Alternatives to Elatine Hydropiper?

Wookii

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I'm in the planning stages of setting up a new small planted aquarium, my first for 16 years. For those that haven't seen my other thread, the tank is 60 x 30 x 40, will have good circulation, CO2 injection, EI dopsing, and fairly decent lighting (32W LED).

I had originally planned on using Elatine Hydropiper as a foreground carpeting plant, because I love the look of its consistent and relatively uniform leaf size and shape and apparent uniform growth (from the images I've seen), compared to say HC Cuba which seems to have more random sized leaves and appears less uniform:

elatineh2.jpg


However I've been put off the Hydropiper by various horror stories I've read about it being a difficult plant to grow and maintain (low temp requirements etc), and Tropica rating it 'Advanced'.

With this in mind, can anyone suggest an easier and lower maintenance alternative that has a similar uniformity of leaf structure and growth to Hydropiper?
 

Wookii

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Without wishing to answer my own question, having a quick search myself, might Marsilea Crenata be a possible alternative? Any comments on what that is like to grow vs EH?

4.jpg
 

Hanuman

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Not an expert here but I think Marselia crenata could not the job. Can grow in even low light as well.
 

Hanuman

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Without wishing to answer my own question, having a quick search myself, might Marsilea Crenata be a possible alternative? Any comments on what that is like to grow vs EH?
Seems you beat me to it! I just suggested that plant. It's a nice plant. Grows compact with time and not totally uniform thus giving a more natural look. It's well rooted. Here are some pictures of my tank. I am not entirely sure if what I have is Marselia Crenata or Marselia Hirsuta but they are virtually the same. What changes is their size. I suppose with stronger light they grow shorter with small leaves. My light is at 65% so that it is not considered highlight. Tank is 45cm high.

IMG_2288.JPG

IMG_2285.JPG


This is in a low light part of my tank. See how it elongates and the 4 leaves clover forms. In highlight the there is a single leaf.
IMG_2287.JPG
 
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Tim Harrison

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Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' or MC as it's also known, immediately springs to mind. The carpet in the scape I posted in your other thread is MC. It's easier to grow and maintain than HC. However, IME both grow about as uniform as a plant gets, especially if trimmed regularly which both MC and HC require. Both will usually carpet thicker and denser than the Marselia spp.

HC carpet...

upload_2017-5-8_10-7-58-png.png
 

Wookii

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Seems you beat me to it! I just suggested that plant. It's a nice plant. Grows compact with time and not totally uniform thus giving a more natural look. It's well rooted. Here are some pictures of my tank. I am not entirely sure if what I have is Marselia Crenata or Marselia Hirsuta but they are virtually the same. What changes is their size. I suppose with stronger light they grow shorter with small leaves. My light is at 65% so that it is not considered highlight. Tank is 45cm high.

View attachment 129152
View attachment 129153

This is in a low light part of my tank. See how it elongates and the 4 leaves clover forms. In highlight the there is a single leaf.
View attachment 129151
Thanks for extra pics, thats great. I do like the darker green colour also.
 

Wookii

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Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' or MC as it's also known, immediately springs to mind. The carpet in the scape I posted in your other thread is MC. It's easier to grow and maintain than HC. However, IME both grow about as uniform as a plant gets, especially if trimmed regularly which both MC and HC require. Both will usually carpet thicker and denser than the Marselia spp.

HC carpet...

upload_2017-5-8_10-7-58-png.png
Thanks Tim - that does seem to product a nice carpet. Do HC and Marselia Crenata grow at a similar rate and require similar pruning?
 

Tim Harrison

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Thanks Tim - that does seem to product a nice carpet. Do HC and Marselia Crenata grow at a similar rate and require similar pruning?
IME HC grows at a faster rate. If planted together the M. crenata will eventually be outcompeted and/or will likely get trimmed out pretty quickly, unless you take the time to trim around it, which is a total faff. Also HC, if grown in favourable conditions, will take anywhere and everywhere from missed cuttings, which can be a pita. But both HC and MC are worth it if you want a dense carpet; for me nothing quite beats either.
 

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Elatine hydropiper and Marsilea crenata will grow at about same "speed". They both take some time to complete a true carpet. Marsilea crenate being the much easier plant to grow, of the two. The moderate growth means needing trimming less often.
Hemianthus 'cuba' and Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' both grow considerably faster, often forming a dense carpet in less than a month. The 'Monte Carlo' being the more adaptable (=easier to grow) of the two. The fast growth of both, means trimming very often is essential - otherwise the carpet will shade the lower parts to death, destroying the carpet.
- by the way, I'm pretty sure the Marsilea showing on pic. is Marsilea hirsuta. The crenata should never grow such big leaves and colour should be less dark.
Hope this will help OP to choose the candidate, best suited.
Note, that Marsilea is not a stem-plant (it is a fern, actually) so trimming is best done by very gently pulling out "strings" from the carpet. This will leave no cut leaf-stems, that will tend to get infested with algae. The three others are stem-plants, making trimming a bit easier.
 
