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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I was wondering if anyone would like to share their experiences with growing carpet plants, such as HC. I'm hoping for advice, since I will be attempting this, but I'd also like others to be able to return to this thread as a helpful reference! Please feel free to include tips and/or pictures.

We might consider:
-The problems: How did you overcome them?
-Submersed vs. Emersed, & switching between them
-The growing process/technique
-Source of plants
-How to plant or ship

Thanks!
 

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Biggest problem: algae. And it's not like you can just cut leaves off when they get bad. Once it's in there, it takes some work. Currently trying (for the first time) an H2O2 whole-tank treatment at 1mL/g in a 20L. It's been a few days since the 90-minute treatment followed by 75% water change, and I'm waiting to see how bad it turns out for tank plants. BBA went purple pretty quick, and hair algae is starting to brown and clump. We'll see. I have some UG in a tiny emersed setup as an experiment, but it's definitely not quick.

Growing process - plant in tiny clumps (single strands is better, but often not terribly realistic), dose ferts and CO2, and hope for the best.

Source: always here.

Shipping: Never tried to ship plants in the dead of winter (not that we've really had "winter" here in NC this year). Lost most of a couple RAOK's of random stuff when I sent them over the summer, and the culprit was likely 2-3 hours in a car with the windows down (don't underestimate heat). Wrapped in damp paper towel, ziploc'd, surrounded by newspaper. I'll try just dropping them in an inflated baggie next time, but there are experienced shippers who could answer better.

Switching between emersed and submerged: usually ugly, despite what anybody tells you. Certain plants switch well, most take a while and is a messy experience. Still, it's usually successful, given decent parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great post, Kevmo911!
I love to hear people's personal experiences, it gives a unique perspective on the whole process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dwarf hairgrass doesn't want to grow in my 10 gallon.
I have it under Led lighting and I dose liquid fertilizer weekly.
It has root tablets and it's in sand. I plan on dosing Excel if I can find it.
In addition to this I'm considering a diy co2 system, though at this point I wonder if all of these together will be beneficial.
 

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HC: Low light for me, plus CO2 + Ferts. Planted in tiny clumps, probably in emersed form from store, flooded tank right away.
I have HC dosing frets and CO2, 2 x 20Watt light on 10 gallon. Mine is not spreading at all. Have had them since Sept 2011. no luck. Do you trim them? If so how often?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I heard that we should wait 3 months before trimming plants, but if they aren't growing it may not be necessary...
 

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Watts aren't a valuable description of light. What type of lighting do you have? I have T5NO lighting one inch above tank rim with poor reflectors. Watts only describe the length and/or number of bulbs and how much power they draw. I could have a 150W Metal Halide light suspended 6 feet above my tank or a 39 watt T5HO directly on rim and watts wouldn't appropriately tell anyone what my lighting was.

I trim my HC every 3-4 weeks as it starts piling up.

Sent from my BlackBerry 9650 using Tapatalk
 

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How on earth do you get the HC to stay down in the substrate? I broke mine up into small bits and I can't get it to stay down without putting a plant weight on it.

I'd LIKE to break it up into a few single strands each but I can't imagine getting it to stay in the substrate.
 

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I have yet to find a carpet plant that needs high light and co2. Can it help greatly, yes. Some will grow much faster (HC) but don't really have trouble without it. Some will grow great without high light and CO2, though slower, still quite fast IMO (Glosso, HM). Others will live, show very little growth, and won't carpet for years if you don't have enough (almost every type of hairgrass I have tried).


Planting any type of grass is pretty easy, just break it up to where you have a few blades and push in enough.

Planting stems (HC, HM) is a bit more challenging. I usually let my pots grow a bit if they are short when I buy them. I plant either with 1-3 stems (I add more as I get more tired lol). With HC, I try to plant about 1 in apart, closer if I have enough. With HM, I don't mind going as far as 4-5 in away, it carpets much more easily.

If you are planting in water, I suggest you lower the water level as much as you reasonably can. You will almost always have some pieces floating up and the less water, the easier it is to replant. Plant as deeply as possible, with just the top poking out. If it pulls up a bit, don't worry. If some comes up over the first few days, well, that usually just happens. Remember, plants grow so if you have some float up, you don't need to replant each one, unless you want to.

Also, if you find you didn't buy enough HC, glosso or HM, in particular, I recommend you just plant one part of the tank. Let it grow, trim, replant the trimmings (lower the water level again before you trim). It isn't that big of a deal but you get the joy of it carpeting more quickly (in a smaller area), but it's also easier to trim and replant in a new section, rather than having a sparse amount all over the tank.



Dry start makes it way easier to plant. In fact, you don't even need to actually plant them, you can just cut trimmings and let them root in. I normally plant but if it is coming from another tank and my trimmings are short, I just drop them in. Just make sure they have strong roots before you fill.

