Name: Hemianthus micranthemoides|
Origin: Central America|
Pearl grass is a versatile plant that's highly recommended for virtually any planted tank with sufficient lighting. It's an ideal background plant in smaller tanks where the small leaves help create an illusion of greater tank size, and it's also a great selection for foreground highlights, filler, and contrast in larger tanks. Under brighter light the plant is encouraged to send off horizontal creepers with numerous side shoots that develop at the internodes. In time, a beautiful, thick, bushy cushion of green is created. Under less light or shaded areas, the stems tend to grow more upright with fewer side shoots. Pearl grass also responds extremely well to trimming, soon forming new shoots near the end of the cut stem. Cuttings themselves are also amazingly persistent, taking root and forming a new plant even with only a couple centimeters of stem to work with. In Eastern-style aquariums one can take advantage of its natural tendency to produce creepers and side shoots, and in Dutch-style tanks that emphasize a more manicured look, pearl grass's suitability to frequent trimming also makes it an ideal choice. Whether your tank is a natural-style aquarium, a garden-style aquarium, or anything in between, I highly recommend this beautiful and versatile plant. The only requisites for good growth are relatively bright lighting (around 4 Watts/liter) and the avoidance of certain medications, which may cause it to exhibit somewhat stunted growth with browning leaf tips or to melt away completely.
I have a 280 liter South American theme tank. I was trying to keep all the plants from SA. I got a small piece of this plant (micranthemoides) when I placed a plant order. It could not have been longer than a 3 cm piece. Now there is a nice little micranthemoides patch in the foreground, nice and thick. It took about 5 months for that little piece to turn into a "lawn", but gosh is it beautiful. I do have a pressurized CO2 system and 260 Watts (0.9 W/L) of CF lighting. I use Yamato Green-N as my fertilizer.
I purchased a small bunch of this plant, and planted it in the foreground of my tank. The store owner also threw in a few tiny stems from one of the show tanks. I planted the bunch, and it did reasonably well, mainly growning vertically. Weeks later, it has now also begun putting out runners, propagating sideways. The few stems I was given from the show tank were left to float. With the intense lighting on the surface, they have reproduced many times over. I took half of what was floating and planted it as a carpet towards the front of the tanks. The carpet is rooting now, as well as sending out runners. The mat of small plants, which I have left floating for 2 weeks now, has doubled in size again. Left floating, it has also put out occasional tiny flowers. I would highly recommend this plant to someone looking for a fairly undemanding carpet plant in a brightly-lit tank. It also makes an interesting floating plant. I'm using DIY CO2 in a 280 liter aquarium. Lighting is three 32 W fluorescent cool white and daylight tubes, each 4x ODNO. Substrate is kitty litter and peat, covered with play sand. SeaChem Flourish added every week or two, depending on my mood.
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