Dwarf hairgrass advice?
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:38 AM   #1
jfritz
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Dwarf hairgrass advice?


Hi guys (and gals?),

I'm hoping to grow a nice carpet of dwarf hairgrass in my 55 gallon tank, but so far have been having terrible luck.

I purchased some Eleocharis parvula from Petsmart, one of those shrink wrapped packages where the plant is grown in clear gel. The plant itself looked extremely healthy. It was a strip about 4" long, which I broke into three smaller pieces and planted in the tank. It has been about 6 weeks now, two patches have almost completely died off, and one patch remains but isn't growing at all.

I have CO2 injection, roughly 20-30ppm. I have two T5HO lights for 110W of light (about 2W per gallon). The substrate is a mixture of gravel and flourite, with a healthy amount of fish mulm built up in it. I have a fairly big canister filter (forget the name/size). (see below about fertilizers)

I was hoping for a lower-maintenance tank, so I only have strong root feeders or easy-to-care-for plants. E.g. amazon sword, ozelot sword, various crypts, staurogyne repens. They are all doing fantastic. But the dwarf hairgrass just sits there.

I'm trying to avoid adding fertilizers to the water column. I used to use liquid ferts, but I think because I've always had these easy root feeder plants, the ferts caused algae problems, even when I followed the exact proportions recommended by Tom Barr and did water changes on schedule. And so far, all my plants seem to be doing just fine with whatever nutrients are in the soil and no liquid ferts.

In fact, I also recently started adding "Dynamite Plant Food" to the substrate (I had read other places that this is safe for tank use, doesn't contain ammonia). I've put some under everything including the dwarf hairgrass. But it still just sits there.

I suspect it's the size of the substrate. The hairgrass I can see has very short roots and it's not penetrating deeply.

Any other thoughts??

I took a little out and planted it in a pot with potting soil and lots of water, covered it with plastic wrap. It's been in a sunny window for about 1.5 weeks now and it looks bright green and looking healthy.

Thanks for any help!
Jason
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
BruceF
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I find that eleocharis is general take a long time to acclimatize. Six weeks is not necessarily at the end of that. I grew some emersed outside last summer and then transplanted it last fall which worked well. I guess what I am saying is have patients. I do think it needs a rich substrate or at least some kind of fertilization.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:50 PM   #3
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Seems this plant is all about the substrate; it does better in soil with smaller granules. The Green Machine website says; "Where a carpet is required, position plants an inch or two apart in a pattern similar to the number five found on a dice. The plant will grow by sending out runners into and out of the substrate and growth can be very rapid indeed. Eleocharis parvula, like other carpeting plants and grasses, will do particularly well in ADA Aqua Soil Powder, because the smaller granules allow the small roots to get better anchorage, although it can be grown quite happilly in ADA Aqua Soil (normal type) and can also be grown in Tropica Plant Substrate capped with fine gravel." I realize it is not easy to add substrate to an existing tank but I've read on this forum that it can be done if you make fert tabs out of the soil/new substrate. This is accomplished by mixing a bit of the new soil/substrate with RO water (or your conditioned tap if that is what you use after cleaning), freeze it in small cubes, then stick them in the substrate by the base of your hairgrass. Just an idea.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
Curt_914
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You need more light i had 3x54watt over my 55 and it grew great years ago when i had it. It will take a while to acclimate as bruce said. Good luck. Also a finer substraight is a good idea, mine grew great in. sand. Did you make sure to rinse all the gell away?
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I find that eleocharis is general take a long time to acclimatize. Six weeks is not necessarily at the end of that. I grew some emersed outside last summer and then transplanted it last fall which worked well. I guess what I am saying is have patients. I do think it needs a rich substrate or at least some kind of fertilization.
Thanks, Bruce. I'm glad to hear transplanting emersed hairgrass worked well for you. That gives my emersed growth experiment will work.
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSA1255 View Post
Seems this plant is all about the substrate; it does better in soil with smaller granules. The Green Machine website says; "Where a carpet is required, position plants an inch or two apart in a pattern similar to the number five found on a dice. The plant will grow by sending out runners into and out of the substrate and growth can be very rapid indeed. Eleocharis parvula, like other carpeting plants and grasses, will do particularly well in ADA Aqua Soil Powder, because the smaller granules allow the small roots to get better anchorage, although it can be grown quite happilly in ADA Aqua Soil (normal type) and can also be grown in Tropica Plant Substrate capped with fine gravel." I realize it is not easy to add substrate to an existing tank but I've read on this forum that it can be done if you make fert tabs out of the soil/new substrate. This is accomplished by mixing a bit of the new soil/substrate with RO water (or your conditioned tap if that is what you use after cleaning), freeze it in small cubes, then stick them in the substrate by the base of your hairgrass. Just an idea.
Hi HSA, thanks for all the info. In my first post I mentioned using the Dynamite plant food. I actually did that by freezing small ice cubes and sticking it into the gravel below the hairgrass and other plants.

I found that this was very disruptive to the substrate, though. It's very hard to get the ice cubes small, because if the fertilizer isn't completely encased in ice, the little granules just fall off as soon as you stick it in the water. So I had a chunk of ice about 1/2" thick (the thinnest I could manage on my first attempt), and putting this under the hairgrass caused it to uproot some. It's been there for 1.5 weeks and I haven't seen any change in the hairgrass at all.

Does anybody know where to get reddish/brown sand? I'm thinking of lightly capping my red/brown gravel in order to fill the cracks a little and create a better medium for the hairgrass.

THANKS!!
Jason
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt_914 View Post
You need more light i had 3x54watt over my 55 and it grew great years ago when i had it. It will take a while to acclimate as bruce said. Good luck. Also a finer substraight is a good idea, mine grew great in. sand. Did you make sure to rinse all the gell away?
Hi Curt, thanks for the advice (hard to reply to three diff people at once!). It would be a lot of work to add another light since I have a custom built fixture inside my canopy. Yes, I rinsed all the gel off. Any idea where to get reddish/brown sand in Denver?
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
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You can use multiquote to quickly reply to multiple people.

As for the hair grass, I recently had an unsuccessful adventure with them, probably due to the fact that they dried out when my tank had a problem and I have no co2 or ferts (yet, they're coming in today). But from what I've read. Your best bet is to break it up a lot more than you did. I've read you have to take the large clump and break it into smaller strands of about 10 blades each and then plant them in offset rows (like the number 5 on a dice). And then give it time to establish and give them frequent haircuts and it'll spread and grow like a weed.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:21 PM   #9
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I love DHG, but it is definitely a headache of a plant.
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Old 10-04-2013, 04:47 AM   #10
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My only advice "Patience". Hope it works for ya!
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