Even if you are an absolute beginner when it comes to landscaping your aquarium garden, you will be able to find a carpet plant for your betta to suit your needs. Swim along with me while we break down the ins and outs of carpeting plants.
What Is a Carpeting Plant?
A carpeting plant is very much what it sounds like. It is a foreground plant in your betta tank or aquarium that grows like a carpet or lawn of grass in the substrate of your tank. The substrate is the material used on the bottom of your aquarium. To keep your carpeting plants growing and healthy, you need to consider three things.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
The correct combination of these three factors will ensure that your carpeting plant grows well. Most carpet plants require a fair amount of light to thrive, but you get some varieties that will grow well in low light. For some carpeting plants, using an aquarium light is recommended to grow successfully.
The water flow in your tank will help bring CO2 to the substrate, where it can be absorbed. Aquariums with live plants do better with slower flow rates. Slower flow rates allow your CO2 to hold so your plants can absorb it. You can determine the range of the flow in your tank by referring to your aquarium pump. The details should be listed there, bearing in mind these refer to flow under optimal conditions, much like car manufacturers give you mileage on a tank of gas.
The Benefits of Carpet Plants for your Betta Tank
There are several benefits to using carpet plants for your betta tanks. One of the most obvious is aesthetics. It makes your tank prettier and provides an attractive space for your striking betta fish while promoting the overall health of the aquarium by removing waste and taking up nitrates.
Carpet plants are an excellent place for the bottom dwellers, shrimp, fry, or smaller fish to live or take shelter, especially if your tank has bigger predators they need to hide from. The biofilm that covers the plants provides an extra snack for these fish. Fish who snack are more likely to survive to adulthood because they grow a little faster. Consider it the fish version of eating your vegetables.
Most carpet plant varieties are safe for betta fish because they have soft leaves. Sharp pointy leaves may tear your betta’s fins. When buying any live or artificial plant, you need to bear this in mind.
9 Recommended Carpet Plants for a Betta Fish Tank
There is a wealth of information available on the worldwide web, but I’ve taken the time to break down nine carpet plants that your betta fish will love.
Scientific name: Taxiphyllum Barbieri
Light: Low to medium
CO2: Not needed, but it will help with better growth
Growth rate: Slow
This deep green plant is excellent for beginners; it is attractive and easy to grow. It is originally from Southeast Asia and has a fast growth rate. Fish use this moss as a bed for eggs, and if your betta fish is shy, he can take refuge in this carpeting plant.
Scientific name: Glossostigma Elatinoides
Care: Moderate to Difficult
Light: Medium to high
Growth rate: Moderate to Fast
Another good option for your betta fish is bright green glosso, which originally hails from Southeast Australia and New Zealand. Like java moss, this is an attractive carpeting plant most often seen in Japanese-inspired tanks and aquascapes.
Unlike java moss, it is challenging to grow and has a high light requirement, and it may need supplemental CO2 to grow successfully. What makes it a good choice for your betta is that this plant grows best in a shallow tank.
Dwarf Water Trumpet
Scientific name: Cryptocoryne Parva
CO2: Not necessary
Growth rate: Slow
This green plant hails from Sri Lanka and is the smallest of its genus. It is easy to grow, but it grows slowly, which means less frequent trimming, unlike java moss. It offers an excellent hiding place for a reluctant betta fish, and it is a popular plant with aquascapers.
Scientific name: Microsorum Pteropus
CO2: No extra light is needed
Growth rate: Slow to moderate
Deep green java fern is one of the most popular plants for beginner betta fish enthusiasts. To thrive, it must be tied to a piece of wood or a rock, and the roots must not be buried. Your betta fish will like this plant, and mini versions are available for smaller tanks.
Marimo Moss Ball
Scientific name: Cladophoraceae
Light: Low to medium
CO2: Extra CO2 suggested
Growth rate: Very slow
This bright green seaweed ball is the short and sweet version of aquascaping, and it literally is a live ball of algae. Toss it into your tank or flatten it and affix it to a rock or piece of wood. Brown bits on the moss ball are considered normal, and this plant grows very slowly. This plant is extremely low maintenance and is a great place to start when first redoing your tank’s seascape.
Scientific name: Eleocharis Parvula
Light: Medium to High
CO2: Extra CO2 recommended
This emerald green plant is not for your betta to hide in, like some other carpet plants on this list. The benefit of having dwarf hair grass in your tank is cleaner water and better breathing for your betta.
Dwarf Baby Tears
Scientific name: Hemianthus callitrichoides
Care: Worth the extra effort
Light: Medium to High
Bright green dwarf baby tears are one of the most miniature aquatic plants available, and they create a luxurious foreground in your tank. One of the main difficulties of this plant is its small roots, making it difficult to affix to your substrate. The dry start method is recommended for this plant.
Giant Baby Tears
Scientific name: Micranthemum umbrosum
pH: Not fussy
CO2: Not necessary, but nice to have
This bright green, versatile plant is a relative of dwarf baby tears that can be used in all areas of your aquarium. It can be used as a horizontal plant in the foreground or a vertical plant in the background. If you prune it regularly, it will grow horizontally, but it doesn’t grow as wildly as its relative.
Scientific name: Hygrophila difformis
Light: Low to medium
Water wisteria is a fast-growing aquatic plant available in varying shades of green that can be trimmed to form a carpet. Interestingly, this plant changes shape depending on how it’s grown.
How Do I Grow Carpet Grass in My Aquarium?
The most important aspect of growing carpet grass or any aquatic plant is research. Marine plant problems often stem from choosing the incorrect plant for your tank. If you are a beginner, buy a plant that is suitable for beginners or is marked easy to grow. This thread has a comprehensive guide on how to go about growing carpet grass using the dry start method (DSM).
How Do You Clean a Tank With Carpet Plants?
A planted aquarium will often require less cleaning than a tank without plants. Outside of cleaning the glass, water changes, and trimming your plants, you may only need to vacuum every few months or spot vacuum as required. Carpet grass fixed to mesh can be lifted to access the gravel substrate underneath for cleaning.
Can Carpet Plants Grow in Gravel?
Carpet plants like java moss can grow in the gravel, but it isn’t recommended because carpet plants usually have very fine roots. Instead, use a product like aqua soil, but if it cannot be avoided, then yes, you can use gravel that is approximately 3 to 5 mms big, and you may need to use root tabs to help you. Lastly, buy a carpeting plant compatible with gravel because not all of them are.
Carpet plants are a valuable and attractive addition to your betta tank. There are many plants to choose from, both live and artificial. If you need an easy plant or you are a beginner, choose something like a marimo moss ball or java moss. For something that requires a little more effort, try glosso or dwarf baby tears. Experiment, but don’t overdecorate your tank with plants. A splash of green is just what the doctor (betta fish) ordered.
If you want to learn more about Betta’s behavior, advice, and tips, please visit our collection of Betta Tips Articles.