Hard to kill carpeting plants

Thehippie

New Member
does anyone have any recommendations for hardy carpeting plants? and if I buy it in a mat vs by stem/bunch how would I prepare it? do I take them out of the mat or split the mat up?
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
does anyone have any recommendations for hardy carpeting plants? and if I buy it in a mat vs by stem/bunch how would I prepare it? do I take them out of the mat or split the mat up?

I've had success with dwarf hairgrass with low to medium light. No co2, just regular dosing of liquid fertilizers. With hairgrass you will usually be buying a potted clump, or possibly a matt. Regardless of which one you always should separate into smaller clumps. Depending on how tall the hairgrass is, i usually like to trim before even putting it into the tank, this encourages the plant to spread and carpet rather than grow upwards towards the light. I think the key to success with hairgrass in lowtech is to leave sizeable clumps together and space them out 1-2 inches from eachother. Also, make sure you're using root tabs or a mineral rich substrate that isnt too compact so it can easily spread.

While i do find it easy to grow, it will take a little time to spread without co2 and you will have to trim it more often to encourage it to carpet.

Hope this helps!
 

EbiAqua

Fishlore VIP
Most of them tbh, once established they grow like a weed and will quickly overtake small aquariums. I hacked out probably a pound of Glosso and HC from my 4 gallon today.

Of course that's with good substrate, CO2 and bright lighting.
 

Thehippie

New Member
I've had success with dwarf hairgrass with low to medium light. No co2, just regular dosing of liquid fertilizers. With hairgrass you will usually be buying a potted clump, or possibly a matt. Regardless of which one you always should separate into smaller clumps. Depending on how tall the hairgrass is, i usually like to trim before even putting it into the tank, this encourages the plant to spread and carpet rather than grow upwards towards the light. I think the key to success with hairgrass in lowtech is to leave sizeable clumps together and space them out 1-2 inches from eachother. Also, make sure you're using root tabs or a mineral rich substrate that isnt too compact so it can easily spread.

While i do find it easy to grow, it will take a little time to spread without co2 and you will have to trim it more often to encourage it to carpet.

Hope this helps!
Thank you so much! I did see a few websites with dwarf hair grass for sale in mats that are 3"x5" so I might pick one of those up. I got the 40 pack of seachem root tabs and will be putting those about 1-2 inches apart in the substrate. I was going to use sand, would that work ok? I wanted to use sand since I was planning on corys and didn't want to take chances with gravel hurting their barbells or bellies

Most of them tbh, once established they grow like a weed and will quickly overtake small aquariums. I hacked out probably a pound of Glosso and HC from my 4 gallon today.

Of course that's with good substrate, CO2 and bright lighting.
is co2 an air pump or a liquid?? excuse my ignorance but I'm super new to aquatic plant growing and I don't exactly know much about them. the tank I got came with a hood light so I assume that will grow plants but I'm also not sure on that either...
 

EbiAqua

Fishlore VIP
is co2 an air pump or a liquid?? excuse my ignorance but I'm super new to aquatic plant growing and I don't exactly know much about them. the tank I got came with a hood light so I assume that will grow plants but I'm also not sure on that either...
It's compressed, pressurized Carbon dioxide gas.

Stock lights usually won't grow much but the most shade-tolerant plants. See the link in my signature for how to grow carpeting plants.
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
Thank you so much! I did see a few websites with dwarf hair grass for sale in mats that are 3"x5" so I might pick one of those up. I got the 40 pack of seachem root tabs and will be putting those about 1-2 inches apart in the substrate. I was going to use sand, would that work ok? I wanted to use sand since I was planning on corys and didn't want to take chances with gravel hurting their barbells or bellies

Sand works and is definitely the way to go for corys. Just make sure it not the super super fine kind, because that can become really compacted and makes it hard for the plant to spread runners. I also suggest not putting the tabs so close together, especially when youre newly adding plants cause you could cause an algae bloom from excess nutrients plus you just dont need that much. The package actually recommends one tab every 6 inches, but you could get away with every 4.

What kind of lighting do you have?
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
Thank you so much! I did see a few websites with dwarf hair grass for sale in mats that are 3"x5" so I might pick one of those up. I got the 40 pack of seachem root tabs and will be putting those about 1-2 inches apart in the substrate. I was going to use sand, would that work ok? I wanted to use sand since I was planning on corys and didn't want to take chances with gravel hurting their barbells or bellies

Actually as a workaround you could use something courser at the bottom for the plants, and then add a small layer of the finer sand on the top for aesthetics and for the corys, say maybe 2 inches of a courser substrate at the bottom, and then about an inch of finer sand at the top.
You'll definitely want some planting tweezers too so you can plant the clumps of hairgrass, because its nearly impossible to do with just you fingers, trust me! Save yourself the headache
 

BlackOsprey

Well Known
Seconding the hairgrass. Certain mosses and subwassertang could be good ones too. These are potentially more difficult to scape with just because they don't grow normal roots, but on the other hand, they can grow vigorously without need for CO2 or enriched substrate.

