Is a Low Tech Carpet Impossible?

NinjaTetra

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Hey! I'm starting up a shrimp tank soon, and I'd like to get a nice green carpet without injected co2. I need to get lighting, so I'm looking for suggestions for lights that are about 18 inches long and no more than 6 inches thick. I'm not altogether against under gravel ferts, but I currently have excel, and flourish phosphorous on hand. I know baby tears probably won't work, and pearl weed was suggested. What about hairgrass, dwarf sag, and various mosses? Java moss is slow and gets really messy, so if there's other options I'd like to avoid it. What About other mosses? I know that there's flame moss, marimo moss, christmas moss, and others available, but I'm not sure about their uses in aquascaping. Thanks!


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NinjaTetra

NinjaTetra

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It seems like fissidens works well, has anybody had experience with this? I'd appreciate pictures and tank details. Thanks!


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EricV

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Dwarf sag could work. It'll take a while but it fills in pretty well under decent lighting. That being said despite the name it can grow comparatively tall (relative to a smaller tank) so it might not really be the "carpet" you're looking for.
 
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NinjaTetra

NinjaTetra

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Probably not quote what I was thinking, although with trimming it might work. Advice on lighting?


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BDpups

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Dwarf sags will stay low when trimmed. Not what I would consider a carpeting plant, but it is about as close as you can get in a low light tank. They can collect debris under them. So if you get some you may want to get your gravel vac under the leaves from time to time.
 

EricV

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I'm pretty low tech when it comes to lighting my tanks. I most use shop lights and 6500k cfl bulbs. Not the most aesthetically pleasing but super cheap and effective.

The tank in my signature line was grown with this:

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Note the dwarf sag almost growing out of the tank lol
 

Dolfan

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The shop lights EricV linked work well for a low cost solution. If you wanted something a bit cleaner looking, I highly suggest the Finnex Planted Plus LED fixtures. It will put most tanks in the low to medium light range, and would be your best option since you wouldn't be injecting CO2.
 
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NinjaTetra

NinjaTetra

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Those finnex look like decent options, I'll make sure to consider those. As for shop lights, I'm not so sure, although most people's experiences with them are good, so its not out of the question.


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Bluestreakfl

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Staurogyne Repens is probably the closest you can get to a carpet in low to medium light setups. You'll want to get the tissue cultured packs if possible, petsmart sells them, Top fin brand. You'll end up with a bunch of tiny nodes. You'll want to plant them about an inch apart. Once they grow about an inch taller, trI'm the tops off. This will encourage them to grow out instead of up. They will start filling in and eventually form a sort of carpet. You can also replant some of the tops to fill in empty spots. This would work with a decent clamp on shop light provided the bulb is bright enough, or as Dolfan said the Finnex Planted plus LED. You'd be fine with just dosing occasional Seachem Excel as your carbon source. I have this plant in 2 tanks. For reference, the first tank is a 1.5g shrimp tank, that used 1 pack of the plant. The 2nd tank is a 20 gallon long, 2 packs worth, spread out into much smaller bits. I haven't trimmed in the 1.5g yet. The 20 gallon has only been set up a few days. 2 packs covered nearly half of the 20 gallon long and it will be getting a strict trimming regimen until the carpet is more established. I originally planned to carpet the 1.5g, but with just shrimp, I like it growing a bit taller so the shrimp have safe places to hide a well as explore.

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NinjaTetra

NinjaTetra

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Thanks Bluestreakfl! That looks pretty decent and should work pretty well for the setup I'm doing. If all goes well, I might try and put it in my other tank. Thanks for the tips guys, I'll make sure to tell you all how it turns out.


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