Aquariums with plant mats are among the most desired aquascapes by aquarists, although carpets are considered very demanding.
Everyone who enjoys planted aquariums and considers them works of art, at some point has come across a beautiful aquarium in the Iwagumi style, with a green carpet covering the entire length of the aquarium and giving even more prominence to the hardscape (in the case of the Iwagumi , only rocks).
Achieving this beautiful look in your aquariums is ideal for everyone who ventures into the world of Aquascaping. But forming a carpet in the aquarium can be quite a challenge. Many people never manage to reach a well-closed carpet that covers the entire surface of the aquarium.
As they are low-rise plants, carpets usually need very strong lighting. They are also slow-reproducing plants, so quality CO2 may be needed so aquarium propagation doesn’t take forever.
Although in general they are demanding plants, there are differences between the various existing carpet plants. Some less demanding, others more demanding. Some plants like monte carlo (micrantthemum sp) are easier to maintain, while others like cuba (hemianthus-callitrichoides) are much more demanding.
Less demanding carpet plants:
- Java moss: One of the easiest plants to have in the aquarium. It is a moss and is not necessarily a carpet plant, but it is often used for this purpose in shrimp aquariums. It is a plant that floats so it is necessary to fix it in the substrate, using stones, screens among other options. An advantage is that this carpet can develop both in low tech and high tech aquariums.
- Subulata Sagittarius: An undemanding plant, it grows and reproduces in low light and without CO2. Despite this, the less light, the taller the plant gets, so try a moderate amount of light, so the plant looks more like a carpet, that is, less tall and denser.
- Eleocharis: Almost the entire Eleocharis family is carpet plants that are not very demanding. It has a grass carpet look and makes for a very interesting and wild look for any aquarium.
- hirsute marsilea: It’s a beautiful carpeting plant, but if you don’t provide the right amount of light, it ends up getting too tall, giving less of a carpet feel. If you have a moderate to high amount of light, it forms a carpet with sheets of exotic and very interesting shape. CO2 greatly accelerates growth.
- Staurogyne Repens: Some people consider it an easy-to-grow plant, but due to my own experience I rate it as moderate. Propagation is fast if you have enough light and CO2 in the aquarium. It has a very nice appearance and less delicate than the other carpets mentioned.
Very demanding carpet plants:
- Cuba (Hemianthus Callitrichoides): Perhaps the most desired plant for carpeted aquariums. It has very small leaves and forms an extremely dense carpet. Many of the most beautiful aquariums we see in tournaments and on the internet are made in Cuba. It is a very demanding plant. It propagates fairly quickly, but requires a lot of light and optimal amounts of carbon dioxide.
- Glossostigma Elatinoids: Another plant widely used for carpets. It can be considered a moderately demanding plant, but for it to grow to a size suitable for carpets, with a good density and a little faster propagation, it needs a lot of light and carbon dioxide.
Considering the above options, you need to make a decision about which one to choose for your aquarium. There is no better or worse plant than another. you will have to decide, basing that decision on two factors: which plant will get the look you want and what features you will have in your aquarium.
That is, if you do not have very strong lighting, and little or no carbon dioxide (CO2) makes more sense in your case, using a less demanding plant, such as those of the Eleocharis family. If you have the right amount of CO2 and lighting, it might be more interesting for your Aquascape to use the vat (hemianthus-callitrichoides), one of the smallest and prettiest carpet plants.
Regardless of your choice, all these plants form very beautiful carpets that can be used to create aquascapes like the professionals we see in international competitions.
Read More – How Many Fish Can I Put In An Aquarium? How To Calculate.