Since I have already decided to stock Asian fish, I am going to try aiming for the same from the plants. I used Tropica’s index of plants by origin as a starting place. My first attempt at creating a layout ended up with a few non-Asian plants which I liked the look of, but this was created long before I even had the aquarium itself.
For the background, I picked Cardamine lyrata, Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Mi Oya’, Lindernia rotundifolia and Rotala rotundifolia as these all have the potential to grow very tall; mid-ground, I want Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Tropica’ and Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides; the foreground plants will be Cryptocoryne parva, which I have never had much success with, and Pogostemon helferi, which I already have.
While I agree with supporting retailers, my LFS charges approximately € 7 – 10 per pot, which is relatively expensive. My usual online retailer is more reasonable, charging € 3 – 5 per pot or bunch of these plants, but because the set-up has already cost almost € 200 and because I want to heavily plant it from the start, I have been looking for these plants from fellow fish-keepers, mostly though forums and suchlike, but also via online advertisements. While I do have some plants to offer for trade, which is the usual etiquette, I will make an effort to pay for them in cash, same as any beginner would be doing.
My first two finds were Cardamine lyrata and a Hydrocotyle cf. tripartita (also known as H. species ‘Japan’ and H. sp. ‘Australia’, sometimes mistakenly identified as H. maritima because it looks similar to H. sibthorpioides) which I bought in a lot of 30 “bunches” for € 30 including delivery, so I will price these at € 1 for the C. lyrata and € 2 for H. cf. tripartita, as they were on the more common side out of the plants I received.
A few days ago, I had another piece of good luck: I received six pots of Lindernia rotundifolia from an unknown source, which I was not expecting. Maybe someone out there likes me, as these are usually € 5 – 10 EUR per pot.
I have also already managed to secure Rotala rotundifolia and Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Tropica’ from a couple of forum members, once they need trimming again, both for the price of postage.
For the moment, here is how the aquarium looks right now: