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Pearl Grass

Neil Frank made some interesting observations regarding Pearl Grass:
>>> There are 2 related species called pearl grass. One is Hemianthus
micrantheimoides. Genus previously called Micranthemum micranthemoides.
The stems grow straight up. There are 4 leaves per node.In the Dennerle
book, it is pictured on p.105, plant #M31. There is similar plant which
grows more loosely, with pairs of alternating leaves. . It is listed as
"Micranthemum spec." (shown as M33, but it is not a good picture). I
suspect it should be called Hemianthus sp. I know for sure that Amano
calls this one "Pearl grass" because I got my original cutting directly
from one of his tanks. This one is my favorite. I liked it as soon as I
first saw it and have kept it going since 1995. Both of these delicate
plants will suffer if they are in a tank with large Echinodorus or other
nutrient sponges. Email me off line.>>>

Two comments:  I have grown the 4-leaves per node variety in both of my
tanks.  While it does love to grow straight up, once it catches on to
growing horizontally (a small stone will help it lay down nicely), it
races around the tank horizontally making a wonderful ground cover.
Having covered the footprint, it reverts to vertical growth again.  I
have very much enjoyed this plant as a lawn plant though it requires
frequent trimming.  

Regarding nutrient sponges, I have always grown Hemianthus with large
Echinodorus, and usually with other nutrient sponges (floating mats of
riccia).  It has always done quite well under these conditions and
doesn't hesitate to tangle with just about all the other plants I have
growing.  The only practice of mine which differs much from other high
growth condition tanks is the addition of extra potassium (in the 5 - 10
ppm range).  My tap water only contains 0.5 ppm.  I have generally found
the additional potassium quite helpful.  And I don't let the tanks
become nitrogen-limited.

Regard, Steve Dixon