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Plants for Tall Tanks

Tall planted tanks can be tricky, but here are some plant species that grow well in taller aquariums.

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Hobbyists (and their spouses) always seem drawn to tall tanks. I know that my wife’s favorite of the display tanks I have is a custom 180 gallon that is 36 inches tall. While most fish look great in a tall tank (especially the angels I have in the 180), it can be difficult to get a lush growth of plants.

The initial problem of plants for a tall tank (when I say "tall” I mean taller than 20 inches) is that there aren’t that many readily available aquatic plants that grow very tall. Please note that the word "aquatic” is very important, since many plants being sold for aquariums are, in fact, bog or terrestrial plants, and they always die after a month or so of being submersed.

The second problem is that it can be difficult to drive light from an aquarium hood or reflector down deep enough into a tall tank. Tall tanks may require as much as twice the wattage of a shorter tank if you want to grow plants other than the ones listed in this article. Not all plants will do well for everyone, and it may take some trial and error to find out what plants you can grow in your water and lighting conditions.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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