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What plants are REALLY fish-proof....

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So I'm trying for the relatively impossible...a pretty planted tank with eartheaters.

My setup: 90 gal with 30 gal sump. Sand substrate. 3 kinds of java fern (rooted to wood), 2 kinds of vallisneria (wide leaf and narrow leaf) rooted against the back wall and protected by rocks,  and octopus plant, scarlet temple, and water sprite semi-protected with circles of rock or Aquarium coop planters. 

My inhabitants: clown loaches (two are over 5"), redhead tapajos (one is 4" long now), pearl gouramis, danios and hatchetfish. They are regularly fed blanched vegetables to supplement their diet.

My problem: the larger fish are, as expected, uprooting some plants during foraging. My weekly routine includes replanting the plants that have floated to the top. However, there is also serious munching going on (I think it's the tapajos, I caught one in the act of methodically tugging at java ferns and severing the floating roots). All the lighter weight plants are getting stripped of side branches up to 1 foot up from the sand, leaving silly looking poof balls of foliage on top of a bare stalk. Even the java ferns are being deleafed, one frond at a time. The val seems to be surviving the grazing, as long as I keep rebuilding the rock protection around their roots.

My questions: I thought java fern was supposed to be fish-proof. Are there other aquatic plants I should try? Or other tactics I could try to better protect the plants? 


fish fish fish.jpg

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any plants that you attach to hardscape (anubia's and java ferns) hornwort floats around the tank so you could always attach it in the upper corners of the tank. Java moss or any moss attached to mesh will work). 


You could always go with deep substrate and plant the plants in the rockwool pot (i do this with my crypts so i can remove the main plant once they start running, also helpful because you can shove root tabs into the rockwool.

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