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Trouble with Grasses

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by cdelucia, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. cdelucia

    cdelucia Junior Poster

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    I'm having trouble getting the finer grasses (like glossostigma, dwarf hairgrass) to grow at the bottom of my tank, especially concerning the propagation through runners and tight compact growth. How do I get finer grasses to grow? I've seen plenty of inspiring shots of carpets of compact grass species but can't quite seem to get there.

    A little about my setup:
    - 29 gallon
    - Two 65w SunPaq Dual Daylight 6700°K/10000°K compact fluorescent bulbs
    - Pressurized CO2 (with pH probe but reading that one might as well have it on a timer)
    - Flourite gravel under inert black gravel (to keep the nutrients from being in direct contact with the water column)
    - Fluval 204 filter

    What's the ideal wave length/color temperature of light for plants (especially grasses)?
    Metal halides seem to have the best penetration but besides the cost and heat, the lowest wattage they come in is 150w and I think 130w is already too much for my setup.

    Oh, and now that I have one, how long can I leave my drop checker in the tank?
     
  2. incubus3x3x3

    incubus3x3x3 Junior Poster

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    You didn't tell us much about the water column fertilization. Macros, micros...?

    The key of success in having a beautiful carpet have less to do with the light and more with the water (CO2, nutrients) circulation at the gravel level of the tank.

    I don't really know what you guys mean with "dwarf hairgrass" but I think it's Eleocharis parvula... It will take a longer time to eleocharis to form a dense carpet. Why don't you try HC, or even better Utricularia graminifolia. Any of these two will form a dense carpet, and Utricularia form a compact carpet as it spreads. you will not have to wait the plant to spread and then wait again for the carpet to become thick.

    For example I have 90W T8 in a tank pretty much like yours in size and both HC and utricularia are growing very well.

    About the drop checker, I think the manufacturer say to change the solution at every water change. I don't give myself as an example here but I change the solution more seldom. Let's say once a month.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you are having trouble with either of, or any of these plants suggested, then you can rule out nutrients rather easily with EI etc.

    Since a lot of folks use lean dosing out of fear, ADA or mineralized soils give good results for many. Adding both water column and sediment dosing together makes it easier also.

    Still, EI willrule, out any nutrient limitation you might ever have.

    You have enough light for any of these plants.

    So...........what does this leave and what is the most limiting factor in every aquarium typically? CO2.

    You need to give the foreground plants about 2 weeks to get going first, then they start growing like mad. If you have enough CO2 that is.............

    Do not think the pH controller or a Drop checker is the final word............for CO2.
    Fish and plants are the final word(better than any test kits in answering whether you have enough). So add more but do so slowly...........watch fish, do it progressively, a little each day and watch afterwards closely.

    Still, you need to make sure the nutrients also are not dependent, just CO2.
    Light is fine.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Flourite will not leach nutrients into the water column, because it doesn't contain any. All it has is iron, which is not easy to leach out. If you want a fertile substrate you can use ADA Aquasoil or mineralized topsoil, with the latter covered with the black sand. (Flourite black sand is very good, in my opinion.)

    I had 110 watts - 2 - 55 watt AH Supply kits - on a 29 gallon tank, and that was very obviously too much light. I grew every type of algae I have heard of, and grew them well. The plants also grew, but the algae was bad enough I didn't notice the plants most of the time. One 55 watt bulb was even a bit too much light.
     
  5. ramsvella

    ramsvella Junior Poster

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    VaughnH, Seachem claims that Fluorite is rich in many other micros and traces. Its the first time that i am reading that it does not have all the necessary nutrients, except for the Macros Nitrogen and Phosphorus... as opposed to ADA's soils. Are you claiming that these are negligible?
    I thought that Laterite is an ore just containing iron.

    regards,
    rams
     
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plant sparingly. Bunching to close just causes the middles to rot. You really don't need a whole lot.

    Like Tom has stated CO2 is key and they really don't require a ton of light. It took 45 days this time around for me to have a compact carpet. No real noticable growth took place until after two weeks. From there it just took off. As a timeline you can see my recent pictorial from start till now.
     
  7. incubus3x3x3

    incubus3x3x3 Junior Poster

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    Yeah, you can see another timeline here: YouTube - How fast the plants grow with EI...

    It is a video generated from 40 photos, taken one each day. So every frame represents the one day growing.
    Utricularia is in the middle of the setup and as you can see, it can double it's surface in about 40 days. (Sorry for the moves between frames. My tripod is not a very reliable one).
    Enjoy.
     
  8. cdelucia

    cdelucia Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the responses. Right now I'm using poor man's dupla drops. Getting brush algae on leaves that have stopped growing towards the top of the tank. Have been pruning those.

    Would you recommend pulling the individual strands of glosso apart and planting those separately? I got three pots of them from the local fish shop and although I separated them from the rock wool, still planted them pretty much as is. Also wonder if gravel substrate makes it a bit harder to spread as opposed to sand.

    It would also seem I have some gold barbs disturbing the glosso. Can't be sure but that would be a problem. If I had loaches (I don't) I'd understand, but not sure why the barbs would bother.
     
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Glosso should be planted node by node, each pair of leaflets on the strand are a node. This is where it will start to root. I take a small plastic tub and a pair of scissors and start cutting and putting the nodes into the tub with tank water. Large gravel will make it harder.
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Flourite is a baked clay product, like terra cotta or bricks. I don't think Flourite is baked that much, but it is still just baked clay. Various clays have different mixes of oxidized metals in them, with the redder clays having more iron than the yellower clays. But, all of them have a variety of metal oxides - so Seachem is correct that they do have a lot of the trace elements in Flourite. But, those trace elements aren't nearly as available to the plants as the chelated metals in our trace mixes. In my opinion it is best to just assume Flourite is inert, but with a high CEC, so it can hold cations like the trace element cations where the plant roots can easily get them.

    Laterite is another clay product, again with a high iron content, but with the iron in the form of oxides, and not chelated. Since laterite is a clay it will also have a high CEC.

    Nutrient rich substrates contain the macro nutrients as well as the trace elements - Aquasoil and mineralized topsoils being nutrient rich substrates.

    I am anything but an expert on this stuff, but the above is what I have learned from reading, and reading, and reading, plus using some common sense.
     
  11. ramsvella

    ramsvella Junior Poster

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    Thanks so much for your reply
     
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