Growing a carpet with sand sifters - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Growing a carpet with sand sifters

Does anyone on here manage to grow any carpet plants in sand with cories, khulis or similar critters that love to sift in the sand and tear them up? I've tried so many times, so many plants, with no luck and I'm losing hope. My current attempt is monte carlo with lead strips laying across it to hold it down, but it's not looking good. Is this really hopeless? Any tips?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:30 PM
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Sadly, I think you already know the answer.

It's nearly impossible to do with any fish strong enough to rip things up. Loose substrates like sand that get sifted make it even harder.

I've only ever had luck with Cories in tanks that don't have tons of ground cover. Cories have always been happier in tanks where they can mess up whatever they want, as well.

Only exception being Corydoras habrosus. Those are so tiny that they can't do much damage.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Argh! Yeah that's what I was afraid of. It's frustrating....after 10 years of having clown loaches, I was looking forward to finally growing whatever I wanted. Apparently that's still not the case. What about attached to hardscape? Will they ever leave that alone enough for it to flourish or should I give up on that too?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:05 PM
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You should be able to grow things attached to hardscape for sure.

Anything raised up off the substrate a bit will definitely help.

My Cory tanks tend to be all Crypts, mosses, Anubias and the like just to make life easier. You'd be surprised how hardy some of the tiny Crypts are. Can almost get a carpeted look.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I may just give up on this dream. I've just always wanted a high light tank with an hc/glosso carpet, but could never afford the lighting over the 150g (before leds). Then the clowns got huge and started destroying everything anyway so everything went to hell. Now ive downgraded to a 36g with high light so i can do what ive never done! While I do have some crypts again, they're not that exciting anymore because I've always grown them. I dunno...

Little stinkers. Hardscape it is ?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 07:53 PM
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What's your hardscape like? What's the current layout? Got any full tank shots?

Maybe members here could help come up with ideas to help you grow all kinds of things. Maybe even carpeting plants.

If one thing's for sure in this hobby, there's almost always a way to rig something up. Almost always.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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okay so it's only 4 weeks old so things are still new and not necessarily in a good spot yet. I also suck at pics so I dunno how well this worked out for actually seeing what's going on.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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This is a shot from the end. I'm thimkimg of trying to ateach some Mc in the crook there..
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 08:50 PM
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I don't think you need anything at all! It looks good and will look great once things acclimate and grow in. Those crypts are gonna get thick.

Maybe you could add some moss or fissidens-covered rocks here and there? Or attach some to the wood?

In four months, you're gonna be glad you don't have carpeting plants that need to be trimmed every time you turn around.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 09:16 PM
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Maybe using steel mesh would work, like the kind people use to start moss or riccia carpets?

It would hold the carpet plants down until they could root well. If you leave some bare sand for the cories they might be less inclined to mess with the steel mesh.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I added the AR 3 days ago so I'm excited to see it start growing.

Yeah I don't want to have to trim a crazy amount. Done that, don't have time or energy for it anymore with very young kids lol. I was hoping to have plants that like more light and have more color, but don't grow like weeds. I like the idea of fissidians or maybe a moss.

Thanks for the input!
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Good idea, I'll see what I have. I'd really like to see if I can get even a tiny bit of it to actually take in the sand. But I won't hold my breath. I've got it tied to wood and rocks in 3 spots so worst case, we'll go with that.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 10:16 PM
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Just checked the photos out from my computer instead of squinting on the phone.

Really does look like you have the perfect setup. Give things time to grow in and you won't regret not having carpeting plants at all. It's gonna look great.

The crypts you've got on the left front will spread over time and will give you a great carpet look, I'm betting. Certainly has happened in all the tanks I've had with a similar setup.

The only thing I'd change (forgive me for giving an opinion that was not solicited) is the background. Chuck that thing and stick on a solid color - black/blue/something dark - and the equipment will appear more hidden and the colors of your plants will pop a bit more.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 11:01 PM
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Also agree that the tank does not need any foreground plants, however you can try Sagitaria subulata. I had it in an aquarium with sand and lots of catfish. Once it gets established it will send new plants all over and it has strong roots. It also tends to leave space between the plants so that cories and others have space to play.

Unfortunately, it gets high but should still look good as a foreground in your aquarium.

On hiatus till later this year
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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You know, that's a good point. This was what I had on hand that was large enough, but I do prefer solid black and should replace it.

I did find a piece of construction mesh in the garage and have fit it over top of that little section on the ground...we're gonna see what it does. But if it turns into a weed, I may have to rethink it anyway. I'm committed to trimming 1-2 times a month, that's it lol.

So do you remove the mesh after its rooted or just leave it there forever? Doesn't removing it tear it up again since it will have grown around it?
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