Best Moss For Aquarium Carpet

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They are used to fill in the foreground and create lush, verdant growth similar to a lawn.

When given ample light and carbon dioxide many of these plants even create pearl-like bubbles of oxygen that fill the water column with delicate fizz.

Since they grow near the bottom, carpet plants sometimes need more light than other aquatic plants.

Many grow quickly while others are slow growing and need time to establish themselves.

Choosing the right aquarium carpet plant depends on both aesthetics and how much light and nutrients you can provide.

Imagine you’ve just purchased your brand-new aquarium, you’ve added the water, all the equipment and, of course, your fish and aquatic pets, but it still feels like there’s something missing; the spark of life that helps you tank to become an underwater wonderland.

More often than not, the main thing that beginner tank owners forget about is plant life; and this is one of the most essential ways to really bring character and personality to your aquarium. What’s more, the happiness and health of your fish rely on the fact that you have plants.

However, just like growing plants on dry land, growing aquarium plants can be hard work if you don’t know what you’re doing, and it can be struggling and confidence-blowing to try over and over again to get it right.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of plant species out there that are ideal for beginners to grow. These are known as ‘carpet plants,’ and you can simply plant them and let them take over the bottom of your tank to create an aquatic haven.

Today, we’re going to explore five of the best species of carpet plants for your fish tank that have been specifically chosen because they’re ideal for being grown by beginners! Let’s go!


That’s why I’ve decided to discuss 15 species of aquarium carpet plants in order of easiest to the most difficult!

15 Best Aquarium Carpet Plants Ranked by Difficulty (Species


Here are 15 of our favorite carpeting plants for aquariums ranked by difficulty

1. Java Mossjava moss

Easily found and almost impossible to kill, Java Moss is one of the best aquarium carpet plants for first time aquatic gardeners. Java Moss is incredibly versatile and can be used as a creeping fore or midground plant, attached to rocks and driftwood as an accent, or even allowed to float freely.

While it certainly appreciates it Java Moss does not require supplemental light, CO2, or fertilization. You should see rapid growth even using standard non-plant fluorescent lighting. Thanks to its thick, luxurious growth and undemanding nature Java Moss is often used as a spawning bed for fish eggs and fry to develop, safe from hungry mouths.

Propagating Java Moss is as simple as cutting pieces with sharp plant scissors and securing them to hard surfaces with dental floss or fishing line or lightly burying sections with substrate.

  • Scientific name: Taxiphyllum barbieri
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Supplemental CO2: Not Necessary
  • Light Requirement: Low

2. GreenPro Java Moss Live FreshWater Aquarium Plants


GreenPro Java Moss Live FreshWater Aquarium Plants

Starting off our list, we’ve chosen the GreenPro FreshWater Java Moss, a true contender when it comes to being one of the best beginner aquarium plants out there. This is backed up by the fact this is easily one of the most common types of plant and once planted; you practically have to do nothing to look after it!

All you do is plant it into the bottom of your tank wherever you want it, and that’s basically it. There’s no need to add any chemicals or nutrients in to make it grow and give it a couple of years, and you may want to trim it down to a leaner length, but apart from that, there’s really nothing you need to do.

What we also love most about this species is how hardy it is. Even if you introduce a new plant that has a disease or some kind of bacteria finds its way into your tank, it will take a lot of damage to kill this plant off.

You’ll also adore the fact this plant can grow over anything easily. Want to add a bit of texture to the bottom of your tank? Simply add a rock and plant the moss next to it and over the next weeks/months, you’ll have a beautiful mossy rock!

All in all, this is an extremely versatile and affordable moss that you and your fish are going to love. When it comes to beginner-friendly species, it doesn’t get much better than this.

  • Really easy to grow with minimal maintenance
  • Extremely hardy against disease
  • Grows over ornaments and decorations
  • A great introduction for beginners
  • None!

3. AquariumPlantsFactory Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata

AquariumPlantsFactory Dwarf Sagittaria Subulata

Sagittaria Subulata is another fantastic aquatic plant for beginners to grow in their fish tanks thanks to how easy it is to grow, how little effort it takes to maintain, and how it can really help to bring a new spark of life into the aesthetic of your aquarium.

What you’ll instantly love about this plant is how quickly it grows. Once planted, you won’t have to wait long for the roots to settle into the ground and the growing process to begin. If you’re looking for a plant that can help to make your tank look great quickly, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

However, with this in mind, you will need to carry out a bit of maintenance every now and then, in particular when it comes to trimming the length and height off the plant, so it doesn’t consume your tank. Keep this in check, and you’ll have a beautiful grass-like carpet that makes your tank look luscious.

