Best Aquarium Grass – Review & Guide

Seeing a beautiful aquarium in your home after work is a great way to shake off the day and relax. Watching your fish swim and play in an emerald green grass carpet is a joy. It is a significant and healthy way to calm blood pressure, heart rate, and improve well-being.

Aquarium grass comes in many varieties and sizes. It is easy to grow and maintain, even for beginners. Some varieties come as seeds. After sprouting, they take up life in an aquarium where they can live and flourish for many years.

Live grass helps to establish and maintain a healthy home for fish. It creates a natural ecosystem. The grass produces oxygen for the fish and absorbs their CO2 and nitrate waste. Plants also provide your fish with a never-ending natural food source.

Aquarium Grass Reviews

Dwarf Hairgrass Mini

This grass is the smallest in the “dwarf” grass family. Growing 1”- 2” in height, it will create a shaggy carpet look in the foreground of your aquarium. It is popular, easy to care for and good for beginners.

The grass roots will arrive in a small pot with a seven-day guarantee. If your grass is damaged or dead, send a message with photo and ask for a refund or replacement.

Separate the grass into small groups or individual seedlings if you can. This grass likes a soft substrate with fertilizer in which to grow. Plant the seedlings before their roots dry out.

After rooting, each seedling will send out runners and form a lovely green shaggy-looking carpet. Keep water temperature at 70°-83° Fahrenheit, medium CO2, good light all day long, and water pH at 6.5–7.5.

Pros:

  • Arrived safely and well
  • Looks gorgeous; will buy more
  • Quick shipping, healthy plant
  • 7-day guarantee for refund or replacement

Cons:

  • Half the order died within two days
  • Aquarium plants died soon after arrival
  • Better to buy locally to minimize the shock of travel

Dwarf Hairgrass – A Second Variety of the Same Family

This is another well-liked variety in the large family of dwarf grasses. It comes packed in a special gel free from algae, disease, pest and snails. Its leaves are a little thicker than the first two above.

Be sure to rinse seedlings under water to wash out all the gel. Divide the grasses into smaller sections or individual seedlings. It will grow to about 2 inches in height with easy care.

Plant the same day to prevent roots from drying out. Use long tweezers to push the roots deep into the substrate. Or place them on driftwood or rocks and hold them down with pebbles.

This grass prefers a soft fertilized substrate. If you have a deep tank, double the light. Keep the water at 70°-83° Fahrenheit, medium CO2, lighting of 2 watts per gallon or more, and pH 6.5–7.5

Pros:

  • Arrived green and very healthy
  • Love them; will get more
  • Gorgeous. Easy to grow
  • Good for any size aquarium

Cons:

  • Maybe a bit slow growing
  • Grass died within a month
  • Planting in sand or gravel will kill it

Dwarf Hair Grass – A Third Variety of the Same Family

This is a well-liked variety of Dwarf Hair Grass also known as Cow Hair Grass, Spike’sedge, and Dwarf Spikerush. It comes in a dense bundle of seedlings.

Separate the seedlings into small portions and plant each with care an inch or so apart half way into the substrate. After several weeks, the plant will send our runners and create a lush foreground of grass.

This grass grows at a moderate rate about one to two inches high in a sandy soil substrate. When rooted, the grass will send out runners and create a dense, lush lawn.

It needs moderate light and water pH at 6-7.5. CO2 is not necessary but it will increase the growth and thickness of the grass. You can grow it submerged or in dry-start aquariums.

Pros:

  • Arrived in perfect condition
  • Very happy with my purchase
  • Very easy to take care of
  • Covered more area than anticipated

Cons:

  • Planted grass kept floating to the top
  • Very little grass in the cup
  • Came with snails

Dwarf Grass with a Broader Leaf

This is another variety of the Dwarf Grass Family with a broader leaf. It grows 2”– 5” high and creates a lovely shaggy foreground grass.

