Carpet plants in the aquarium

Carpet plants in the aquarium

Excellent exampe of a healthy aquarium carpet by UK CO2 Artist Jordan Stirrat

Having a dense, bright green carpet in the aquarium is a challenge for many aquascapers. For sure, it's not an easy task because growing most carpeting plants requires a lot of patience and maintenance. Let us introduce you to the best aquarium carpet plants for your aquarium and how to care for them.

One of the most desirable effects of this great foreground plant is a thick green front lawn. The short, dense foreground plant, when provided with enough light is extremely decorative.

Why it's so difficult to have a good-looking carpet in the aquarium?

Firstly, we need to understand that carpeted plants are very short, the don't absorb as much light as most plants like the higher stem plants or floating plants, therefore for an adequate growth rate a low lighting setup will not do. The water column absorbs a lot of the light and as a result, there is not much close to the bottom. That's why more light is essential when growing carpeting plants. The strong lighting correlates with the necessity of injecting carbon dioxide into the tank because of the intensified photosynthesis. On the other hand, high lighting means the potential for the rapid growth of algae, so the balance must be achieved.


To have nice-looking carpet plants, you need to have the proper equipment for trimming and controlling the water parameters. Most carpeting plants are very fragile.


The curved scissors are suitable for precision work, especially for small and more delicate plant species such as dwarf baby tears. Remember that potassium and phosphorus are elements that support a healthy root growth rate so liquid fertilizer and a nutrient rich substrate would be highly beneficial in the early stages of an aquatic carpet plant in the aquarium. Of course, fertilization must go hand in hand with the daily use of intense lighting over many hours as plants absorb food during photosynthesis.


It's good to invest in high-quality lighting units. As mentioned before, high lighting is essential. It should be intense and precise. We recommend the LED lights as they are easier to control than other types of lighting which means that they are more capable of growing healthy plants through a variety of different light levels.

CO2 System

Many experienced aquarists claim that carbon dioxide is equally important as the correct light levels. Check our offer of CO2 equipment, including regulators, diffusers and other accessories to start your journey with carbon dioxide fertilization and carpeting plants! You'll surely see the difference in terms of the growth rate and intensified colouration. All plants grow better when they receive CO2. A healthy plant should grow and produce new leaves all the time. If you are lucky, you will even see the occasional flowering plant.

Planting of carpeting plants

Firstly, it's good to buy carpeting plants from in vitro cultivation. They are grown in sterile conditions so it's impossible to bring unwelcome guests to the aquarium with new plants. These plants are becoming more popular and are readily available within the aquarium trade.

Small groups of carpet plants should be put deeply into a fine substrate with pointed tweezers. It's good to moisten the substrate with a spray bottle before planting.

A carpeting plant should be positioned in front of larger plants towards the aquarium foreground, avoiding any large plants potentially blocking light from reaching them.


It's very important not to allow your carpet plants to grow taller. We have to remember that the best looking carpet is short, dense and with light green leaves. Depending on the species, trimming  should be done once every 2-3 weeks minimum. Additional trimming can be done when any leaves become out of place. A dense aquarium carpet is a natural habitat for fish waste and it is vital we remove any fish waste before we have a thick carpet of something other than aquarium carpet plants.

Carpeting plant you can grow in your aquarium

Below you can find carpet plants species you can successfully grow in your aquarium. There are many other carpet plants within the aquarium trade but these are just some we think would be great for your aquairum.

Dwarf baby tears

One of the smallest aquarium plants in the world with millimeter-sized leaves. This aquatic plant forms low thalluses, 3-6 cm high. It has smaller leaves and shorter internodes than Hemianthus micranthemoides. Its colouration is also darker than its predecessor. They also differ in the structure of the flower. It has only four petals in the crown, while the previous genus has five. The plant can be grown in a nutrient rich substrate or attached to the hardscape. It reacts very quickly to iron deficiency in water by yellowing the leaves. The plant forms very dense, long, thin roots of 5-7 cm. The substrate is a very important element. It is desirable that a fine substrate is used. You can use fine quartz along with special nutrient mixtures that are placed under the substrate. However, for a plant to start to develop normally, it must first get to the nutrients by sprouting through a layer of gravel, which can take a long time which is why such a substrate is advised.

Java moss

Java moss is considered a hardy plant which makes it ideal for growing under low light. Frequent trimming causes it to thicken its structure and to branch out strongly. This makes it moldable. Java moss can be attached to a root or stone with a string or a fine mesh. However, this aquatic plant can just as well swim freely in the aquarium or be attached to the bottom. It has strong and densely branched stems covered with bright green leaves. In addition to the decorative features of java moss, it is also important in the reproduction of fish, because it is a great place for laying eggs and is a natural habitat for baby fish and shrimps.

Dwarf hairgrass

It has narrow needle-like leaves, thanks to which it creates a contrast to other plants and elements of the arrangement. It's also considered as an easy carpeting plant, although with high lighting and CO2 fertilization, the colouration is more intense and the growth rate is definitely higher.


A healthy carpet in the planted tank is a beautiful base of any natural arrangement. The biggest challenge in growing carpet plants is to balance the amount of light and fertilization to avoid algae growth while having a beautiful and bushy carpet at the same time. We keep our fingers crossed for your success in planting your favourite carpeting plants in your planted tanks or mossariums!