With this particular line, you’ll be able to enjoy the constant two-for-one offer that AquariumPlantsFactory run on these plants, and you’ll be able to benefit from their Live Arrival Guarantee.

This means if your plants turned up damaged, simply get in contact and send them photos within 24 hours and they’ll happily replace or refund you until you’re happy.

If you’re looking for an easy, quick solution when it comes to your aquarium plants, this could easily be everything you’re looking for.

  • Creates a beautiful grass-type aesthetic to your tank
  • Roots into your tank easily
  • Comes with a Live Arrival Guarantee
  • Super affordable with a two-for-one deal
  • Grows fast and may require trimming

4. Aquatic Arts Baby Tears Plant (2-Bunches)

Aquatic Arts Baby Tears Plant (2-Bunches)

What we love about the Baby Tears Plants is the fact that they bring something a bit different to your fish tank. With a lot of plants, you normally get the grass blades style that looks good, but sometimes it’s exciting to mix things up.

This is exactly what you’ll get with the Aquatic Arts Baby Tears. This is such a good-looking and versatile plant that should be able to root in pretty much any kind of tank. With this purchase, you’ll receive two bunches that are around 8-10 inches in length.

However, once rooted, you can enjoy the fast growth of these plants, and split them up when they’re big enough into different sections and areas to completely cover as much or as little of your tank as you like.

Easily one of the greatest benefits of Baby Tears is the fact that they release a vast amount of oxygen into your tank. This is great for the other plants you’re keeping your tank, and for helping your fish to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

These plants are also great because they grow much faster in lighter conditions, whether that’s a lighting rig or if your tank is by a window, which means you can influence a fast growth initially before taking away the light to help it grow a bit slower.

All in all, this is a great carpet plant to fill your tank, and you’re sure to fall in love with it and its little leaves as soon as you plant it. Suitable for both beginner and expert tank owners alike. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Growth can be influenced by light
  • Suitable for beginner and expert tank owners
  • Produces large amounts of oxygen for your tank
  • Grows quickly for fast aquarium covering
  • May grow too quick in high lighting environments

5. SubstrateSource Eleocharis Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plant

SubstrateSource Eleocharis Dwarf Hairgrass Live Aquarium Plant

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly carpet plant for your aquarium fish tank that doesn’t break the bank, you may not need to look any further than this live aquarium plant from SubstrateSource.

In fact, this plant is about as ‘carpet’ as it gets, and it really does resemble the kind of grass you would have in your garden; it really does look like it! In short, you simply plant this grass in its carpet form and watch it grow.

The only maintenance you’ll ever need to carry out every now and then is giving it a little trim just to make sure it’s not growing too long and overtaking your aquarium tank. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

As a recommendation, try growing this grass in a darker substrate, like gravel or dark sand. This grass is quite lightly-colored, so the contrast creates an awesome effect!

This hardy plant should grow in the majority of conditions, temperatures, and water quality, making it a great all-rounder where you can’t really go wrong!

  • Hardy and capable of growing in all kinds of an aquarium tank
  • Incredibly easy to grow
  • Creates an awesome contrast effect in dark substrates
  • Grows quickly and requires minimal maintenance
  • None!

6. Baby Tears Java Moss FreshWater Aquarium Plants

Dwarf baby Tears Java Moss FreshWater Aquarium Plants

To finish off our list of the best aquarium carpet plants, we’ve gone back over to Dwarf Baby Tears, this time from the GreenPro supplier, simply because they are so highly recommended and so popular with fish tank owners.

These Dwarf Baby Tears are pretty similar in regard to how they grow and the minimal amount of maintenance they require. You’ll also get to the awesome effect from the little leaves these plants have that create great coverage around your tank.

As with the other dwarf plants, these are great for producing more oxygen in your tank, which is a well-known benefit for creating a higher purity of your water. In short, your fish are going to love this. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

This range of plants is really easy to grow, and you can do simply by planting them into your tank. All you’ll need to do is trim them back every now and then to stop them overgrowing your aquarium, but apart from that, these are one kind of affordable plant life where you can’t go wrong!

  • Really easy to grow and care for
  • Beautiful little leaves for a nice aesthetic
  • A highly recommended supplier with Live Arrival Guarantee
  • Easy to split and grow more!
  • None!

