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Lowest Maintenance Carpeting plant

mikehookipa

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30 Mar 2015
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Hi guys

Looking for lowest maintenance carpeting plant. It's for a 180 gallon (180cm x 60cm x 60cm) tank. It will be low-medium light (with mild co2) and the aquascape is to be maintained for 1+ year.

It needs to be low maintenance. That could mean slow growth, low turn-over, unlimited trims, etc.

Currently considering Hydrocotyle tripartita.
 

SKYE.__.HIGH

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Dwarf hair grass Belem/Japanese hair grass are a type of hair grass that looks very similar to regular hair grass but only grows to 2-3 inches in height. It is recommended to have co2 but can live without it. The tips curl a slight bit once grown out and I find it to look kind of cool. It is great for really any type of scape because of its low growth. The thing I like about it is that you really don't ever have to trim it until it starts growing on top of itself. Witch will take a very long time to happen after you trim it. I would say trimming once every couple of months maybe more maybe less depending on how you feel about it. With low co2 it would likely not need a trim for more like 3-4 months. Here is a picture for reference.
4dda2a2a647d67ce5cdf5de341ee67c6.jpg
2ec733b0968971c0bb066b9eb8139eef.jpg

I find that the best place to buy them is from Tropica because it is so much more dense in their cups than other places. It is also labeled as Eleocharis Parvula "mini" on the tropica cups and their website.

Cheers, skye
 

zozo

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Many years ago i had a 100x50x50 tank, low light no co2 and completely covered with Dwarf sag.. In low tech conditions on a mild fert regime it stays very small and low. Not sure if it is what you want, since you want to add co2 it might grow to large.. Currently im growing Cryptocoryne parva in a low tech. Didn't have to trim it once in 18 months time, it's an extremely slow grower in these conditions. This could be a beter candidate for your plans, tho it will grow bit faster and also larger with co2, but much less than Sagittaria. :) Or maybe Lilaeopsis, i have the brasiliensis growing in a low tech, also very undemanding plant, but also has the potential to shoot up with co2 and needs to be trimmed..
 
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DHG is good but cleaning the trimmings is possibly the worst thing ever. MC you can let get fairly thick and it doesn't seem to lift, I have tried a small patch of Crypt Prava and this would have to be the slowest growing plant I have ever seen, to form a carpet you would need a lot of time or a lot of plants, still it may suit your needs
 

Tim Harrison

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Like Marcel mentions with lowish CO2 and light and lean fertz dosing growth will be inhibited to the point where maintenance will be reduced somewhat. However, it's a bit of a balancing act since I expect you'll still want a low growing compact carpet.

C. parva is a good option but it does grow a little too tall for my liking to be considered a real carpeting plant and I've never got it to form a really dense carpet, even with high CO2, although I expect given time it could form one.

That said tho' the lowest maintenance carpet I had was in a high-energy tank, and like SKYE.__.HIGH it was using dwarf hair grass; Eleocharis acicularis 'mini' to be exact.
It only grew a few cms high and didn't need trimming at all, it just required the odd untidy runner pinching out.

However, I think I got lucky with that particular batch. I've purchased it a few times since and it seems to revert back to type which requires trimming:meh:

I think
H. tripartita is an option worth considering tho'. It's easy to grow and trim and can be made to from a carpet by physically pressing it down to the substrate. It grew best for me with relatively high light and CO2, under those conditions it tends to hug the substrate anyway.
 

zozo

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My parva doesn't grow taller than 20mm, but it also doesn't realy make a lot of runners. It just is latently present, not realy growing not realy dying. Tho of course it grew a bit made a few runners, but for the 18 months it is, it's barely noticeable with te naked eye.. In this condition and its low metabolism it's also very susceptible to get dirty with algae of all kind.. But this is all very low light and no co2.

Depending on the tank size and the scale you like to create in the scape i would say from what i see how it grows in my condition :) Even a crypt wendtii can be a very nice carpeting plant.. In my tank i stays very flat to the substrate with a 8 to 10 cm diameter rosette not taller 4 cm high. It's the best spreading crypt in my tank, started 18 months ago with 1 sneak in baby plant and today i have 5 mature ones and keeps making runners. :)

180x60x60 is quite a large tank depending on your scape scale you could easily go for a larger plant than the usual nano forground carpet plants. CArpet is not the plant sp. is the way you make it grow. As you say you don't like to trim that often, if it were me, i definitively would not go for a HC, MC or grassy type of plant. Trimming a 180 cm carpet is quit a challange and wont be realy low maintenance. ;)

As Tim says, the balancing act, finding the right combination of plants, light intensity and co2. And it is very hard to predict what results you will have, because also water parameters, substrate choice and fert regime all will have effect on how a plant developes.
 

Tim Harrison

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My parva doesn't grow taller than 20mm
I wish...I've never been that lucky:rolleyes: Mine has always grown much taller; nearer 10cm:meh:

CArpet is not the plant sp. is the way you make it grow
In a nutshell yes...but I guess it also depends on phenotype, specifically genotype and epigenetic factors:geek:
...I think:confused:
 

zozo

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I wish...I've never been that lucky:rolleyes: Mine has always grown much taller; nearer 10cm:meh:
It grew in my high tech also about 10cm.. But it the low tech on inert substrate (mix of fine gravel and lava) I got it at 2 cm and 18 months later it still is. Started with 3 pots and now i maybe have 3.2 pots. When it comes to luck i think i am that it is still alive. And had 'm all on it by now, BBA, Cyano and green spot.. They are always the first to show it's comming.


In a nutshell yes...but I guess it also depends on phenotype, specifically genotype and epigenetic factors:geek:
...I think:confused:
Sure and in a hazlenut shell. And mean make it grow, with the condition you give it.. Not to much light and not to much co2, will increase the potential candidates significantly. E.g that little Nymphaea you got from me while back.. Give this very low conditions and you can make a carpet with it if you have enough of them.. :)
 

Tim Harrison

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That's true enough; many plants have a great deal of phenotypic plasticity.
But many plants also exhibit characteristics not necessarily caused by immediate environmental conditions; characteristics that maybe more attributable to polymorphism and geographical differences, for example.
Even low-energy my parva still grows to around 10cm, although there is a noticeable difference in leaf morphology.
I guess tho', exact cause and effect can get a little blurry round the edges.
 

mikehookipa

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Hey guys

thanks for all the responses. Looks like the Dwarf hair grass will work Eleocharis acicularis 'mini'. Those photos for the win.
 

Tim Harrison

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If you can, go for genuine Tropica Eleocharis acicularis 'mini', I'm thinking it's more likely to stay mini and not revert back to type, or be miss sold E. acicularis/parvula
 
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