Aquarium carpet plants are a sight to behold! They give the tank a striking and natural appearance. Most aquarists use aquarium carpet grass as a foreground plant and improve their tank’s aquascape.
They’re perfect for when you want to give your aquarium a lawn-like look. Of course, they perform roles and benefits other than that. Choosing the best aquarium carpet plants for your tank can be easy if you know what you want. But caring for them is another thing.
Hence, this article discusses the 15 best aquarium carpet plants for your tank and how you can care for them. Let’s get right into it!
Are Aquarium Carpet Plants Good For Aquariums?
Of course, aquarium carpet plants are good for fish tanks. Beyond the aesthetic appeal they add to aquariums, they have other benefits.
- They can serve as great homes and spots for aquarium bottom dwellers, shrimps, fry, and smaller fish. They also protect them from bigger fish.
- Aquarium carpet plants can also serve as an alternative food for fish. Shrimp and small fry can munch on them occasionally.
- They also supplement oxygen in aquariums, contributing to your fish’s health.
Are Aquarium Carpet Plants Easy To Grow?
Aquarium carpet plants can be easy or difficult to grow, depending on the type you plant in your tank. Some are beginners-friendly, hardy, and don’t need much effort to thrive, while others require much work.
In the right conditions, some low-maintenance plants will spread in a dense carpet form quickly. However, some difficult plants need high light, CO2, pruning, and fertilization to grow.
It’s up to you to decide which care level you can bear, but generally, growing them isn’t as difficult as you may imagine.
Factors That Help Aquarium Carpet Plants Grow
Aquarium carpet grass can grow well or otherwise, depending on different factors. One would expect them to grow since they’re inside water, but it isn’t so.
Caring for them is where the work is because without doing anything, they may die. These factors will help your aquarium carpet plants grow well and guide you on what they need:
Generally, aquarium carpet plants need CO2 to grow well. However, this isn’t the same for everyone, as some can grow well without it.
You need to inject the plant with CO2 at intervals for it to grow to its maximum. It also helps the plant’s color to shine better. Therefore, if you notice your aquarium carpet plants turning brown or aren’t growing well, CO2 can help.
Lighting helps plants grow well. Some aquarium carpet plants need high light, while others need low or medium light to grow. You have to ensure each plant gets its lighting requirements. This will also help deepen their colors.
Aquarium carpet plants also need fertilizers to grow. The fertilizer can be a liquid one that you’ll inject into the water or substrate you’ll plant them on.
This will help supplement the plant’s nutrients from the water and boost its growth. However, ensure you use a natural one, so it doesn’t harm your fish.
You need to plant aquarium carpet plants in the right substrate so they can grow. The perfect substrate for them is sand or aquarium soil instead of gravel. The plants can easily take root in the sand.
Best Aquarium Carpet Plants
Now, it’s time to choose your desired aquarium carpet plants for your fish tank. The review below should help you decide:
1. Java moss
Java moss is a popular aquarium plant among hobbyists. Plus, it’s a top choice for many people because it’s one of the easiest aquarium carpet plants to grow and maintain. It also easily adapts to water changes.
You don’t need to put much effort into planting it as it will grow on driftwood, rock, gravel, ornament, or sand. It doesn’t need fertilizer to grow; the choice is up to you, but it needs intense lighting. Finally, you may need to trim it often to achieve your desired look.
2. Dwarf hairgrass
Dwarf hairgrass gives off a grass-like vibe and carpets your tank like grass does for the lawn. It’s similar to java moss and has similar requirements. It’ll grow robust and fill your aquarium bottom.
When fully grown, it serves as a habitat for shrimps and protects them from big fish. They can also serve as food. In addition, they can grow as tall as 6 inches, so you may have to trim if short carpeting is your ideal look.
3. Dwarf baby tears
This plant is common among iwagumi-style aquarists. It has short leaves that grow in density and fill up the tank. It’s perfect for small and medium-sized aquariums because they look filling and create an illusion that they’re more than that in pictures.
However, caring for them is a bit challenging. But you can get it to grow with high light, CO2 injection, and fertilizer.
4. Dwarf sag
Dwarf sag or Saggitaria Subulata is a lovely grassy plant. It’s similar to dwarf hairgrass, but the difference is that it has broader leaves and grows shorter. Its maximum length is 5 inches.
Its broad leaves are perfect as shades for smaller fish and bottom dwellers that enjoy occasional seclusion. The plant is a bottom feeder and needs to be rooted in a nutrient-rich substrate.
It’s easy to grow and needs CO2 and much light. Lastly, you can combine it with jungle Vallisneria for a different aquascape.
5. Dwarf chain swords
This plant is similar to dwarf sag, with similar requirements. It tends to grow fast, so you may want to keep an eye on it. But it’s easy to care for and maintain.
