Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba' ... not rooting in substrate


Junior Poster
Oct 5, 2013
Hi there,

I've got a 40 gallon "high-tech" (CO2 + high light) aquarium and am following the EI method. Rather new to the planted tank world, so am hoping you can help me with a minor issue.

I have a very lush, thick carpet of Cuba that has taken over the whole front half of my aquarium. I planted it from small individual plants I purchased online from tissue cultured specimens. I'm using Seachem's Flourite as a substrate. A few other plants as well ... everything seems to be growing well.

The Cuba carpet looks great, but during a recent routine cleaning when I got too close to it with the vacuum I discovered that while it is a thick, dense carpet, it isn't actually rooted in the substrate! It seems to be essentially floating slightly ABOVE the substrate, with occasional roots descending into the gravel. Upon closer examination, the Cuba seems to be sitting ON TOP of the substrate, rather than anchored to it.

  1. Is this normal or Cuba?
  2. If not, is this something I need to fix? (and if so, how?)
  3. If this is normal, does one need to worry about detritus UNDER the carpet of Cuba?
Just worried about keeping my tank clean and healthy, and concerned that detritus/mulm may be accumulating under the carpet and upsetting water chemistry. So far, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates, and Phosphates are still practically undetectable but I don't want to get behind the curve.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome.


Micros Spiller
Feb 16, 2015
How thick is it? HC has to be mowed down regularly or else the entire thing will come unrooted. Might be what happened....

Dennis Singh

May 5, 2013
Orange County, CA
If those nutrients are undetectable, you may need to dose more...HC believe it or not is more of a water column taker. It'll root in, but it needs more nutrients in the water column i have seen over other foregrounds.