Planted Aquarium

Dwarf Hairgrass Care: How To Plant, Propagate And Grow Dwarf Hairgrass

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If you want a lush carpeted plant in your aquarium for a gorgeous looking decor then, you should definitely go for Dwarf Hairgrass. The experiences with Dwarf Hairgrass are different from person to person. You must find out the exact water conditions and stick to them. The results are phenomenal. So, how to care for Dwarf Hairgrass then? Let us find out!

Dwarf Hairgrass is an easy plant to grow and maintain in your tank. The plant creates a gorgeous field in the bottom of your tank forming a thick and luscious carpet of grass. You can even oxygenate your tank and create space for your stressed fish at the bottom of the tank. Moreover, it helps to remove pollutants as well.

Without further delay, let us learn deeply about the plant!

Overview Of Dwarf Hairgrass

Dwarf Hairgrass is a freshwater species from the Cyperaceae family. It is easy to plant aquarium decor which needs plenty of access to light during its growth years.

Dwarf Hairgrass is a popular plant in the fishkeeping world because it is used as a carpet in the bottom of the tank. It not only looks good, but it also provides a green grass-like appearance to the aquarium.

Your bottom dwellers will be very happy with the plant as well as oxygenates the tank and reduce their stress. It also helps to clean the tank water.

You can get more information about cleaning and maintaining tanks from here:

The popular plant requires CO2 and nutrients to base its growth which is fairly faster. However, it might take 6 to 8 weeks to form a luscious carpet. The plant is extremely beginner-friendly though it might need some assistance here and there.

Category Rating
Family Cyperaceae
Care Level Beginner to Moderate
Growth Rate of plant Fast (Depends on conditions)
Maximum Size of plant 4 to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Temperature of water 50° F to 85° F (10° C to 20° C)
pH of water 6.5 to 7.5 pH
Hardness of water 2 to 10 KH
Lighting Moderate
Propagation Runners
Placement of Plant Carpet
Fertilizer Root
Aquascaping Foreground to midground

Natural Habitat Of Dwarf Hairgrass

Dwarf Hairgrass is a wild plant even though you can see them in gardens neatly mowed. These plants are also called Hairgrass depending on the species.

Talking about its natural habitat, it is available from North America to Europe and Asia to South America. It is not shocking as they are quite easy to grow and they also grow under various water parameters.

Basically, these species of plants grow in highly lighted areas such as the shorelines in shallow areas. There are three species of this plant but the care is literally the same.

Articles about maintaining the water quality and parameters that you may like:

Why Should You Keep Dwarf Hairgrass In Your Aquarium?

There are various benefits of growing the Dwarf Hairgrass in your aquarium. Some of them are already mentioned above. But, let me show you the bigger picture here.

Here are the reasons why you should keep Dwarf Hairgrass in your aquarium:

Oxygenate The Tank Water

Plants provide oxygen in the tank water as they regulate and grow. Dwarf Hairgrass requires CO2 for its growth. So, it takes in carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen in the tank. It makes the tank healthy for your fish which automatically makes them happy.

Keep The Tank Clean

Dwarf Hairgrass removes some pollutants before they can build up causing toxicity to increase in your aquarium. Hence, it maintains a clean tank for both you and your fish.

Shelter For Your Fish

Hairgrass is a bottom carpeted plant. It works as a shelter for your fish as well as soothes their stresses. These plants also help your fish to feel at home which is the greatest thing that you can maintain as a fishkeeper.

Unique Appearance

Keeping an aquarium is a moment of pride. If you have an interest in aquariums and fish keeping, then you know that you have to maintain uniqueness in your tank. For the same reason, Dwarf Hairgrass is your choice.

These plants give your aquarium a classy look with a green carpet view and a clean tank. It definitely adds color to your aquarium.

Shield From Currents

Plants have to regulate the currents of water. Especially if you have filters that create air bubbles or even just regulate the tank water, the current may harm your fish. These plants are perfect to maintain a soothing current of water for your fish.

