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newbie question on planting carpet / foreground plants in NPT

23668 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BJRuttenberg
Ok, so after reading some recent posts here about iwagumi NPT's I've dicided I'm going to try following the dry tank setup someone mentioned in this link: for my 55 gal tank.

I will be planting a variety of cover plants and some emergent mid ground plants in the dry tank startup. Here they are, and I've denoted which ones will be comming in pots (relating to a later question I have):

CLOVER, FOUR LEAF Dwarf(Marsilea quadrifolia)
Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides)(potted)
glossostigma (potted)
Pennywort, Brazilian (Hydrocotyle Leucocephala)
Cryptocoryne (various)
Bacopa (various)
Cardinal Plant(Lobelia cardinalis) (Potted)
Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Baby Tears (Hemianthus micranthemoides)

Now, I believe these are mostly ground cover plants and a few mid-ground stemmed plants that I can plant in my wetted substrate / gravel (topsoil and 1-2 mm pool filter media). I chose a wide variety in the hopes that I'll find out what grows best and presumably the best growers will outcompete the others or I'll end up with a nice cover variety.

Is this a good selection for the dry tank startup that I'm attempting? Any additional suggestions? Anything in the list above that will not work for the dry setup method? How many of each plant should I buy for my 55 gal? After I get a decent layer of cover I'll raise the water and add in more midground, background and floating plants, but since I've heard that ground covers are the hardest to grow in NPT's I thought I'd try growing them first.

As far as physically planting, I have two questions:

For the smaller ground cover plants, can I put their roots just in the gravel filter media, or does some part of the plant need to actually be touching the topsoil underlayer when I plant it? (I'm worried about burrying smaller specimens, or having ones just in the sand not having enough initial nutrients to grow roots to the soil underlayer).

And, for the plants that come in pots (which I denoted above), should I remove them from the pots? Divide them if they are in bunches? How is this done?

Finally, if it helps anyone answer my questions, here are my tank's parameters:

55 gal
2 60w compact flourescents coralife
1.5" topsoil, 1" pool filter media, and peletized dolimite lime mixed w/ soil
extremely soft water
GH / KH both @ 1.5
PH 7.0 - 7.3

I'm guessing the soft water will be ok for the initial dry setup, because, well, there won't be any water (save for just covering the substrate) and the plants should hopoefully get enough nutrients from the soil.

Thanks for anyone's help in advance!!
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I mentioned the dry start-up method but only w/ regard to groundcover plants. Some of the plants you mentioned are stem plants that grow rather tall (AFAIK), and I don't know how vulnerable they will be in switching from emergent growth (in which the stems have to be strong enough to support the plant in air) to submergent growth (water helps support the plant upright). Also, this dry start up method becomes much less necessary for the fast-growing stems like wisteria, which will root fairly quickly regardless.

Someone w/ more experience w/ stem plants may be able to give better advice on this.
For Glossostigma and Hemianthus, yes you need to take them out of the pots, carefully tease the plants apart and plant them.

Here's are two PDFs from Amano, the Glosso/HC king himself :p
great, thanks for the input guys.

Now, when I buy a plant of HC or gloss, potted or otherwise, how many/much do I get per pot? Or rather, how wide of an area can I spread a single pot's worth out?

Basically, I'm trying to figure out how many carpeting plants (of each) I should buy for what I'm trying to do with my 55 gal. I'd like to plant a large enough area so that when it begins growing it will cover a good portion of the ground space of my tank. Any thoughts as to how many plants / pots I should initially order?
I just used 4 pots HC on my 10 Gal, thats 10" x 20 "
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