When it comes to aquariums, whether it is with fish, just planted, or a full aquascape, you probably want your plants to grow quickly. The faster your plants grow, the better your aquarium is going to look. When it comes to planted aquarium and aquascapes, people really seem to love carpet plants.
Carpet aquarium plants are plants which grow along the bottom of an aquarium and tend to grow outwards instead of upwards, thus why they are called carpet plants. In layman’s terms, they form a carpet. So, let’s go over what we feel are some of the best fast growing aquarium carpet plants (this one is our top pick).
|Monte Carlo||Our Top Pick||9.5/10|
|Glossostigma Elatinoides||Good For Beginners||9.1/10|
|Sagittaria Subulata||Low Maintenance||8.9/10|
Our Top 7 Fast Growing Aquarium Carpet Plants
Here are our 7 top picks;
1. Micranthemum Monte Carlo
This is one great carpeting plant to go with for aquariums. One of the reasons why it makes for a good choice is because it does not grow very large, just a few inches in height, and in case it gets too big, it is also easy to trim.
However, when it comes to growing in width, the Micranthemum Monte Carlo does grow pretty fast, so it does make for a fast spreading carpet plant, one that creates a thick carpet.
It’s the kind of plant that is ideal for all sections of the aquarium. Moreover, there are some fish that love it as a snack, plus it also offers great protection and privacy for animals like fish fry and shrimp too.
In terms of care, Micranthemum Monte Carlo is about as easy to care for as it gets. It needs moderate amounts light, minimal nutrients, no extra CO2, and as long as the water is fairly clean, keeping this stuff alive should be no problem.
When it comes to easy carpeting plants, Micranthemum Monte Carlo is one of the better options out there right now in our opinion.
2. Staurogyne Repens
Staurogyne Repens is also one of the best carpeting plants out there, which is true for a variety of reasons.
Now, this stuff does grow to a few inches in height, and its growth rate is moderate, so it should be totally fine for aquarium carpeting. It propagates more or less on its own and does fine on both sand and gravel, so that is of course a bonus.
This stuff doesn’t grow in height too much or too quickly, but it does widen really fast, so if you are looking to make a carpet fast, this Staurogyne Repens is a perfect choice to keep in mind. It’s a bushy plant with long green leaves, ones that are decently wide as well, and they make for a good hiding spot for mall fish, fry, shrimp, and other such creatures too.
A good thin about Staurogyne Repens is that it is also very easy to care for, which is true in terms of lighting, substrate, water conditions, and everything in between.
3. Hemianthus Callitrichoides
For the sake of our sanity and yours we are going to be referring to this plant (Hemianthus Callitrichoides) simply as HC from here on out. HC is a relatively fast growing aquarium plant found mainly in Cuba, west of Havana. This is a pretty rare plant in the wild, but it has become increasingly popular as a fast growing aquarium carpet plant.
This is not only a very fast growing carpet plant, but also a very small one. HC will only grow to around 3 centimeters (a little over 1 inch) in size. However, it does grow outwards fairly quickly.
People usually plant a few small clusters of HC a few inches apart from one another. This way, they will grow together to form a solid carpet. An interesting nickname for HC is baby dwarf tears, which is because the leaves are very small and round, not more than a few millimeters in diameter.
While this is a very fast growing aquarium carpet plant, it is also a very demanding plant. It needs a lot of light, a lot of CO2, and a lot of nutrients too. Moreover, you need a good water filtration unit to keep HC alive as it needs very clean water to thrive. However, under the right growing conditions, HC will grow fairly quickly. (we have covered Dwarf Hairgrass in a lot more detail on this article).
4. Glossostigma Elatinoides
Just like with HC mentioned above, to spare our sanity, we will be calling this plant GE from here on out. GE is native to Australia and New Zealand, as well it is very popular in Japanese and other Asian inspired aquariums. In all reality, GE is one of the fastest growing aquarium carpet plants out there.
One thing to note is that GE needs a lot of light, like a really serious amount. Now, it will still grow in lower lighting conditions, but it tends to grow upwards instead of outwards when it does not have enough light, therefore ruining the desired carpet effect you are looking for. We really can’t stress enough just how much light GE needs.
Moreover, if GE does not get enough light, partially due to its upward growth, it will disintegrate and eventually die. That being said, with good lighting, this plant will grow to a maximum of 4 centimeters in height (close to 2 inches). Just like with other carpet plants, the best way to plant GE is to plant them in small clusters.
They will quickly grow together to form a full carpet. GE also requires a lot of nutrients, a lot of CO2, and really clean water too. While this is a fast growing aquarium carpet plant, it is also extremely demanding.
5. Sagittaria Subulata
Yet another great plant to go with if you want a carpet in no time at all is Sagittaria Subulata, or SS for short. SS is native to South Africa. This particular fast growing aquarium carpet plant is a little different from the others we have looked at so far. SS features long, green, and thin leaves, almost like some kind of grass.