There are a few issues with dry start. First, you may get some browning or die off at first. If you just bought the plant, it probably was grown emmersed and probably won't do this. There is nothing wrong with this, it just is something to be aware of. Don't try to "fix" it, it just happens. It does similar when you refill, it will brown or melt. Again, don't be concerned or try to fix it, it just happens.

Dry start can also be problematic with large slopes. You have to make sure you spray more often and keep the humidity higher. Long term, high humidity can cause emmersed algae. It isn't inevitable, it can happen.

The last problem with dry start (other than you need to have patience) is that you have to be ultra careful when you fill the tank. You do not want to waste all your patience you used waiting to fill, only to pull it all up dumping water. Some people cover everything with a few layers of newspaper. I personally try to get the inch filled with a spray bottle. Then I siphon water through an airline tube with a little airline flow adapter going really slowly. Once I get some water in, I open up the line. Then I move to a bigger tube that goes faster, or a pitch and a plate. It's not hard, just use common sense.


The only other thing about dry start is make sure you do it long enough. Most important, the plants have to be rooted before you fill. The other thing is they will start growing in slowly (due to transitioning to emmersed) and then after some time (a few weeks to a few months sometimes) it will really start growing considerably more quickly, like 4-5 times as quickly. It's not a problem but it can be frustrating. You don't have to wait for it to really start growing but I recommend it. You can be certain it is well rooted. If you are impatient, just pull a piece up and see if the piece has roots that are at least about 1 cm long or so. Then you can fill but are not reaping the benefits of dry start growth, just the ease of planting.

I know that this is long but I will say my last piece. I like doing DSM for planting reasons, 100x easier and you can just stop when you are bored, come back the next day and finish up. You do benefit from faster growth in many plants, after the initial slow period but I find it negligible, if you are using CO2. I often fill early on CO2 equipped tanks, let it fill out on my low tech tanks.


I know that was long, just sharing my experiences. Carpet plants are not hard, IMO, unless you don't have enough light. They can be slow to fill in, especially without CO2 but if they are growing, it will fill in. I honestly don't think I have found a carpet plant I consider "hard to grow", though some fill in much more quickly. The more quickly they grow, the more you have to trim though, which can be a pain, not so much in the act of trimming, but gathering up your trimmings when you are done.
 

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I just put in some HC in a teeny tiny "tank" (it's really just a very small glass bowl, less than 1cup in volume). I filled it all the way up though. The substrate is crushed gravel I have been using in some other non-fish projects of mine, mixed with MGOCPS. Should I drain most of the water and lay some plastic wrap over the opening to keep in the moisture? I've never done a dry-start before so I'm not sure if I'd be doing it right and as I have very little HC I don't want to lose too much of it. I've actually got it sitting in the sun (My window only gets about 2 hrs of direct lighting, the rest is indirect.) though I plan to buy a proper lamp soon as I planted 5 more containers the same way and want to grow them all together.

I don't mind them growing fast and having to trim often, I want as muuuuch as possible to grow from the 2 pots I bought (only about 1.5" square of it) to live and thrive. I tried planting my 5g with HC and microsword as a grow-only tank with c02 and little water.
 

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I just put in some HC in a teeny tiny "tank" (it's really just a very small glass bowl, less than 1cup in volume). I filled it all the way up though. The substrate is crushed gravel I have been using in some other non-fish projects of mine, mixed with MGOCPS. Should I drain most of the water and lay some plastic wrap over the opening to keep in the moisture? I've never done a dry-start before so I'm not sure if I'd be doing it right and as I have very little HC I don't want to lose too much of it. I've actually got it sitting in the sun (My window only gets about 2 hrs of direct lighting, the rest is indirect.) though I plan to buy a proper lamp soon as I planted 5 more containers the same way and want to grow them all together.

I don't mind them growing fast and having to trim often, I want as muuuuch as possible to grow from the 2 pots I bought (only about 1.5" square of it) to live and thrive. I tried planting my 5g with HC and microsword as a grow-only tank with c02 and little water.
Just put some plastic wrap on top. You actually want some holes for gas exchange. You don't need the humidity to be crazy high either. Many people go as far as putting humidifiers in their tank. I have found high humidity to slow the process. May have been successful without even covering their tank. Some plastic wrap with some holes, mist every few days with a spray bottle, you will be fine.
 

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Okay. :) I'll give it a shot and see how it goes!

How high does the water level need to be? Just covering the roots, just covering the leaves or just right at the root level?
 

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Okay, thanks!

EDIT:

I think I'll try to convert my grow-out tank into emersed also. Might as well, my HC wasn't doing all that great submersed anyways.

I only used dirt for it though, no cap, is that okay? I plan to pull it out and move it to other tanks anyways. Will it grow directly in the dirt?

Also, will microsword grow emersed? I planted it, but it kind of just flops over. Should I just give up and move it into a filled tank, or will it be okay like that?

I don't need to add c02 in an emersed setup, right? Would it hurt anything if I did anyways? :p
 
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