What Does Dwarf Hairgrass Look Like In Your Aquarium?

Let us not cap here. You know something just fits in your aquarium when it does not overshadow any other equipment. In simple words, it just fits and makes the aquarium look wholesome.

Dwarf Hairgrass is one of them. Its name itself tells something about its appearance. The plant looks like grass with strands rather than leaves. If you ask me, it gives me coral vibes. Besides, these strands are more like hair as it is really thin.

Similarly, its roots are as thin as its strands and they are white. Thus, these roots are not visible as they stay in the substrate.

It is short if compared to other species of the same type which is why dwarf comes as its first name. Although, you can expect it to reach up to 6 inches making it ideal for carpeting.

Because strands are all densely packed, their true color intensified much more at the bottom of your aquarium. Just wait until your aquarium lights hit these plants! You will be amazed.

The coral vibes I was talking about comes into action when these Hairgrass get taller. The current of the tank water gently makes the grass flow! It is an amazing site for both your fish and you. Make sure you leave a comment below if you have them in your aquarium as well!

Two species are present which look more or less the same. But, E. Acicularis has curlier and slightly taller blades.

What To Look For When You Buy Dwarf Hairgrass?

Dwarf Hairgrass is pretty popular in the aquarium world. So, you will not have much difficulty in finding them in stores. In fact, you can get one right here from this link. SubstrateSource Eleocharis sp. “Dwarf Hairgrass” Live Aquarium Plant – Tissue Culture Cup, is the affordable and best one on amazon.

Moreover, these beauties are quite cheap to buy but do not go with the price because you might find it hard to grow. You should get enough for carpeting in your aquarium!

If you choose a plant by yourself, make sure you do not buy the first one you see. These plants generally sell in pots of clumps. Thus, you have to pick a healthy plant so that you can make it grow and survive in your tank.

If you find any brown colorations, the plant is not for your aquarium. So, see for one with bright green blades. If you are buying them online, check the reviews. An extra tip here is to look for long roots that absorb nutrients.

Moreover, tears and brown patches are a reason to say no to the plants in shops. If you get a healthy plant, you will never have to struggle to care for it!

How To Care For The Dwarf Hairgrass?

Dwarf Hairgrass can be extremely eye-catching for your tank if you are able to maintain it properly. Here are some things that you can do to care for the Dwarf Hairgrass.

Tank Setup For Dwarf Hairgrass

Dwarf Hairgrass is found almost all over the world. It lives in similar conditions where it’s found. So, it can work in various temperature and water parameters.


For lighting, you can use normal aquarium lights. Shallow tropical freshwater plants like these need plenty of access to light.

Recreating its natural habitat is how you can keep it happy and make it grow fast. Besides, doing that is pretty easy since Dwarf Hairgrass is a hardy plant.

To make it grow into a carpet, make sure you do not block its light either by plants or any other equipment in the tank. Otherwise, you will only have scraggly hair.

I suggest you use lights that are customizable so that you can manage the tank and guide it through the algae issues.

For mid-range affordable planted aquarium lights, NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants (18 to 24 Inch, 15 Watts) is the best.

Similarly, durable aquarium lights for plants would be Plant Spectrum Fluval Bluetooth Freshwater Light LED (36 inches to 48 inches).

Size Of The Tank

The size of the tank is important to any fish or plant you decide to use. There is no math or rule to keep Dwarf Hairgrass in the tank. You can keep it in small as well as large tanks since it is a small plant.


Dwarf Hairgrass does very well with any kind of substrate but you have to make sure you use only 1.5 inches of it.

Besides, make sure you use a substrate that is easy to push through. Sands would be a great substrate for this plant! They also breakthrough gravel but it will take time and is harder.

Dwarf Hairgrass needs CO2 to send out oxygen in your tank. I have the following suggestions for you.

