Fat Guy, I love your HC carpet, I am growing HC myself and would like to know what steps you recommend to ensure growth and health, thanks!
HC needs ample light, nutrients and co2 and maintenance. It does well in a nutrient rich soil. I had contemplated doing the dry start method with the HC, but didn't have the patience.
For this tank I started with two portions of HC that I picked up from my lfs and separated the plants from the wool and planted in three to four stem clumps. I didn't have any occupants in the tank for about a month so I blasted the co2 and started the first week to week and a half with nearly 50% water changes each day. I dose seachem potassium and comprehensive daily and now dose seachem nitrogen after each water change.
But once you start getting good growth with the HC, I think that the real trick is trimming. Once I started to see the HC rooting in the soil, I very carefully trimmed it back. And as it filled in more I started trimming more. Now that the entire tank is carpeted and there is a substantial root system that has developed, I am more aggressive with my trimming. Every week to week and a half, I cut it (almost down to the substrate) and have found luck encouraging smaller, more compact leaf growth. And the plant seems to respond very well. I've had a little green filament hair algae every now and then, which I remove with the bristles of a tooth brush. And in the beginning had experienced the normal occurrence of diatoms but stayed the course. I spend around an hour a week trimming the HC (believe it or not). 40 minutes or so trimming and 20 minutes removing the clippings from the water. If I had a better set of curved scissors, I think the process would go a lot faster. I really enjoy this plant.
Hope that helps. Thanks for the inquiry. best, el g