Glosso Plant (Glossostigma Elatinoides)

So you have a vivarium and you want to consider a nice ground cover for the aquatic section.

You’ve contemplated various types of moss but you want something a bit more frugal or maybe just a different look altogether.

If you have recently come into possession of Glossostigma or thinking about using it, there are a few things you should know about the carpeting plant.

This article will take a closer look at one of the most popular aquarium plants in the field: Glosso.

Make sure to read ahead for a complete understanding and care guide to properly growing one.

Quick Stats:
Scientific Name Glossostigma elatinoides
Common Name Glosso Plant, Small Mud-Mat
Family Name Scrophulariaceae
Habitat Freshwater
Temperature 68°F to 79°F
Height 1 - 2in
pH 5.8 to 7.2
Lighting Bright

What Is A Glosso Plant?

Glosso is a compact carpeting plant most commonly used in freshwater aquariums. It is a rather small, yet fast-growing species from the Scrophulariaceae family.

Although it is not considered easy to grow or very well suited for beginners, it has still managed to acquire high popularity amongst those in the field.

Most of the time it is used as an aquascaping tool to decorate the forefront of a tank.

Aside from its aesthetical benefits, Glosso also helps with removing excess CO2 from the enclosure.

Glosso Plant (Glossostigma Elatinoides) Care Guide

Glosso Plant Facts

Glosso Plant is botanically known as Glossostigma Elatinoides. Aside from its scientific name, it is also commonly referred to as Small Mud-Mat.

The plant wasn’t introduced to the world of aquariums until the late 1980s when the new owner of company Aqua Design Amano, Takashi Amano, imported it to Japan.

It was then that the talented hobbyist began creating mesmerizing designs with the luscious green flora.

Now, Glosso has become very well-known all around the world and is usually one of the top options for carpeting plants in vivariums.

Glossostigma Elatinoides is also frequently confused with Marsilea crenata, also known as the Water Clover. Despite their similarities, the two plants are completely different species.

One of their most notable differences is that Glosso has creeping runners with two leaves per node, while Marsilea has only one leaf per node.


The physical appearance of the Glosso Plant will be partially determined by the amount of light and nutrients that it receives.

With the proper nourishment and lighting scenario, the plant will remain short and condensed.

It will most likely grow no more than about an inch high and expand like a carpet across the vivarium floor.

The leaves have vivid green colors and grow attached to a stalk that connects to the plant stem.

They are about 5mm in size and grow in a curled manner. Some people describe them as having a tongue shape.

Glossostigma Elatinoides is known for growing rather fast, which causes the leaves to start overlapping one another.

This creates a very heavy and stuffed look that resembles a coat of mail from above. In addition, when the plant is growing in favorable conditions, a bubble of air can be seen on its surface.

Such an occurrence is a clear indication that an active photosynthesis process is successfully taking place.


Glosso Plant is a species native to Oceania. It originates from places like Tasmania, New Zealand, and South-East Australia.

In those locations, the flora can be seen naturally growing next to the water in lowlands and bogs. Since it is a beach plant by nature, Glossostigma Elatinoides get flooded once every so often.

Glosso is capable of growing completely submerged as well as emersed. This means that it will grow completely underwater or it can be rooted in shallow water with much of the foliage growth above the water.

Most of the time, Glosso will be seen rooted in the mud with its leaves uncovered.

Due to its origin, the ideal temperature for this plant’s optimal growth falls anywhere between 68 to 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

pH Preference

Glosso Plant tends to prefer slightly acidic pH levels.

The pH level of water measures the relative acidity or alkalinity based on a scale of about 0 to 14. A pH of 7 represents neutral levels, meaning neither acidic nor alkaline.

Even though the hypothetical range of pH is actually a lot wider, when it comes to plants the range used is typically between 4 (highly acidic) and 10 (highly alkaline).

The ideal pH for Glossostigma Elatinoides will range anywhere between 5.8 and 7.2.

Vivarium Type

This type of carpeting plant will be a great addition to a variety of vivarium types. When deciding if rather or not to use it in a particular type of enclosure, be sure to go with setups that have aquatic features.

Also, keep in mind that low-tech enclosures might not be the best idea. Glosso has very high lighting requirements that will most likely need the assistance of artificial lights.

Here are recommended vivarium Glossostigma Elatinoides will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.
  • Aquariums– Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

As mentioned before, Glosso is a fully aquatic species. Therefore, the plant will not survive in dry environments.

Avoid placing the plant above ground where there isn’t a sufficient amount of water. One of the most popular places to grow this species is in the foreground of the enclosure.

Its thick carpeting nature makes it an ideal decorative tool for an otherwise neglected area. However, when placed all the way at the bottom, make sure that the plant is receiving enough lighting.

When the light is not strong enough, or it is obstructed by other plants and decor, Glosso will grow upwards instead. The outcome will be lanky and unattractive.