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Wookii

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Elatine hydropiper and Marsilea crenata will grow at about same "speed". They both take some time to complete a true carpet. Marsilea crenate being the much easier plant to grow, of the two. The moderate growth means needing trimming less often.
Hemianthus 'cuba' and Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' both grow considerably faster, often forming a dense carpet in less than a month. The 'Monte Carlo' being the more adaptable (=easier to grow) of the two. The fast growth of both, means trimming very often is essential - otherwise the carpet will shade the lower parts to death, destroying the carpet.
- by the way, I'm pretty sure the Marsilea showing on pic. is Marsilea hirsuta. The crenata should never grow such big leaves and colour should be less dark.
Hope this will help OP to choose the candidate, best suited.
Note, that Marsilea is not a stem-plant (it is a fern, actually) so trimming is best done by very gently pulling out "strings" from the carpet. This will leave no cut leaf-stems, that will tend to get infested with algae. The three others are stem-plants, making trimming a bit easier.
Many thanks Mick - the input is much appreciated. I would never have known the different trimming requirements, so that is good to know.

Thanks for the heads up on the Marsilea picture also, it’s difficult enough selecting plants based on images, without folks labelling them up incorrectly. (I think that image is actually from the Tropica website!)

It seems there is no ‘ideal’ in this situation. I would prefer a slightly slower growing variety to be able to better control growth and not have such intense pruning requirements, at the same time, a dense enough carpet would be ideal. Simplicity will be key I think with this tank, as it will be shared with my 7 year old son.
 
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Hanuman

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by the way, I'm pretty sure the Marsilea showing on pic. is Marsilea hirsuta. The crenata should never grow such big leaves and colour should be less dark.
Not sure to what picture you are referring to but if mine then that is what I though. It's difficult to tell the difference since I never had any Marselia Crenata to compare with. I have been trying to by some Crenata here in Thailand but I have the feeling people are confusing it with Hirsuta. I found a < picture > on the internet where several Marselia where shown together and the Crenata was considerably smaller. Here it is:
CAM05920.jpg


Note, that Marsilea is not a stem-plant (it is a fern, actually) so trimming is best done by very gently pulling out "strings" from the carpet. This will leave no cut leaf-stems, that will tend to get infested with algae. The three others are stem-plants, making trimming a bit easier.
Personally I prefer Marsilea as it doesn't leave an ugly looking carpet as a trimmed carpet of HC or MC would. Once HC and MC recover it is time to trim again. With Marsilea it's just a matter of pulling and possibly replanting or selling if you fancy that. One note on replanting Marselia though is that once uprooted it's difficult to bring the roots in the substrate and make the plant hold so one needs to burry it just a bit more than what it was before uprooting.

It seems there is no ‘ideal’ in this situation. I would prefer a slightly slower growing variety to be able to better control growth and not have such intense pruning requirements, at the same time, a dense enough carpet would be ideal. Simplicity will be key I think with this tank, as it will be shared with my 7 year old son.
I would say the Marselia in this case would be more appropriate but it really all depends on your layout and the looks you want. Every plant has its place.
 

Mick.Dk

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The "Wokii" pic. is showing Marsilea crenata.
The "Hanuman" pic. is showing Marsilea hirsuta.
- sorry, I was inaccurate.
 

Wookii

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Elatine hydropiper and Marsilea crenata will grow at about same "speed". They both take some time to complete a true carpet. Marsilea crenate being the much easier plant to grow, of the two. The moderate growth means needing trimming less often.
Hemianthus 'cuba' and Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' both grow considerably faster, often forming a dense carpet in less than a month. The 'Monte Carlo' being the more adaptable (=easier to grow) of the two. The fast growth of both, means trimming very often is essential - otherwise the carpet will shade the lower parts to death, destroying the carpet.
- by the way, I'm pretty sure the Marsilea showing on pic. is Marsilea hirsuta. The crenata should never grow such big leaves and colour should be less dark.
Hope this will help OP to choose the candidate, best suited.
Note, that Marsilea is not a stem-plant (it is a fern, actually) so trimming is best done by very gently pulling out "strings" from the carpet. This will leave no cut leaf-stems, that will tend to get infested with algae. The three others are stem-plants, making trimming a bit easier.
Mick - with the Marsilea Crenata, what is the best procedure for replanting any runners pulled up when thinning existing growth areas? For example can you separate individual leaves (with a section of runner beneath), and replant those directly? Or do you have to maintain a row of several leaves when replanting?
 

Mick.Dk

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You can - theoretically - separate each leaf with its bit of "runner" and connected roots. There is a potential growing-point on this. I would recommend taking a piece of "runner" with several leaves, though, curling it carefully up into a dense clump (leaves up, roots down) and plant this. It will have more stored energy, grow in much faster and send out more new runners - so carpeting will be faster. (This is also what you do to the 1-2-Grow! material).
 

Wookii

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You can - theoretically - separate each leaf with its bit of "runner" and connected roots. There is a potential growing-point on this. I would recommend taking a piece of "runner" with several leaves, though, curling it carefully up into a dense clump (leaves up, roots down) and plant this. It will have more stored energy, grow in much faster and send out more new runners - so carpeting will be faster. (This is also what you do to the 1-2-Grow! material).
That's great, thanks Mick
 
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