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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After resurrecting my 90G Tank into a CO2 injected planted tank, I have contemplated on a Zero (Low) Maintenance Planted Tank.

Originally this is my Quarantine/Staging tank.

After 3 months of experiments I was able to grow plants with almost zero maintenance... I have proved that an algae free planted tank can be achieve without dosing anything. Here it is:

Hardware:,
Tank: 20G [24" x 12.5" x 15.5"]
Lighting: Coralife 21" 2x36W compact flourescent (I only use 1 36W tube)
Substate: Fluval Stratum
Heater: None
Filter: None

Plants: Hemianthus Cuba, Pogostemon Stellata, Rotala Macandra, Eleocharis Parvula, Alternanthera Reineckii, Hygrophila Polysperma, Echinodorus Osiris

Inhabitants: Cardinal Tetras

Maintenance: Tap off lost water due to evaporation.



The HCs can be grown with Low Lights and without Carbon supplement. The only difference is the growth is very slow.



The Macandras and Reinickiis won't show their red color, but still looks healthy.



Of all the plants the Stellatas are the only one that I didnt like at all without Carbon supplement, they look malnourished :(

 

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That P. Stellatus is a challenge, especially with low CO2. I read that when they first entered into the aquarium trade, people considered them to be a very difficult plant to grow well. However, I read in one of Tom Barr's post that he said what's most important for them is that they get lots of co2.

Funny that when I visited airbaggedmazda he had moved his P. Stellatus to a non-co2 tank and its been doing better than I've ever seen anywhere. Almost 3 feet tall and HUGE 6 inch circumference.
 
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank for your comments guys.

Maybe it's in me that I always reserve .1% to unconventional wisdom. I always contemplate on "What Ifs..." and would not agree right away until I disprove that my doubts are false.

As mentioned by Reckon, the Stellata and Aromatica are classified as hard plants to keep on some websites, so as Althernatera Reinickii. On my experience they are not. In fact I have kept a healthy L. Aromatica with just liquid carbon supplement. Another surprising result are the HCs and dwarf hair grass, as again classified to require high lights and needs high level of CO2.

In this experiment I didnt use any supplements at all. I didn't even use a heater nor a filter. I was surprised that the Cardinal Tetras survived on these harsh condition for almost 3 months now.

Im a little bit disappointed on my photography skills as I cant get a nice picture that shows that actual color of the tank. These pictures doesnt do justice on the real appearance of the tank.

I'll continue to post updates as soon as I notice some interesting phenomenon :) or maybe time do some scapes.
 

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i have some of the same plants in my 6g edge and my 5g spec. they seem to grow great with just a bit of liquid fert and i just added stratum after having gravel only for some time. the lighting in my edge is far from good as well. thats being remedied with some new lighting on its way from china. what is the small carpet looking plant? id love to try that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hi shady280,

Yup the Stellata will do well with if you start dosing, but thats not what i am trying to achieve here :) I have kept them on both CO2 and Excel suplemented tanks with great results.

The tiny carpet plants are called Hemianthus Cuba or HCs for short. They are the best looking carpet plants IMHO. They do better with C02 injection. Here's how it looks like in my CO2 injected tank:

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
it's been a while since I updated this thread... lot's of things happened since then I thought I would share..

first.. I have proved that HCs can be grown without CO2. Here's the proof... (ain't pretty but yes they can be grown without CO2 and with crappy lighting). I have planted them at the substrate with the same results.



second: red plants can be grown without CO2 e.g. Reinickiis and macandras and retain it's beautiful red color without dosing anything.

 
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