Suggested "ground covering" plants
So I'm slowly converting my gravel substrate with fake plastic plants into a sand substrate with real plants and have been trying to figure out a good plant for ground covering.
I'm hoping to find something like a short leafy plant that (hopefully?) spreads across the substrate as it grows. A few pictures I've seen online remind me of something like clover patches you find in grassy areas on dry land.
I'm debating between that and a short grassy type look as well as possibly some moss of some sort to spread along rocks and/or branches of wood.
Once I have some general ideas for plants to look out for then I can go about shopping for them a little more confidently :-)
Those substrate "grass" type plants usually require higher light and nutrients [sometimes including CO2 difussion] by comparison to the majority of plants. There are however some substrate plants that will spread but not in the same way as a "lawn" effect. Giving us an indication of your tank light and setup might allow us to suggest some plants.
Moss is a bit easier, as it is low light. Java Moss can be trained over rocks, wood and substrate.
We have plant profiles here, same place as the fish profiles, accessed from the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top. Or in posts if the name is the same it will be shaded, as Java Moss, and you can click on this to see that profile.
Currently I have the basic lighting that came with my tank setup, Aqueon Daylight 24" T8 8000K. Yesterday I bought a GE branded fish tank light that unfortunately doesn't have a kelvin rating marked on it, but after testing the light with a meter it seems to be almost identical to the Aqueon bulb I already had, the spectrum on the GE shows a slightly higher spike in all RGB ranges, but the difference is slight.
I already plan on looking into a new fixture/bulb since the current setup is a 24" bulb on a 36" tank (38 gallon) and I'd like to have more control over the lighting. Plus the current fixture is a little finicky and obviously cheap quality.
What are the plants in your avatar picture? The one under the fish specifically is kinda what I was thinking look wise, although maybe that picture doesn't show enough of it for me to really see it
Also, this is the light I was looking at getting, it's a 36" fixture with 2 34" T5 HO tubes on independent switches
I'm guessing with the HO tubes and the ability to use 2 bulbs I maybe able to crank out some decent light.
two t8s would be plenty- 1 full length t8 would put you at "low light"
I try a lot of stuff in my tanks.. When you up the light, I'd get (small quantities of) Helanthium tenellum, Sagittaria subulata,Cryptocoryne Parva or Cryptocoryne Willissi (micro crypt)...
The plant you're thinking of is Marsilea Sp. ..
If you want to try, then Marsilea quadrifolia is the most hardy one of the family.
We're talking very different lighting here, so dmower, be careful.
You mentioned T5, redchigh is talking T8, they are very different. I would never put T5's over that tank, not even 1 tube, unless you intend high-tech. A double would be blazing, and even with switches you are not likely to ever want both on so it is money wasted. T5's are not cheap.
Redchigh has more personal experience with the "grass" and "clover" plants you're thinking of [he may know the one in my avatar, that photo is off the net as it shows the Spotted Woodcat, and the name escapes me at the moment]. But when thinking of plants and light, fish also have to be considered. Most are not comfortable with bright lighting, and there is no forest species that does not appreciate floating plants.
I bought a dual T5 48-inch fixture and tubes a year or so ago, when one of my old T8's gave out. I used it over the 70g, way too bright, then over the 90g, the same, so I put it over my 5-foot 115g thinking the additional length and depth would compensate. Wrong. Used it on that tank for a full week, then took it back. I expected my poor fish to be asking for sunglasses. It was really bright. I bought a dual-tube T8 instead, 48-inch tubes, more than adequate (for my plants). Have a look at the photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left, the substrate cover in the current 70g Flooded Amazon Forest tank is pygmy chain sword.
Ah, my mistake, not sure why I didn't realize I was looking at T5 instead of T8 fixtures.
The concept remains though, was looking at a dual T8 fixture.
I'm getting a 50+ gallon tank from a friend in a few hours and I'll have to see what that comes with and make my plans based on 2 different tanks instead of working with just the 1 and see how it goes from there.
thanks for the plant suggestions, I'll look into them and see what I can find around the area for sale and maybe just start trying different plants to see which ones I like best before going full on aquascape design style :-D
The one in Byron's pic is either Glossostigma, or Marsilea Hirsuta.. I'd say it's probably Glosso, but Marsilea Hirsuta looks similiar and could work in your setup. (Glosso is difficult, and requires high light and CO2)
I've never grown that particular plant, but it might be worth a try.
A dual t8, with one bulb on the whole time and the second for about 4 hours in the middle of the day would do very well. I'll be glad to help you come up with more plants if you need.
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