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Dwarf hairgrass, frustrations and sucesses.

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So I have dwarf hair grass in 3 tanks--I love the stuff, when it works.

Here it is planted in a dirted tank with a fine white sand cap. It is going CRAZY. I planted in larger clumps, because I happened to score a petsmart pot of it that was cheap and ridiculously healthy. When I planted it the roots were healthy and robust. This tank is barely 2 months old. I don't even bother to dose with easy green here, since all the plants are root feeders, and the soil is giving them plenty of nutrients. There is shockingly little algae in this tank.


In my other tanks, with a mix of Eco-complete and ADA amazonia, it is struggling BADLY. Poor growth, lots of melt, infested with algae. The original plants came in as bunches, bare root. They looked pretty rough to begin with, and I spread them out in smaller clumps. These tanks are about 3-4 months old. They get easy green, but I am not using root tabs. I did give them some passive CO2 to start, for a month or two.


I am ready to give up on them here. I would like to give my next attempt at growing a carpet a better shot. 

Options are:

  1. Start fresh with new dwarf hair grass plants
  2. Add root tabs
  3. Abandon hope with this substrate and choose a different plant for this space
  4. Some additional option I haven't thought of yet?
Edited by Brandy
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@Brandy I too had mixed results with dwarf hair-grass.  Probably my fault, but some of it grows better or not so great in various tanks.  It grows best in my richest substrated tanks.  What helped me was increasing my light a bit and some more water column & substrate nutrients.  Obviously, every tank will be different though.  Maybe others have additional ideas.  BTW, don't give up hope, it's still alive and can make a good comeback.

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It doesn’t like my tank. Eco complete with root tabs and Easy green/iron. 
my kid’s tank has bare white gravel and it’s soooo happy. Much less light in that tank. My issues is it’s always uprooting. I need to add a tad bit of white sand so it can stay down better. 

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19 minutes ago, genuine_red said:

I wonder if trimming it short would work. Aquascaping YouTubers often trim carpeting plants and say that trimming encourages growth.

Ironically that is exactly what I did with the non-thriving tank. It is a tiny tank, and you are looking at blades that are less than one inch long. I heard the same things. 

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In my experience yes its the eco complete it seems like anything with a really small or stringy type root structure will take forever to take hold and even if it does it wont be dense I personally think it has to do with the size of the granules. I used to love it and have it in all my tanks but that was before finding out the downfalls of it.

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It’s like you were just in my room lol. I’m trying to salvage some DHG at the moment. I’m using Fluval Stratum, injected Co2 (which has never liked me), and 2 kessil A80’s on a 18” cube. I also have pretty hard water. It tends to grow well with my setup but......I’m a sucker for tiger barbs and they love pulling any carpeting plant that I choose to use. I’ve been replanting the same sprigs of DHG for 2 months and it just can’t take hold because of the tiger barbs. So, now, I’m going to replace my “foreground” back to cosmetic sand and just dedicate a nice little 4x6 area to try and salvage them. Trimming does indeed encourage runners though.

Another thing about DHG is that if it’s struggling to take hold, it becomes an algae magnet in my experience. A fine toothbrush works alright to clean the blades of grass but if it hasn’t rooted well yet you’ll just pull them up. Brandy nailed when she used the term “frustrations”. 

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On 9/11/2020 at 9:17 AM, Ryan W said:

So, now, I’m going to replace my “foreground” back to cosmetic sand and just dedicate a nice little 4x6 area to try and salvage them. 

I just tried capping certain areas of the EcoComplete with Active-Flora (floracore black).

It is small enough to fall in between the EC, so I'm hoping this helps.  I wish I would have just started the tank with Active-Flora from the beginning.

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i have some hairgrass growing pretty well, although not carpeting in a very low tech, low light, practically blackwater tank. i didnt think it would survive in here when i planted it but it’s doing well. i have a few bunches scattered in the tank.


the media is a fix of fluorite dark and fluval stratum. i did try it previously in a tank with eco-complete and it didn’t do too well but i assumed it was just the plant being picky. it may be too course of a substrate? id try adding root tabs to see if that gives them a nice kick

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I use the fluval plant and shrimp stratum in all my planted tanks, some of my tanks it's mixed with other gravel, or red clay substrate, but the hairgrass seems to love it in mine. This picture is from one of two tanks with only the fluval stratum. I wish I had a before, but this was half a small mat (divided it with 2 other tanks) and I meticulously pulled each rooted group out of the mat and planted each separately far enough into the substrate so that barely a centimeter of the grass poked out. I use aquarium co-op root tabs about every 6 inches and you can see the growth upwards is spectacular, and it's well rooted so my betta that loves to rub himself on the grass doesn't uproot it when he does. It has also spread by about 25% in 4-5 months. I dose with liquid co2 (and I don't remember to dose daily like the instructions say). For liquid ferts, I alternate with seachem flourish and easygreen, biweekly.



Edited by Angelndisguise2277
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