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Low tech carpet question

3729 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  fish_fasinated
Hi all,

I am just about to start my first planted tank. As I'm on a budget it will initially be low tech, and I have a few questions about possible plants.

I managed to get a Fluval Chi 25l for £30 so that will be my tank, I understand that the light on this thing is rather weak though I can't find any specifics about it anywhere; anyhow for the time being it will be all I have to work with until I can upgrade it which may not be for a while.

My first question is are there any low-light carpet plants? I realise that in order to grow rapidly these plants need a lot of light and CO2, but I wondered whether there were any options available to me in this department. I really would like a carpet of some kind and I'd be sad to have to give up that dream...

Second, I'm going to set this tank up at home over the summer and then move it to university with me when I go back late next August. I have a desk lamp which is currently running a 2500k LED bulb but I was wondering whether switching this for a 6500K and pointing it into my tank would provide, at least temporarily, a solution to my light problems?

Thanks for your help everyone
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Finnex makes a LED bar in their FugeRay line that will fit on a Fluval Chi. Amazon. You will want the 10" version.

I just started up a Chi tank (see signature) and it doesn't have carpeting plants. I would say the light is sufficient for a lot of things but nothing high light like dwarf baby tears. I have a Fluval Spec tank where the light is even dimmer and it will grow Staurogyne Repens. Over time they will spread and looks carpet like. You can pick that stuff up at PetSmart.

Final note. On the Chi you can't put the lights on a timer as the pump and lights all run off the same power. For that reason i dropped the whole filter thing (much to my wife's anger). In its place I used the FugeRay mentioned above and an Azoo Palm Mignon filter. I have just one Mignon 60 on the tank at the moment but getting ready to start up another. Note they do make bigger / stronger versions of the Mignon just not a Dr Foster and Smith.
That filter looks good value, I'll look into it. I forgot to mention it but the inability to separate the filter and light of the Chi was a worry for me, too. I go away most weekends and wouldn't be able to control the light with the button, and without a timer I feel it may not be a feasible solution. Do you know whether the Finnex 10" fits onto the chi whilst the filter block is in place?

Just had a look at your tank and it seems nice, do you know where the Finnex falls on the low/medium/high light output scale? Would I be able to grow any of the higher light carpets like Dwarf Hairgrass with it?

Moss tied onto mesh works well.
This is something I've been thinking about, Couesfanatic, but I'm not sure moss looks the way I would want a carpet to look.
You won't be able to grow a carpet without high light and CO2. Your best options would be moss as Couesfanatic said, or something like pigmy chain sword. Some have a little luck with HG in low-medium light, but if it grows it will be very slow (if at all) and won't fill in the way I think you are wanting.
There is a sticky in the Finnex forum that will give you all the par values. Fugeray is mediumish, Ray 2 is high and the Planted + is supposed to be in-between the two.

Yes you can do dwarf hair grass without high light and co2. It's best to start with a dry start and get it going nice and good. I did it in this tank under a 12 inch Finnex Fugeray with no co2:

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do you know where the Finnex falls on the low/medium/high light output scale?
If you look in the finnex thread on the forums they post their par ratings.
You won't be able to grow a carpet without high light and CO2.
Not true. I've never run CO2 on any of my tanks.

Lilaeopsis mauritiana, dwarf Sagittaria, dwarf chain swords, and Marselia minuta can carpet quite nicely under low light without CO2.
i use dwarf sag
Do you know whether the Finnex 10" fits onto the chi whilst the filter block is in place?
It would fit onto the the front of the cube between the filter and the front of the tank. That being said the splashing from the Chi filter would get all over the light. The Finnex stuff seems water resistant but I wouldn't call it water proof.

You could roll the main filter and get something like a canister or a Palm Azoo. And keep the Chi filter on a timer with the light on. You would have less light but would be cheaper and look better.
Well you could do a Fissidens carpet. This batch was the size of a quarter a year ago.
As you can see it does grow slowly. But they do sell larger rectangles of it(mats).
Or you can trim about every other week to get regular baby tears like this. I just
started cutting it down but the more you trim it the denser it gets.
BTW I just trimmed it yesterday so in four or six days it will look better.
If that LED light is a 1W bulb it will help in 6500K or 5500K.
I would be cautious about dwarf sagitaria as there is many variations of this "dwarf", also depending on lights and ferts. I personally have had this plant grow 12" plus in my old 65 setup, running 2x 150w metal halides, EI dosing, and heavy CO2.

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Then again that same sagitaria is still in the tank with 4x T5 HO and staying super low.

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