well shoot. :/ I just threw out my trimmings yesterday. Sorry.
As for the lighting, I'd get a better light. Does your tank have a light on it? if it screws in you might wanna test if a Daylight Compact fluorescent light bulb will fit in the hood. If it does I'd get the daylight CFL and use that as a light. I don't think the LED desk lamp would typically have the right temperature to mimic natural daylight.
As for floaters and your ferns getting burned:
My ferns never burned even under twice the light they should have had (although there was a massive hair algae outbreak; but that's what I get for too much light and too many snails! XD)
If you do get frogbit it's pretty big, considerably thick, and blocks light to the rest of your plants like a mo. Thought I should warn you. If you do decide to get floating plats (be it duckweed, frog bit, or otherwise) you could get some plastic food grade cups, cut the cup just below the lip, like really close, float that in your tank, then keep the floaters in that ring and your ferns underneath that.
That'll pretty much guarantee that your ferns will be fine and it'll keep your floaters from blocking light to your other plants.
As for fast growers I highly recommend Wisteria. I love Water Sprite too but it's lost some of its glamor since you have to be careful where you cut it. It's a cousin of the Java Fern and it propagates like one. You gotta watch where the new roots/plant is forming and cut below that then put the part above it that's got leaves where ever you want.
Wysteria can pretty much be cut where ever as long as you leave some leaves on the part you're planting, and if you want to keep the bit you cut from then you should keep some leaves below your cut point as well.
Water Sprite and Wisteria do really well in bare, inert, or soil tanks.
Anacharis is also pretty good but it doesn't seem to grow as fast in warmer tanks in my experience. It grew really fast when my tank was cool.
Those are the only fast growers that I have decent experience with.
If you have soil or root tabs then Dwarf Sag/Sagitaria Subulata is a good one! It looks like tall grass! =] makes a good tall carpet if you get a lot of it/ if you like a tall carpet.
Another good soil/root tabs plant would be Crypts. They don't grow especially fast per-say but they look fantastic and as long as you do more small water changes and avoid massive water changes at long intervals then it shouldn't melt. They come in red and green. Red tends to be more expensive and you have to look in specialty stores or online for them. They're pretty gorgeous though. I highly recommend them!
Be careful when moving your tank home during break though. the change in water chemistry can make them melt. They have quite the temper! XD
Sometimes you can buy the less expensive green crypts in hanging packages at Petsmart (not everywhere though). They're a bit small but there are a lot of bunches so for me that makes up for it. If you find them at your PetSmart I'd look at each package; you can sometimes pick ones that are pretty big already. =]
No matter the plant you'll want to get a good bunch when you first buy. Sometimes plants don't adjust well so it's good to have backups. It'll save on shipping or if you buy some at petsmart it'll save you some time.
Sorry for the wall of text. XD
When I do my next trimming I'll think of you and give you a PM ok? =]
Last edited by wallywestisthebest333; 10-30-2011 at 03:07 PM.
Reason: restructure of paragraphs