Marsilea Hirsuta Care Guide – Carpet, Floating, Propagation

Marsilea Hirsuta Care Guide – Carpet, Floating, Propagation

Marsilea Hirsuta is a foreground aquarium plant that is easy to care for and ideal for beginners. It requires medium to high levels of lighting to thrive, a soil substrate, and a tank temperature ranging from 18°C to 28°C.  It also requires pH levels between 5 and 7.5.

Marsilea Hirsuta Overview

Marsilea Hirsuta is a good aquarium plant that is ideal for the foreground in an aquarium setting. It is a short plant with clover-like looks that grows slowly and if planted in groups will form coverage like a carpet in the aquarium. The plant is easy to care for unlike other foreground aquarium plants that usually need lots of work in order to do well. The plant will grow low and spread horizontally when grown under medium – high light environments. Please note that when there is insufficient lighting for the plant, it will grow longer and lose its desired carpeting results.

Due to the plant’s undemanding nature it can be grown even by beginners in the hobby. The plant is tolerant to a number of conditions and once the basic conditions are met it will just grow well. The substrate and water conditions need not be special for this plant to thrive in your aquarium.

Information ChartMarsilea Hirsuta
Scientific Name: Marsilea Hirsuta
Family: Marsileaceae
Care Level: Easy to Medium
Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate
Maximum Size: 4 inches
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Water Conditions: 20 – 25 C
Lighting: Medium to high
Propagation: Splitting
Placement: Mostly foreground/midground

Marsilea Hirsuta Appearance

It’s a small, creeping perennial with thin stems that bear a two-part, three-part, or four-part frond in a standard form after it’s established. Marsilea hirsuta is from mint’s family.

Marsilea Hirsuta Appearance

The Marsilea Hirsuta has short stems with clover-like leaves at the end, which is how the plant got its circinate leaves, with a diameter of 0.2-0.4 inches, round, and separated into two, three, or four segments. They belong to the Asteraceae family. 

Unlike Marsilea quadrifolia, which produces floating leaves that rise to the water’s surface, Marsilea hirsuta stays submerged and does not produce any floating leaves.

Their name comes from their thin, long creeping rhizome coated in minute brownish hair.

Furthermore, the plant has a dark green hue that seems much darker when viewed by direct sunshine.

Variety Of Marsilea Hirsuta 

There are over 65 species of aquatic ferns in the genus Marsilea, which are commonly known as pepperwort or water clover.

Marsilea Hirsuta Size

The typical Marsilea Hirsuta grows up to 3 inches on the lower end and 4 inches for larger specimens.

Note: the plant can also be grown wholly submerged as long as you ensure that the soil that you provide it in its submerged state is highly moist.

Marsilea Hirsuta Place of origin

The plant is originally from the Native Island of Australia. It is an amphibious plant that is to say that it can either grow partially or entirely submerged in the water. The plant grows well in a number of soil types including sandy soils or clay soils. When growing in fully submerged status the plant has a tendency to change its four-lobed leaf structure into a large single lobed leaf structure that is large and dark green in color.

The plant does well in high light intensity and water temperature that can go up to 84°F. The waters where the plant grows in the wild are those with a neutral pH although there are reports of the plant also doing well in waters with pH ranges of between 6.2 and 7.5.

Use of Marsilea Hirsuta in an aquarium

Use of Marsilea Hirsuta in an aquarium

Due to the slow growth rate of Marsilea Hirsuta and its carpeting nature, it makes an ideal aquarium plant especially for the foreground area. Under proper lighting condition, the plant is known to remain short in length and creating a carpet-like effect. This can especially be ideal for aquarists who wish to have some sort of a dark green carpet-like plant in their aquarium. With its many green coloration on the leaves and the dense carpet that the plant creates under proper light conditions, it helps to present the aquarium in an elegant way adding a sense of depth there. The plant is even advantageous to most experienced aquarists due to its ability to grow both submerged and above the water surface.

For those aquarists who wish to have a plant in tanks where they keep freshwater shrimps, the plant may just be the best bet for them! The plant will provide an excellent flat surface for the shrimp to stand on. Just offer the plant adequate lighting as well as sufficient carbon dioxide supplementation. These will help to promote the growth rate of the plant as well as a well-defined growth.

