Planted Aquarium

How To Plant Dwarf Hairgrass In Gravel? Awesome Tricks

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 Dwarf hairgrass is an easy to care plant and grows out to become a luscious carpet in your aquarium. Not only is it beautiful to see but it is also equally beneficial to the fish and other living invertebrates in your aquarium. So, many people believe that gravel is the way they can decorate the aquarium and push the grandeur to the next level. Then, how to plant Dwarf Hairgrass in gravel and can we even do that? Let us find out!

Yes, of course, you can plant dwarf hairgrass in gravel without a doubt. Out of many aquarium plants, Dwarf hairgrass is also one that can be grown in the gravel. But the main trick here is that you might need to use root tabs and CO2 so that the plant has the required nutrients in the aquarium.

For growing a plant in the best way possible, there are various factors that influence it. Without any further delay, let us find out what they are!

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Dwarf Hairgrass Overview

The Dwarf Hairgrass is quite a mainstream plant among aquarists. It is a freshwater species that is easy to take care of if you know some tricks here and there. Similarly, it does need a lot of light to grow but it is worth it to use as an aquarium decor.

Not only is it gorgeous but it is also a good plant to provide happiness to your bottom dwellers. Likewise, there is proper maintenance of oxygen in the tank if you use this plant. The reduction of stress and clean tank water is induced by this plant which makes it one of the most loved species in the aquarium world. 

You can use it as a thick luscious carpet at the bottom of the tank. This plant provides a royal vibe to your aquarium.

Category Rating
Family Cyperaceae
Propagation Runners
Care Level Beginner to Moderate
Maximum Size of plant 4 to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Growth Rate of plant Fast (Depends on conditions)
Placement of Plant Carpet
Fertilizer Root
Aquascaping Foreground to midground

What To Know Before You Plant Dwarf Hairgrass In Gravel In Your Aquarium?

There are a couple of things that you should know before you plant the dwarf hairgrass in the gravel substrate. Not only does it require patience for the growth of the plant in the gravel because of the coarse substrate but it also needs certain equipment that can push its growth better. 

Here are some of the things that you need to know before you plant the Dwarf Hairgrass in your aquarium:

  • You can only find 3 species that are underwater tolerant for the Dwarf hairgrass. They are actually  Eleocharis acicularis ‘Mini’, Eleocharis parvula, and Eleocharis Belem. 
  • E parvula is the most commonly used aquarium plant because it is easier to grow than the other two species.
  • You can use the E acicularis and E Belem if you are trying to keep a smaller tank or nano fish tank.
  • You will require to give these plants lots of care to ensure that they are growing properly.
  • Similarly, a little trim here and there will boost up the growth of the plant. So, it is also the basic maintenance skill required for this type of plant.

How To Plant Dwarf Hairgrass In Gravel?

Planting Dwarf Hairgrass is not a tough task to do. You can do that in many ways by using thread, fishing line, superglue, etc. But, the planting of dwarf hairgrass in the gravel is a little different from that in the sand. So, let me give you a brief explanation on how to plant dwarf hairgrass in gravel:

Divide The Hairgrass in Patches of 4 to 6 Blades of Grass

It is essential that you divide the hairgrass into groups of blades. The bigger patches you use, the slower the growth will be. So, choosing a patch of four to six blades is the best way to speed up the growth of these plants. 

However, this does not mean using small packs if more fruitful. Using one pack will not give you a luscious carpet. The runners will spread better with a group of fewer blades of grass. As a result, there will be healthy competition among the grass blades. 

Trim The Roots

Trimming roots of the Dwarf hairgrass is giving it space to grow better. You can see it spreading the runners. 

The more scheduled trimming you do, the more guided energy you will provide to your plant. Thus, the plants will recover faster and grow at a faster speed. 

The Use Of Plant Tweezers

The next step is to use the plant tweezers to grab the roots of the plant. What does this do? This is not just for the royal vibe that you get by being more dramatic about it. But it is also a necessity.

