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So I bought an old(5+) 30g that's completely covered with hygrophila polysperma. Feels like shame to rip it all out and get rid of the plants. changing the gravel seems like a given due to the age as well.

I'm thinking of keeping it dominated with the hygro and incorporating rocks, wood or other plants to make it more interesting.

Any ideas? I'm new to aquascaping.

Plant Terrestrial plant Organism Vegetation Larch
Plant Terrestrial plant Groundcover Flowering plant Grass
 

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I would take the best trimmings from the plant and remove the bottom roots.Replace your gravel and replant.You probably have enough to give or sell to other members as well.Plants looks great.
 
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It takes time to learn the growth habits of various species of plants. I'm personally not a fan of keeping lots of hygrophila - they tend to grow quite fast and leggy. So there is a decent amount of space between their internodes. The bottoms of the plants also don't like getting shaded so what you end up with is a bunch of nice plant at the top half of the tank and bare stems or stems with ugly half dead leaves for the bottom half.

I think hygrophila works best in clumps to add differences in texture amongst other lower growing plants such as anubias and java ferns. But I have my reservations using it as the only species in a tank. That being said - to each their own.

I do think pearl weed, anubias, and ferns can look great on their own in a tank though. Pearl weed will require relatively frequent pruning.
 
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