You will receive about ten stems or seedlings with a 7-day guarantee. If for some reason, the seedlings died within 7 days, please message the company with a photo for a refund or replacement.

It needs a nutritious substrate in which to grow, and becomes pale when it needs food. It sends out runners but grows with less density than other dwarf grasses.

High lighting and CO2 are not necessary for this grass but it will help the grass to grow and thicken. Grow submerged or in dry start aquariums. Keep water pH around 6-7.5, and temperature at 70°-83° Fahrenheit.

Pros:

  • Arrived in awesome shape. No snails
  • Great grass
  • High quality Love this grass
  • Comes with a 7-day guarantee

Cons:

  • Half the plants arrived were already dying
  • All plants arrived half rotten
  • All grasses died in a week

Micro Sword Copragrass, Narrow Leaf

This grass has thin leaves and grows about 2–4 inches high into a thick grassy lawn. It grows rapidly and does not need as much light as other varieties.

When planting, use fine gravel, soil/sand, or a pebble to hold the rhizome?the thick brown stem that lives beneath the soil?in the substrate. Once established and showing new growth, trim as needed to promote a denser, compact foreground.

The grass spreads by sending out runners underground. After new growth appears, you can start to trim leaves without damaging the grass. You can also replant new growth where you want it to grow..

Lower light will cause the grass grow taller, as opposed to bright light which will keep it shorter and even spreading into a lawn carpet. Keep pH at 6-8.

Pros:

  • Plant needed more light
  • Roots and rhizomes had to be held down in soil
  • Growing well, sending out runners
  • Comes with a 3-day Live Guarantee

Cons:

  • Plant did not spread
  • Will try again
  • It grew only a clump here and there

Giant Hairgrass

This grass is a taller relative (Eleocharis Vivipara) of the Dwarf Hairgrass Family. It forms into very dense growth with hair-thin long leaves and very small flowers.

Growing from 12”- 20” tall, it looks great either in the center or at the back of the aquarium. When it is growing new shoots, you can trim the leaves to your desired height.

Giant Hairgrass is hardy and good for beginners, as it needs minimal care. It does not need CO2 but with it, it will grow more and become much greener.

Keep your aquarium water temperature between 59° – 77° Fahrenheit, and the pH 6.0 – 9.0. Maintain moderate to high lighting because this grass loves lots of light.

Pros:

  • Wonderful grass for background
  • No snails or worms
  • Arrived in great condition
  • Very happy with the product

Cons:

  • Arrived with minimal roots
  • Messy, and hard to plant
  • Two planted clumps died

Tall or Giant Hairgrass

This Tall Hair Grass grows to a graceful flowing 10” in height and more as a background plant. Its thin leaves gently drape across the water surface.

It will arrive as a small grouping of rooted plants with a plant guide. Separate the grass seedlings and wash them well to remove snails. Trim the tops so that seedlings measure about four inches, and plant.

This grass propagates by sending out runners. It will quickly take over your tank. You can thin it out by pulling grass, with care, from the substrate.

It needs medium to high light, temperature 18-25 C, CO2 as required for the tank. Lighting medium high. Water pH: 5.5-7.5. It grows less without CO2 and lower light.

Pros:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Grass looks awesome swaying in the water
  • Perfect for tall aquariums
  • 24-hour guarantee if damaged at time of arrival. Guarantee voids after 24 hours.

Cons:

  • Arrived with pond snails and infected an aquarium
  • Hard to break out of the shipping package
  • Died within two weeks

New Large Pearl Grass

This tiny grass is fast becoming popular with its brighter and rounder leaves. It creates a fast growing foreground compact lawn and carpet.

It comes in a cup with the roots packed in gel. Take care when removing the packing. Wash the plants and roots well under running water to remove all gel. Divide into smaller portions or even individual seedlings.

Plant the grass the same day to prevent roots from drying out. This grass likes to grow in a nutritious substrate rather than soil, sand, or gravel. Plant the seedlings into substrate and onto rocks and driftwood.

