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Carpet plants that don't need regular trimming

tiger15

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I read that most carpet plants are high maintenance, requiring regular trimming to look neat and prevent self suffocation/detachment. What carpet plants are low maintenance that can be left alone without regular trimming.
 
Plants like Cryptocoryne parva (very slow growing) or Lilaeopsis brasiliensis but they can be a bit tall, perhaps 5cm or so.
 
hydrocotyle tripartita can give a carpet effect without being too high maintenance but my cories would dig it up. Dwarf sag provides good ground cover.
 
I use Hydrocotyle weighed down along the stem with horseshoe shape bits of lead. Start it from the side where the flow is best, then cut off the oldest and start again!
 
Helanthium tenellum is low-growing. Not as slow as Cryptocoryne parva, but can be quite slow to get going. It will thrive without CO2 injection too.
 
Thanks for the input. Is it fair to say that, in general, grassy rosette plants such as dwarf Sagittarius, pigmy chain sword, micro sword, crypto parva, etc are low maintenance carpet, whereas classic carpet stems like Baby Tear, Monte Carlo, etc are not. How about mosses, such as Fissidens, are they high maintenance?

The one exception is Hydrocotyle Tripartit, which is neither stem nor rosette but described as ground hugging rhizome?
 
Elatine Hydropiper;
Very slow grower that looks like mini Glosso, just don’t mix with other carpet plants as they WILL outgrow it in time
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Elatine hydropiper is a great plant but I would add the plant after tank is cycled. It likes a stable environment.
It’s very attractive carpet, but is it easy to maintain. The profile says it’s similar to HC, which is high maintenance carpet.
 
If your goal is least maintenance as possible than rather steer away from anything carpeting stem plant. Almost all of them require ample co² anyway to grow fast and dence.
And growing fast and dense requires regular trimming to keep the lowest part at the substrate healthy. Gras like plants in high energy all tend to grow quite tall +5cm, again regular trimming to keep it low and make it spread.

In low energy i personaly would suggest grass like plants, they will grow less tall but also relatively slow.. Currently growing Lileaopsis brasiliences, dwarf hair gras, dwarf sage and crypt parva in low energy. Depending on the number of plants you start with you need a lot of patience and time to make it spread. Dwarf sage grows the tallest of the 4 and runs (spreads) the slowest. Crypt parva is so slow in my experience barely see it grow in years time. Dwarf hair gras stays very small and runs agonizingly slow, but it can handle very low light and stays healthy. A valid candidate but you need to plant a lot to make a carpet or you need to wait years to carpet and spread on it's own.

My curent personals best at the moment is L. brasiliensis.
Started 2 years ago with a few plants only.. So picture bellow is 2 years time growing. In this low energy setup with a rather well fertilized soft substrate i experience it rather spreads than grow tall. Never trimmed/replanted it all this time just let it grow its own way.. I guess it needs another year to fill in the gaps on its own that are still there to see. Helping it with replanting should definitively speed up the process, but i just don't it's not my goal, i like to see what it does on it's own. :)

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Also grew this plant in high energy setup, than it more likes to grow tall +10 cm and requires trimming to keep it low and trigger it to run and spread. In this low energy setup i didn't do zip only planted it..

I've had the same experience with Helantium tenellum many years back of which i do not have pictures.. Also do not know the true var. i grew that time. According description i suspect it was the North american HT var. parvullum that should grow less tall than its south american cousin which is currently more common in the trade.

About mosses, i woud say yes if you take a Taxiphyllum sp. But a fissidens is not realy a spreader on its own, this would requirer a ton of it to plant it. ANd fissidens is a little dirtbag as well, definitively high maintenance if yu manage to create a carpet with it..
 
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It’s very attractive carpet, but is it easy to maintain. The profile says it’s similar to HC, which is high maintenance carpet.

It grows very slow while hc can grow much faster. So less trimming. But it is not the most easy carpet. It is a picky plant.


