Can Monte Carlo Carpet Plant Grow Without C02

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

Can Monte Carlo Carpet Plant Grow Without C02

Monte Carlo is a perfect carpet plant for your freshwater aquarium. The plant will grow into a luscious green and spread across your porous substrate with proper care, whether in a small 20-gallon tank or a large show aquarium.

However, Monte Carlo plants need plenty of care to grow and can take a long time to establish and spread!

So, besides patience, what else does a fish owner need to successfully grow this carpet plant in a fish tank?


Your Monte Carlo plants will take extremely long to grow without CO2 and under low light. The plant requires more than a low-tech tank set up to thrive.

With CO2 injection, your Monte Carlo carpet plant will establish in less than one month and spread within 3 months.

The plants also seem to grow better and faster in a tank with plenty of nutrients, so add your Monte Carlo seedlings to a reasonably (or slightly overstocked) fish tank.

Monte Carlo without CO2 will grow longer stems and is prone to melting in the first 4 weeks while transitioning from in vitro to submerse.

New Monte Carlo plants might turn brown when you add them to a fish tank because the old leafage needs to die for new foliage to establish….

…but as long as the plant is rooting and you’ve provided enough C02, light (8 to 10 hours), and other nutrients, your mc carpet plants should grow and spread.

Monte Carlo Carpet Plant Low Tech

Monte Carlo carpet plants will grow in a low-tech tank without C02 or nutrients (micro and macro) dosing. However, your plants could take up to 10 weeks to cover the substrate in a small tank and more time in larger tanks.

Your MC carpet plants will also develop longer stems and might melt before new foliage grows in a low-tech setup.

To grow your Monte Carlo plants faster (in low-tech), order 1.5 times what you would purchase for a high-tech aquarium and add them close to each other throughout the entire substrate.

Use 3 to 4 pots of Monte Carlo plants to plant a 10-gallon tank and up to five in a 20-gallon long aquarium.

Place each stem individually instead of laying them in clumps. It might take a while, but your Monte Carlo will spread quicker.

Because your plants are growing low-tech, they won’t fill your tank if you do not plant heavily.

Monte Carlo Carpet Plant Turning Brown

If you have new Monte Carlo carpet plants planted in your aquarium, you can expect them to turn brown and die in the first few (2 to 4) weeks of starting them.

Your stems are more likely to turn brown and die after you plant them submerged if they were growing in semi-submersed pots or in-vitro cups before you got them.

However, this should not worry you because most plants take time to acclimate to a new environment, and Monte Carlo is no exception. The old leafage must turn brown and die out to allow new foliage (adapted to your tank water) to thrive.

As long as the planted stems are rooting in the substrate and you are providing them with CO2, fertilizer (nutrients micro and macro), and adequate lighting 8 to 10 hours a day, your Monte Carlo will grow lush green leaves in seven weeks or so.

You can also decide to dry-start your Monte Carlo carpet stems and only fill your tank when new lush foliage has developed. These should only take 4 weeks (give or take).

Lastly, if your Monte Carlo plants are in a new fish tank, the browning may not be from the stems melting or dying. It could be brown algae or fungus, common in aquarium setups, and often disappear with time.

How to Grow Monte Carlo Plants in Your Aquarium

You can plant it in clumps or separate the Monte Carlo into individual strands.

To get lush, bright green Monte Carlo growing in your fish tank, you must have the lighting, fertilizer, Co2 dosing, and substrate right.

1. Start your mc carpet on porous ADA Amazonia substrate.

2. Plant 3 Monte Carlo grow pots, each stem individually, in a 10-gallon tank. Inject your plants with C02, add micro and macro nutrients once a week, and allow 8 to 10 hours of light daily.

3. Planting individual Monte Carlo strands (instead of clumps) helps your plants stay rooted and spread over the substrate faster. MC clumps tend to float, especially when planted in a filled aquarium. Plant your MC carpets in a gridlike pattern.

4. Break your Monte Carlo into portions of 3 stems, 2 to 3 inches long, if it is not possible for you to plant each of them individually. Bury half of each bunch, leaving the growth end out of the substrate.

5. You might want to start your Monte Carlo in a dry setup to keep the plants from melting and old leaves from dying. However, the leaves will still grow again if they die from planting in a filled-up tank.

6. Consider trimming your Monte Carlo regularly to allow the bottom of the plants to get enough light until the carpet rooted and fully spread on the substrate.

Monte Carlo Aquarium Plant C02 Requirement

Monte Carlo plants require a CO2 concentration of around 20 to 30 ppm (parts per million) (for optimal growth). The most effective way to do this is by injecting the it directly into the aquarium water, which you can do using a system that releases CO2 into the water as bubbles.

You can also add CO2 for you Monte Carlo carpets using Co2 tablets or liquid supplement. Increasing surface agitation in your aquarium works best when running a low tech planted tank to naturally add CO2 (and Oxygen) to your aquarium.

Remember to monitor CO2 levels in the aquarium using a CO2 test kit and make adjustments to ensure that Monte Carlo plants receive the necessary amount of CO2 for optimal growth.

The easiest way to check the CO2 available for your Monte Carlo plants is using a drop checker, a small glass devide filled with and indicator solution that changes color based on the CO2 level in your than water.

Does Monte Carlo Need Fertilization

Monte Carlo aquarium plants may need fertilization when grown in a high-tech tank, under high-light and added CO2. You can use liquid or substrate fertilizers to add the micro and macro-nutrients you mc carpet needs.

Put fertilizer tabs under your Monte Carlo to target root growth on new and juvenile seedling, then switch to liquid fertilizer once the plants are established.

However, before adding fertilizer to you tank, I suggest wait to see how the light, soil, and water column because you monte carlo because you do not want added fertilizer to support algae bloom.

