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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 40 B moderately stocked with plants, bacopa ludwigia, anubias, vals. I have 30 watts of leds, approximately 2800 lumens 6500k spectrum. Mostly PFS substrate. strip of eco complete in the back. Fish are 2 Mollies and about 8 babies, and 5 cherry barbs. I don't want to have to do CO2 dosing. I'm using osmocote root tabs.
Would I be able to grow Glossostigma? Can use some liquid ferts if necessary. I have carbon in my filter but I heard it immediately takes out any liquid ferts? is this true?
 

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Hey mate, looks like you're in a bit of a pickle in regards to getting a carpet going with your current setup. What are the dimensions of your tank? I'm not sure what exactly a '40 B' is, so I can't really comment on the quality of your lighting, but it sounds like you're confident about that. However, you're missing many other crucial factors necessary for the growth of a carpet.

Substrate for one. I've never seen a successful carpet on sand... not really heard of anyone wanting to grow a carpet on sand either... It looks better bare doesn't it? But that's just my opinion.
Sand provides no nutrients for the plants, and carpeting plants in particular require abundant nutrients from the substrate, which is the reason they stay there in the first place.
Also, I've found osmocote is kinda hit and miss in terms of a fertilisation solution. Think about it, not all the substrate is active, only certain areas will be leaching nutrients into the water, and if you're trying to grow a thick carpet it makes sense to get an even level of nutrients throughout the substrate. Dirted substrates are usually a must for carpets.

Next, Co2 injection is basically a necessity for any carpet, even the easiest carpet you can think of! Unless you want to achieve a carpet in under a painstaking 12 months, either dose Seachem Excel like a mad man, or get yourself an injection system. Trust me, its worth it, and if you're smart, you can do it cheap. I'm running a fire extinguisher with a solenoid regulator which cost me all up $70 AUD including the diffuser.

Get that carbon out of your filter son! It basically fails your nitrogen cycle my removing any ammonia and other waste products that can be converted by nitrifying bacteria, meaning that without a steady supply of carbon you tank is at risk of having its cycle fail and as a result you may get dangerous ammonia spikes etc. Rely on mechanical and biological filtration in the planted tank to get the best results. Remember, you're not just keeping a fish tank, you're building a mini ecosystem.

Now the next thing to worry about is your fertilisation scheme. You must have ferts. You can make them from dry chemical solutions for a lower price, or buy the premade liquid brands, regardless of what you do, don't simply rely on osmocote. A consistent and well balanced fert scheme is the backbone of a successful aquascape. Slowly learn to tailor it to your aquariums needs as you go along. It's not that hard or that expensive.

Now onto that carpeting plant.

Glosso is often a pain in the butt to grow, and it most certainly requires carbon dioxide unless you're growing it in seriously high light in which case you'll probably find that your aquarium will be overtaken by algae. Don't use it unless you've got the proper professional equipment. I don't even dare. Plus it doesn't look that good anyway, and shrimp don't like it much.

If you're going for easier carpets, I would recommend Micranthemum Monte Carlo, as its very beautiful and can be quite lush with a bit of investment and time.
However, it will still require Co2, a substrate with good nutrient content, decent lighting and a good fert scheme.

If you insist on running your current setup, I would go out on a limb and suggest you might have some success with Staruogyne Repens. Its not exaclty a carpeting plant, but it's short, quite beautiful and if it grows well in your setup (no guarantees btw) you can regularly clip new shoots and replant them until you have a lovely 'carpet' of them. Its quite nice if done right, and shrimp love it as a hiding place, and eat the dying lower leaves.

Hope I helped in some way! :D Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey mate, looks like you're in a bit of a pickle in regards to getting a carpet going with your current setup. What are the dimensions of your tank? I'm not sure what exactly a '40 B' is, so I can't really comment on the quality of your lighting, but it sounds like you're confident about that. However, you're missing many other crucial factors necessary for the growth of a carpet.

