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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone!

I am new to the tank game and I’m having grass issues.

Backstory (If anyone is interested):
I bought a betta in May and thought it would be an “easy” and fun idea to get into planted tanks. Fun? Heck yeah. Easy? Not so much. When I first got my 8 gallon tank I completely messed up by making rookie mistakes which resulted in several dead plants, severe algae growth, and horrible ethical violations to my poor betta. But I learned from the mistakes did the best research I could do and completely redid the tank. I decided to go with dwarf hair grass because I read that it was a good starter plant and could grow fairly quickly. Currently my betta is in a smaller 2 and half gallon tank and I desperately want to move him to his new home the 8 gallon.


The Actual Issue:
Basically the dwarf hair grass is not growing but it’s also not dying??
I bought the dwarf hair grass online (etsy). When I planted it, I spaced it in very small clumps around the tank and used two Seachem Flourish root tabs to help it grow. I read that you should do frequent water changes when you start a new plant so I did 2 water changes a week for 2 weeks and then moved to small water changes once a week.
In the beginning, there was little strands of algae and I read that you just need to clean them off the best you can and trim the grass. I did this and some of the grass is green while other clumps look like translucent strands.
And for the past month and half the tank has stayed the same. Which is very weird, the grass doesn’t seem to be growing higher or spreading but it also doesn’t seem to be dying. Thankfully no algae has been building aside from the little strands that have been there.
Like I said, I’ve been doing small water changes once a week and I wonder if I’m overdoing it? It’s about a 10-15% change.
I also read that adding other plants can help, so I bought a java fern and some sort of medium sword plant? (I admit I’m not great with plant names) They have been in the tank two and a half weeks and it’s hard to tell if they are doing well (pictures below).

I’m looking for any help on encouraging the growth and spread of the dwarf hair grass. Any help, recommendations, comments, concerns (seriously guys anything) would be amazing. Truly am trying to do anything and everything to make this planted tank work. I don’t want to give up on it 😅


Tank Specs:
Tank: 8 gallon Top Fin Tank with filter
Filter: Top Fin filter with activated carbon
Substrate: Fluval Stratum substrate with a light layer of Seachem Flourite Black Sand.
Lighting: I’m using the lights that came with the tank. They are LEDs and I have them on from 8-9am to 7-8pm
Temperature: 75-72 F
API Freshwater Test Kit Results:
pH 7.6
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Additional: I have been adding API CO2 and API Fertilizer


Here are some photos:

Light Purple Rectangle Pet supply Organism

Flower Plant Light Purple Textile

Nature Purple Plant Sky Petal

Plant Purple Grass Terrestrial plant Violet

Plant Terrestrial plant Organism Leaf vegetable Flowering plant


Again any help appreciated!
 

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If i read that correctly, your lights are only on for 2 hours day??? I would definitely have them on for atleast 6 hours a day. Your ferns and swords look alright, but is your java fern planted in the substrate? The rhizome shouldn't be buried or it will die. My best guess is that grass melted since its a new tank which is normal but the lack of lighting isnt helping the situation and likely why they're struggling to bounce back.

You shouldnt need to dose CO2 for those plants as they're quite undemanding they really only need light, plus you're using fluval stratum which is good and has nutrients. I'd measure your nitrate levels if possible. But overall apart from lighting everything else seems fine, those water changes are fine.

If you're trying to cycle your tank as well, I'd sprinkle small amounts of fish food in there to get the cycle started.
Good luck!

EDIT: Lol I think i did misread your lighting schedule, so its on roughly 11-12 hours a day right? hmm my guess then is that its just normal melting since its only 2 weeks old, i know that hair grass is known to melt but usually bounces back
 

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WaldoDude here above already gave alot of good recommendations, i would like to add to bring the light down to 8 hours, 11-12 hours will lead to problems imo with algae. because a plant usually only does only require photosynthesis for 8 hours tops.
 

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Also one other comment on the dwarf hair grass, I wouldn’t expect fast growth with it, especially with so little in there. Even with a liquid co2 alternative, it will take a while for it to fill in, but it seems like your over the hump. If you’re able to, you may want to introduce more hair grass or other plants into your tank to be able to uptake some of your aquasoil nutrients. If you have a stone or piece of wood, you can wedge, tie or superglue your Java fern rhizome to it so it’s not buried.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If i read that correctly, your lights are only on for 2 hours day??? I would definitely have them on for atleast 6 hours a day. Your ferns and swords look alright, but is your java fern planted in the substrate? The rhizome shouldn't be buried or it will die. My best guess is that grass melted since its a new tank which is normal but the lack of lighting isnt helping the situation and likely why they're struggling to bounce back.

You shouldnt need to dose CO2 for those plants as they're quite undemanding they really only need light, plus you're using fluval stratum which is good and has nutrients. I'd measure your nitrate levels if possible. But overall apart from lighting everything else seems fine, those water changes are fine.

If you're trying to cycle your tank as well, I'd sprinkle small amounts of fish food in there to get the cycle started.
Good luck!

EDIT: Lol I think i did misread your lighting schedule, so its on roughly 11-12 hours a day right? hmm my guess then is that its just normal melting since its only 2 weeks old, i know that hair grass is known to melt but usually bounces back
Hi Thanks for your response! I had no idea DHG could melt?? Lol crazy! But I will definitely try the fish food and adjust my java fern. Also I should have been more clear but the DHG has been in the tank since about mid-July. By mid-August some clumps had died and I removed them carefully which is why the clumps are very small. But thank you for your advice! I’ll try to update the post on the results!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
WaldoDude here above already gave alot of good recommendations, i would like to add to bring the light down to 8 hours, 11-12 hours will lead to problems imo with algae. because a plant usually only does only require photosynthesis for 8 hours tops.
Hiii, yes I will adjust my lighting! Also do you think the LED lighting that came with the tank is enough? As much as I like the lid (which is where the lights are attached) I don’t mind removing it and using a clip on light. Any thoughts on fluorescent versus LED? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also one other comment on the dwarf hair grass, I wouldn’t expect fast growth with it, especially with so little in there. Even with a liquid co2 alternative, it will take a while for it to fill in, but it seems like your over the hump. If you’re able to, you may want to introduce more hair grass or other plants into your tank to be able to uptake some of your aquasoil nutrients. If you have a stone or piece of wood, you can wedge, tie or superglue your Java fern rhizome to it so it’s not buried.
Hey there! I’ve been watching videos about Java fern all night and I feel like a total fool not doing it sooner. But I currently have adjust the fern so rhizome is showing and this weekend I’ll head to the store for some drift wood and possibly some other plants, any suggestions?
Also I am a bit bummed the DHG is taking so long to grow, I think I got a little to excited when I heard that DHG it was possible to completely carpet after 4 weeks. Completely overlooked that every tank is different. Thanks for your reply!
 

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Yeah, I. Your case you would need a fair amount more of it to fully carpet in a reasonable amount of time, for an 8 gallon tank I would think maybe 3 tissue culture pots, and then still expect 2 months or so. Other than Dwarf hair grass, There are so many plant options. If you want something that can grow fast, I’d recommend stem plants. And with tissue culture you get a lot of plants in a single pot. There are many tutorials on all of this sort of stuff. But for choosing plants, I would just go searching on google or Instagram for aquascapes and find some you like. Also Tropica.com is a great resource for plant varieties, learning about them and their preferences. Good luck getting your hands wet!
 

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Rather than dwarf hair grass maybe something less light needy like dwarf sagittaria or dwarf four leaf clover (Marsilea Crenata) as carpeting plants?
 
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