9 Best Aquarium Carpet Plants for Beginners

Posted by on 01/11/2024

If you're looking to improve the appearance of your tank, look no further than foreground carpeting plants. 

These horizontal-growing aquatic plants can add a unique sense of scale and contrast to your tank, but not every carpet plant is suitable for a beginner. 

For those who are looking for easy-to-carpet plants, here are 9 beginner-friendly options. 

Caring for Carpet Plants

The following plants (except for one ) on our list are capable of surviving in an aquarium without injected CO2, making them great options for beginners new to planted tanks. However, hobbyists should be aware that without CO2 and strong lighting, these plants will grow at a much slower rate.

Even without CO2 and strong lighting, you'll still need to provide nutrients through nutrient-rich soil, such as eco-complete, root tabs, or liquid fertilizers. You'll also want to maintain a healthy aquarium by performing regular water changes.

Our Favorites

Now that we've briefly discussed what to know before purchasing these carpeting plants, let's get into some of our favorites.

Here are some of our favorites.

Pearl Weed

In the aquarium hobby, pearl weed is known for its versatility. Left to its own, the plant will grow vertically, but hobbyists looking to utilize this plant as a carpeting plant can do so by trimming the plant frequently.

Pearl Weed
Afif Fatchurozi/Shutterstock.com
Pearl Weed

Java Moss

Java Moss is so easy to take care of, that many hobbyists consider the plant to be a nuisance. Often introduced accidentally into an aquarium as a hitchhiker plant, Java Moss is a slow-growing plant known for its dark green color. When left on its own, this plant can easily cover a tank. 

Java Moss
Hari reddy k/PixaHive.com
A zoomed-in look at Java Moss

Flame Moss

Flame Moss is similar to Java Moss, but is much more rare. This plant displays a similar color as Java Moss but grows both vertically and horizontally. 

We cover the differences between these two aquarium plants in more detail in our guide Flame Moss vs Java Moss.

Flame Moss
chonlasub woravichan/Shutterstock.com
Flame Moss, notice the vertical growth

Micro Sword Plant

With an appearance similar to the larger Amazon Sword, the Micro Sword Plant (scientific name: Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae) features narrow, vertically growing leaves that look great in an aquarium foreground. Hobbyists can propagate the plant to form a dense carpet.

Micro Sword Plant
Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova/Wikimedia Commons
Micro Sword Plant

Dwarf Hairgrass

Hobbyists will have trouble growing dwarf hairgrass without CO2 but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be unable to care for the plant entirely. The growth rate will be extremely slow, but the plant is still capable of surviving in low CO2 conditions.

Dwarf Hairgrass
Dwarf Hairgrass

Marsilea Minuta

Native to Asia, Marsilea Minuta is an easy-to-care-for aquatic plant known for its small, clover-like leaves. This plant can grow well in low-moderate lighting and does not require a supply of CO2. 

Cryptocoryne parva

If you're new to aquatic plant keeping, then maintaining crypts may seem a bit intimidating. 

These plants tend to go through a phase known as "crypt melt". Once initially planted, many plants that have been grown immersed must transition to a submerged state in your tank. This process often stresses the plant, and it may not survive the transition.

However, if the roots appear healthy, your plant will bounce back! Cryptocoryne parva is a small-sized crypt, and while it's growth-rate makes it one of the slowest growers on this list, the plant can eventually be propagated to serve as a foreground plant, even without high light and CO2.

Crypt Parva
Crypt Parva in an emersed state

Dwarf Sagitarria

If you're looking for a carpeting plant with a wild appearance, look no further than Dwarf Sagittaria. While this foreground plant's growth isn't nearly as compact as dwarf hairgrass, the plant is easy to care for and relatively undemanding. 

Once established, this plant will shoot horizontally runners, covering your aquarium foreground in no time. 

Dwarf Sag
Kevin Hsu/Light Fish
Dwarf Sag

Monte Carlo

Often recommended as an alternative to the more difficult-to-care-for Dwarf Baby Tears, Monte Carlo sports a similar appearance and is often used as an aquarium carpet plant. Hobbyists should be aware that this plant does require CO2 and strong lighting. 

However, when compared to other difficult-to-care-for aquatic plants, Monte Carlo isn't that difficult, so we think it deserves a spot on this list. 

Monte Carlo
Afif Fatchurozi/Shutterstock.com
Monte Carlo

Where to Purchase

If you're looking to pick up some of these plants for your aquarium, be sure to check out our marketplace, where you can buy directly from planted tank hobbyists just like yourself.

If you can't find exactly what you're looking for, we built a massive list of over 250 different online aquarium stores, to help you in your aquatic plant search.


That sums up our list of some of the best beginner-friendly aquarium plants. Do you think you have what it takes to care for some of the plants on our list?

Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to visit our marketplace, where you can shop anything aquatic directly from others in the hobby.

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Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!