stems–twice–without disturbing the rest took some doing.

Within days, all but a few of the scraggly stems had recovered. The tank looked like it had been planted months earlier with a carefully curated collection. The variety of leaf shapes, sizes and colors is amazing.

Plant forms and rates of growth vary too. Shorter varieties tend to get more dense. The tallest tend to grow fast. Not all survived. Some were likely crowded out. The fish like to munch on the finer-leaved varieties.

A variety with long, thin leaves (possibly Pogostemon erectus) has reached the surface several times. Assuming new stems would sprout, I cut them way back and planted the cuttings. New stems sprouted from cut ends and at the base–even on plants that hadn’t been pinched back.

Yikes!

I removed the cuttings I’d planted and one of the original stems. Regular pruning will keep what’s left from taking over. I have no idea what keeps it in check where it’s indigenous. No doubt it’s invasive somewhere.

The fish are happy. Female guppies hide in the foliage to have babies or to escape eternally horny males. At feeding time, dozens of previously invisible babies magically appear.

I’m happy too. Maintenance is about the same, with or without all the extra plants. From across the room, the fish are invisible to me but the tank is beautiful.

It won’t last forever. Eventually, nasty old Blackbeard algae will take over. Until then, I’m enjoying the view.

As always, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. The featured image was generated by AI


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