Best Aquarium Carpet Plants 2019

Published on October 1, 2019
Best Aquarium Carpet Plants 2019

As we think of beautifying our aquariums, we often wonder what more to add in it, and forget plant life. If you're a dedicated aquarist, you must tend to the needs of the living organisms inside the tank. By organisms, that means including fish, invertebrates, and plants.

Talking about the plants, many species are easier to handle and can even grow on their own. An aquarium carpet plant taking over the bottom part fascinates one’s eye and is a haven to your fish.

We’ve come up with the list of the most affordable and known types of aquarium carpet plants to help you ponder on your decision towards creating a miniature underwater Eden.

What is a carpet plant?

An aquarium carpet plant plays a vital role in Aquascape. It feeds our eyes of lush green foliage and adventurous underwater landscape that can mimic a jungle, mossy outcrops, or tree-lined hills and mountains.

It is not a big deal for the novice to transform the bottom of a tank with a mat-covering of moss and grasses. They are not expensive and are easier to achieve a lawn effect.

List of the Most Popular Aquarium Carpet Plants

Micranthemum ‘Monte-Carlo’

Micranthemum ‘Monte-Carlo’

Image by Tropica

  • Common names: Monte Carlo, Large Pearl Grass
  • Origin: Argentina, South America
  • Height: 1.2–2+ inches
  • Usage: carpeting plant
  • Growth: medium
  • Difficulty: medium
  • CO2: medium
  • Lighting: medium

The beautiful creeping Monte Carlo carpet plant can grow up to 2 inches. Therefore it is a perfect fit as a foreground to cover the bottom of a planted tank.

Given the right living conditions, its light green leaves appear brighter and compact to attract viewers. Monte Carlo belongs to aquarium carpet plants low light league, but it can also adapt to various lighting intensities, with or without CO2 additives.

It has thousands of leaves in a single pot when you buy it from the aquarium trade. The compact state of monte Carlo carpet plant is because of photosynthesis which makes the foliage even greener.

It is not a delicate plant to raise, but if you provide it with frequent light and CO2 just like other carpet plants, the more the foliage will flourish.

Micranthemum tweediei ‘Monte-Carlo’ is not a demanding plant. Therefore I would say it tops the list of carpet plants for beginners. There are no adverse remarks reported about this plant either.

Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears)

hemianthus callitrichoides

  • Common names: dwarf pearl grass, Cuba pearl grass, dwarf baby tears
  • Origin: North America, Cuba
  • Height: 1–2 inches
  • Position: carpeting foreground plant
  • Growth: medium
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • CO2: high
  • Lighting: high

Dwarf baby tears are the gold medalist of all carpeting plants. Use the plant in the foreground, and you create a thick, lush green carpet that grows low.

Cuba Pearl grass is challenging to maintain, and you need a constant injection of CO2 and fertilizers. Without these, the plant will die.

If you master its propagation, you are not an amateur anymore. Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ is the best aquarium carpet plant in the world of Aquascape, but due to its demanding maintenance, aquarists want to experiment on other carpet plants.

Because of its tiny roots, it needs a lot of care. The plant gets its nutrients from the leaves. If you see bubbles on its leaves, you’re on the right track for it means it can release oxygen from the CO2 injected into it.

If you will plant a Cuba pearl grass, divide it into several clamps and scatter all around the foreground. Plant each clamp in the substrate, and you will see it thrive in a suitable tank condition. It will creep over the bottom with its round leaves (1mm-size) in 78 days.

Your fish will love its environment when you have grown the plants. It will also fascinate your viewers with the sight of it.

Micranthemum Umbrosum (Giant Baby Tears)

  • Origin: North America
  • Common names: Giant baby tears, Baby tears, Shade mudflower
  • Type: Stem
  • Height: 10 to 15 cm
  • Growth rate: High
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Usage: Midground, Foreground
  • pH Level: 5 - 7
  • Temperature: 4 - 26°C
  • Carbonate hardness: 0 - 10°dKH
  • General hardness: 0 - 30°dGH
  • Light demand: Medium
  • CO2: 6-14ppm

Giant Baby Tears is a light green low-growing stem plant with small rounded leaves. Its bushy growth is easy to cultivate.

