I want to plant DHG in my 400l tank to get the carpeted look. I currently have JBL Manado substrate but I'm thinking I may need something more fine (almost like a sand) to stop the shoots floating to the top.
Since I dont really wanna take out all the substrate, is there a way of adding a thin layer of something on top to help hold the shoots?!
you could add sand as a cap to the top layer of existing substrate. Over time it will filter down into the substrate below and fill up the spaces. Put wet sand into a cup and gently pour it out onto the substrate with the water still in the tank. Just wash/rinse the sand you use really well. No need to remove the existing substrate.
The substrate is roughly 3 inches at the minimum depth and 6inches + at the highest depth. I will try and post a picture.
I am looking for the carpet effect so was thinking of dwarf hair grass unless there are any other suggestions?
Wow 6"? Thats the deepest i think ive ever heard of lol. I would think at 3" it shouldnt be an issue. Plant stems at an angle, say 60 degrees. Theyll still grow straight but it gives lighter soils more holding power
Plant the hair grass deeper. Your substrate is a fired clay, correct? It is light weight and easy on delicate plant crowns so deeper is fine. My hairgrass will grow crowns 2" below the surface of the substrate at the tank pane! I take the tiny clump by the roots with my forceps [works better than tweezers for me] and pull the plant under the substrate so the crown is maybe 1/2" covered by substrate. Let go of the roots and pull the forceps out at an angle. The one time I did this with no water in the tank the plants stayed down better as the substrate falls around the roots when the tank is filled. When you plant in water the plant can float up as you remove the tool as you well know!
Lots of other grassy carpeting plants to choose from but any that form lots of tiny crowns and fine leaves are going to have fine roots too. Blyxa japonica sort of looks like a clumping grass but is really a stem plant with thin leaves. The stems easily break before roots have grown into the substrate so aren't very easy to deal with either.
I trim the tops to about 1 inch length when planting. There are very few roots on the bottom of the plant so I take some off the top to keep things balanced. Doing this seems to result in less yanking ability and it stays in the substrate better.