Carib Sea SuperNaturals Peace River (20LB) would be a good substrate if you are looking for one. For Co2 booster, you can use API Co2 Booster Freshwater Aquarium Plant Treatment 16 oz Bottle which is quite cheap as well as effective.

Water Parameters For Dwarf Hairgrass

You have to maintain the appropriate water parameters to make the Dwarf Hairgrass grow at the fast-growing pace that you want it to. The temperature of the water should be around 50° F to 85° F (10° C to 20° C). It can survive in cold temperatures which is the reason why it is distributed widely.

Along with it, you should maintain the pH of the water from 6.5 to 7.5 pH. Likewise, the hardness of the water should be under 2 to 10 KH. If you are able to maintain these things, you will be surprised with a gorgeous tank.

You should definitely avoid extremely acidic and alkaline waters!

How To Plant Dwarf Hairgrass In Your Aquarium?

To plant a Dwarf Hairgrass, you need to find a substrate first. Besides, take extra care that the roots should not be damaged by grains.

Then, determine a place in your tank that would be perfect for the plant. You can also form a layer at the bottom of the plant as a carpet. If you decide to do so, a tip from me is to trim the front blades shorter so that you can see the backside clearly too.

Where you want to plant the Dwarf Hairgrass, there should be plenty of light. If you decide to plant it in a shady area, it will not only just not grow but it might also die.

Put in some aquarium soil and then some substrate. Bury the roots of the plant into the substrate fully and enjoy the strands flowing in the water.

I would say that you should break the grass-like plant into a smaller bunch and then plant them. It would make them grow faster.

Maintaining Dwarf Hairgrass

Maintaining Dwarf Hairgrass is not much work. It is hardy and does great with most water parameters. But, you can still do the following things to maintain it in a proper manner.

Trimming The Blades

To maintain the plant, you might need to trim some strands the weekend they get too long. If you like long blades, you do not have to do that too. If not, you might need to cut more often because they grow pretty fast.

Creating Some Hideouts

You can also create hideouts for your fish dwelling in the middle level by keeping the Hairgrass taller than the back. Because you do not want to block your view but give your fish a sense of safety. How caring are you!

Access To Light

To make Dwarf Hairgrass grow as you want it to, you should plant it in places with access to light. In other words, shaded areas are no-go. If the plants lack proper lighting, you will surely face difficulty in making them grow! Thus, you shall choose wisely.

Nutrients and CO2

If you are providing the appropriate light for your plant but it is still not growing, then lack of CO2 or nutrients can be the cause. Just get them from the store. Be sure to check the effects on fish.

Algae Maintenance

A combination of light, water, as well as plants is the perfect place for algae. So, you might face this problem. Either you are providing too much light or too little CO2.

However, the best way to get rid of algae is to add algae eaters in the tank.

Here are the 30 Best Algae Eaters For Freshwater Aquarium.

Likewise, you might also like Algae in Fish Tank: Type, Cause, and Control.

What Problems Can Occur With Dwarf Hairgrass?

Even though it is very easy to care for, the common problems that might occur with your Dwarf Hairgrass are-

Algae Growth

As I have already mentioned before while maintaining the plant in the tank, algae growth can trouble you. So you need to check the nutrients that you are providing to the plant in the water. Make sure you do not give them too much light or too many nutrients.

Difficulty To Grow Or Carpet

Dwarf Hairgrass might not carpet or grow at all. People who have tried this and failed will rate the plant pretty low. But, believe me! The plant is more than that.

You have to give it another chance with proper lighting, nutrients, and substrate. Besides, make sure you do not trim their roots as it stops the growth.


Melting can occur because you require a heater in a tank and this might be harmful to your plant. The plants might start rotting if you pluck up the dying parts. Therefore, you cannot do anything about it. Just let it grow and it shall be fine.

