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Aquarium newbie - caring for star grass

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Hi All,

I'm new to the hobby and really enjoying so far. I have a 15 gal (Flex Fluval) with a few plattys, some Star grass, and another unidentified plant (which I'll make a separate post about one day).

The star grass is doing pretty well without much effort, but I do have a few questions:

1. Do I need to add separate fertilizer, or can it survive off the nutrients from fish poop? I'm trying to keep a fairly basic low maintenance set up for now.

2. If I trim the top off a shoot, can I just stick it back in the gravel and will it grow as a new plant? My intention is to eventually achieve a 3-4" carpet-style spread in one back corner of the tank with the star grass.

3. Some of the lower sections are turning dark and messy (probably not quite enough light in a couple areas). Do I need to prune and dispose of these, or is it ok to leave them with the fresh green shoots growing over top? Maybe a dumb question but do aquatic plants obtain any benefit (like nutrients) from their own decomposing dead leaves?

4. Any other tips?

One thing to note is that the bottom of the tank is covered in about 2-3" of coarse gravel (maybe 1/8 - 1/4” gravel size).

Thanks so much for any tips!

Edited by Browner
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1.) I would add some fertilizer like easy green just in case. Although it isn't really needed, it would definitely help the plants to grow better and healthier. I've had many plants that have thrived in my tanks with only fish poop, but that's usually only possible if you have an overstocked tank (which I had). 

2.) You can definitely trim off the top shoot and replant it. It's a stem plant so that should be just fine.

3.) I would try to trim off the darker leaves, although it doesn't hurt to leave them on. It will be very beneficial to the plant if you get rid of the old leaves. The plant is sending nutrients to the older leaves instead of trying to give nutrients in making new leaves, so it's always best to try and trim off older leaves that aren't doing well. Plants will definitely gain some nutrients from dead leaves although it won't be much. The dead leaves will usually just be eaten by snails or shrimp anyway.

Tips- I would try to trim very regularly, this will really benefit you in getting the plant to propagate by sending off side shoots instead of growing taller. If you trim it enough, it will start to get the idea that it should be carpeting, not growing taller. Also, try to space out the cuttings so they have some space to grow. Good Luck with your Carpet 

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