Most aqua soils and waste from your fish have enough nutrients to support Monte Carlo growth without extra fertilization.

Monte Carlo Aquarium Plant Lighting

For Monte Carlo aquarium plants to grow lush and green, and in the shortest time, provide moderate to high lighting between 30 and 50 PAR. Even so, the intensity of your light required will vary (slightly) depending on the depth and length of your fish tank.

The distance of your light from the fish tank will also count while choosing the light to use in your Monte Carlo carpet tank. You can use a branded light PAR table to know if a light is adequate to grow the plants in your fish tank.

Use a long light in a long tank to prevent dead spots from forming toward the edges of your aquarium, stunting the growth of the MC clumps in those areas.

In a high tank, add a light with a higher PAR rating, enough to penetrate the water up to the bottom of your tank because Monte Carlo plants are carpet species that only rise a short distance from the substrate.

LED full-spectrum lights are popular for planted aquariums because they provide a perfect intensity, spectrum, and energy efficiency balance. When choosing a LED light for your Monte Carlo carpet plant, look for one with a color temperature of around 6500K, similar to natural daylight.


Another (less accurate) way to consider aquarium lighting for a planted tank is Watts per Liter. Monte Carlo carpets require moderate to high lights, about 0.5 and 1 watts per Liter or 2 to 4 Watts per Gallon.

Because plants use more Co2 and nutrients (micro and micro fertilizer) when there is enough light, use high light intensity (PAR 40 to 50) if you plan on dosing your Monte Carlo plants.

Moderate light intensity (PAR 20 TO 30) is best when growing MC carpets in a low-tech aquarium (zero CO2 or fertilization).

That said…

If you are in the market for a light (brand) ideal for growing Monte Carlo in your aquarium, consider one of these:

No. 1 Fluval 3.0 plant LED Planted Aquarium Light: Features a programmable 24-hour light setting and optional habitat light configuration for your tropical fish and aquarium plants.

You can use the FLuval app to manipulate the embedded device controller, which is very flexible and easy to preset for your Monte Carlo plants environment.

The initial cost of this light is high but justifiable because you won’t need additional hardware and software, plus it’s a higher-build than most planted tank lights.

The Fluval Aquasky Light will also do in a Monte Carlo 55-gallon (or smaller beginner) planted tank, though it is not a plant-specific version.

No. 2 Hygger LED Aquarium light: If you are more concerned with the price range, this light is decent enough for a Monte Carlo, low-tech planted aquarium.

The light comes with a timer that allows for gentle sunrise, sunset, and moonlight modes that you can set with various monotone colors.

The Hygger light compared to the well to Nicrew and Beamworks Vivio full spectrum lights, both decent alternatives for 40-gallon (or less) planted tanks.

It is a good light for the price range that won’t break down and will help your Monte Carlo thrive in low-tech but weak in a larger tank.

Your Monte Carlo plants might also take longer to grow under this light than the Fluval 3.0 or a premium light like Twinstar (pretty pricey, somewhat unjustifiably).

No. 3 Finnex Stingray: These fixtures should give you enough light to grow Monte Carlo in a 10-gallon aquarium but may not provide the necessary light in deeper or longer fish tanks.

It is a good choice for a low-medium light, low-tech 10 to 20-gallon Monte Carlo tank. Do not add CO2 or fertilizer to your MC carpets with this light.

If you want your plants to grow faster (in the future), start them in a large tank with another light, such as the Fluval, and place tiny fish or easier plants in your 10-gallon with the Finnex light.

This light is best for a beginning owner who does not want a complicated planted tank with elaborate light combinations or sophisticated C02 pressure aquarium systems.

Monte Carlo Aquarium Plant Substate

To grow luscious and green Monte Carlo plants in your aquarium, use a porous soil, such as ADA Amazonia.

ADA is a perfect substrate for your plants. Use it with CO2, fertilizer (micro and macro), and good lighting, like the Fluval 3.0, to get beautiful Monte Carlo and many other aquarium plants.

You can also use other aqua soils in your substrate when growing mc carpets with equally good results.

From experience (and some research), the best soils for Monte Carlo carpets are:

  1. ADA Amazonia - A substrate designed for aquascaping. It contains organic and inorganic materials that provide nutrients for plants like Monte Carlo.

  2. Seachem Fluorite - This porous, stable black clay gravel is rich in minerals needed for growth and provides a good anchorage for Monte Carlo roots. It is also known to improve water quality by removing impurities.

  3. Eco-Complete - This is another nutrient-rich substrate made from volcanic soil. It contains a blend of minerals and trace elements that can support Monte Carlo’s growth.

When using aquasoil, do a dry start because keeping the MC in the soil can be a pain with water in it. Your plantlets will often come uprooted.

How Long Does Monte Carlo Take to Grow in an Aquarium

Monte Carlo plants take 6 to 8 weeks to establish and about 4 months fully grow and spread in a 20-gallon aquarium. However, you must use C02 and fertilizer on your MC carpets to attain this timeline.

Your Monte Carlo plants shoul continue to grow and spread after 8 weeks, with some aquarists reporting growth rates of up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) per week under ideal conditions.

However, it’s important to note that growth rates can vary depending on the aquarium setup and the specific conditions.

You Monte Carlo plantlets will grow faster under moderate to high ligh (PAR intensity) and appropriate aqua soil, such as ADA Amazonia or seachem flourite.

You may also want to start your MC carpets in dry tank (fii it when they are rooted) in single strands instead of clumps to grow them faster.

An overstocked tank, with plenty of nutrients and well aerated is best for growing Monte Carlo faster in a low-tech tank (without C02 and fertilizer). Your MC should take 6+ months to establish and spread in this setting.

That’s all for this post.

Happy fish keeping!

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