This grass needs medium light, water temperature of about 68-820 Fahrenheit, and pH of 6.0-8.0. Adding light and carbon dioxide (CO2) will speed up its growth.

Pros:

  • Arrived healthy in nice foil cups
  • This grass is absolutely gorgeous
  • I am really happy with this product
  • No snails, yeah!

Cons:

  • Died soon after planted
  • Grass arrived limp and brown
  • Grass did not have any root growth

Aquarium Small Leaf Grass

This grass is a small or mini leaf grass called Baby Tears, and it grows from seed. Each seed packet bag can plant a 12” by 12” tank.

The seeds will grow in soil, sand, or tiny gravel. Sprinkle seeds evenly on the soil in an empty tank. Do not cover. If the seeds are sticky, place them on a log or ornament.

Spray the seeds with care with 82-degree water daily without dislodging them. Keep lights on for 24 hours for the first seven days. Seeds should sprout in 5-7 days. They do not need CO2.

Sprouts will appear around day 8. Add 82-degree water to the tank little by little; run it down the sides of the tank so as not to dislodge or flatten the new growth.

Pros:

  • Outstanding carpeting
  • Very pleased
  • Amazingly sticky but fast growing
  • They look beautiful

Cons:

  • Grew well but all plants died within two months.
  • The price is a bit on the pricey side.
  • Extremely sticky when first wet. Make sure you have a cleared area in tank before you start planting.

Small Cow Grass

This is a fresh water foreground grass with a small thin leaf and grows about an inch high. The seeds come in a two-ounce pack.

Sprinkle seeds on potting soil in an empty aquarium. Spray the soil every day with warm water to keep the substrate moist. After the seeds sprout, fill the tank very slowly with water between 77-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sprouts will form a green carpet within about two weeks. Trim grass to stay at a healthy height. Runners from the mother plant will form a rich green carpet over the substrate.

Adding iron to the water also helps the grass to thrive. This grass needs 2-4 watts of light per gallon, no CO2, and water temperature between 77-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros:

  • Seeds came in good conditions and sprouted in three days
  • Easy to grow
  • Took two weeks to full maturity
  • Grew surprisingly fast

Cons:

  • The grass don’t last long under water, maybe 2 weeks then withered away
  • The seeds did not grow at all
  • Sprouts took a long time to appear

How to Select an Aquarium Grass

Living grass does best when planted in an aquarium that most suits its needs. Selecting grasses and plants that share common needs will lessen problems for them and for other aquarium inhabitants, and will make aquarium maintenance much easier for you.

One key requirement is water quality, which differs for many varieties of fish as well as grass. Most living grasses needs a pH range from 6.5 to 7.5, but there are exceptions. Water hardness or dH (degree of hardness) and water temperature are also factors.

Most aquatic grasses fit into low, medium, and high light requirements. Aquariums planted with grass should receive 10 to 12 hours of light every day. Without light, most grass will become anemic and may not survive.

Your aquarium substrate must be one on which your choice of grass will flourish. Course sand and fine gravels are often good. Nutrient rich substrates especially for plants are available on line and in stores. Some even help soften water.

The best approach is to do your own research. Learn as you go. Use online sources as well as those in your city or town. Start a logbook. Log your findings and all the actions and changes you make and why. This will keep you right on track for success!

How to Plant Aquarium Grass

Aquarium grass comes in packaged seeds or alive in cups and bundles. Both have shown to have good histories of growing in aquariums.

Most companies sell live grass with a warranty. If your plant arrives damaged or dying, you can message the company with a photo for a refund or replacement. Act quickly because some guarantees expire at the end of the day of arrival.

Unwrap and separate individual grasses. Break clumps into small sections or single grasses. Clean them well but with care under running water. Plant them the same day to prevent roots from drying out.