It is not demanding apart from the period of acclimatization. A robust lighting of.5W/liter will result in its dense growth.

Micranthemum umbrosum is a creeping bush, and if it’s potted, it hangs like a vine. It displays its appeal to groups of stems.

If you leave it untrimmed, it will grow in a vertical pattern useful for background use. If you trim it, the plant will creep in a horizontal design to cover the floor and hardscape.

Plan what aquascape you want with the types of aquarium carpet plants you wish to include in your tank so you can prune or not. This plant displays rapid growth and can sprawl wild if not pruned.

Propagation of Micranthemum umbrosum is not a big deal. Trim the end part of the stems, group a handful, bury them in the substrate and make sure they will not cover other foliage.

Although the plant is native to the USA, you can also find it in South and Central America. The Shade mudflower grows emersed during summer, and in winter it stays underwater.

Eleocharis acicularis (Dwarf Hairgrass)

  • Common Names: Needle Spikerush, Least Spikerush
  • Origin: Asia, Europe, America, Australia
  • Height: 1.2 to 2 inches
  • Type: carpeting plant
  • Growth: slow
  • Temperature: 50-83° F
  • pH Level: 6.5-7.5
  • CO2: medium
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Lighting: Medium
  • Placement: Foreground

Eleocharis acicularis is a perennial spike sedge species with long and slim grasslike stems that grows the size of about 15 centimeters from its creeping rhizome.

It grows shorter in wet and muddy grounds, immersed or submerged. In shallow waters, it forms sharp spikes with tiny flowers (5mm-diameter) along with its overlapping bracts.

These dwarf hairgrass carpets are for sale as a decorative plant for aquascape with including artificial aquatic plants. It is also ideal for shrimp aquarium for foraging infusoria that grows on the grass.

It thrives when you provide it with medium-light while low light will let it etiolate and not much appealing as aquarium carpet plant. The plant will appreciate root tabs and liquid plant foods plus sufficient CO2.

The creeping hairgrass is harder to grow, so it needs minimal trimming. If you let it grow, it’s a delight when it sways in the current, but it won’t work as a carpeting plant anymore.

Since the plant can tolerate a wide range of temperature, this will save you from using a heater for this dwarf hairgrass carpet prefers cold water.

To make it appear dense, cut the top parts of the leaves to achieve a luxurious look. Expand your carpet by separating new clumps and replanting them in different areas of the tank to cover its entirety after a long while.

Utricularia Graminifolia (Grass Leaved Bladderwort)

utricularia graminifolia

Photo by Tropica

  • Common Names: Grass-Leaved Bladderwort
  • Origin: Asia
  • Max height: 4 inches
  • Water Temperature: 18 and 25 °C
  • pH Level: 6.5
  • dKH Level: 4 to 5 degrees
  • Lighting Requirements: Low-Medium (1W/liter)Growth Rate: Moderate
  • CO2 Injection: Recommended
  • Fertilizer: Macronutrients and Micronutrients
  • Substrate: gravel and sand

Utricularia graminifolia is a perennial grass-like aquarium carpet plant within the bladderwort family. It develops a bladder trap while in a tank after some time.

All the species belonging in the Bladderwort family are marsh plants, can survive in a submerged state and are carnivorous. Therefore, it can eat insects, shrimps, or even fish fry.

The species name bears the meaning, with grass-like leaves. Thus its common name existed. It stretches across layers to form a green lush light green carpeting mat similar to a lawn.

The grass-like plant has multitudes of leaves that runs in the substrate through its runner. Each leaf measures a centimeter long and 1-2mm wide. Its size makes it an attractive foreground plant, but since it is grassy, it is less dense but leaves it as is; it grows on itself.