7. Monosolenium tenerum

Liverworts are some of the oldest plant lineages on earth. Fossils date back as old as 470 million years. They also don’t have leaves per se; instead Liverworts have a “thallus,” a vegetative tissue that isn’t separated into leaves, stem, flower, etc.

Monosolenium tenerum is quite rare in nature and is an extremely unusual yet easy to keep plant, making it well worth using as an aquarium carpeting plant. It can also grow emersed which makes it suitable for paludariums as well.

Monosolenium tenerum sinks and uses rhizoids (similar to the rhizome of epiphyte plants) to attach to gravel, rocks, and driftwood. As it grows the thallus forks, creating a rippling, wavy cushion of dark green vegetation. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

Monosolenium tenerum is quite similar to Crystalwort (Riccia fluitans) in appearance, as if it were magnified, darker, and larger. However, unlike Crystalwort, Monosolenium tenerum is very undemanding with a medium growth rate.

Rather than using roots it takes nutrients directly from the water column making it perfect for aquariums without enriched substrates. Monosolenium tenerum is a brittle plant, however, and will snap if vigorously disturbed.

  • Scientific name: Monosolenium tenerum
  • Origin: East Asia
  • Growth Rate: Medium
  • Supplemental CO2: Not Necessary
  • Light Requirement: Low

8. Dwarf Sagittaria

How well Dwarf Sagittaria works as an aquarium carpet plant depends on what sort of conditions you provide. When given high lighting and a fertile substrate Dwarf Sagittaria will take on a clumped growth form. Since it doesn’t need to grow as high for light it will instead concentrate energy into sending runners laterally, cloning itself and forming a dense carpet of leaves 3 to 5 inches high.

If kept in low light environments Dwarf Sagittaria will grow as much as 12 inches tall and won’t work especially well as a carpeting plant. However it is a hardy mid to background plant in these conditions and can even grow in unfertilized substrates. Sagittaria subulata “Pusilla” (Dwarf Arrowhead) is a variety that stays especially small in all conditions but will wither if kept in low light environments.

Dwarf Sagittaria is also tolerant of both hard, alkaline water and even mildly brackish water. This makes it a rare foreground carpet plant suitable for brackish and Rift Lake aquariums. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Scientific name: Sagittaria subulata
  • Origin: Caribbean coast of North and South America
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Supplemental CO2: Not Necessary
  • Light Requirement: Moderate

9. Cryptocoryne Parva

Cryptocoryne Parva is a little unusual compared to other Crypts. It has higher light requirements than its cousins, which tend to grow in the shade of tree canopies that cover slowly moving streams in Sri Lanka.

Without ample lighting it won’t have the energy to spread into a substrate covering carpet. Many Crypts also change color depending on lighting intensity but C. parva remains a light grassy green.

Like most Crypts C. parva grows fairly slowly, and this species rarely tops 4 cm in height. Supplemental fertilization and CO2 are helpful but given the slow growth rate of the plant good lighting is much more conducive to good health.

Given how low to the ground it grows Cryptocoryne parva never needs trimming. Once fully established it is an excellent low maintenance carpet plant for a mature aquarium with high lighting levels. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Scientific name: Cryptocoryne parva
  • Origin: Sri Lanka
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Supplemental CO2: Useful
  • Light Requirement: High

10. Christmas Moss

Vesicularia montagnei carpet

Christmas Moss is not as bullet-proof as Java Moss nor does it grow nearly as fast. It also has a more compact, branching growth pattern similar to a forest of fir trees, hence the name. The tiny leaves are rounder and grow at right angles relative to the stem. However if left unattached it takes on a more chaotic appearance similar to Java Moss.

In aquascaping Christmas Moss can be used to thickly carpet the foreground, rocks, and especially driftwood. Nature style aquascapes often use a canopy of Christmas Moss to mimic bonsai trees.

While it does not require much in the way of light and nutrients Christmas Moss grows best in medium to high lighting environments. Since it attaches to hard surfaces rather than uses true roots a rich substrate isn’t needed.

Supplemental CO2 also helps spur growth but even in the best of conditions it grows fairly slowly. Chrismas Moss also grows emersed and can be used as a carpet plant in paludariums. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Scientific name: Vesicularia montagnei
  • Origin: Southeast Asia and Australia
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Supplemental CO2: Useful
  • Light Requirement: Medium to High

11. Dwarf Hairgrass

Also known as Dwarf Spikerush, Dwarf Hairgrass is a salt tolerant carpet plant that can grow both emersed and submerged. While it grows slightly faster above water it remains an excellent choice for aquascaping, so long as you follow a few tips to encourage it to spread.

