Can You Grow Staurogyne Repens in Low Tech?
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Aquarium plants come in multiple shapes, sizes and with slightly different requirements based on the species’ specifics. Today, we will touch upon 2 important points: discussing staurogyne repens and its requirements and see whether you can grow the plant in low-tech environments.
First, let’s work with our concepts a bit here. For the uninitiated, ‘low tech’ sounds like lack of tank equipment. I can see how one would arrive at that conclusion. In reality, the notion of ‘low tech’ refers to the lack of CO2 injections. So, low-tech plants can grow and thrive without the addition of CO2.
The ‘low tech’ notion has been born in a time when CO2 injection equipment was considered high tech. This isn’t necessarily the case today, but the notion has remained in use for some reason.
Does Staurogyne Repens Need CO2?
Staurogyne repens doesn’t necessarily require CO2 supplementation to survive. This, however, varies based on a variety of factors. There are some quite interesting variations to keep in mind when assessing the relationship between this plant and the CO2 content in the tank. Here’s what I mean by that:
- Hindered growth and spread – While staurogyne repens can survive with relative ease without CO2 injections, they will undoubtedly experience hindered growth and spread. The plant won’t grow as tall or cover as much surface as those getting CO2 supplementation regularly.
- Rooting difficulties – Staurogyne repens requires time to root and anchor itself in the substrate. The plant may require some CO2 boosts during this phase to speed up the process. That being said, staurogyne repens doesn’t need CO2 in this sense, but the addition of CO2 will help with root development.
- Work around it – CO2 may be necessary if the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients from its environment. If it does, the addition of CO2 may be futile. So, if you can’t or won’t supplement your plant’s habitat with CO2, you need to consider adopting other strategies to make up for that.
5 Tips for Growing Staurogyne Repens in Low Tech
If, for whatever reason, you cannot provide staurogyne repens with CO2 injections, you need to learn how to care for the plant in a low-tech scenario. There are generally several milestones to complete in this sense:
Lighting is a vital component in plant development. All plants, including staurogyne repens, use light, CO2, and various nutrients to support their physiological processes and produce oxygen as a byproduct. The thing that’s different about staurogyne repens is that it thrives in medium/high light conditions.
This can cause some logistical problems, given that algae also thrive in similar conditions. So, you need to discover the balance between what your plant needs and the risk of algae blooming in the tank. If you notice algae spreading around the tank, consider tweaking the light intensity a bit.
Don’t go too low because staurogyne repens loves brighter environments compared to other plants. If algae become a serious pest, consider one of the many algae-elimination methods available. I’ve written in-depth articles on the subject, so you might want to check those as well.
Staurogyne repens requires adequate fertilization to grow properly and achieve its true potential. The fertilization method depends vastly on the type of substrate available and the biome’s structure. If you only have staurogyne repens in the tank, along with a nutritious soil and plenty of growing space, your plant probably won’t require nutrient supplementation.
If you want to grow staurogyne repens in sand or gravel, more preparation is necessary to ensure your plan will thrive in the long run. This includes providing anchoring support until the plant becomes rooted and using root tabs for adequate fertilization.
Be careful not to overdo the fertilization part. Excess fertilization has been linked to algae bloom, especially when it comes to excess use of liquid fertilizers.
– Water Parameters
This topic touches upon several points, such as temperature, available space, the type of substrate, lighting conditions, etc. In essence, the plant will thrive when given adequate care in an optimized environment.
As a general idea, staurogyne repens is rather difficult to grow, and I wouldn’t recommend it to inexperienced aquarists. It’s not that the plant isn’t hardy or adaptable or is oversensitive. The real problem is that even the slightest variations in water parameters will hinder the plant’s development.
This is clearly not ideal when considering that most people get the staurogyne repens for tank carpeting purposes. Subpar environmental conditions will cause the plant to grow disjointed, which will affect the carpet’s integrity and esthetics.
Staurogyne repens grows relatively fast, especially in the ideal conditions. The problem is that the plant’s accelerated rate will sometimes work against it. The faster the plant grows, the more nutrient it requires to remain healthy in the long run.
To prevent this issue, consider trimming the plant regularly. This will control the plant’s spread quite effectively, allowing staurogyne repens to achieve better thickness and create a more visually appealing carpet.
Staurogyne repens thrives in temperatures around 68 to 86 F. This is rather atypical since most aquarium plants will sit more comfortably in the mid-70s. This species prefers higher temperatures which support its more accelerated growth rate and spread.
The problem is that you may not wish for your staurogyne repens to grow too fast. In this case, you should lower the aquarium temperature a bit, aiming for 70-75 at most. This will lower the plant’s metabolism, inhibiting its growth rate.
You will also use trimming to keep the plant under control, allowing it to achieve a denser and more uniform look.
– The Use of Soil
Using soil for your staurogyne repens will minimize and even eliminate the need for CO2 injections. Soil is rich in nutrients, providing the plant with all the support it needs to grow, spread, and reach its maximum potential fast.
Naturally, soil may not be as rewarding as other types of substrates, especially from an esthetic perspective. It may also not sit well with substrate diggers since it’s not as smooth as sand, for instance. But it works great for live plants like staurogyne repens due to its high nutrient content.
Can You Grow a Carpet from Staurogyne Repens?
Yes, you can easily grow staurogyne repens into a thick, dense carpet. The interesting fact about this plant species is that it covers the middle ground between standard carpet plants and longer, taller plant species. So, staurogyne repens isn’t your typical grass-like carpet plant but won’t grow too tall either.
Expect your staurogyne repens carpet to reach sizes up to 2-4 inches, covering the entire substrate and displaying vibrant, unmatched shades of green.
Staurogyne repens can easily thrive without any CO2 injections, but that requires more effort on your part. If you can, I advise providing the plant with CO2 supplementation to boost its growth and increase its coloring.