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I have a combination of eco complete and crushed coral/shells for a substrate and am looking for suggestions for carpet plants that will root and grow well in it.
Is this a high tech tank or low tech? If the latter plants don't really carpet in a reasonable period of time (think years instead of weeks or months). If the former then any carpet plant will live and spread but none will spread as well as if it were aquasoil or sand.
 

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Just a heads-up, in my experience ecocomplete is tough for small carpeting plants (hard in stem plants too). Not reasy to get them to stay in the substrate until they root well.o
 

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snails are your friend
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I'd argue injected CO2 is the answer for carpeting plants, far more than the substrate. You can siphon sand, but you have to either use low flow or crimp the hose to avoid sucking it up. Unless I have fish that require it, I'll doubtfully ever use it again. My biggest problem with sand isn't that plants do poorly in it (quite the contrary). It's that I like to wipe the glass down near the substrate and seem to always get a grain in between my sponge and the glass and wind up with scratches. I do use and rather like Eco Complete, but am not a fan of crushed coral for the average freshwater tank.
 

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It is seeming like sand is the answer for carpeting plants but I hear that sand makes a real mess. Is this true? I guess siphoning is out of the question with sand?
Choose a sand with large grain size like medium grit blasting sand, pool filter sand or aquarium specific, non-buffering sand.

Play sand is notoriously dirty / small grain sized.

You can hover a siphon right over the larger grained sand without any issue. Use a swirling motion or a turkey baster attached to the siphon tube to kick up detritus.


Sand is one if the cleanest / easiest substrates to keep clean.
 
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