Aquarium Ground Cover Plants

Written by drue tibbits
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Aquarium Ground Cover Plants
Aquarium ground cover plants provide oxygen for fish. (altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Aquarium plants are separated into three main groups: foreground plants, middle plants and background plants. Taller plant varieties are set in the back of the tank, where they won't obstruct the view, while shorter plants are placed near the front of the tank. Aquarium ground cover plants serve as foreground plants, as they grow so low they do not block the view of the fish.

Glossostigma Elatinoides

Glassostigma elatinoides is one of the smallest freshwater aquarium plants, growing only 1.2 inches tall. This is a light-green stem plant with broad, rounded leaves. This ground cover plant needs plenty of light, or it will get "leggy" and die out. Glossostigma elatinoides prefers soft water and grows best in temperatures of 22.2 degrees C to 26.1 degrees Celsius. When you're first establishing this plant in your aquarium, plant each stem individually, separating each stem and leaving a little room between each one. This encourages the plants to combine to form a solid ground cover.

Marsilea Quadrifolia

Marsilea quadrifolia is a slow-growing freshwater plant from the fern family. Native to southern Asia and Europe, this plant is considered an invasive species in some parts of the United States. The highly adaptable Marsilea quadrifolia tolerates both low and highlight conditions, and can grow both underwater and above ground. As an aquarium plant, it will grow as tall as 6 inches under low light conditions. Provide plenty of light to keep it as a low-growing ground cover plant. Marsilea quadrifolia grows as small four-leaf clovers, spreading along runners in the aquarium substrate. Introduce this plant into your aquarium by planting individual segments 1 inch apart. Each segment should have five leaves along the runner. In time, the plant will grow and fill in to create a luscious ground cover.

Eleocharis Acicularis

Eleocharis acicularis is a fast-growing plant that develops thin, wispy light-green leaves that resemble a softer version of lawn grass. This freshwater aquarium ground cover plant requires medium to highlight exposure, and thrives in temperatures of 21.1 degrees C to 28.9 degrees Celsius. Eleocharis acicularis is a 6-inch-tall grass that grows into a thick carpet that covers the entire aquarium floor. The fine-bladed grass leaves trap tank debris, providing a feeding area for bottom-dwelling fish. To establish Eleocharis acicularis, plant 1/2-inch clumps of grass at a spacing of 1 inch.

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