Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Planting dwarf hairgrass

As part of my aquarium re-do I decided to add some dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula) to the foreground. The plants I bought formed a dense mat of runners that I separated into a number of large clumps that I anchored with half a toothpick. While the clumps stayed put pretty well (although foraging corys uprooted a couple of them) I was left with a lot of smaller bits floating on top of my tank. While it was only a small portion of what I had bought, it was still a lot of plants, and it seemed wasteful to discard them (or really, just let them float until they were battered to death by the water flow).

Having done the planting I found myself wondering how I should have done it. I looked around online and found this video.

It looked like an interesting, albeit labour intensive, way of getting things planted, so I tried it with my leftover floating bits of the plant.

As I thought, it's tedious and labour intensive. I gave up after a dozen or so plantings. It was also a very effective way of getting the plants rooted - something I wish I had learned years ago. I tried it with a fragment of Ludwigia that had floated in the tank for the last two weeks (and grown a long root). It worked just as well. While I'm a little concerned that I might be burying the stems a bit too deep in the substrate (though, luckily, it's just gravel) I'm not too worried. I'll see how things work. So far though, it seems like a good technique for planting any small aquarium plants, especially those that come as cut stems with no real root mass. (I wouldn't, for example, try that technique with a sword.)

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