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Old 05-14-2013, 01:12 PM   #1 
Greylady
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Red face Groundcover?

Hi all, I would like to ask a question. I'll try to give you some background without writing a book!

I am sort of new to planted tanks, I've had one for about a year but the only thing still growing in it is wenditti. I have 2 other tanks that are fairly new, one about 3 months and one about 3 weeks old. All are 24" long, 9" wide (front to back), 9" deep (more like 8" after substrate) and have various low tech plants.

All the tanks have white sand substrate, HOB filter, 1 Betta, 1 Zebra snail, 1 Ghost Shrimp, and multiple MTS in all three tanks. They are all cycled and are kept between 78-80F using a heater. 2 of the tanks have a few thin pieces of driftwood (this is fairly new, about a month).

The lighting is an Aqueon Floramax Plant Growth 18" long 15w-T8 bulb. The box doesn't state what the kelvin rating is but the guy at the store told me 6700K. The hood where the bulb resides does not have a reflector (although the inside where the bulb sits is white). The tank does have a clear plastic "cover" that the light hood sits on so the light does have to "travel" through this.

I do NOT have c02 and really don't want to get into all of that because I'm still learning everything and it all seems way to complicated at this point for me...maybe someday but from what I've read it's easy to kill your fish and it's hard to regulate when using co2. So, that being said...

My question is....
I really LOVE the look of "carpet" all over the substrate but can't seem to get anything growing. I tried dwarf hairgrass (wouldn't stay planted, probably had something to do with the MTS or the Ghost Shrimp uprooting them). I also tried regular hairgrass which has all died, probably because I just read today that it needs co2. I didn't like the regular hairgrass anyway because it was too tall for my tank, even my wenditti is 2/3rds up the tank. I would like something low, or at least something I could trim to keep low.

So IS there a plant that will cover the substrate like carpet for my setup?

Thanks so much for any help you can give me! Please let me know if I can tell you anything else about my setup that may help.

PS: My Christmas moss is also dying (or dead) maybe because the water is too warm? I've read that the moss would "adjust" to the temp, but I've also read that it won't. The guy that sold it to me said it would be fine in 80F, the web says otherwise but isn't that how it alway goes! lol
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #2 
themountain
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For groundcovering plants you need a lot of light...your one 15w bulb wonīt cover that . If its possible get another one or switch to LED.
COē isnīt a mistery...read this as a starter
http://www.dennerle.eu/global/index....id=112&lang=en

cheers ANDY
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Old 05-14-2013, 01:36 PM   #3 
Greylady
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Thanks Andy for your reply. I wasn't sure if the 15w would be enough or not. I thought that it was the kelvin rating that was more important in a low tech tank? This is the bulb the LFS guy recommended for my tank.

Anyway... I have been reading about co2 all morning and it's got my brain rattled. To be honest I really don't want to deal with co2 and all it's complications...it seems the more I read about it the more questions I have! LOL

Oh well... maybe I won't be able to have a ground cover after all because if I increase my lights, I'll probably kill off the plants that are doing well...
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #4 
LittleBettaFish
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Is your substrate just straight sand? If so, that is probably why you have also been struggling. Most of the popular foreground plants prefer a nutrient rich substrate to grow.

Have you thought about just making some slate/mesh squares and tying down some moss to them (java, xmas, Taiwan) and using that as a carpet? It may take longer to grow in, but it would be a lot more low tech than other options.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:13 PM   #5 
Greylady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
Is your substrate just straight sand? If so, that is probably why you have also been struggling. Most of the popular foreground plants prefer a nutrient rich substrate to grow.

Have you thought about just making some slate/mesh squares and tying down some moss to them (java, xmas, Taiwan) and using that as a carpet? It may take longer to grow in, but it would be a lot more low tech than other options.
Thanks, Actually no, I hadnt thought of that.... its something to think about, either that or put some nutient rich substrate under the sand...
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:32 PM   #6 
KohakuRiver
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For my small tank I tore apart a moss ball and sort of stuck it to the ground like a puzzle. It may take more than one for yours though.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:59 AM   #7 
Bombalurina
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I use java moss or susswassertang when I want a carpet. LBF's suggestion of a mesh is a great one, though I'm too lazy and just let it get a bit crazy. :)
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:56 PM   #8 
Gallium
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An easy option for a carpet is just general mosses, java moss does alright. You'll want to sandwich the moss between two layers of mesh and leave a teeny bit of space between the mosswich and the sand to let some flow through there.

Believe it or not you can also make a carpet out of jungle val! Just give them 1" or LESS of low-nutrient substrate and I find they generally only grow about 3" long, but will continue to spread around.

I've also have good luck with microsword without c02 or high light, but it may have just been luck in that tank.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:13 PM   #9 
Greylady
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Thank you all for the great suggestions! I appreciate all the input. :)
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:59 PM   #10 
jentralala
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I had that bulb and to be honest I wasn't impressed with it. I switched to a Life Glow bulb and my growth was much better. That was on my 35 gallon tank. On my 10 & 20 I just have clip-on lamps with 6700k spiral CFL bulbs and they do AWESOME, especially my 10 gallon. I have pygmy chain sword (a 'carpet' plant) and over the span of 2 weeks its sent out two runners, each with multiple plants.

Crypt Lucens seems to stay quite small, and makes an adorable foreground plant if you can get a lot of it. There's also dwarf sagitarria, which does quite well in low-light set-ups. I have both, but they're in my 35 which is much deeper than 8" lol, not a very good frame of reference, sorry! :(

What substrate do you have? IMO sand is the best for a carpet plant, my pygmy chain sword is in Flourite black sand. But truthfully I think any old sand would do, even playsand, as long as you're dosing a liquid fertilizer (Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement has all the nutrients a plant needs), and maybe if you feel like sticking a broken up root tab under them every once in awhile.

None of my tanks have CO2, I'm too much of a wimp to risk my fish, and I'm also a bit of a believer that fish produce enough CO2 for average plants to grow just fine.
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