Substrate for one. I've never seen a successful carpet on sand... not really heard of anyone wanting to grow a carpet on sand either... It looks better bare doesn't it? But that's just my opinion.
Sand provides no nutrients for the plants, and carpeting plants in particular require abundant nutrients from the substrate, which is the reason they stay there in the first place.
Also, I've found osmocote is kinda hit and miss in terms of a fertilisation solution. Think about it, not all the substrate is active, only certain areas will be leaching nutrients into the water, and if you're trying to grow a thick carpet it makes sense to get an even level of nutrients throughout the substrate. Dirted substrates are usually a must for carpets.

Next, Co2 injection is basically a necessity for any carpet, even the easiest carpet you can think of! Unless you want to achieve a carpet in under a painstaking 12 months, either dose Seachem Excel like a mad man, or get yourself an injection system. Trust me, its worth it, and if you're smart, you can do it cheap. I'm running a fire extinguisher with a solenoid regulator which cost me all up $70 AUD including the diffuser.

Get that carbon out of your filter son! It basically fails your nitrogen cycle my removing any ammonia and other waste products that can be converted by nitrifying bacteria, meaning that without a steady supply of carbon you tank is at risk of having its cycle fail and as a result you may get dangerous ammonia spikes etc. Rely on mechanical and biological filtration in the planted tank to get the best results. Remember, you're not just keeping a fish tank, you're building a mini ecosystem.

Now the next thing to worry about is your fertilisation scheme. You must have ferts. You can make them from dry chemical solutions for a lower price, or buy the premade liquid brands, regardless of what you do, don't simply rely on osmocote. A consistent and well balanced fert scheme is the backbone of a successful aquascape. Slowly learn to tailor it to your aquariums needs as you go along. It's not that hard or that expensive.

Now onto that carpeting plant.

Glosso is often a pain in the butt to grow, and it most certainly requires carbon dioxide unless you're growing it in seriously high light in which case you'll probably find that your aquarium will be overtaken by algae. Don't use it unless you've got the proper professional equipment. I don't even dare. Plus it doesn't look that good anyway, and shrimp don't like it much.

If you're going for easier carpets, I would recommend Micranthemum Monte Carlo, as its very beautiful and can be quite lush with a bit of investment and time.
However, it will still require Co2, a substrate with good nutrient content, decent lighting and a good fert scheme.

If you insist on running your current setup, I would go out on a limb and suggest you might have some success with Staruogyne Repens. Its not exaclty a carpeting plant, but it's short, quite beautiful and if it grows well in your setup (no guarantees btw) you can regularly clip new shoots and replant them until you have a lovely 'carpet' of them. Its quite nice if done right, and shrimp love it as a hiding place, and eat the dying lower leaves.

Hope I helped in some way! :D Good luck!
You certainly did. Thanks for taking the time to write me an answer like that. I may stick with the plants I have, at least until I get a CO2 system up and running. I might pick up some staruogyne repens anyway because, why not? Thanks so much for your advice.

Edit: by the way, 40 B is a 40 gallon breeder, 36 x 18 x 17 inches.
 

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I use sand as a substrate and I am carpeting my tank with dwarf sag. It fills in fairly quick in my setup. I dont use co2 and I only use root tabs near heavy root feeds like amazon sword and vesuvius sword. Dwarf sag I think would be an option for you if you wanted to use it. I wanted to mention I am using dirt. I have read that O+ root tabs placed every 8 inches or so deep into the substrate will work. Dont use to many or you may create problems.

Dwarf sag: Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria subulata)
 

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I use sand as a substrate and I am carpeting my tank with dwarf sag. It fills in fairly quick in my setup. I dont use co2 and I only use root tabs near heavy root feeds like amazon sword and vesuvius sword. Dwarf sag I think would be an option for you if you wanted to use it. I wanted to mention I am using dirt. I have read that O+ root tabs placed every 8 inches or so deep into the substrate will work. Dont use to many or you may create problems.
So you're using sand-capped MTS, which is not the same as the OP's PFS.

