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Home > Fish > 7 Best Aquarium Carpeting Grasses & Plants in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

7 Best Aquarium Carpeting Grasses & Plants in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

aquarium tank

If you want to add a new look to your aquarium or are setting up a new aquarium and need decorating ideas, consider carpet grasses and plants. These are live plants that spread out as they grow on the substrate, giving your aquarium a carpeted look. They add to the tank’s beauty and create a healthy environment for the tank inhabitants.

Here are the most popular carpeting plant types so you can choose the ones that work best for your aquarium. After reading our reviews, browse the buyer’s guide for more tips.

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
GreenPro Dwarf Hairgrass GreenPro Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Good for beginners
  • Grows quickly
  • Adaptable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria
  • Grows well in low lighting
  • Can grow up to 12 inches tall if desired
  • Makes a beautiful background plant
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    GreenPro Micro Sword GreenPro Micro Sword
  • Makes a beautiful addition anywhere in the tank
  • Good choice for a beginner
  • Strong and hardy
  • Mainam Staurogyne Repens Mainam Staurogyne Repens
  • Easy to grow
  • Gives a natural look
  • Won’t overtake the tank
  • Planterest Java Moss Planterest Java Moss
  • Can grow anywhere in the tank
  • Easy to grow
  • Hardy
  • The 7 Best Aquarium Carpeting Grasses & Plants

    1. GreenPro Dwarf Hairgrass — Best Overall

    Dwarf Hairgrass

    Growth rate: Fast
    Max height: 6 inches
    Light demands: Moderate
    CO2: Optional
    Difficulty: Easy
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    Adaptable, easy to grow, and perfect for beginners, the GreenPro Dwarf Hairgrass plant is the best overall aquarium carpet grass and plant. It grows fast, so you won’t have to wait long before it forms a dense carpet on the bottom of your tank.

    This plant requires regular trimming, but it will grow well in moderate light. It can even grow in low lighting, though not as quickly. It forms bright-green leaves that spread beautifully over substrate, driftwood, and rocks. In proper water conditions, this plant is helpful in reducing algae growth and improving the water quality of the tank.

    This plant should be weighed down well because clumps of it can break apart and clog filters. It can be hard to root in the beginning, so be sure to plant it firmly.

    Pros
    • Good for beginners
    • Grows quickly
    • Forms a bright-green, dense carpeting
    Cons
    • May not root well
    • Can break apart easily

    2. Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria — Best Value

    Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria

    Growth rate: Fast
    Max height: 6 inches
    Light demands: Low
    CO2: None
    Difficulty: Easy

    The Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria does not require complicated care. This plant can grow beautifully in almost any water conditions, making it the best aquarium carpet grass and plant for the money. The right amount of lighting and proper fertilizer will make this plant thrive.

    If you are interested in keeping this grass on the shorter side, give it more light. In low lighting, the Dwarf Sagittaria can grow up to 12 inches tall! CO2 is optional, but the plant will also stay short without it.

    The plant is available in small amounts at a time, and as such, some nibbling fish might make quick meals out of it. If you have fish that like to snack on plants, protect the Dwarf Sagittaria until it is established in the substrate.

    Pros
    • Grows well in low lighting
    • Can grow up to 12 inches tall if desired
    • Makes a beautiful background plant
    Cons
    • Only available in small quantities
    • Fish may eat this plant quickly

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    3. GreenPro Micro Sword — Premium Choice

    Micro Sword Aquarium Live Plant

    Growth rate: Medium
    Max height: 7 inches
    Light demands: Moderate to High
    CO2: Medium
    Difficulty: Moderate
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    The GreenPro Micro Sword makes a beautiful addition to the front, middle, or background of the tank. It resembles Dwarf Hairgrass, but it has a shiny green color and grows in thick. It’s a strong, hardy plant that makes a great choice for a beginner. This plant grows best in a nutrient-rich substrate.

    Planting Micro Sword can be a little difficult because the roots weakly grasp the substrate. The plants can be divided into smaller clumps and planted in rows next to each other to let the roots hold onto the substrate and each other better. The plant should be trimmed regularly for maximum appeal.

    Pros
    • Makes a beautiful addition anywhere in the tank
    • Good choice for a beginner
    Cons
    • May require a certain substrate
    • Difficult to plant due to weak roots

    4. Mainam Staurogyne Repens

    Mainam Staurogyne Repens

    Growth rate: Slow
    Max height: 4 inches
    Light demands: Moderate
    CO2: Optional
    Difficulty: Easy
     

    The Mainam Staurogyne Repens is one of the easiest aquarium carpet plants to grow. They have long, thin, bright-green leaves and make beautiful decorations anywhere in your aquarium. You won’t have to worry about these plants taking over your tank. They stay tidy and provide a natural look.

    The Staurogyne Repens don’t even require much trimming because they grow so slowly. They do well with other types of plants because they won’t crowd them and block their light. If you do clip this plant, the clipping will root too. You can propagate this plant easily.

    The biggest issue with this plant is that it’s fragile, including the roots. It can be difficult to plant initially. The roots can come loose and cause the plant to float in the tank if they aren’t securely planted.

    Pros
    • Easy to grow
    • Gives a natural look
    • Won’t overtake the tank
    Cons
    • Grows slowly
    • Fragile

    5. Planterest Java Moss

    java moss

    Growth rate: Fast
    Max height: 4 inches
    Light demands: Low
    CO2: None
    Difficulty: Easy
     

    The Planterest Java Moss is a hardy plant that doesn’t even need substrate to grow. It can grow nearly anywhere in the tank. The branched stems are filled with oval-shaped leaves. The plant doesn’t have roots but instead has rhizoids to grab onto surfaces. It can quickly form a natural-looking carpet in your aquarium. You just cut the plant into pieces and bury them in the substrate where you want it to grow. You’ll see growth in a matter of days.

