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Re: Carpet Plants for Medium Light Tanks

Hi ...

just wanted to add a few comments to John Wheeler's
excellent suggestions.

Jack Meltzer asks:
>>Can anyone suggest a carpet-like plant that can grow
>>in moderate levels of light (e.g. 2 watts/gal).  ...

John Wheeler replies:
> COOL!!....An aquascaping question.

Aquascaping. Intimidating stuff. I was really 
proud of some recent aquascapes I did. Then 
I saw the last AGA contest entries, and I ran 
off whimpering. 

> The easiest foreground is plain, old, run-of-the-mill
> Java moss. Go out and find some flat stones, ... tie 
> some moss to them with a little fishing string. 
> It looks awesome ... 

Yes, it will look awesome, especially when the
Java Moss starts to grow, putting out its elegant 
fine-pointed new growth. Amano has a stunning 
photo in one of his books. You can also lay the
Java Moss flat on the gravel, and scatter a few
pebbles or bits of gravel to weigh it down. After 
a couple of weeks, the moss will stick to the 

The carpet would be even more spectacular with
Christmas Moss. 

> Another possibility with your light is Riccia. It
> probably won't turn to an O2 factory like you se in
> some pics, but it'll grow in that amount of light. 

John's right. Riccia would work for your tank. 
I've got it in a 3w/g tank and it's totally 
overgrown. So 2w/g should be just right.  :-)
I just set up a 20g long riccia aquascape, with 
a single piece of driftwood, and one small Anubias 
congensis in front of the wood. It's quite Zen. 
Endler's Livebearers live there making it quite 
surreal.  :-)

> This is the highest maintenence plant,
> though, and requires much more in the way of CO2 and
> other nutrient goodies than the moss.

Yes, try CO2, even for your low light levels.
I've read somewhere, one of Karen Randall's
articles, I think, that CO2 does not necessarily
have to be used only in high light levels. If 
Karen is still reading the list, maybe she could 
add to this?

> Another option, ... one of the Marsilea sp, or
> commonly known as "four leaf clovers".

That's one of my favorite plants (something to 
do with 4-leaf clovers bringing good luck but 
I'm not superstitious). I've tried growing it 
but it died off. Bad luck, I guess, since all 
other tank plants were thriving. But I decided
to try my luck again, and got some from Arizona 
Aquatics. AA recommends letting the larger 
leaves on the plant die out (they were cultivated 
emersed in the nursery) and letting the smaller 
shoots grow out. My lucky little plant is 
acclimating in a "plant leftovers" tank, doing 
quite well so far. Eric's carpet is lovely. Take 
a look at his webpage for notes on growing it. 

> Next is Echinodorus tenellus, but that won't give 
> the same kind of filled in look  ...

True. I use it as a foreground plant. Very 
attractive in small clusters. 

> You could also try hairgrass or dwarf hairgrass. 

Eeekk! I hate hairgrass. It gets all tangled. I got 
some a few months back, and couple of months later, 
decided I hated it. So I sold it back to my LFS. 
But to get the darned plant in decent shape, I spent 
several hours untangling those pesky leaves.

If you hate someone, send them hairgrass.  ;-)

Another plant to consider is Micranthemim umbrosum.
I think it's also called large Baby's Tears. I've
got some growing in a moderately-lit area (comparable
to 2w/g) in my CO2-injected office tank and it seems 
to be doing quite well. (Too bad ... I'm taking the
tank down because it's too high maintenance and 
setting up a low-maintenance reef tank instead.)

I'd be interested in hearing other low-light carpet
plant ideas. I just started breeding killies so 
little tanks are springing up all over the place.
(Yeah, I need a new hobby like a dog needs fleas!) 

Don't forget to watch the Leonids early Tuesday


Shireen Gonzaga
Baltimore, MD