Carpet plants don't grow in fine sand substrates. Most people who go for sand like the light colors, so they don't cover it up.
 

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So you're using sand-capped MTS, which is not the same as the OP's PFS.

Carpet plants don't grow in fine sand substrates. Most people who go for sand like the light colors, so they don't cover it up.
I understand they are not the same which is why I made sure to mention that I have dirt. I have read of many successes of dwarf sag grown with success using sand with root tabs. You dont think that is the case?

I simply was giving the op an option and why I provided the link so the op could make a determination if it was worth a few bucks to try it.
 

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Don't give up on carpet plants without co2. I hear people say that you need Co2 for carpet plants all the time. That is simply wrong.
Can you expand on this?
 

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Plain sand will need root tabs but otherwise its fine. A lot of carpet plants grow fine under low light, they just become less dense and some will grow upwards instead of staying low as well. A good low-tech carpet is probably 2-3" high whereas in high tech you can get closer to 1".

I know a lot of carpet plants grow in low light but I don't know how they look. I had a marsilea quadrifolia carpet that did pretty well but it would try to escape from the substrate every few months. Dwarf hairgrass or chain sword may do better.

S.repens gets good reviews in low-tech and monte carlo apparently works as well but I've never tried those two.
 

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Here is my no Co2 Belem Hairgrass tank. Excel was used per the instructions on the bottle, not overdosing like lots do.

A dry start will help tremendously with getting a carpet going, but not necessary. I didn't trim this carpet once. I hear people say all the time it needs to be trimmed to make it throw runners. This is false.

 

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Glosso is not THAT bad, I have it in my 6 gal, dirt tank, started with only about 10 plantlets, and I have quite a bit more now.
I have an 11W spiral CFL (which is way past its good life) in horizontal position (i.e. bad), I intend to put two bulbs in, but for now the bulb is only on one side of the tank.
The leaves stay nicely in/on the substrate in the half under the light, and the other half the plants grow diagonally out of the water towards the light.
The crypt I have under the light, grows excessive algae (may have caused it by running a 23W while tank was new) (no other plants show algae), exact same size crypt on darker half side of tank grows beautifully.
I do have a 2L bottle of DIY CO2 on a ladder diffuser, that I swap every Sunday.

I intend building a higher canopy to get the 'hot zone' of light from the 23W, just above the waterline.

By hot zone, I mean if you look at a light from a distance, there always appear to be a small circle of light close to the source, with very high intensity light. If you look at a candle its like a little ball (often drawn on Christmas cards) I noticed the green spot algae on the glass seems to grow in about a 1&3/4" band directly under the light, and moving the light, moves the algae. Ironically if you grow terrestrial plants under cfl, you want to stay within that hot zone... to the extent that heat does not start slowing down photosynthesis.


Might be harder to do in a 40
With the 11W bulb there is about a 4" green zone under the algae, where everything grows cleanly and stays on the substrate. I'd have to experiment with the 23W, but I think I might cover the whole tank with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your replies. I still don't know which pant I should try to start a carpet with. Right now the options are: Dwarf Hairgrass, Staurogyne Repens, and Micranthemum Monte Carlo. Anyone with experience with these? Thanks @Couesfanatic for the picture of your beautiful Hairgrass carpet.
 

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Here is my no Co2 Belem Hairgrass tank. Excel was used per the instructions on the bottle, not overdosing like lots do.

A dry start will help tremendously with getting a carpet going, but not necessary. I didn't trim this carpet once. I hear people say all the time it needs to be trimmed to make it throw runners. This is false.

What substrate are you using though?
 

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The only carpet plant that I know of that will work with sand is utricularia graminifolia. Since in nature it grows in nutrient poor areas anyways. However you would still need CO2. Excel too much and plants will melt.

Without CO2, staurogyne repens will work, but maybe not with sand, though you can certainly try since you will have osmo root tabs. Staurogyne is also not as small compared to most carpet plants so a bigger tank will be better to show it as a carpet plant in comparison.

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