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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 36 gallon with a Twinstar 600SA on it, not running CO2. Anyone know of any good carpeting plants that would be successful under high light and no CO2?

I've tried monte carlo and a majority of it melted with some of it still chilling but not really growing upward or outward. I'm thinking of leaning towards dwarf hair grass.
 

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It's fairly difficult to get a carpet without CO2. If you've got a high quality aquasoil and a lot a surface disturbance you might be able to get something to carpet, but it takes a lot of practice and really optimized fertilizing and lighting. What I've seen done quite a bit is an s. repens foreground that can be easily trimmed and replanted to create a dense foreground with low levels of light.
 

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I am a fan of marsilea minuta. It worked out great for me as a carpeting plant in a low tech tank. It takes a bit of patience to get it started but once it takes off, it just spreads out. I remember having to lift up like mat when it was time to redo the scape.
 

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dwarf hair grass will grow. You will have to buy a lot of it or wait a couple of years to carpet but it will grow without co2. I'm not a fan of the stuff and in general i'm not a fan of carpeting but none the less it is an option.
 

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I have dwarf hair grass and dwarf sagitaria in my window sill zero tech bowls exposed to afternoon sunlight. Dwarf sag is doing well, but dhg is struggling.
 

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55g tall 40g breeder 20g long (5) nano aquascapes
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Pearlweed.
This. I literally registered just to agree with this. Nothing grows in inert, no ferts, black diamond, like pearlweed under medium light. I really like the way you can make your pearlweed carpet look like terrain by clipping. Plus, once you get your perimeters right or add co², you get the eye pleasing bubbles. I find it easier to vacuum than dbt or mc as well.

If you're starting a new tank, I suggest a dry start then root tabs by Thrive.
 

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I have dwarf hair grass and dwarf sagitaria in my window sill zero tech bowls exposed to afternoon sunlight. Dwarf sag is doing well, but dhg is struggling.
your right. dwarf sagitaria is the easier of the two to grow; still in a low tech tank it can take a long time to actually carpet.
 

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It would be better if you had co2.

Failing that, Littorella uniflora might work. Like some plants of similar habitat (shallow water of lakes), it's able to take up co2 from the substrate that comes from decomposition of detritus and so on.
 

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Like @Tiger15, when I had a low-tech tank, I was able to carpet my inert substrate with both DHG and Dwarf Sag. The DHG took 4-6 months to fill-in. Some of the tricks with DHG are to plant only 2-3 blades about an inch apart in a grid-like pattern. Then, trim it a few days later. Trimming encourages spreading, otherwise the plants will focus upon growing toward the light.

You have a high-light tank, with no CO2, and I'm surprised that you aren't reporting algae problems. I would guess that you are probably pushing 90-100 PAR at the substrate, when a non-CO2 tank would be better in the 50 PAR area.That Twinstar is probably too much light. You may want to get a dimmer for it and reduce the light by 50%. It could cause all of your plants to struggle, because the light will push them to grow, but they won't have enough carbon to do it, so you get a burn-out effect with them. This may be why you are having trouble. Faltering plants allow algae to proliferate.

Excel can help supply some carbon when CO2 is not being used. It helped my low-tech setup noticeably.
 

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Excel can be used as an algaecide, but it is, primarily, designed to provide a little carbon boost for plants.

It may initially melt Anacharis (Egeria/Elodia), Vals, Duckweed and Marimo moss balls (which are a form of algae). These plants can be trained to use it if adapted slowly by not doing the recommended “initial” weekly dose and then just half-dosing every other day, gradually building up to recommended levels.
 

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Excel can be used as an algaecide, but it is, primarily, designed to provide a little carbon boost for plants.

It may initially melt Anacharis (Egeria/Elodia), Vals, Duckweed and Marimo moss balls (which are a form of algae). These plants can be trained to use it if adapted slowly by not doing the recommended “initial” weekly dose and then just half-dosing every other day, gradually building up to recommended levels.
You might find this article informative:

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I was actually looking for one that measured co2 levels from liquids relative to other methods but cant' find it right now still the one above is not bad.
 

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You might find this article informative:

I was actually looking for one that measured co2 levels from liquids relative to other methods but cant' find it right now still the one above is not bad.
Although I'm not a fan of Aquarium Co-op, the article does do a good job of summarizing the essentials of using Excel.

The only clarification that I would make to the article would be to point out that only red algae (hair-type and BBA algae) are affected by Excel and, usually, a large single treatment is desirable for the knock-down, not the dosing recommended for carbon supplementation. Other types of algae, such as GSA and GDA, are not affected by Excel.
 

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A couple years back with my first tank ever, I managed to get a monte carlo carpet going with no co2 or ferts. Parts of that carpet is still there today but growth stunted I presume due to the aquasoil being depleted. Used high lighting and amazonia aquasoil. I did do a drystart tho for about 2 weeks maybe that contributed to the success. My First Aquascape: Check it out :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Like @Tiger15, when I had a low-tech tank, I was able to carpet my inert substrate with both DHG and Dwarf Sag. The DHG took 4-6 months to fill-in. Some of the tricks with DHG are to plant only 2-3 blades about an inch apart in a grid-like pattern. Then, trim it a few days later. Trimming encourages spreading, otherwise the plants will focus upon growing toward the light.

You have a high-light tank, with no CO2, and I'm surprised that you aren't reporting algae problems. I would guess that you are probably pushing 90-100 PAR at the substrate, when a non-CO2 tank would be better in the 50 PAR area.That Twinstar is probably too much light. You may want to get a dimmer for it and reduce the light by 50%. It could cause all of your plants to struggle, because the light will push them to grow, but they won't have enough carbon to do it, so you get a burn-out effect with them. This may be why you are having trouble. Faltering plants allow algae to proliferate.

Excel can help supply some carbon when CO2 is not being used. It helped my low-tech setup noticeably.
Hmm you make a strong argument. I think I'll need to consider CO2. For the time being, I have a timer/dimmer for my light. I have the light ramping up in the morning, hitting 100% by about 12pm, and then it ramps down turning off completely at 8pm. Do you have any suggestions for a CO2 kit? I've been looking at the one provided by GLA
 

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Hmm you make a strong argument. I think I'll need to consider CO2. For the time being, I have a timer/dimmer for my light. I have the light ramping up in the morning, hitting 100% by about 12pm, and then it ramps down turning off completely at 8pm. Do you have any suggestions for a CO2 kit? I've been looking at the one provided by GLA
That is a lot of light, for a long period, for not having CO2.

I would recommend a pressurized system, as opposed to DIY. Many of us, including me, began with DIY and found it to require too much hand-holding for very little - if any - long-term cost savings.

You can get very good quality systems from members on this forum (as I did), but I have also heard good things about the GLA regulators, as well. Take some time to learn what to look for, by searching the forum. It may be a little confusing, at first, but you will quickly find that there isn't that much to it. Post questions, if you can't find answers by searching, and you will get plentiful responses.
 

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Throwing in a vote for Hygrophila Serpyllum, it's a broad leaf carpet that seems to grow like a weed. I got some from @burr740 a while back and it tries to take over my tank even when other plants have problems.
 
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