Use stainless steel tweezers; hold each seedling by its roots. Taking care, push the whole root into the substratum. Plant grasses with a little space between them so they have room to grow. If they wilt after planting, give them time to root and adjust to their new home.

Planting Grass Seeds. Use a good aquarium soil as a substrate. Sprinkle seeds on the substrate in an empty clean aquarium. Soak the substrate with water taking care not to immerse seeds. Place the aquarium near a sunny area, but not in direct sunlight. Add water daily to keep substrate soaked.

The seeds will sprout in 4 – 7 days. Carefully fill the tank by trickling water down the sides or over a flat surface into the tank. Take your time; make sure the flow does not uproot the sprouts. Turn on the filter. Check to make sure sprouts are okay. Maintain water temperature between 77 – 85 F. Keep the light on 5 – 8 hours per day.

This video describes how to plant Hair Grass of all types by Phil Grady. Paul makes the process very simple and shows all the details. Easy to listen to. Easy to follow.

How to Maintain Aquarium Grass

Most aquarium grass does not require much care. It is hardy and given some attention, it will grow well. There are a few vital factors to growing grass in an aquarium and keeping it healthy.

Light. Without correct lighting, your grass will not grow and may even die. Grass needs sunlight to engage in photosynthesis, and some grass needs more light than other grass. If your grass is deep down in a tall tank, it may need stronger light that reaches down to the grass.

Fertilizer. Grass needs fertilizer to live and grow. Grass that starts to look pale needs food. If you are using a good aquarium soil as your substratum and the grass has rooted well, you may need to fertilize only now and then.

Carbon Dioxide or CO2. Grass needs carbon dioxide to survive. A few grasses and plants in a tank might not need extra CO2. However, if you have a lot of grass and plants growing in your aquarium, be sure to add CO2 as needed.

Substrate. Some sand is too compact and can suffocate grass roots. Gravel is often too loose to support a good grass root system. It is best to use a good aquarium grass dirt or fluorite available online and at pet and aquarium stores. These contain nutrients and can support your grass root systems.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aquarium Grass

Do I need CO2 or special lighting? Can I use natural sand substrate? CO2 is highly recommended. You’ll also need a nutrient rich substrate such as Fluval Stratum, a substrate to stimulate the growth of aquatic plants in freshwater aquariums. Use 5500-7500K range, the equivalent of a day’s worth of light.

The instructions say the grass is ready to grow on substrate, driftwood, and rock. How do I get it to grow on my driftwood and driftwood bonsai? Attach the grass to rocks, or to damp (not wet) wood. Believe it or not, it is safe to use a bit of superglue on the wood or rocks and attach grass that way.

How do I plant grass into the sand substrate. Bury it? Tie it down? Use stainless steel tweezers to push the grass gently about a half-inch to one inch into the substrate.

When planting grass, should I break it up into sections to spread it out or plant it as one piece after removing from pot? If it comes apart easy into sections, then plant each section. Always remove all the packing material on grasses. This plant will create runners that you can cut and replant.

Can I cut the tall grass and replant it? You can cut or trim the grass, but you cannot plant the trimmings. You can cut the runners that have roots and plant them separately. This is how to create a carpet.

Can grass grow in sand? Yes, you will have to add weight with a rock to hold the plant down and give it time to root in the sand.

Can my tall grass be trimmed to fit the aquarium? Yes. You can trim the tops as often as you want without hurting the plant.

How tall is the tall grass when it ships? Around 12”- 18″ tall.

Conclusion

Aquariums are steadily increasing in popularity, as is a growing selection of striking aquatic grasses available in all shapes and sizes for you to enjoy. Plant one of these grasses in your aquarium and watch it grow!

If you have bought and planted aquarium grass of any kind, we would like to hear about your experience. If it was enjoyable, what made it so? If not, what difficulties did you run into?

We would also appreciate hearing from you if we have failed to address your questions about growing aquarium grass in this article.

 

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