Glossostigma Elatinoides can also be successfully grown emersed. Therefore, the dividing area of a Paludarium can be a great location.


When growing Glosso Plant, the substrate is one of the main factors that should be taken into consideration.

This species requires nutrient-rich aquarium soil to reach its full potential.

Finding a substrate that has the right amount of macronutrients will have a major impact on the plant’s health and appearance.

Some great options for easy-to-find substrates will be Power Sand and ADA Iron Bottom.

An alternative solution to finding a rich substrate will be the use of supplementation. Regularly adding liquid fertilizer is another safe option, as long as it is done properly.

The fertilizer used should have phosphates, nitrate, and other micro-nutrients. A good example of a fertilizer that can be used would be Seachem Flourish Excel Bioavailable Carbon.

Keep in mind that the product should not be used when cycling the tank. It has antibacterial properties, which can end up killing beneficial bacterial and disrupting the cycle.

Last but not least, Glosso should not be planted in a coarse substrate. This species has long and very thin roots that will not be able to properly penetrate a rough substrate.

Aim for a mix that is soft with smooth-edged grains about 2-3 mm in size.


Glosso is a very demanding plant when it comes to aquarium lighting. This species will require high levels of illumination in order to fully thrive.

In fact, the only way that the plant will achieve its carpet look is if it receives the proper amount of light. Without enough of it, Glosso will not spread horizontally.

Light intensity provided should be at least 2 to 3 watts per gallon of water and daylight duration should not be any less than 10 hours.

Nonetheless, Glossostigma Elatinoides will not die in lower scenarios. However, the coveted and famous lawn effect will not be obtained.

Buy Glosso Plant

Buying Glosso Plant should be a fairly straight forward and easy task to complete. However, there are a few steps that should be taken to assure that the plant being bought is healthy.

Purchasing a healthy plant, that does not have any preexisting conditions, will undoubtedly increase the odds of it growing successfully inside the vivarium.

For starters, avoid any cracked, yellowing leaves, that have dead tips or are torn. Also, make sure that the foliage is bright and green.

Another clear indicator of Glossostigma elatinoides’ health is the presence of algae. Batches with any visible amount of algae should immediately be avoided.

Algae is a fast and vicious spreader, and any small traces of it can potentially contaminate an entire vivarium. The same criteria should apply to vegetation that is purchased online.

Always buy from trustworthy and reputable sources that have overall good reviews. Once the batch arrives, check the plant for all of the above signs.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info on Glosso Plant for sale:

Glosso Plant Care and Propagation

Glosso Plant is known for being a very fast grower. However, it does require some extra care and work to get the species to thrive.

The key to success with this plant is light, the use of CO2, and a nutrient-rich substrate.

Algae are known to become a problem with Glossostigma elatinoides and without any added CO2 it can easily grow out of control.

Periodic trimmings will also be very important to maintain healthy foliage and growth.

To make sure that the plant forms a compact green carpet, yellow or rotting leaves must be cut off and disposed of.

As long as its main needs are met, Glosso will take off and grow rather quickly and densely. For this reason, it is considered an intermediate-level species to try and grow.

How to grow

Glosso Plant propagates through the use of runners. Most of the time, this species will propagate all on its own.

These runners branch off the root area and then develop into a new plant without really needing any human assistance.

As long as enough light and a nutritious substrate are provided, the plant will spread to the sides and create a carpet of vegetation.

If you would like to accelerate the process, single stems can be pinched off and then planted somewhere else.

Each stem must have some sort of root growth already on it. Then, simply place the stem into the substrate and make sure that all of the roots are buried.


Glossostigma Elatinoides is usually grown fully submerged or emersed and for that reason, it will not require constant watering.

It will automatically take whatever water it needs from being underwater. However, the species will most definitely like a very nutritious diet.

Moderate amounts of CO2 can always be added to give the plant a nice boost in growth and health.

Keep in mind that steady water flow will also be important when growing Glosso.

This will not only help the propagation phase but also lower the chances of developing algae and provide more nutrients throughout the colony.

Periodic water changes will also help make sure that the water conditions are kept within proper ranges.

Plants Similar To Glosso

Even though some hobbyists enjoy sticking to a specific theme when building an enclosure, that does not mean that only one type of plant must be used.

Adding diversity and versatility is crucial to creating a captivating vivarium. Mix up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Not only will it be more pleasing to the eye, but it will also make the tank look more realistic. Furthermore, if for some reason you are having a hard time getting your hands on this plant…

Here are some other options that may do well with or in the place of Glossostigma Elatinoides:

Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis Parvula)
Brazilian Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis)
Dwarf Sagittaria (Sagittaria Subulata)


There you have it! A short, yet very thorough guide on how to care for a Glosso Plant. Although this species is not one of the easiest or most maintenance-free in the hobby, it is definitely a great addition to a vivarium.

Its thick and vivid green carpeting nature will take any set up to the next level. Just make sure to give it plenty of light as well as some rich substrate and watch it take off!

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