So I currently have dwarf sag that I'm trying to grow as a foreground plant i my 90 gallon because I couldn't find any dwarf hair grass. The dwarf sag hasn't taken off yet and I can get some dwarf hair grass tomorrow. Would you get the dwarf hair grass or stay with dwarf sag? What looks better? What grows faster?
Any and all input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Over the past two years I've spent about $200 on *dwarf hairgrass, attempting to get it to carpet, and at the time knowing nothing about using pressurized CO2 or fertilizer tabs as well as high tech fluorescent lighting needed to get dh to carpet.
* I purchased it from Arizona Aquatic Gardens & Doctors Foster And Smith.
Even though the dh was in good shape when I received it, most of it turned brown and eventually died.
Over the course of the past few years I have learned how important the proper combination of fluorescent lighting (in this instance T-5), the spectrum of lighting (in this case 6700K and 18000K), pressurized CO2, fertilizer tabs and weekly dosing with liquid fertilizer are in getting dh to grow that lush green color that it is when we receive it from the petstore, as well as how to get dh to carpet.
And you don't need to use Eco complete or the other nutrient based substrates which can be very expensive. This author uses sand as a substrate because the plants can easily root in it, and because sand's inert, it has no chemical impact on the buffers in my aquarium's water.
I have a 20 gallon long aquarium that up until two and a half months ago was sparsely planted with dh that was just barely surviving. It had rooted in several areas of the tank, but was not carpeting, and its color was a dullish green.
I was using Seachem Flourish fertilizer tabs and about 2.5 watts of T5 lighting (6700 and 18000 spectra) and dosing with Flourish liquid fertilizer twice a week.
I was also using homemade (by fermentation process) CO2 which was very erratic. This turned out to be the weak link in the system.
I then decided to replace the homemade CO2 system with a Fluval CO2 88 pressurized system, and it has made a major difference in how the dh is growing.
In the past two and half months the dh has turned a lush green and nearly carpeted the entire bottom of the 20 long tank. I use one bubble per second which means that the Fluval's 88 gram canisters usually last about a month.
Using one bubble every three seconds the canister lasts almost two months (keeping in mind that I turn the CO2 system off at night), however, the growth is not as intense, yet still noticeable.
I recently made the investment in a 5 lb CO2 setup for my 37 gallon planted tank, and it has made a big difference in growing Rose Sword plants in that tank.
The 37 gallon is almost 2 feet high which presents other challenges that fishkeepers with shorter tanks don't have.
Specifically, my 37 gallon aquarium is near the limit in which T5 lighting will work effectively, and because the lighting is so far from the bottom of the aquarium, algae tends to grow on the upper portion of tank and any items (as such as filter intake tubes and heaters that are placed close to these lighting systems.
Plants will always have to compete with algae, however, tall aquariums represent an additional challenge by making it that much more difficult for plants to compete with algae.
And speaking of algae, the only real problem in using pressurized CO2, T-5 lighting, and fertilizer dosing, is that algae growth can increase dramatically to the point where your water literally turns green.
The algae thrives on all the nutrients that your plants are supposed to be absorbing!
As such, in this author's opinion, based on my own experiences with this system and algae growth, the solution is to add a uv sterilizer to your aquarium, which will not only kill off algae spores before they can overrun your aquarium, but also kill off harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can be harmful to your fish.
Given that a uv sterilizer kills off many different forms of bacteria, it makes sense to use it periodically instead of 24/7, unless you are trying to clear up an algae bloom.
This author also uses a Vortex D-1 to polish the water in my aquariums, which works well in conjunction with an inexpensive AquaTop IL 10UV ultraviolet sterilizer that I have plumbed into the return line of my Fluval 305 canister filter.
The above protocol will enable the fishkeeper to grow most aquatic plants with a minimum of hassle, while keeping algae growth under control.
The downside is the initial expense of all of the items. The pressurized CO2 systems cost a lot more than homemade CO2, but are far more effective - especially in larger aquariums.
The T5 bulbs also need replacing at least once a year, and every four months or so, the fertilizer tabs need to be replaced. And there's also
the dosing of liquid fertilizer a few times a week. However, this is the price to be paid for having a beautifully planted aquarium that your fish can thrive in.
Most fishkeepers find that if they purchase quality equipment (tanks, filters, heaters, lighting, CO2 systems etc.) that the initial expense is well worth it, given that the equipment is reliable and can last for decades, while enabling them to enjoy one of the greatest hobbys ever invented.