Propagation Of Dwarf Hairgrass

Propagation of Dwarf Hairgrass is not on your hands. You can only do a few things to help it grow. Otherwise, everything else is the plant’s decision itself.

The first thing to know is that the roots cannot be grown by cutting the plant. You have to wait for it to bloom. And then wait some more for the shoot too.

Do not cut the roots if you want a carpet though. Additionally, there is always some light, fertilizers, and Co2 you can give to the plant to let it grow.

You may also try trimming shoots and maintaining the water parameters at mid-range. These are just tiny efforts to make compared to the other aquatic plants. But, you definitely have to make your waiting game strong!

Tank Mates and Compatibility

Let me start by creating boundaries for its tankmates. The first thing you have to check is whether the fish can live in bright lights or not which most fish do not prefer.

The second thing is to check if the fish you want to have in your tank hates water currents. Since the Hairgrass flows a little with the water, the fish may not tolerate such activity in their tank.

Make sure that you have a smaller tank as these plants only grow better in small tanks and have an attractive appearance like so. Here are some tank mates that find Dwarf Hairgrass attractive with something to know about them too.

You might be interested in our other article Small Tropical Fish That Does Not Require Much Space.


Keep the density of other plants and Dwarf Hairgrass at a similar pace. Not only this, but the Dwarf Hairgrass carpet may also take away all the resources you put in your tank. This means the other plants start to die off which you might not want surely.

Let me mention that other plants with long leaves might get nibbled by fish but with Dwarf Hairgrass, you are good to go.


The aquarium is incomplete without fish. So, whether you choose a fish for the aquarium and then choose a plant suitable for it or vice versa. Supposing you did the latter one, these are the species of fish you might want to check out to keep in your tank with Dwarf Hairgrass with their care sheet:

Get to learn more about Fish to Avoid For A Planted Aquarium from here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Dwarf Hairgrass Spread?

Dwarf Hairgrass is the best aquarium plant for beginners. Moreover, it is a beautiful plant for those who keep seasoned aquariums. It will spread its green leaves at the bottom covering of your aquarium. That is you will have gorgeous grass-like leaves in your aquarium.

Not only this, but Dwarf Hairgrass will also use runners to propagate and spread out like a stunning, thick carpet.

Do Dwarf Hairgrass Need CO2?

Yes, Dwarf Hairgrass does require CO2. Eleocharis Parvula and Eleocharis Acicularis are the two species of Dwarf Hairgrass. The popular freshwater plant is very easy to care for. Because of this, it is popular among aquarists. The few needs that it requires to consist of CO2, light, and some nutrients.

Can You Grow Dwarf Hairgrass In Gravel?

It is an absolute yes. You can definitely grow Dwarf Hairgrass in the gravel. Not only this, but you might even be amazed to know that the plant grows in course substrate which is where the gravel comes into the picture.

You might just want to reconsider the process of growing Dwarf Hairgrass in gravel though. It will grow but it will not spread as easily as it would normally.

How Long Does It Take For Dwarf Hairgrass To Carpet?

You might have found many articles deeming that the Dwarf Hairgrass grows fast but why is it not growing? Actually, the Dwarf Hairgrass grows fast but it is not the fastest. So, you can expect it to root in 6 to 8 weeks under the right tank conditions.

However, if you do not provide it the right conditions. It might take longer to grow and form a beautiful carpet in your tank!

Should You Go For Dwarf Hairgrass?

Dwarf Hairgrass is definitely your go-to if you want an easy plant to grow and maintain in your tank. Besides, you might just need a little bit of trimming here and there sometimes.

Otherwise, it is suitable for any aquarium sizes that you may have. It is also very hardy and adapts to a wide range of setups and water conditions.

You can expect your plant to oxygenate the water in the tank as well as remove the pollutants and toxic levels.

It can be kept in aquariums of all sizes, and it can be kept in a wide range of setups because it can adapt to a variety of conditions. Bring home the best and most popular plant in the fishkeeping world to find out why!

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