    Since the plant collects nutrients through the leaves, the water must be maintained at a good quality for the plant to stay healthy. Adding fertilizer to the water and trimming the plant will help it thrive.

    Pros
    • Can grow anywhere in the tank
    • Easy to grow
    • Hardy
    Cons
    • May need added fertilizer
    • Ideal water quality necessary for plant health

    6. GreenPro Glossostigma Elatinoides

    GreenPro Glossostigma Elatinoides

    Growth rate: Fast
    Max height: 1 inch
    Light demands: Moderate to High
    CO2: Optional
    Difficulty: Moderate
     

    The GreenPro Glossostigma Elatinoides grows quickly, but its height makes it perfect for decorating the front of the tank. It needs a moderate amount of lighting to thrive, but it’s relatively easy to care for. Light is the key to a healthy, vibrant plant.

    Planting requires that the roots be firmly buried in a nutrient-dense substrate. They grow to provide thorough ground cover and give your tank a beautiful, carpeted look. Frequent trimming is required to keep the carpeting tidy. The plant does well with the addition of fertilizer to the water.

    Make sure nothing blocks this plant’s light source, or else it can fade quickly. There are reports of this plant being difficult to grow. If it gets enough light, though, it requires little else to survive.

    Pros
    • Fast growth
    • Great addition to community tanks
    Cons
    • Requires high lighting levels
    • May need fertilizer

    7. Mainam Cryptocoryne Parva

    Mainam Cryptocoryne Parva

    Growth rate: Slow
    Max height: 1.5 inches
    Light demands: High
    CO2: Recommended
    Difficulty: Easy
     

    The height of the Mainam Cryptocoryne Parva makes it a perfect addition to the front or middle of any tank. Unlike other Cryptocoryne plants that can thrive in shady conditions, this plant needs light to grow. Without an adequate amount of light, it won’t be able to form a carpet in the tank. Fertilizer and CO2 can help the growth, but the lighting must be ample.

    Since this plant doesn’t reach a height above 1.5 inches, it rarely needs trimming and makes an ideal low-maintenance carpeting plant for your aquarium.

    Pros
    • Easy to maintain
    • Short maximum height
    • Does not require trimming
    Cons
    • Needs high lighting levels
    • Grows slowly

    divider-fish Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Aquarium Carpet Grasses & Plants

    Live aquarium plants offer many benefits to your tank. Carpet plants spread themselves out, forming a natural carpet on your substrate and other surfaces. This can give your aquarium a natural, pleasing aesthetic.

    If you’re interested in adding carpeting plants to your tank but don’t know where to start, here are a few things to keep in mind.

    Difficulty

    Consider your tank conditions, including how much lighting it offers. Carpeting plants can be harder to grow than other plants because they grow at the very bottom of the tank, where the light is usually the scarcest. Some carpeting plants require plenty of light, and others can do well with low lighting levels, so make sure you can offer the plant what it needs to guarantee success.

    Substrate

    Carpet plants have delicate, tiny roots that require care to stay free from damage. They also have trouble latching onto certain substrates. If you’d like to grow carpeting plants, you’ll need a fine substrate made for them to ensure that they will stay planted where you put them and not wind up floating around the tank.

    Height

    Consider how tall you’d like your carpeting plants to be when they’re fully grown. If you plant tall carpeting plants in the front of the tank, they can block your view of the rest of it. Plants below 4 inches tall are ideal for the foreground.

    In the back or middle of the tank, you can use plants that grow over 4 inches tall to create comfortable resting and hiding places for fish.

    hoplo catfish in aquarium
    Image by: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock

    Beginner-Friendly Plants

    If you’re a beginner with carpeting plants or you’re just looking for easier plants to grow, you should choose plants that require as little maintenance as possible. Choose hardy plants that can grow in various conditions.

    Fast-growing plants are ideal choices because you won’t have to wait long for your desired tank look. The thing to keep in mind here is that fast-growing plants also need more trimming to stay controlled. They are great for quick completion of your tank, but they do require maintenance. If you’d prefer to not do any trimming, slow-growing plants require your patience and little else.

    CO2 levels are required for any plant to grow, but some plants need more of it than others. Choosing plants with low CO2 requirements means you won’t have to add CO2 to the water. This is a task that some beginners don’t want to deal with because overdosing can be fatal for fish. If you choose plants with high CO2 requirements, you’ll have to learn how to safely add this to your tank. Plants with low required levels of CO2 will be able to thrive with the CO2 that is already dissolved in the water and what the fish exhale.

    Fertilizer

    Fish waste is a good natural source of fertilizer for plants. However, if your tank is filled with plants and your carpeting is dense, you may want to add fertilizer to the water. You can choose plants that require less fertilizer for easier maintenance of your tank.

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    Conclusion

    The best overall choice for an aquarium carpet plant is the GreenPro Dwarf Hairgrass. It grows quickly in high-lighting conditions, but it will also grow slowly in low light. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and is easy to maintain. The Planterest Dwarf Sagittaria grows well in low lighting, up to 12 inches tall! If you’d like to keep the plant on the shorter side, plant it in an area with plenty of light.

    We hope that these reviews have given you a few ideas for carpeting plants that you can add to your aquarium today!


    Featured Image Credit: BLUR LIFE 1975, Shutterstock

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