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Setting up 55 gallon after 15 years away from hobby

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Hello all,

I am finally getting back into the hobby after a long time away. I have been thinking about it for the past couple years and have not found the time to do it, but I am now putting the tank back together. So I am starting out slowly because I do not want to rush it. Took me a few weeks to come up with a hardscape I like. The substrate is Flourite, with Dragon stone and Mopani driftwood. I will be putting Aquarium Co-op medium sponge filters in each of the back corners. I have a Fluval 3.0 48" light and a Fluval E300 heater.

I am still deciding on what plants to use and put where in the tank. Still also do not know what fish I want to go with either. I plan on getting the plants and growing them out for at least 2-3 months before ever putting any fish into tank, so I have time to decide on the fish. So below is picture of tank setup. Let me know what you think. let me know what plants would look good and where to place them. All help is appreciated.

Thank you all and glad to be back in the hobby.



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really nice structure of dragon stone and wood. i like it. if it were me, id try some java ferns, and an anubia or three glued to the wood and rocks, and some jungle val in the substrate. so many choices in plants, its mind boggling, but these are fairly easy starter plants.

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I suggest you try several plants to see what grows best in your water, with your light, etc. You can work really hard for plants that don't like your tank conditions or you can have an easy time growing plants that like your tank the way it is. Your plan to take 2-3 months for development will allow you pick the right plants for you.  I like pogostemon stellatus octopus. It gets big, but it doesn't seem to take up a lot of room because the fish swim through it. Best of all, it grows well in my tank. Jungle val and anacharis are also easy to grow in my tank and I like them for the same reasons. All 3 grow all the way to the surface, so they are good if you want that. These are good for the jungle look, not so much the manicured aquascape.

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I like to choose plants with different colors and textures. 
On the wood I’d use Anubias and Java fern and maybe some Bolbitis. 
Tiger Lotus can give a great pop of red in the mid ground and would contrast well with some Dwarf Sag. 
In the background a mix of Mayaca, Bacopa Carolina and Ludwigia has worked for me, but any mix of tall plants will look good. 

Edited by Patrick_G
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you everyone for replies. HH Morant, the rocks are not glued together. Thought it would be easy to move to clean.

I finally got all my supplies in from Aquarium Coop. I have placed the sponge filters where I think they will be best. Let me know what you think.

So probably will take a week to look at plants on site and picture in my head what would look good where. Then I will buy.



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