Its maximum height is 4 inches and needs moderate to high light to grow. It can do without CO2, but it can boost its growth if you add it to the water. Its carpet grows denser than dwarf sag, giving it a lawn-like look.
6. Micro sword
Micro sword aquarium plants tend to thrive more in high-tech setups and not so much in low-tech. Its sword-like leaves may look more individual than joined, but they all grow from a rhizome.
You can break the plant into a group of three or four blades and replant them in other places in the tank. That’ll help fill up the tank faster. They need strong lighting, CO2, and fertilization to grow well and are not beginner-friendly.
7. Monte Carlo
This plant doesn’t look like grass. It’s more like tiny round leaves attached to a stem. They carpet easily and make the aquarium look natural. With moderate CO2 and light, they can grow and spread in the tank.
They grow up to 2 inches high on a nutrient-rich substrate. While they’ll grow in a low-tech setup, they won’t grow fast and are more suitable for a high-tech setup.
8. Dwarf water clover
Dwarf water clover is a slow-growing plant and will take a while to carpet the aquarium. Each plant has a four-leafed clover which spreads beautifully in the water. It tends to grow up to 4 inches in height under high lighting conditions but can grow taller under low light.
Also, it needs moderate CO2 to grow well. This plant can be good for beginners, as it tends to grow slowly, but this could also be a downside as you won’t see how beautifully the plant carpets soon.
9. S. Repens
Staurogyne repens (S. Repens) is another slow-growing plant that can carpet your aquarium beautifully. They have stiff stems and pointed leaves that spread in the water. In addition, they’re hardy and less demanding.
Medium to high light and moderate CO2 will get them to grow. Since it’s slow-growing, it’s beginner-friendly. The stem tends to grow quickly, so it will need occasional trimming.
10. Monosolenium tenerum
This plant looks similar to crystalwort but different in size and color. Monosolenium tenerum has larger leaves, and the color shade is darker than crystalwort. It doesn’t grow so fast and has a moderate growth rate.
It has rhizoids and attaches easily to the substrate, driftwoods, and decors in aquariums, and takes nutrients from the water column. It doesn’t need much light or CO2 to grow well.
11. Cryptocoryne Parva
This is a type of crypt plant but a bit different in its requirements. Cryptocoryne Parva needs more light to grow well and boost its color. It spreads well and carpets the aquarium bottom.
Like other crypts, this plant grows slowly up to 4cm in height. Supplementing the plant with fertilizer and CO2 can help it grow faster, but it’s nothing spectacular.
12. Christmas Moss
Christmas moss is similar to java moss but a little bit different. One, it doesn’t grow as fast as java moss and takes more time. Its branching pattern is similar to fir trees, which explains its name.
It has tiny, round leaves that can grow out of control if not tended to. However, you can leave it if you want thick carpeting over your aquarium floor. High light and CO2 are very helpful to its growth.
13. Thai “Little Star” Plant
Thai little star plant is relatively new to aquascaping but gradually gaining popularity. The leaves are light and have crinkled edges growing to give off tiny star-like shapes.
You need to plant it in a nutrient-rich substrate and supplement it with CO2 and moderate to high light. It can also serve as food for critters.
Crystalwort is also popular in aquascaping for carpeting. It is easy to grow and spreads well in aquariums. In addition, it is free-floating, and you can submerge it in water as it gets nutrients from the water column.
Supplement the water with nutrients and CO2. It makes attractive oxygen bubbles if it grows well.
15. Elatine hydropiper
Elatine hydropiper is an easy-to-care-for aquarium carpet plant. It sprouts and reproduces to spread across the tank. It requires low light but much CO2 to thrive well in aquariums. Insufficient CO2 can make it lose color and wither.
How To Care For Aquarium Carpet Plants
You need to do more than plant aquarium carpet plants in your tank. You have to care for them to keep growing and shining. After planting, you can care for your plant through the following:
- Perfect substrate
Planting your aquarium carpet plants on the right substrate is part of its care routine. Planting them in a soil substrate will help their roots spread well and absorb the necessary nutrients.
- Vacuum the plant
It’s easy for fish and food waste to stick in aquarium carpet plants, given their nature, and this waste could mess up the plant. It can even cause ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate spikes, so you must remove the waste through routine vacuuming.
- Perfect lighting
Your aquarium carpet plants also need perfect lighting to keep growing. Since carpet plants grow at the aquarium’s bottom, far from the light source. Depending on how well they grow, some may require you to intensify or dim the light source.
- Trimming the plant
Aquarium carpet plants also need regular pruning to look beautiful in the tank. You may need to trim them to your taste if they overgrow. You can pluck out the extra leaves or use pruning scissors.
With your aquarium carpet plant choice, you can make a beautiful aquascape in your tank. The important thing is knowing their requirements and ensuring they get them. Also, you must tend to it and clean it occasionally for your fish’s safety.