Creating Green Carpet with Foreground Plants
Nothing completes a tank more than a dense, green carpet. Among the favorites are Glossostigma, Micro Sword and Chain Sword. These delicate plants have relatively small leaves, adding intricate details to the aquarium. Most of them grow well if planted in rich, sandy soil with CO2 injection. To create a carpet-like foreground, individual plantlet or stem should be inserted into fine gravel with couple inches of gap between. Once the plant has established and sent out runners, it will create a beautiful spread.
Glosso (Glossostigma elatinoides). This runner plant grows fast under high light, creating a dense carpet effect. Each plantlet has 2 spoon-shaped leaves under ½” tall. It has been made popular by Takashi Amano and is widely available as one of the most favorite foreground plants.
Aquatic clover (Marsilea quadrifolia). Unlike Glosso, Aquatic clover is a slow-grower that requires low light. Each stem carries dark green leaves arranged like a 4-leaf clover. But when grown underwater, it produces single leaf under 2” tall, resembling the look of Glosso. It slowly spreads to create a green carpet effect. Marsilea Minuta behaves similarly, only much shorter. The size of it is closer to Glosso.
Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae; Lilaeopsis brasiliensis). This amphibious, grassy plant spreads slowly to form thick carpet of 1-3” tall. High light tends to speed up the growth and keep it low, but it also does well under medium light. It can tolerate a wide range of temperature and water conditions. The lush foreground it creates is a nice spawning medium for fish.
Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus). This grassy plant is the smallest of all sword plants. The leaves are shorter than 4” and 1/16” wide with parallel veins. Depending on conditions, it can form short blades in light green color, or tall blades in dark green, even brown color. Under bright light, it spreads quickly by runners, creating a green lawn effect.
More articles on Common Plant Species:
Hardy Plants That Fish Won't Eat
Fighting Algae with Fast-growing Plants
Unusually Cool Plants