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Growing Directions:

New Tank: Spread the seed packet across the substrate where plants are desired. It is important to not spread the seeds too densely or thick in one area as this inhibits growth. Add dechlorinated water to just above the seeds, adding water as necessary to keep the seeds moist. Lastly, turn on the lights over the tank and between 3-12 days plants will quickly appear. After plants have had at least 1-2 weeks to root themselves, very carefully finishing filling tank (if water is added too quickly it may cause the plants to come loose). Note: These seeds produce a gelatinous layer after being introduced to water, this is normal. 

Established Tank: Place desired amount of seeds into a container filled with dechlorinated water. Allow the seeds to soak for 24 hours, at which point they will no longer float and form a gelatinous layer that allows the seeds to be more easily placed under the substrate. Then, carefully transfer the seeds from the container to the aquarium. It is important to not place the seeds too densely or thick in any one area as this can inhibit growth. Simply bury the seeds under the substrate, no deeper than 3/4 of an inch. The plants should quickly begin to sprout above the substrate forming a beautiful carpet effect. Note: These seeds produce a gelatinous layer after being introduced to water, this is normal. 

Hemianthus callitrichoides is one of the smallest aquarium plants in the world, and creeps over the bottom with millimetre-sized round leaves. If planted in small clumps a few centimetres apart, it will spread rapidly and cover the bottom like a carpet. Hemianthus callitrichoides is an attractive foreground plant for small aquariums. Found on Cuba west of Havana. 

Hemianthus Callitrichoids ‘Cuba’ – an article about the most popular aquatic plan

Hemianthus Callitrichoides is commonly known as Cuba, named after it’s country of origin. It is a popular plant in the aquascaping world because of its ability to achieve the lush green carpet effect that it has become known for.

Cuba is one of the smallest aquarium plants in the world, with leaves that are only around a millimetre in size. It grows up to three centimetres tall and spreads up to 10 centimetres horizontally. The small sized leaves make it a perfect plant for nano aquariums or for any layout in which a great sense of scale is desired: the small leaves create a vast sense of space within the aquarium, particularly if small fish and shrimp are used.

Because of the way it grows, Cuba is a perfect carpeting plant – which is another reason for its popularity: it allows for the successful achievement of one of the Holy Grails of aquascaping: a beautiful, thick, lush green carpet of plants spreading across the foreground and pearling rapidly as it photosynthesises. It is also very useful when creating a traditional Iwagumi layout: that is a layout that uses stones as the only hardscape and the focal point of the layout.

As a result, Cuba is most commonly used as a carpeting plant. However, James Findley  used Cuba to achieve a very different effect: he pushed the plant firmly into the driftwood so that it was securely positioned. As you can see, the Cuba grew beautifully and created a stunning ‘hanging gardens of Babylon’ appearance within the layout. (see below).

During planting…

Once grown in… (the light clump at the top middle of the large piece of wood)

When planting Cuba as a carpeting plant it is important to separate the plant into small portions that are approximately 1cm large as this will allow the plant to develop better. Fill the aquarium with an inch or two of water and then gently push the portions into the substrate with a slight shaking motion with some good quality aquascaping pinsettes. When planting them, put them in repeating patterns, like the number five on a dice. This will ensure that the plant will grow quickly and evenly across the area you want it to be in. You can observe this in the following image (during planting)…

Once grown in…

Aqua Soil Powder is the perfect substrate for Cuba because it has a smaller grain size which makes it easier to plant the portions into and also allows the roots to grow more quickly and easily within the substrate. Aqua Soil powder is also useful where a sense of scale is desired, as the smaller granules add to the effect, and can create a more aesthetically pleasing look, particularly if it is used in the foreground.

Keep it trimmed to encourage dense growth as this will maintain a healthy, rich, bright carpet as can be seen in the foreground of Five Stones aquascape below…

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