Some mosses like pilo and christmas moss grow less stringy than java moss, and will form nice clumps that grow shorter strands upwards like a mix between a juniper bush and an unruly lawn. You may need to sandwich it between some mesh and lay it across the substrate to get that desired carpet look. They don't root, but they do have rhizomes that will attach to any solid surface they touch for a while.

Subwassertang can just be placed on top of the substrate and left to grow. It doesn't have any means of attaching itself to anything, but it doesn't float and will stay in place as long as nothing messes with it. Only issue is that the stuff's not super common and it grows extremely slowly.
 

EbiAqua

Fishlore VIP
May I suggest Marsilea hirsuta? It's a slow grower but is a true carpeting plant with no need for pressurized CO2.
 

Nickguy5467

Well Known
for me. no carpeting plant is hard to kill it seems (im laughing because im sad)
 

erbear

Active Member
I recommend a grass as well for a low-tech setup. Some stemmed plants will "reach" for the light if it's not just right and instead of a carpet you'll have 3-4 inch plants.
 

Thehippie

New Member
Actually as a workaround you could use something courser at the bottom for the plants, and then add a small layer of the finer sand on the top for aesthetics and for the corys, say maybe 2 inches of a courser substrate at the bottom, and then about an inch of finer sand at the top.
You'll definitely want some planting tweezers too so you can plant the clumps of hairgrass, because its nearly impossible to do with just you fingers, trust me! Save yourself the headache
the light I have actually came with the tank as a hood with a feeding and filter slot. I got the entire set up off craigslist for $50, tank, stand, filter, cartridges and light but the person selling it had no idea what any of it was since they just used it bare bottom for a goldfish... I'm definitely getting the tweezers because I know for a fact that my fat fingers will not do me any good lol! also I didn't read the package LOL... and I definitely do not want an algae bloom so thank you for telling me!!! if I post a picture of the light hood would anyone be able to tell me if it works or not?
 

Thehippie

New Member
Seconding the hairgrass. Certain mosses and subwassertang could be good ones too. These are potentially more difficult to scape with just because they don't grow normal roots, but on the other hand, they can grow vigorously without need for CO2 or enriched substrate.

Some mosses like pilo and christmas moss grow less stringy than java moss, and will form nice clumps that grow shorter strands upwards like a mix between a juniper bush and an unruly lawn. You may need to sandwich it between some mesh and lay it across the substrate to get that desired carpet look. They don't root, but they do have rhizomes that will attach to any solid surface they touch for a while.

Subwassertang can just be placed on top of the substrate and left to grow. It doesn't have any means of attaching itself to anything, but it doesn't float and will stay in place as long as nothing messes with it. Only issue is that the stuff's not super common and it grows extremely slowly.
Thank you for suggesting the other things! I didn't know that I could use those as options and I will definitely look into it!! as of now I think I might try the hair grass but if that doesn't work, my second option will be to try the pilo!
 

Thehippie

New Member
It's compressed, pressurized Carbon dioxide gas.

Stock lights usually won't grow much but the most shade-tolerant plants. See the link in my signature for how to grow carpeting plants.
does the liquid co2 booster help at all? if not, is there a brand you recommend for the gas?
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
the light I have actually came with the tank as a hood with a feeding and filter slot. I got the entire set up off craigslist for $50, tank, stand, filter, cartridges and light but the person selling it had no idea what any of it was since they just used it bare bottom for a goldfish... I'm definitely getting the tweezers because I know for a fact that my fat fingers will not do me any good lol! also I didn't read the package LOL... and I definitely do not want an algae bloom so thank you for telling me!!! if I post a picture of the light hood would anyone be able to tell me if it works or not?

Considering its a hood, my guess its gonna be a standard flourescent bulb. They used to be the standard, but they are pretty outdated. They use a lot of electricity and they can get really hot.

Def post a picture!
 

Thehippie

New Member
Considering its a hood, my guess its gonna be a standard flourescent bulb. They used to be the standard, but they are pretty outdated. They use a lot of electricity and they can get really hot.

Def post a picture!
Here's what it looks like, thanks so much for your help btw! It clears a lot of things up for me!