Your hands and fingers might affect the roots of the plant which can make its growth slower. So, using a stainless steel plant tweezer will get you the desired result of a full-grown luscious dwarf Hairgrass carpet. 

This is especially essential when you are planting in gravel because the roots are sensitive and easily thrust out of the gravel.

Placement Of The Patches

Now that your patches of the four to six blades are ready, you can place the patch an inch apart or half an inch apart. Not only will this provide space for the runners to spread better but it is the best way not to overcrowd the patches in the aquarium as they still have to grow.

Time To Push Patches Into Substrate

You have the tweezers and the patches. You know how to place the places. Now it is the turn of where to place them. The choice is gravel of course. So your substrate here is coarse. Hence, you can first lay the groundwork. 

Put in the gravel in the aquarium or if it is already there, just push in the patches of blades gently. Use tweezers to do so. Here, you can create a 45-degree angle to apply some force.

Pull Away

Now gently pull the tweezers away. I would suggest a third deep placement of the blades such that they do not fall off easily. You can even shake gently so that the roots can get entangled in the substrate for better grip. 

It will also help you to pull out the tweezers without harming the blades of the grass. Now the placement and planting are completed.

Nurture The Plant

The placement is not enough, you will need to trim it every now and then. Similarly, give the plant little push through root tabs and CO2. This is sufficient to boost up the growth of the plant better.

What You Require To Do After Planting Dwarf Hairgrass In Gravel?

As you already have the idea that the dwarf hairgrass can be grown in the gravel, you must be very excited to know how to do it. There are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to make this work.

Gravel is a coarse substrate. It is quite hard to grow the plants in the gravel substrate as they lack nutrients and the water that is needed for proper growth. However, since the plants are already inside the water, we are already halfway through.

So, the basic thing that you need to consider is providing it the necessary nutrients essential for the growth of the plants in a proper way. You can even add CO2 to the aquarium to boost up the plant.

The runners might not spread that easily in gravel as they would have in a softer substrate like sand. But you do not have to lose hope. All you need is patience and some root tabs to do your job.

What’s more? You need to get a pair of plant tweezers to maintain the grass blades. Moreover, the grass blades will tend to break through the gravel. You have to notice these changes and fix them.

My ultimate suggestion is to cover the plant with a mesh net such that you can get maximum security from the bottom feeders of your tank. These can be easily uprooted as the coarse gravel has less grip on it. 

How To Care For Dwarf Hairgrass Planted In Gravel?

Just the decision of planting is not enough. You have to give the time to care for the plant to keep it alive and happening. So, what makes you the king of the aquarium world is how you take care of it with the same consistency. 

So, here are some of the ways you can take care of the Dwarf Hairgrass that is planted in the gravel.


Dwarf Hairgrass requires a lot of light. One of the reasons why it is such a plant is because it is famous for carpeting. Thus, the main way of it growing is through light and root tabs.

Since the lighting system is at the top of the aquarium and the plant is at the bottom, it becomes difficult for the plant to reach the light for photosynthesis. 

Thus, you need to understand the PUR (Photosynthetic Usable Radiation) concept. You can get these from the ever famous LED lights specially meant for the aquariums. 

The deeper your tank, the brighter your lights should be. However, also consider the types of fish you are going to use. You cannot harm your pet while creating a home for them.

For better suggestions about the aquarium sizes and weights as well as equipment that you can use in them, you can visit our site for an article dedicated to it completely.

NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants (18 to 24 Inch, 15 Watts) is one of the best if you are looking for mid-range lighting systems.

Likewise, Plant Spectrum Fluval Bluetooth Freshwater Light LED (36 inches to 48 inches) is your choice if you are looking for the best durable lights for the planted aquarium.

Tank Setup

The tank setup is also another factor of whether the plant is able to survive or not. Check out the specs for the tank you have to maintain to create a better environment for the plant.

