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Hi Everyone!

I want to plant a carpet! What species grows well in a tropical sand/soil tank, what grows well in a cooler gravel tank? I'm a beginner.

I'm debating between Pygmy Chain Sword or Java Moss carpet...but my friend said to do a micro sword carpet...

Tank 1 - 15 gallons
Lighting: 75 Watt home depot grow light (incandescent)
Flora: Giant Hygro, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Peace lily is growing emergent, one marimo Ball
Fauna: none. Eventually a betta fish.
Substrate: Soil with a thin sand layer
Filter: Tetra whisper internal power filter 10-30 gallons
Heater: 15 gallon submersible Aqueon, set at 77 degrees


Tank 2 - 2.5 gallon

Light: 36 watt light (Costco Happylight energy by verilux, with plastic blocking because the light is too high)
Flora: A baby amazon Sword because it wasn't doing well in the sand of the 15 gallon.
Fauna: eventually ghost shrimp. Currently Nico the betta fish and his heater are emergency hospital guests after a snail infestation, filter breakdown, fin rot, etc.
Substrate: Standard gravel under the UGF. Soil under the plant.
Filter: Undergravel topfin with a 5 gallon air pump.
Heater: eventually none. Shrimp don't need one.


Plants are happy! Except the Amazon Sword. Before I smashed my bulb accidentally the sword used to grow like a weed in the 2.5 gallon. It was way too big for that tank. I think it hates the 15g-sand, so I moved a baby sword back to the 2.5g-gravel.
 

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A really good plant for you to consider would be dwarf sag. Stays fairly low growing and can spread pretty quickly via runners. The lighting you have should be more than adequate for them. Also, for you sword, if you haven't already go buy some root tabs and place one underneath the rootball. Swords are heavy root feeders and are very quick to exhibit deficiencies.
 

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i'm using Marsilea Crenata. Its growing well with just High Light.
 

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All of the above recommendations are good (add dwarf hairgrass to the list). However, look at the characteristics of each regarding the look and maintenance. Example; dwarf sag does make a nice carpet, but can grow a couple inches high and, unless you like the look, you will have to trim it every week or so. The others require no maintenance, but hug the ground. I prefer the dwarf sag in my tank and don't mind the maintenance ...right now.

If you don't inject CO2, the spreading will be slow.
 

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Stay away from the Java Moss. It just becomes an invasive mess over time, with little sprigs popping up everywhere but not in a coherent pleasant form.
I only use Java Moss in nonfiltered or very lightly filtered tanks. Otherwise it' just becomes a weed.
 
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