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Grass plants/crazy idea?

>I am about to order some type of short grass plants for a 60G. I want to do
>two different ones in patches on opposite sides of the tank. I am thinking
>maybe Pygmy Swords and Dwarf Sag. Since I don't want to have one take over
>the whole tank I wondered if I couldn't bury a fence in the substrate to
>contain the roots?  Like you edge flower beds with to keep the grass out. I
>was thinking of using either thin acrylic or Plexiglas and forming in to a
>curve. Maybe a little silicone to hold it in place. Making sure it was on
>the bottom glass and JUST under the surface so it wouldn't show. Also
>thought about sheet plastic. (I am starting from scratch on this tank) Just
>laying a strip on the bottom and then put in the substrate and trim to

I haven't worked much with dwarf Sag, but I know that E. tenellus regularly
hops out of pots and colonizes surrounding areas of my tanks.  Since the
chaining effect happens above the surface, a divider under the substrate
won't help much.

I remember from a discussion with Claus Christensen, he told me that a few
people in Europe keep plants separated with dividers coated with a weed
killer of some sort.  I sure wouldn't dare try that in _my_ tank though!<g>

IMO, the best way to keep plants like this separated is to have an area of
unplanted gravel between them.  If you keep this "DMZ" diligently weeded
out, you should be able to keep the plants separated.  Remember though,
that both these plants have a very similar look.  Unless you just feel the
need to have more species of plants in the tank (and I certainly understand
that!) you might be happier choosing one or the other.  From the standpoint
of aquascaping, you don't need both.

Another option is to plant one species at each end, and just sit back and
watch what happens.  It can be very interesting to see which species will
win out in a turf war.  I had this happen several years ago.  I'd been
keeping Lillaeopsis in one end of a 70G tank, and E. tenellus in the other
end.  Both did pretty well, and neither made significant inroads on the
other until we had a prolonged heat wave.  During that period, the Swords
just couldn't compete, and retreated further and further.  The Lillaeopsis,
which was not adversely effected by the heat, rapidly took over where ever
the Swords fell back.  I just let it happen, and watched.  Within a few
months, the Lillaeopsis had taken over the whole tank.  Since I like the
Lillaeopsis better, I didn't mind too much.  Now I keep my E. tenellus in
another tank!

As a side note, it would be great if you could remove your long sig. file
when posting on the list.  It's cute, but we've all seen it now and it
takes up a lot of space.  Thanks!

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association