Marsilea Hirsuta is an aquatic plant that forms a beautiful thick carpet to give an aesthetic look to the aquarium and plant changes its leaf shape, size and color depending on the environment and parameters. The plant can grow above the water surface or entirely submerged in water. The plant is quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. For this same reason, the plant is compatible with a wide variety of fish species, shrimps and snails being the most common options. It can even tolerate the nibbling of fishes to a certain level. This plant also serves a great for a paludarium. The plant has a slow growth rate which adds to the benefit as it is easy to maintain and becomes a great option for beginners. This is considered one of the best options when it comes to aquatic carpet plants.

Marsilea Hirsuta Plant overview

Common Name

It’s commonly called Dwarf Marsilea fern.


The plant normally has green-colored four-lobed leaves. The color of the plant looks powerful under bright lighting. After a certain time, the plant develops different types of leaves: two or three lobed that vary in height (2 – 10 cm).


The plant is from the Native island of Australia. It is an amphibious plant that can be found growing fully or partially submerged in water.

Average Size

Marsilea Hirsuta has dark green leaves and can form a thick carpet (short and dense plants) under the proper conditions. But with no proper care and unsuitable conditions, that plant just grows taller and loses its ability to form a carpet.

However, depending on the aquarist’s desire, the conditions can be changed to attain a variety of looks from the same plant.

Growth Rate

The plant has a growth rate of moderate to fast. With proper conditions, it can form a carpet layer in a short period of time.


The plant is a foreground aquatic plant that forms a beautiful carpet to improve the aesthetic look of the aquarium and also provide an excellent environment for the fishes.


To get the desired effect in the aquarium tank, the plant runners can be pulled out using a pair of tweezers, and then the mat can be thinned out using a pair of scissors.

Planting Methods

The clump should be separated and then planted at regular intervals making use of tweezers so that the roots do not get damaged. The substrate should be sandy or clay soil to withstand the roots.

Ideal Setup

Marsilea Hirsuta just needs a good substrate, sufficient lighting can carbon dioxide to create a beautiful thick carpet that adds a sense of depth to the aquarium.

Care Level

The plant requires moderate care. It can still grow with no to less care. But with a little care and extra supplements, it can add to the aesthetic look of the aquarium.


The plant does not require any special supplements to grow. However, extra fertilizers in any form can add to the nourishment of the plant.


Generally, the plant can grow in low lighting. The plant grows well in intense lighting and this helps in creating a carpet-like effect.

Water temperature

The plant can tolerate a water temperature that goes up to 85 degrees Celsius. However, water temperature maintained between 18°C and 28°C created a favorable condition for the plant. The pH value can be maintained between 5 and 7.5.


Planting 1 to 2 inches of the plant’s rhizome into the substrate. Make sure these cuttings have left in them for the process of photosynthesis. In order to create a carpet, plant them at regular intervals. The initial growth takes a while, but after that, the progress is fast. The plant is capable of propagating naturally as well, you just have to trim the runners and replant them. Spore production can be seen in plants when they are not submerged in water.

Approximate Cost

The plant is available in a price range of 10 US dollars for a clump in a pot.
Common Diseases A common problem that the plant faces is melting, where the leaves start to rot. This is especially caused when the plant is introduced to a new environment. A plant that is grown outside water will face a lot of problems when moved to a submerged habitat.

What to look for when buying

The plants need to have healthy roots. The new leaves can be brown in color and should not be removed, assuming it is rotten. They change color as they mature.

Related Species

Marsilea drummondii, Marsilea crenata