Newbie - Groundcover for small tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2013, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie - Groundcover for small tank?

Hi all, I just signed up for this forum and would like to ask a question. I'll try to give you some background without writing a book!

I am sort of new to planted tanks, I've had one for about a year but the only thing still growing in it is wenditti. I have 2 other tanks that are fairly new, one about 3 months and one about 3 weeks old. All are the Petco Bookshelf Tank 24" long, 9" wide (front to back), 9" deep (more like 8" after substrate).

All the tanks have white sand substrate (from Petco) HOB filter, 1 Betta, 1 Zebra snail, 1 Ghost Shrimp, and multiple MTS in all three tanks. They are all cycled and are kept between 78-80F using a heater for my bettas. 2 of the tanks have a few thin pieces of driftwood (this is fairly new, about a month).

The lighting is an Aqueon Floramax Plant Growth 18" long 15w-T8 bulb. The box doesn't state what the kelvin rating is but the guy at the store told me 6700K. The hood where the bulb resides does not have a reflector (although it is white) and the tank does have a clear plastic "cover" that sits on top of the tank that the hood sits on, so the light must "travel" through this.

I do NOT have c02 and really don't want to get into all of that because I'm still learning everything and it all seems way to complicated at this point for me...maybe someday but from what I've read it's easy to kill your fish and it's hard to regulate co2. So, that being said...

My question is....
I really LOVE the look of "carpet" all over the substrate but can't seem to get anything growing. I tried dwarf hairgrass (wouldn't stay planted, probably had something to do with the MTS or the Ghost Shrimp uprooting them). I also tried regular hairgrass which has all died, probably because I just found out that it needs co2 which I really don't think my one little betta per tank is providing lol. I didn't like the regular hairgrass anyway because it was too tall for my tank, even my wenditti is 2/3rds up the tank. I would like something low, or at least something I could trim to keep low.

So IS there a plant that will cover the substrate like carpet for my setup?

Thanks so much for any help you can give me! Please let me know if I can tell you anything else about my setup that may help.

PS: My Christmas moss is also dying (or dead) maybe because it's too warm? I've read that it will adjust and read it won't adjust, the guy that sold it to me said it would be fine in 80F, the web says otherwise so....
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-15-2013, 01:27 AM
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You could try some glosso.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my...ma_elatinoides

I have it in a 2.5 gallon, where the light source is about 8 inches from the substrate and it's doing very well. I don't have CO2 but I do dose Flourish Excel. It might grow well without excel, I hear it grows like a weed in sunny window containers.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-16-2013, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Marley kitty... may i ask what substrate you use? I currenty have sand but im thinking I need to put some sort of product that has plant ferts in it under the sand? Can anyone recommend one that they like and have had good results with? Thank you!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-17-2013, 03:00 AM
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I'm using Fluval Shrimp Strarum. My glosso seems to really like it because of the small light pieces as opposed to aquarium gravel. It doesn't have any fertilizers in it. I think sand would work because it has small light granules. I'm pretty sure glosso is a water column feeder and wouldn't require root tabs.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 12:44 PM
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I wouldn't recommend glosso without co2...I've tried and failed several times. Dwarf hairgrass and E. tellenus are the only foreground plants I've personally had success with in creating a carpet without CO2 (but using Excel like Kitty). And without co2 it will take a long time for you to achieve that carpet effect.

Kitty, how long have you had the glosso going without co2? Did you start emersed?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 02:40 PM
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two other suggestions would be either Marsilea quadrifolia, i have it in a tank with no co2 and its doing pretty well. Took a bit to get established but now its starting to fill in. Or you could use moss. people use either stainless steel mesh or plastic craft mesh. Take two pieces of mesh lay moss in between use thread to tie them together and lay it on the bottom of your tank. The moss will grow up through the openings creating a carpet effect
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason K View Post
Kitty, how long have you had the glosso going without co2? Did you start emersed?
I've had to glosso growing for about a year, year an a half, dosing with excel. I've never had any problems with it, it's always grown really well (grows fast, pearling, bright green). I didn't start it emersed. Which made planting annoying because the little plantlets would float up a lot for the first couple of days. But once they got established they stayed down and took off.

I'm not really religious with my dosing of excel either. It'll go a couple of days where I forgot, but it'll still keep pearling away. My experience with it has been very easy, but the light I'm using is a little overkill so maybe if you provide it with LOTS of light it's other requirements become less important? Either way I'm really happy with it.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marley_kitty View Post
I've had to glosso growing for about a year, year an a half, dosing with excel. I've never had any problems with it, it's always grown really well (grows fast, pearling, bright green)

Pearling without CO2? Really? I've used excel in many setups, and have never seen that.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason K View Post
Pearling without CO2? Really? I've used excel in many setups, and have never seen that.
dwarf sagg pearls in my low light excel tank lol... so it is possible
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 05:45 PM
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I would recommend marselia minuta, dwarf hair grass, or pygmy chain sword. You just have to be patient though... all of these plants will struggle for while and then start to spread slowly.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 06:36 PM
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I have the same tank, using regular pea sized gravel. I threw in some Osmocote when I laid the substrate down also dose Excel once/week. Planted DHG about three weeks ago and it's just started taking off. It was previously grown emersed, so it took awhile for it to die off and re-grow.

Thinking of getting some Staurogyne repens or Marsilea hirsuta as I prefer the bushy look.
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