Riccia Fluitans (Crystalwort)

  • Common name: Crystalwort
  • Origin: Northern France, Asia, Europe, and America,
  • Usage: carpet, foreground, mid-ground, floating
  • Type: moss
  • Height: 1.2 to 2 inches
  • Growth: medium
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Temperature: 10 to 30°C
  • pH Level: 5 to 8
  • Hardness: 1 to 10°dGH
  • Lighting: low to medium
  • CO2: 10-40mg/litre
  • Potassium (K): 5-30mg/litre
  • Phosphates (PO4): 0.1-3mg/litre
  • Nitrates (NO3): 10-50mg/litre
  • Iron (Fe): 0.01-0.5mg/litre

Riccia Fluitans is among the many popular types of aquarium carpet plants that can grow as a floating plant.

When you leave the immersed, Crystalworth doesn’t compete with other floating plants. Make sure no Duckweeds species float along with this plant for they can crowd the floating Riccia Fluitans out.

However, Crystalworth can grow as a carpet plant when submerged underwater. In aquascape, they tie this carpeting plant with a fishing line to some objects to make it stays in place and grow in a horizontal pattern.

This carpeting plant will creep to form a beautiful mat in due time. A single antler bud of Riccia Fluitans can reproduce a colony.

Riccia fluitans thrive in an aquarium with medium lighting and generous injection of CO2. Some unwanted algae (like hair algae) can ruin the beauty of this aquarium carpet plant. Therefore you may include some bottom feeders and algae eater in your tank to ensure eliminating these unwanted pests

In the wild, the moss sprawls on top of some ponds wherein it forms a dense green mat. The mat serves as a hiding place for fry.

Pogostemon Helferi

dense mat pogostemon helferi

  • Common Name: Dao Noi (Little Star)
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Type: Stem
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Max height: 6 inches
  • Light Demand: Low-Medium
  • Temperature: 68-86 °F
  • pH Level: 6-7.5
  • C02: None
  • Tank size: any size, any type
  • Tank Position: Front

The Pogostemon Helferi or Dao Noi (to Thai) is one of the hardy aquarium carpet plants low light, low growing stem plant. You can find them along the river beds of Thailand.

Dao Noi has taken the world of Aquascape by storm with its wavy leaves and rosette appearance. It is distinctive of its compact habit, vibrant green color, and curly leaves.

Given moderate lighting, it can form several side shoots which allow for roots to develop.

A rich substrate is also a factor to achieve a lush green carpet. Aquarists tie the plants to some rocks using a mesh plastic, so it creeps to grow impressive foreground vegetation.

Low lighting will cause the stems to grow in a vertical pattern. If you don’t like it to grow taller, you can prune it and replant the cuttings.

Vesicularia montagnei (Christmas Moss)

Christmas moss

  • Common Names: Amazonian willow moss
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Plant size: 4 inches
  • Tank Position: Midground, Foreground or Backdrop
  • Growth - Slow
  • Difficulty - Easy
  • Light - Low to High
  • C02: High
  • pH Level: 5.0-7.5
  • dGH range: 5-20
  • Temperature: 65-77 F
  • The Amazonian Willow Moss is a Brazilian aquatic plant which is a cousin to Weeping Moss. It belongs to aquarium carpet plants low light type for it prefers to be in an environment with enough shading.

The Christmas moss is perfect for ornamental like it’s Christmas all year round. It is among the much sought-after carpeting plant in Aquascape since the spread of it to European hobbyists.

Vesicularia species are popular in the Far East, and this moss is among the several species of Vesicularia that the Japanese introduced in their minimalist Aquascape. They differ from Java moss (Vesicularia dubyana) which is also one of the best types of aquarium carpet plant.

Over time, this plant produces tiny shoots to become little branches. It grows irregular bright green-colored leaflets from its stalk.

