Carpeting the tank is more or less decoration and Dwarf Baby tears steal the show in this aspect. Dwarf Baby Tears, however, bring various questions with them. What is dwarf baby tears? How can you care about dwarf baby tears? How can you plant dwarf baby tears in your tank?
Hemianthus callitrichoides, commonly known as HC or Dwarf Baby Tears are the most common carpeting plant that every other person prefers to keep in their tank. The factors like temperature, CO2, lighting, etc., however, decide the fate of these baby tears in the tank.
So, let’s dive in to know everything related to dwarf baby tears. The what-to-do and what-not-to-do list can be quite long when it comes to making your tank better.
Dwarf Baby Tears: An Overview
Dwarf baby tears are originally from the rivers and streams located in Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. It is a small plant that grows up to 1.2 inches in height and spreads well up to 4 inches.
These are the most popular plants that are widely kept in the aquarium. These form a carpet-like structure covering the whole substrate.
Dwarf baby tears, also known as Cuba or HC or Hemianthus callitrichoides, are the smallest aquarium plants.
These plants, although, grows very slowly, they can be real eye candy with their tiny, bright green leaves.
When you plan to get dwarf baby tears for your tank, you need to look at a few things to save them from misery.
One of the most important factors that can turn into a disaster when not done right is temperature. The ideal temperature for these plants lies between 65 to 75 °F.
Any higher than their ideal range results in melting and that is not something you want in your tank.
Light plays important role in the growth of any plant, so dwarf baby tears bear the same requirement. You need to have a well-lit tank for these plants to grow.
You need to have light at least strong enough of 2 watts per gallon for up to 10 to 14 hours a day. Any less than this will make them rise to the surface of the water as they grow in the wild.
You need high-powered lights even for a short tank. The absence of light not only raises the plant but also slower or stops these plants’ growth.
The ideal pH these plants ask for is towards the neutral side i.e. between 6 to 7. And no one will ever recommend you acidic water for these.
Acidic water is a curse for plants that ask for nutrient supplements for growth. You need to stick with the ideal range if you want your plant to do well.
Above all the things, CO2 tops the list-making itself the most wanted requirement for plant survival. You can once think about growing your plant in slightly high temperature or a little acidic water but you can never grow them without CO2.
You need to make sure these plants are getting sufficient carbon dioxide or else there is no plant left to care for. Watch carefully the symptoms of insufficient CO2 and plants will itself tell you what is the condition of Carbon dioxide in the tank.
Alike pH range, you can’t play around with the hardness of the water. Too Soft water is strongly disapproved of dwarf baby tears, that’s why it is better to stay in their ideal range for hardness.
The ideal hardness in which these baby tears thrive is between 1 to 10 dGH and carbonate hardness ranges between 5 to 20 dKH.
How Can You Take Care Of Dwarf Baby Tears?
Simple yet stressful factors play a vital role to make sure your baby tears are healthy and thriving. You need to make sure the following things are well adjusted if you genuinely care about your tank and these plants.
Do not play around with lights in the case of dwarf baby tears. They are sensitive about darkness and shadows.
Even the plants that can block their light is highly discouraged to use in the tank. Make sure you have high-powered lights that are on for at least 10 to 14 hours a day in the tank.
The height or depth of the tank, however, decides the power of the light needed in the tank. Small and narrow tanks will do fine with less powerful lights too.
But it is necessary to have 40 TO 50 PAR of light, especially LED lighting to keep your plants healthy and growing.
Water temperature needs to be within the ideal range. You can even use a heater to attain the ideal water range.
The most important thing is not to raise the temperature any higher as this can have serious consequences like melting.
Any less temperature stops the growth of the plants so severely that it will be difficult to regrow the same plant.
The roots of dwarf baby tears are very weak and sensitive that’s why it is important to choose a light-porous substrate. These poorly rooted plants can be well-rooted in these substrates.
The fine-grained substrate is the best option for these plants because the small grain helps these weak roots to grow faster and easier.
The most excellent and ideal choices for the substrate are ADA Amazonia aqua soil and Aqua soil powder. As these substrates are enriched with nutrients and have very small grain size, the growth becomes way faster.
Fertilizers make sure your plants are receiving every bit of nutrients that they need for their further growth.
Most of the fertilizers contain copper and iron that helps to overcome their respective deficiency in the tank.
Iron deficiency is the main cause of the discoloration of plant shoots into yellowish color. This is one of the major problems among dwarf baby tears.
Flourish Excel is highly recommended for the better and healthier growth of these Cuban plants in the tank.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) Supplementation
You can’t imagine the growth of these dwarf baby tears without the presence of carbon dioxide in the tank. It comes down to you provide them a steady CO2 injection between 10 to 30 ml in the tank.
It is impossible to grow these plants without carbon dioxide, you can try and regret it yourself. People learn faster from their mistakes.
Jokes apart, it is wise to watch closely how the plants are behaving. The tiniest fluctuation the carbon dioxide availability can make them unhealthy and withering.
If your plants are creeping well and pointing upwards or the leaves are not growing into their ideal size or say way smaller then it is time to check the CO2 level in the tank.
Remember to get a good CO2 kit for the well-being of your dwarf baby tears.
You can’t let these plants go thicker more than 2 inches as this can lead to their death. This might sound scary but it is true and you need to face it.
It is wise to trim the plants when you see it getting thicker than it is required. Every 4 weeks your dwarf baby tears attain compact form and make itself comfortable as a dense carpet of the tank.
But denser the dwarf baby tears, the higher the risk of death of lower plants. The plants that are below the upper plants may not get sufficient lighting that makes them decolorize at first and die at last.