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Elatine Hydropiper;
Very slow grower that looks like mini Glosso, just don’t mix with other carpet plants as they WILL outgrow it in time

I didn't even know this plant exists! Now I have to find it somewhere and check how it works for me. I love testing new plants.
 
If your goal is least maintenance as possible than rather steer away from anything carpeting stem plant. Almost all of them require ample co² anyway to grow fast and dence.
And growing fast and dense requires regular trimming to keep the lowest part at the substrate healthy. Gras like plants in high energy all tend to grow quite tall +5cm, again regular trimming to keep it low and make it spread.

In low energy i personaly would suggest grass like plants, they will grow less tall but also relatively slow.. Currently

About mosses, i woud say yes if you take a Taxiphyllum sp. But a fissidens is not realy a spreader on its own, this would requirer a ton of it to plant it. ANd fissidens is a little dirtbag as well, definitively high maintenance if yu manage to create a carpet with it..
Thanks. It's very informative.

I am doing carpet plant for my shrimp tank. My goal is to create a pretty habitat for the shrimp, not a picture perfect lawn, so growing taller, less uniform, and faster don't matter, as long as I don't have to trim it to prevent self choking. Trimming requires simultaneous removal of debris, which is labor intensive and disruptive to shrimplets,

Over grown stem and moss carpets will choke with dead thatch and require regular trimming to rejuvenate. I wonder what overgrown grassy carpets will behave?
 
Thanks. It's very informative.

I am doing carpet plant for my shrimp tank. My goal is to create a pretty habitat for the shrimp, not a picture perfect lawn, so growing taller, less uniform, and faster don't matter, as long as I don't have to trim it to prevent self choking. Trimming requires simultaneous removal of debris, which is labor intensive and disruptive to shrimplets,

Over grown stem and moss carpets will choke with dead thatch and require regular trimming to rejuvenate. I wonder what overgrown grassy carpets will behave?

HC i trimmed every 2-3 week Elantine was only once every 2-3 months and it’s arguably one of the most attractive carpet plants out there
 
HC i trimmed every 2-3 week Elantine was only once every 2-3 months and it’s arguably one of the most attractive carpet plants out there

But the plant can be a bitch (I heard). It can melt out of no where. But I think everyone should try it. Maybe it works for you . It is a beauty for sure.

Mine is doing ok in just cosmetic sand. But not long and monte carlo will take over


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If you want to avoid trimming then you need things that stop growing at the height you want. The rosette plants that are naturally the right height would work, but I'd avoid anything stem/creeping that will grow over itself or upwards.

Crypt parva is pretty much no maintenance, it grows slowly so will probably not even need thinning. But the down side is it grows slowly so for a full dense carpet you need to start with a lot of it or wait a long time.

If you want something moss like - you could consider flattened out moss balls. They won't need any trimming but can suck up mulm so you may need to take it out and give in squeeze in a bucket now and then. Again very slow growing though so no danger of taking over.

Hairgrass comes in varies varieties so you can pick one that grows the height you want to avoid trimming and then you may just need to thin it out, if it's low tech though it may grow slow enough not to be an issue.
 
If you want to avoid trimming then you need things that stop growing at the height you want. The rosette plants that are naturally the right height would work, but I'd avoid anything stem/creeping that will grow over itself or upwards.
.

So does it mean I have to rule out all small leaf carpet plants that are popularized by Amano in Nature Aquarium. What about Hydrocotyle Tripartit? Is it the only exception that is not a rosette, not a stem, not an epiphyte, but described as a ground hugging rhizome with medium leaves.
 
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Is it low tech with no added CO2? If so things will grow slower so if you pick the slowest growing that would reduce maintenance but if your aim is a dense carpet then you'll have to maintain it to some degree. Hydrocotyle Tripartita can grow like crazy if it likes your tank - you have to keep pushing it down to avoid a big ball.
 
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