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0803200512.jpg
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
Here's what it looks like, thanks so much for your help btw! It clears a lot of things up for me!
View attachment 720189View attachment 720190

ooh interesting, from the looks of it its actually LED. But i believe it says its only 6 watts. Whats the size of the tank? Just to give you an idea, I'm able to grow plants that need low to moderate light with a 16 watt light on a 10 gallon. So it would be a good idea to upgrade if you want to grow live plants. You can find some pretty cheap yet bright LED aquarium lights on amazon.
 

Thehippie

New Member
ooh interesting, from the looks of it its actually LED. But i believe it says its only 6 watts. Whats the size of the tank? Just to give you an idea, I'm able to grow plants that need low to moderate light with a 16 watt light on a 10 gallon. So it would be a good idea to upgrade if you want to grow live plants. You can find some pretty cheap yet bright LED aquarium lights on amazon.
uhhhhhhh 30 gallons lol, I doubt I can grow much with it
 

jkkgron2

Fishlore VIP
uhhhhhhh 30 gallons lol, I doubt I can grow much with it
A full spectrum light from hygger would be my suggestion if you want to grow plants. I have one on my 10g and I’m growing dwarf hairgrass in it.
 

Thehippie

New Member
A full spectrum light from hygger would be my suggestion if you want to grow plants. I have one on my 10g and I’m growing dwarf hairgrass in it.
ill look into it! thanks! at this point I'm just considering using the low light and impossible to kill plants like swords or java ferns haha, I don't think ive ever been able to kill one of those (until I accidentally left one out of water for the day)
 

jkkgron2

Fishlore VIP
ill look into it! thanks! at this point I'm just considering using the low light and impossible to kill plants like swords or java ferns haha, I don't think ive ever been able to kill one of those (until I accidentally left one out of water for the day)
It’s weird.. for me I can grow crypts, water wisteria, dwarf hairgrass, and chain swords just fine but the beginner plants like Java fern and amazon swords just die on me hilarious
Besides that, They are pretty good plants to start out with and most people have really good results with growing them. Make sure to add fertilizer if you get swords, they use up lots of nutrients.
 

faydout

Well Known
A full spectrum light

Concur, but looking at the picture of OP's lid, some sort of DIY lid is going to be needed as well.
 

Thehippie

New Member
It’s weird.. for me I can grow crypts, water wisteria, dwarf hairgrass, and chain swords just fine but the beginner plants like Java fern and amazon swords just die on me hilarious
Besides that, They are pretty good plants to start out with and most people have really good results with growing them. Make sure to add fertilizer if you get swords, they use up lots of nutrients.
is there a brand of fertilizer that seems to work good? I know for a lot of supplies people have preferred brands because that's what works for them. also, I don't think ive ever been able to kill an amazon... I did kill one java fern because my dumb self left it on a table.... other than that ive had amazing luck with the total three plants that ive ever owned and are also now non existent since I gave them away... either Ive had incredible dumb luck or my plants were invincible...
 

BlackOsprey

Well Known
Gimme some of that java fern luck pls. Mine have turned yellow and full of black spots and holes every. Single. Time. Even when every single other species is thriving, those stupid ferns are languishing. It's really annoying!

Oh, and if you're still planning to do hairgrass, there's one other thing that soil substrate can do for it: extra CO2 to start out. Initially, the decaying soil will release a lot of CO2, which makes it very easy for plants to grow at first. This will disappear in a month or two but it's helpful while it lasts.
 

Thehippie

New Member
Gimme some of that java fern luck pls. Mine have turned yellow and full of black spots and holes every. Single. Time. Even when every single other species is thriving, those stupid ferns are languishing. It's really annoying!

Oh, and if you're still planning to do hairgrass, there's one other thing that soil substrate can do for it: extra CO2 to start out. Initially, the decaying soil will release a lot of CO2, which makes it very easy for plants to grow at first. This will disappear in a month or two but it's helpful while it lasts.
oh awesome!! I was thinking of doing a co2 thing but to be completely honest I have no idea where to find or how to use pressurized co2. some people have liquid co2 enhancers, would that work?? if not, are there brands of co2 that people use?
 

kimsch1005

Active Member
oh awesome!! I was thinking of doing a co2 thing but to be completely honest I have no idea where to find or how to use pressurized co2. some people have liquid co2 enhancers, would that work?? if not, are there brands of co2 that people use?