Growing conditions

There are no special conditions for growing the plant, just ensure that the basic things such as water, substrate and lighting are kept optimal as per recommendations. Here below are some ideal growing conditions for the plant:

  • Ensure that the water temperature in the tank is between 18°C and 28°C.
  • The ideal pH range for the tank should be between 5 and 7.5.
  • The GH of the water should range between 1 to 20 dH.

Marsilea Hirsuta Tank Size and Specifications

Because the Marsilea Hirsuta grows to a height of four inches, it is advised that you use a 10-gallon tank. They’d also look great in larger tanks, but you’d have to supplement them with other taller aquatic plant species to get the desired impression. 

Marsilea Hirsuta Tank Size and Specifications

Photosynthesis, which the plant carries out, allows the Marsilea Hirsuta to release oxygen and filter the aquarium water, which benefits the fish.

Optimum Tank Size for Marsilea Hirsuta

The recommended tank size for Marsilea Hirsuta is 10 gallons. 


When the Marsilea Hirsuta is entirely submerged, it prefers soil substrate, albeit fine-grained sand can suffice. ADA Amazonia aqua soil, Carib Sea Eco-Complete, Seachem Flourite, and CaribSea Eco-Complete Enhanced are some soil substrates recommended for Marsilea hirsuta.

Water Parameters for Marsilea Hirsuta 

As a result, they’re suitable for various water conditions, making them especially well-suited for community tank installations.

Water Temperature

The ideal water temperature for Marsilea Hirsuta is 18°C, and 28°C.

Water Parameters for Marsilea Hirsuta

pH Level

The perfect water pH level for Marsilea Hirsuta is 5 and 7.5.

Water Hardness

1 to 20 dH

Marsilea Hirsuta Tank Landscape

Decoration For Marsilea Hirsuta Tanks

After filling the tank with substrate, you’d arrange your design and set the plant in a hardscape to complete the project. In this circumstance, you may want to include driftwood or stones, which should be put in the tank before you begin planting.

Lighting for Marsilea Hirsuta Tanks

The most effective way to improve the health and carpeting ability of Marsilea Hirsuta is to use moderate light. When the PAR is between 30 and 60, it performs well.

Marsilea Hirsuta Tank Landscape

While developing, the plant sends out runners along the surface of the substrate. With enough light, it will grow in a thick, carpet-like pattern, which will be visible from a distance. As the leaves grow taller and more widely spread out in a low-light tank, they will have less of a carpet-like appearance than they would in a high-light tank.

This low-maintenance plant requires moderate-high light at all times in order to maintain a low growth habit and spread horizontally across the substrate, which is why it is so popular.

The bulk of the specimens you acquire will have been growing submerged above water for some time before you purchase them. After the plants have been planted in your tank, there will be a time of transition.

As a consequence of the increased vertical growth, low light should be avoided while growing the plant since it will favor vertical development, which will result in the plant losing its carpeting ability.

Nutrient Requirements for Marsilea Hirsuta Tank

Although you shouldn’t need to use supplements to help with growth, things like CO2 injections and fertilizers may help to speed up the process and improve the color of your plants.

When planting Marsilea Hirsuta, it is advisable to spread them apart to limit competition for space and resources and set them towards the front.

Marsilea Hirsuta: Compatibility and Tank Mates

Because it is a short plant, it will provide the most benefit to bottom-dwelling fish. When they are running from other fish or bright lights, they will use it as a haven to take refuge in it. 

Marsilea Hirsuta Compatibility and Tank Mates

Marsilea Hirsutas is an attractive option for a community tank since they tolerate many environmental variables, including high temperatures.

Marsilea Hirsuta is an excellent choice for an aquarium because it requires little maintenance. It can tolerate a broad range of environmental conditions, which reduces the chance of compatibility issues.

Ideal Marsilea Hirsuta Tank Mates

Bad Tank Mates for Marsilea Hirsuta

Marsilea Hirsuta Propagation/Cultivation

Taking care of this plant is not really a big deal because it is not very demanding like some other aquarium plants. Even in low lighting, the plant will still do well. In order to get you well versed on how you can propagate the plant we shared some tips that can help you get started below:

Planting Marsilea Hirsuta
  • To successfully find a new plant you will need to take at least 1 to 2 inches of a section of the plant’s rhizome and then insert into the substrate.
  • If you want to plant many of the plants do the first procedure at intervals.
  • It may take some time before you notice real progress from the just transplanted plants however once the plants get established, you will notice steady growth.
  • To help keep things orderly in the aquarium when the plants start to grow, thin out the mat of the plants. You can achieve this by pulling up the plant’s runners and then trimming them.