Dwarf Hairgrass usually comes in potted clumps. While this is a natural growth form, if removed from the pot and set into the gravel it will rarely do much other than continue to photosynthesize and grow upwards.

Instead, we need to split our Dwarf Hairgrass into sections of 4 to 6 blades. Planting these mini-Hairgrass plants ½ to 1 inch apart in a fertile sand or fine gravel substrate will encourage them to spread without crowding one another.

Small grained sandy substrates work better than larger grain sizes for this species. Dwarf Hairgrass also takes up more nutrients via the roots rather than the water column. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

While Dwarf Hairgrass tolerates low light levels moderate to high lighting is needed for it to carpet. Combined with trimming to keep it under 2 inches in height and you’ll have a fantastic aquarium lawn.

  • Scientific name: Eleocharis parvula
  • Origin: Northern Hemisphere
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Supplemental CO2: Necessary
  • Light Requirement: Moderate to High

12. Dwarf Water Clover

If Four Leaf Clover are lucky for you then try growing an entire carpet of them. Dwarf Water Clover is a small fern native to Africa and tropical Asia. It can be grown both emersed and submerged and underwater takes on a highly variable growing style depending on lighting.

So long as you provide high light levels Dwarf Water Clover will take on a carpet growth pattern perfect as a substrate creeper. However, when light levels grow dim it will shoot to the top and place leaves on the surface like lily pads.

CO2 isn’t required but encourages faster growth and reproduction. Dwarf Water Clover has several relations in the Marsilea genus with differing leaf shapes but similar requirements. All are excellent aquarium carpet plants when given ample lighting and a fertile substrate. It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Scientific name: Marsilea minuta
  • Origin: Africa and Asia
  • Growth Rate: Slow to Medium
  • Supplemental CO2: Useful
  • Light Requirement: High

13. Thai “Little Star” Plant

Called “Downoi” or “Little Star” in Thailand, Pogostemon helferi is a recent addition to the aquarium trade and is becoming very popular as an aquatic carpet plant. It’s closely related to the much more widely known Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).

The light green leaves have intriguing crinkled edges and the entire plant has a starburst growth pattern. While tolerant of lower light levels keeping your light as strong as possible encourages Little Star to stay compact and channel energy into sending runners out into the substrate.

While very tolerant of a wide range of water conditions sudden fluctuations in chemistry can cause browning and death even if within normal parameters. Little Star also appreciates CO2 or liquid carbon for good growth and will slow down without supplementation.

Beware keeping it with plant-eating critters like Mollies or snails; Little Star has especially soft leaves and will be continually snacked upon.It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

  • Scientific name: Pogostemon helferi
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Supplemental CO2: Necessary
  • Light Requirement: Moderate to High

15. Crystalwort

Riccia fluitans

Crystalwort is one of those plants that appear intimidating because so many professionals use it in aquascaping that “it must be hard.” Quite the contrary! This attractive liverwort species is actually incredibly easy to grow so long as you provide for its needs. Crystalwort was popularized by Takashi Amano and is a classic plant for the Nature style aquascape.

Crystalwort in nature is most often found floating on the surface. This means your light levels need to be intense if you’re growing it as a submerged aquarium carpet plant, with a minimum of 2 to 3 watts per gallon. Supplementary CO2 and nutrients in the water column are also needed because Crystalwort doesn’t uptake food through roots.

When given rich conditions Crystalwort grows like a weed, creates attractive bubbles of oxygen as it photosynthesizes, and will need regular trimming. It has a fractal, crystal-like growth pattern that gives it its name.It is one of the best moss for aquarium carpet

Crystalwort can be attached to rocks and driftwood as well as grown along the substrate but needs to be tied down initially. It can also shade itself when kept in lower light environments, causing lower layers to brown if grown too thick, necessitating regular trims. Crystalwort is also a debris magnet and looks its best in well filtered water.

  • Scientific name: Riccia fluitans
  • Origin: Worldwide
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Supplemental CO2: Needed
  • Light Requirement: Very High


If you’re looking for an easy, beginner-friendly carpet plant to help you bring your aquarium fish tank to life, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from.

Simply take a look through any of the five plants we’ve listed above, and you’re sure to find the perfect species you’ve been looking for.

Enjoy your new tank!



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