The death of base dwarf baby tears leads to the death of upper ones as well. To keep the bottom safe, it is wise to trim the plant when it’s due.
Even the plants that lie below will rot due to unnecessary thickness making the whole cap float in the tank.
How Can You Trim Your Carpet Plant?
You can use pruning scissors to trim these plants and you must do this frequently. Just remember not to go too deep and leave the trimming before you can see the whiteness of the roots.
You need to trim the top parts of the plants to let them live a healthy life and not die sooner for no reason.
All you have to do is take the pruning scissors, snip the small layer from the top and go slow so that you don’t hit the roots.
You will have a healthier and denser look of the plants once the trimming is appropriately done. But remember to throw away all the trimmed sections with the help of a net out of the tank.
You also need to turn most of the equipment like powerheads, outline pipe, etc. off if you have any to collect the floating trash easily.
Planting Your Dwarf Baby Tetras
Planting these dwarf baby tears can not be as easy as you think it is. It is a long process and can give you actual baby tears as their name states.
You can plant them on the substrate or driftwood or other tank content but you have to be precise and careful.
First, you need to separate the store-bought plants into small portions ideal for planting with roots attached to each. Don’t forget to detach the Rockwool completely from the plants.
Rinse the plant thoroughly and take a pair of long tweezers in your hand. Either get the suggested substrate or start with the driftwood in the tank.
You need to insert these plants roots properly into the substrate so that they can’t come out easily. Or Use a fishing line or cotton thread to tie these plants around the wooden piece.
You need to plant it few centimeters apart into the substrate with the help of tweezers. But make sure the top section of your plant is above the soil.
Once the planting is done, let it sit for a few weeks and you’ll have the empty centimeters filled with these runners. A dense and healthy carpet will be in your tank if the tank requirement is well-met.
Propagation And Reproduction
Once the plantation is done, the roots of these plants will branch off and grow into another plant giving a carpet-like structure.
The reproduction is quite simple as that; however, you can propagate the plant with the help of stem cuttings or root splits.
This is not quite necessary and will be simpler to just pluck the small new plants along with roots and plant it in another place.
How To Propagate Dwarf Baby Tears?
You can get mature dwarf baby tears and cut them into small sections. These smaller separated sections can then be planted again in the substrate.
It is quite simple to cut the plant into pieces but it is even easier to uproot small new plants and plant it elsewhere.
Dwarf Baby Tears Tank Mates
Any fish with the same water requirements as these dwarf baby tears can be ideally placed with them. These plants can go from small to large tanks, breeding to a quarantine tank, aggressive to peaceful fish.
They are the package deal you can get for your tank, although there are some fish you need to keep away from these baby tears.
Fish that dig, or are big plant-eaters and hates sandy substrate will never go well with dwarf baby tears.
Even goldfish are safe without these plants because of their contradictory tank requirements. Most cichlids and cory fish also don’t go well with dwarf baby tears.
Likewise, you need to keep fish like Oscars, and Jack Dempsey away from these plants. They are ravaging fish and can uproot plants with weaker stems while rescaping the tank.
The ideal tank mates are quite a few and here is the list of them.
- Chili Rasboras
- Green Rasboras
- Ember Tetra
- Black Neon Tetra
- Silvertip Tetra
- Zebra Danio
- Leopard Danio
- Crystal Red Shrimp
- Cherry Shrimp
- White Clouds
Problems Related To Dwarf Baby Tears
When you take anything in hand related to the aquarium, problems seem to follow no matter how hard you try to ignore them.
But the slightest bit of care and attention can solve any problem related to these baby tears. All you have to know is what the problems are and what causes them.
Most of the time, your carpeting plant isn’t growing as you have previously thought or planned. It may be because of the few factors lagging.
You need to check the water quality, carbon dioxide level, fertilizers, and also lighting. One of these things might be insufficient or not meeting the ideal level.
Once these factors are well-maintained, your plant will start growing at its normal pace. But don’t keep your plant in a narrow space, as space can also be a causative agent in a slower growth rate.
Well, as already said, melting can be a headache when it comes to these baby tears. It is so common with any plants that grow in water.
All you have to do is pick and pluck those plants which are on the verge or already rotting. And of course, the temperature maintenance too.
Once you remove the rotten plants and maintain the ideal temperature, you’ll have a healthy and denser plant.
What happens if your carpet plant is not attaching itself to the substrate? Will you prefer the floating carpet? No Right. So, here is what you have to do.
First of all, give them a substrate where they can grow properly and provide enough lighting. The next step is to maintain the nutrient level, you can provide them additional supplements for that.
Last but not the least, make sure you have planted your dwarf babies properly. Once this checklist is all ticked, you’ll have your carpet plant carpeting the substrate.
Most of the time, discoloration is the result of insufficient lighting. Once you provide them enough light, they will grow in their natural color.
But iron deficiency can cause another trouble related to color. The deficiency of iron in dwarf baby tears make these plants yellowish.
So, you can solve this problem by simply dosing these plants with enough iron supplements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Grow Dwarf Baby Tears Without Co2?
No, these dwarf baby tears need carbon dioxide for their growth.
Will Dwarf Baby Tears Grow On Driftwood?
Yes, these plants can grow on driftwood if you plant them well.
In conclusion, when you get an aquarium, the first thing you think about is its fish, and next in line comes its decoration. Dwarf baby tears are the ideal carpet plants that can make your tank even better to look at. All you have to do is look after few things like temperature, lighting, pH, CO2 level, etc. to help in their proper growth. Remember to plant them carefully and handle them with care once they are properly planted. Trim them frequently and provide them enough supplements.