In order for the carpet like effect to be achieved, you will need to provide bright lighting to the plant. Also make No products found. into the tank and this way you will see the leaves of the plant thickening and becoming dark green.

Marsilea Hirsuta Plant features

The plant is known to grow low with dense dark green leaves often forming carpet-like effect under bright lighting and sufficient carbon dioxide injections. In low lighting, the plant will grow longer and taller thus losing its impressive feature of forming carpet-like structure.

Marsilea Hisuta is a freshwater plant and it can grow above the water surface or entirely submerged in water. Its reproduction is by way of asexual reproduction and tends to prefer moist soils for it to do well when grown totally submerged.

Facts About Marsilea Hirsuta

  • According to naturalists, Marsilea species are aquatic or amphibian, with roots buried in mud or damp ground.
  • It is a slow-growing plant with a petite height of just a few centimeters/inches tall that spreads its prolific runners over the region to create thick, gorgeous leaf carpets.
  • The town of Marsilea was named after Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsilea, an Italian natural scientist who lived in the nineteenth century.
  • They offer a safe sanctuary for little bottom-dwelling fishes and shrimp to seek protection from the elements. They are also ideal spawning grounds for the laying of eggs.
  • There are over 65 species of aquatic ferns in the genus Marsilea, which are commonly known as pepperwort or water clover.
  • The means of reproduction for this species is rhizome division. The plant produces new branches, which eventually divide and form a new plant.
  • It has dark or lime green blades that may grow up to 1 cm in length and 5 mm in width, and the leaves are circinate.
  • Depending on the circumstances, it may grow partially submerged or entirely submerged in shallow, standing water on sand or clayey soils.
  • The plant produces rhizomes, which are underground stems. It is necessary to cut the rhizome and trim it at regular intervals along its length to generate a carpet-like appearance.
  • Anyone seeking a colorful carpet to cover the bottom of their aquarium’s tank needs to go no farther than Marsilea Hirsuta’s collection.

Are Marsilea Hirsuta Right for You?

There are a variety of live plants for your aquarium to choose from, and your preferences and needs will influence the species you pick. You may save money by buying a modest number of plants and propagating them to make more. Before purchasing a plant, scrutinize it to ensure it isn’t damaged or shows any insufficiency signs. 

Marsilea Hirsuta in planted tank

Any aquarium owner seeking a colorful carpet to cover the bottom of their tank might choose Marsilea Hirsuta. Furthermore, if you are interested in growing freshwater shrimp, the Marsilea Hirsuta will give you a perfectly smooth surface for them to rest on while they are growing. 

You can get this plant for your aquarium and enjoy the colorful landscape. All the pets inside the tank will love this low-maintenance plant. It is also readily available and does not require any expensive maintenance.


Is Marsilea Hirsuta a Plant That Grows at An Alarming Rate?

Because of its slow growth rate and carpeting nature, Marsilea Hirsuta may be used as an excellent aquarium plant, especially in the foreground.

Who Or What Is Marsilea, And What Is Her Mission?

Depending on the region, more than 3000 years have elapsed since it was first eaten as a food source. Its anti-inflammatory, diuretic, depurative, febrifuge, and refrigerant qualities are only a few of the numerous advantages of this plant.

What Is the Best Way to Determine If Marsilea Is Who She Claims to Be?

A swarm of floating leaves in the shape of clover floats on the surface of bodies of water, and the plants are securely rooted in the soil or other substrate where they grow.

Marsilea Hirsuta

What Technique Does Marsilea Employ When It Comes to Reproduction?

In addition to vegetative reproduction, Marsilea reproduces by producing spores, which the plant creates.

Is Marsilea a Member of The Homosporous Genus or A Different Species?

Sporophytes are plants that are members of the pteridophyte family of plants. They reproduce asexually by creating spores in sporangia, sac-like structures containing other bacteria’s spores.


Marsilea Hisuta is a favorite foreground aquarium plant that was originally sourced from the Island Nation of Australia. It is a low demanding plant that will thrive both in submerged or above water growing conditions. It has a tendency to grow in a carpet-like fashion when proper lighting and carbon dioxide is offered to it. Under insufficient lighting conditions, the plant will grow higher and lose its ability to form the carpet-like structures. It is a good fresh water aquarium plant to care for and thus can be taken up by beginners who are just getting started in the hobby.

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