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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm getting ready to buy this all-in-one tank, and I'm falling for the draw of those lush, smooth carpets you see in all the cool high-tech tanks. The catch? Here's the PAR data for the lights that come with my tank. Looks like a 50 at best.

Now, I'm open to replacing those lights, and even adding CO2 if it seems worth the trouble, but I'm still not clear on just how important those steps are: is the low-tech carpet an exercise in frustration, or is it just a matter of picking the right plants and pruning them frequently?

Here are the plants I've looked at so far, in order of aesthetic preference:
  • HC (yeah right)
  • Glossostigma elianitodes
  • Hydrocotyle sibthorpiodes (dwarf pennywort)
  • Hydrocotyle tripartita (pennywort)
  • Marsilea crenata (dwarf clover)
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Eleocharis parvula (dwarf hairgrass)
  • Cryptocoryne parva
  • Echinodorus tenellus (pygmy chain sword)

:icon_ques Will any of those (or something else) ever form a thick carpet under these stock lights, and if so then about how long should it take, and about how soon should I start to see signs of spreading?

:icon_ques If not, should I try out some stronger lights before I get into the CO2 business, or would that just be an invitation for algae?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the encouragement, Alastair! Is Hydrocotyle sp. Japan the same thing as Hydrocotyle tripartita?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So when you folks talk about "steering" or "pushing" you mean that literally? Just poke it under the substrate with your fingers, without actually cutting it?

Also does anyone have pictures of tripartita growing under low light, so I can see just how thin we're talking here? The more I learn, the more it seems like I'll just get automatically better results if I go with CO2.
 
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