The leaves can measure a length of 1-1.5mm that stand erect in a right angle to its stem. It used to form attractive triangular fronds like in the shape of a Christmas tree when attached to driftwood or rock.

The growth of its pinnate leaves contributes to its dense and feathery appearance. It is a sow-grower so it won’t take over your aquarium even if you don’t trim it often.

Because of its growth pattern, you can position them in crevices, rocks, and driftwoods where it creeps and sprawls like no other. They use it to fill in gaps and because it can cover the filter like a beautiful Christmas vine.

This creeping moss has a tight-forming nature that hugs any hardscape in your tank, so avoid a branchy wood to prevent a jungle-looking aquascape.

Christmas moss is more demanding than any other of the moss species. Liquid fertilization is proper maintenance plus an added CO2 injection.

They use it to remove Nitrogen in the water. If you use it to cover the floor, it can produce unwanted algae, so you need bottom feeders in the tank.

Glossostigma elatinoides

Glossostigma elatinoides

Photo by Tropica

  • Common name: Small mud-mat, Glosso
  • Origin: Australia and New Zealand
  • Plant height: 1.2 to 2 inches
  • Usage: Foreground, for carpeting
  • Growth: Fast
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • pH Level: 4 - 7
  • Temperature: 4 - 30°C
  • Carbonate hardness: 0 - 14°dKH
  • General hardness: 0 - 30°dGH
  • Lighting: Intense
  • CO2: high

Glossostigma elatinoides is a low-growing aquarium carpet plant that looks like a lawn. It has creeping runners, and each of the green leaves is like a shape of a spatula.

It can grow emersed or submersed in muddy and flooded areas, on lakeshores and river banks in its natural habitat.

This plant will work as a carpet when provided if intense lighting. Insufficient light will etiolate the leaves and will grow upward

Glossostigma elatinoides became popular for Japanese-style tanks because it is one of the smallest aquatic plants ideal for the foreground.

The Small mud-mat was unknown before until a dedicated Japanese aquarium enthusiast, Takashi Amano brought it in his country in 1980.

Amano imported it via Dennerle, an aquatic plant nursery. He created the Iwagumi style in Aquascape and the initial layouts of Nature Aquaria using Glossostigma elatinoides as the carpet specimen.

As a result, the plant gained recognition and became popular now as the best of the foreground types of aquarium carpet plant in Dutch and Nature styles Aquascape.

Staurogyne Repens

  • Origin: Rio Cristalino, Southern Amazonas, South America
  • Max height: 4 inches
  • Type: carpeting plant
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Usage: foreground, mid-ground
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Light Demand: Low
  • Temperature: 68-82 F
  • pH level: 6.0-8.0
  • Hardness: 2-3 dGH
  • C02: Low

Staurogyne repens is a stunning aquarium carpet plant for foreground use. Its dark green leafy nature makes it appear hardy and compact, apart from its flowering properties.

To form the plant into a carpet, trim the most extended shoots that are growing upright. Replant in the substrate and wait until new shoots develop.

When plants grow, tie them in objects, and the best plants will lead a horizontal growth pattern covering your hardscape by and by. This bushy plant will grow thicker each day until it covers the mid-ground or foreground of a tank.

Staurogyne repens can enhance the oxygen level while it absorbs the heavy nitrates in the water. Somehow, it contributes to easier maintenance for a lesser water change.

For it to work a right aquarium carpet plant for you, secure the roots with fine enriched granules as substrate and use aqua soil powder layer by layer. You will achieve greener leaves, and how much more when there is the right injection of CO2 and some iron supplements?

Final Thoughts

The underwater landscape includes not only fish, plants, and some hardscape. It will not exude its appeal without an aquarium carpet plant. So, if you think it does your job yet, think twice, you must miss something. Bring out your personality and put some character into your tank.,

Remember, your aquarium serves as your miniature underwater wonderland.


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