Liquid co2 is still a highly debated product I think. The main ingredient in it is glutaraldehyde, which can be dangerous to invertebrates, fish and even plants if its overdosed because it is a cehmical intended to kill plants.. weird, but many many people use it and claim it helps plants and prevents algae growth. It is NOT a replacement for injected gaseous co2.

Heres a good video that talks about the topic

Unfortunately co2 injection systems can run a bit expensive to get a good one and to replenish the co2 as it runs out. If you're going to get co2 youre going to need a lot of plants and lights with high light requirements or else all that excess co2 is gonna start growing a ton of algae!

If your'e planning on going with easy lowlight plants, co2 is definitely not a requirement and could potentially just cause algae blooms.
 

Nickguy5467

Well Known
you can start with the Fluval Co2 Kit. its super easy. but you will shortly really want to get into something more advance as that kit is a pain in the butt to manage every day and is pretty overpriced imo. but it gets your feet wet
 

BlackOsprey

Well Known
Excel and other liquid CO2 products inhibit algae growth, which allows aquarium plants to use more CO2. It's safe as long as it's not overdosed. I've seen small setups with liquid CO2 that was added through a powerhead rather than dosed by hand, and those were capable of growing a carpet of monte carlo or some other small-leafed carpeting plant while not harming the shrimp.

Certain plants react extremely badly to it, possibly because they have some similarities to algae. Don't use it if you have subwassertang, dwarf sag, vals of any kind, or any kind of moss.

I'm a fan of most of the above plants, so I haven't used it much myself. Daily dosing can also be quite a hassle. If the tank is properly balanced, you shouldn't need algaecide anyways, since a well-established plant grows more vigorously than algae can.
 

Thehippie

New Member
okkkkkk, ill just go with the semi invincible plants, low light and low co2 tolerance
 

Thehippie

New Member
I definitely want a moss of sorts so I think ill go with the harder to kill things. moss balls and java moss were gonna go in and the dwarf hair grass with java ferns and amazon swords
 

jkkgron2

Fishlore VIP
is there a brand of fertilizer that seems to work good? I know for a lot of supplies people have preferred brands because that's what works for them. also, I don't think ive ever been able to kill an amazon... I did kill one java fern because my dumb self left it on a table.... other than that ive had amazing luck with the total three plants that ive ever owned and are also now non existent since I gave them away... either Ive had incredible dumb luck or my plants were invincible...
I use thriveC, it’s a great fertilizer and pretty easy to dose. That’s great that you can grow Java ferns and amazons! You have no idea how much I want to be able to grow them lol!
 

Nickguy5467

Well Known
my sword is growing like crazy . but they have brown algae all over them. that monte carlo just doing nothing. didnt root i guess. moss i have no idea i just stuck it on there. sometimes i find some in the powerhead intake or filter intake


IMG_20200804_141306569.jpg
 

EbiAqua

Fishlore VIP
you can start with the Fluval Co2 Kit. its super easy. but you will shortly really want to get into something more advance as that kit is a pain in the butt to manage every day and is pretty overpriced imo. but it gets your feet wet
Don't recommend that Fluval junk lol, it's costing you $50 a month to run that thing. My 5 pound CO2 tank costs $30 a YEAR.

OP, do yourself a favor; if you want a very lush planted tank, invest in good lighting and substrate. CO2 isn't always necessary but it certainly is a plus.
 

Nickguy5467

Well Known
Don't recommend that Fluval junk lol, it's costing you $50 a month to run that thing. My 5 pound CO2 tank costs $30 a YEAR.

OP, do yourself a favor; if you want a very lush planted tank, invest in good lighting and substrate. CO2 isn't always necessary but it certainly is a plus.
could you link the equipment? still not sure what to get for that. tired of this fluval thing/ i just meant to get his feet wet like it did but if hes brave enough unlike myself to go with cylinders and what not on his first go , its the better option
 

Thehippie

New Member
Don't recommend that Fluval junk lol, it's costing you $50 a month to run that thing. My 5 pound CO2 tank costs $30 a YEAR.

OP, do yourself a favor; if you want a very lush planted tank, invest in good lighting and substrate. CO2 isn't always necessary but it certainly is a plus.
didn't know I could use a cylinder, might look into that, I really don't need anything too lush, just trying to get em to live so my fish can hide in them! my tetra seem to do better with real plants than fake plants...
 

Thehippie

New Member
could you link the equipment? still not sure what to get for that. tired of this fluval thing/ i just meant to get his feet wet like it did but if hes brave enough unlike myself to go with cylinders and what not on his first go , its the better option
should I note that I'm a she?? haha!! also cylinders and gas tanks really aren't a problem for me since I have some for the *non aquatic* plants in my room
 

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