Water Parameters Care Guide
pH of water 6.5 pH to 7.5 pH
Hardness of water 2 KH to 10 KH
Lighting Moderate
Temperature of water 50° F to 85° F (10° C to 20° C)

From the table, you can see that the water temperature is perfect when it is over 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a large spec, so it is actually a durable and versatile plant.

Similarly, for the ph of the water, you can adjust it to 6.5 pH to 7.5 pH. For the hardness of the tank water, you can maintain a minimum of 2 KH and a maximum of 10 KH. 

Remember that these water parameters are very important for the Dwarf Hairgrass to grow correctly and in the appropriate amount. If you are finding it hard to maintain the balance of pH, learn How to Increase pH Level in a Freshwater Tank?


Fertilizers for plants are like food for humans. The nutrition for plants comes from fertilizers. So, you can either use a nutrient-rich substrate but since you have chosen gravel instead, you have to put in fertilizers.

The fertilizers are namely nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can thus put these nutrients in the water itself so that the plants can suck in all the nutrients. However, I recommend you to use a better substrate from the go because these chemicals might also spike the levels of ammonia and disrupt the nitrogen cycle.

Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement – Aquatic Plant Stimulant 40 ct is a great stimulant. I have been quite impressed with the way it worked wonders for my own hairgrass. It does push the growth faster.


It is quite essential to understand the importance of CO2 in the plant world. You might have been familiar with the photosynthesis process as a child. Basically, the CO2 is oxygen for plants. These plants will live with Co2 and breathe out oxygen. How awesome is that?

That is why the fish have more oxygen in the presence of plants. You can thus add some CO2 in the aquarium to smoothen the growth of the plants but mind that excess CO2 in the aquarium can kill your fish.

Be very careful! You can use API Co2 Booster Freshwater Aquarium Plant Treatment 16 oz Bottle for CO2 booster that is quite cheap as well as effective.

It is not completely indispensable but if you know how to use it properly, it will definitely do wonders.

Furthermore, you can inject the CO2 in 1 to 3 bubbles per second. It will help you to suppress the algae growth in Dwarf Hairgrass.

Trimming and Maintenance

You can get the Dwarf hairgrass to around 2 inches tall and then start to trim it after this. This means that your hairgrass is now maturing and needs boosting for more growth. 

A tip here is to cut it back to 1.5 inches. Do not worry. They will not die. Instead, the plant will spread faster and you will have a thickly carpeted aquarium in around some weeks.

You can then trim it regularly as per requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Plant Live Plants In Gravel?

Yes, you can plant the live plants in gravel. If you are an enthusiast of the aquarium, you will know that it is possible to do so. There are only a few substrates that you can use in the aquarium and gravel is one of them.

 Some plants having weak strands are not feasible to be grown in the coarse gravel but most plants support the growth easily.

Is Dwarf Hairgrass Easy To Grow?

Yes, Dwarf hairgrass is an easy growing plant. It does create some trouble if you plant it in the wrong way but if you follow the step by step method of our guide, you can grow the plant easily. Do not forget that this plant needs sufficient light and nutrients to grow.

As long as you have a little patience, you can grow this plant without much difficulty. You might need to trim the plant here and there to stimulate growth and that is all you will need to do.

How Long Does Dwarf Hairgrass Take to Spread?

Dwarf hairgrass takes 6 to 8 weeks to form a luscious carpet. It grows much faster if you and CO2 as well as some nutrients to it. 

This plant is very easy to grow but requires some effort. If you take the advice that I have given above, you can definitely grow dwarf hairgrass faster and with minimal difficulties.

Last Words

Hence, to conclude the main thing here is that if you take care of small things here and there like providing proper light to the plant and trimming it every now and then, you are good to go.

Planting Dwarf Hairgrass may be hard but it is definitely a treat for the eyes. So, even if it might be difficult to grow it at first, it will be worth it to plant dwarf hairgrass in gravel in your aquarium.

Not only will it be a treat for the eyes but it will also benefit your aquarium in many ways.

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