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I am looking for some advice regarding foreground plants. I decided do do away with my java moss after much turmoil. Now I am looking for a replacement. Are there any recommendations for a good carpet plant that will...

1. cover most of my bare gravel
2. grow quickly
3. rather short at full height
4. is readily available and cheap

Let me know what your thoughts are! Thanks!


-Chad
 

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Marsilea minuta meets all your requirements and even does well without high-light. I tried some for the first time just a 3.5 weeks ago (right after a move and re-set-up of my tank) and what I was given has tripled in mass and has stayed very short (1" or less) .

Hemianthus callitricoides is a good carpet, but requires more light and CO2 in my experience. I have yet to be successful with it.

Echinodorus quadricostatus will grow fast/easy enough for you and fill in thickly, but it gets a bit taller than what you might want (about 4" IME) for a full carpet. It does best in a corner to give some hight to other foreground plants.

Hygro. 'low-grow' or 'kompacta' is also a good short foreground, not sure about how fast it grows (mine is about average in speed) .

-Dave
 

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Anyone know good sources for M Minuta? Would like to try it out in a new 29 g biocube setup. Also, anyone know if it will do well without CO2 but with Seachem Excel?
 

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Glossostigma elatinoides and Hemianthus micranthemoides are other ground covers you can use, but I've never tried it. Think they requires higher light, like HC, and are probably more expensive. I'd say Marsilea Minuta is probably a best bet. I'm looking for a plant just like it as well.

Anyone know the difference between HC regular and Hemianthus callitrichoides ''Cuba''?
 

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Hygro. 'low-grow' or 'kompacta' is also a good short foreground, not sure about how fast it grows (mine is about average in speed) .
Dave,

Just to be clear, the 'low grow' and 'kompact' are two very different plants. The former is a Staurogyne (for sure) and probably the same one Tropica sells. The latter is a cultivated form of Hygrophila corymbosa with very short internodes.
 

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Thanks for the clarification, Cavan. Is the Hygro. 'Roraima' another form of the corymbosa also, or is this a different species? (And is that the same as 'Porto Velo'? ) (check my spelling)

-Dave
 

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Thanks for the clarification, Cavan. Is the Hygro. 'Roraima' another form of the corymbosa also, or is this a different species? (And is that the same as 'Porto Velo'? ) (check my spelling)

-Dave
No. Orlando was kind enough to send me some of the 'Roraima' and it looked submersed like my 'Porto Velho' does emersed. I've got both going emersed now and they are indistinguishable there. Some of the former is being grown out to see how it looks after a while. I believe that they will come to look identical submersed as well. My theory is that Orlando's material grew but did not fully convert for some unknown reason. To me, they look like the same plant. But we'll see.

What is a bit more clear is that it/both appear/s to be a Staurogyne, just like the 'low grow'. Waxy leaf surfaces, heavily pubescent stems emersed and submersed and lack of cystoliths (calcium carbonate streaks in the stems and leaves that are present in Hygrophila) all point to that. I had a botanist look at that for me but I think I need a specialist in that family to nail it down. Still waiting on inflorescences (though I did manage to flower Limnophila sp. 'mini').
 

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Elatine triandra meats all those requirements with ample nutrients and CO2. Careful though, many give up on it because it demands pruning and replanting so often, with CO2 it can act like a weed, a really pretty weed.
 

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I'm currently using Elatine triandra in my 180g tank - same problem. It's beautiful, but just grows too darn quickly.

Eliocharis acicularis is a good plant, even in moderate light setups.

Pogostemon helferi can also look nice.
 
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