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ever since I really dove into the aquarium hobby 4 months ago, jumping from a horribly maintained 10g - 8 goldfish tank to my pride and joy 55g tropical tank housing an 8 inch Heros Severum as the spotlight fish, I have wanted a fully planted tank. I have a high light set up, healthy params, healthy fish, and healthy maintenance habits but I understand that with a fish as large and veggie hungry as a severum full planting is next to impossible.

However, I think I still want to try. Im looking for any suggestions on plants that have a strong root system and fast growth. the obstacle at hand is not only that this fish enjoys eating the plants but that he rips them out or even kicks them up with the occasional flash. my theory that if I introduce him into a fully planted tank he will be more at ease and even be willing to partake in live feeding and leave the plants alone, as of current he recognizes few things as food. in fact I have only seen him eat a few times as well as have 2 smaller fish disappear maybe some shrimp too but they may have been eaten by the gourami that reside too.
He doesnt seem to eat flakes, he is spooked by the feeder minnows I recently introduced, rarely I catch him chewing on an Anubias I tethered to a stone. in general I worry for his health as he is a rescue from a too small overcrowded tank I have no idea what they fed him before but he doesnt seem to like what I offer him. ANYWAY, tangent sorry, Im hoping more plants make him feel at home and Im not a big fan of fake plants so Id love any suggestions, also willing to take suggestions for the mentioned feeding problem
 

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There are some good articles in our library on the topic. Off the top of my head, I think of Java Fern, Anubias, and Vallisneria as good choices. Have a gander through the articles, especially the ones about Mbuna as they are voracious vegetarians and have the same problems with plants as your Severum. I'm no help in the feeding issue, sorry!
 

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This will take some time but if you have a second aquarium you could move the severum to then here is what I would recommend. Get some window screen material and cut it to the foot print of the 55. Add a layer of substrate about an inch or so deep and lay the screen over it and then a second layer to hide the screen. The roots will grow down through the screen and add anchoring strength. You are going to want 2-3 inches of sub. Any of the amazon swords, vals, or sag will work well for rooted stock. Avoid any stem plants or Cryps as they will be fodder. As was mentioned Java fern or any anubius variety are good as well. Plant the tank, attach any java/anubius to rock/wood and let them grow for 2-3 months or longer without fish. Any parasites introduced on the plants will have died as there will be no fish hosts and the plants will have developed a healthy root system and attached to the wood/rock. You can also add peat moss to the substrate to lower the acidity and encourage new root growth. When you add any new plant you need to trim the roots as well.
 
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