This means that it does tend to grow taller than the other plants we have talked about. However, if you trim it down to size on a regular basis it can definitely make for a good carpet plant. You can plant SS in small clusters and it will grow together to form a nice carpet. This is also one of the fastest growing aquarium plants out there.
Something that is very interesting and baffling about SS is that when it gets older it can suddenly shoot up to 50 centimeters in height. This means you will either have to trim it, place it in the background (we have covered our top 10 background plants on this article), or get new SS. What is also neat is that it sometimes creates a long white flower which goes all the way to the surface of the aquarium and floats there. SS is relatively undemanding and low maintenance.
It does like be rooted in fairly nutrient rich substrate and it does appreciate some extra fertilizer, but it is not necessary. The CO2 demand for SS is medium, while the light demand is low. As far as the ease of growth, SS is pretty straightforward and more than ideal for beginners.
6. Java Moss
Java moss is probably one of the most popular aquarium carpet plants out there. This is probably because it grows quickly, it looks nice, it’s useful, and it’s easy to take care of too. Java moss is a tropical carpet plant native to various South East Asian countries. Java moss looks like a green stringy moss, kind of like a mix between moss and grass.
It is a very neat looking plant no doubt. Java moss is known for growing like a weed in the sense that it grows very fast, it can grow virtually anywhere, and stopping the expansion of it can be pretty tough.
Like the other plants we have talked about, just plant a few clusters of java moss a few inches apart from one another and they will grow together really quickly to form a solid carpet. People who like to breed shrimp and fish love this stuff because it provides good cover for small baby aquatic creatures, plus it can act as a decent food source too (we have covered how to grow carpets, walls, trees on this article).
Java moss does grow best in high lighting conditions, with good nutrients, and lots of CO2. However, that being said, java moss is very versatile and hardy. It will grow in lower light conditions and with low nutrient levels, but it will grow slower.
7. Marsilea Hirsute
Yet another fairly fast growing aquarium carpet plant, Marsilea Hirsute (MH) is a really popular carpet plant to go with. One of the things that makes MH so ideal, especially when compared to the previous 2 plants we talked about, is that it does not require too much maintenance and is not all that demanding in terms of its needs.
MH is native to Australia and surrounding areas, so yes it is a tropical plant. This is actually a very interesting plant because it goes through a transitional period where leaves can grow to look like 4 leaf clovers, or only have 3 or 2 leaves per stem, with 1 leaf per stem being common in a certain period of the transition.
It’s a really neat looking plant with small, green, and rounded leaves. HC will form a carpet, but it is ideal for larger aquariums as it can grow up to 10 centimeters in height. That being said, you can easily trim HC down to be only 2 centimeters tall. In terms of its demand, HC can survive just fine in low lighting conditions.
It does not require much CO2 or other nutrients, and it is very hardy, being able to survive in number of conditions. If you want a fast growing aquarium carpet plant that does not need much maintenance, HC is the way to go.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Are The Best Aquarium Carpet Plants For Beginners?
One of the best carpeting plants for beginners is java moss, because it grows in width fast, yet does not grow upwards much, it is super easy to plant, even easier to keep alive, and most fish and aquatic creatures love it too.
When it comes to carpeting plants, more or less anything with the word “dwarf” in it should do fine as well, such as dwarf hairgrass or dwarf baby tears.
Really, anything that doesn’t grow high or fast, and is easy to care for, such as Staurogyne Repens and Micranthemum Monte Carlo make for good options.
Do All Carpet Plants Require Co2?
No, this is actually a bit of a myth. Sure, if you have a fairly small tank with lots of plants, or even a heavily planted larger aquarium, the plants may need CO2 to survive.
Plants do require some CO2 to stay alive and grow at a decent pace, but the fact of the matter is that most aquariums should have enough CO2 present already to support normal plant growth.
The only reason why you night need CO2 injections for your carpet plants is if you have a very heavily planted tank, and the needs of the plants outweigh the amount of CO2 available in the water.
How Much Maintenance Do Carpet Plants Need?
Generally speaking, carpet plants are some of the easier ones to care for. A good thing about them is that they don’t grow in height very much, so trimming requirements are minimal.
Moreover, many of them propagate on their own, so you don’t have to do much there either, and stopping them from growing outwards is not hard either.
Yes, you do have to vacuum around carpet plants on occasion to pick up waste and debris, but other than that, as long as the water conditions and the lighting is ideal for carpet plant growth, maintenance needs are very minimal.
Of course there are more than just 5 fast growing aquarium plants out there (this is our top pick), but the ones listed above are what we feel are some of the fastest growing and the most popular. While some of them are fairly demanding, if you treat them right, they will grow to form a beautiful solid carpet along the floor of your aquarium.