Dwarf Hairgrass – A Complete Guide

Incorporating aquatic plants in your fish tank can be a great way to add some color and vibrancy. There are also many beneficial functions they can serve in the tank.

The Dwarf Hairgrass is one of the most popular aquarium plants that many aquarium hobbyists use in their fish tank. They oxygenate the waters and provide shelter for bottom-dwelling fish. Also, they require minimal maintenance which makes them great for beginners.

The visual appeal that this plant gives to the tank is one of the most prominent reasons why this plant is so popular.

If you are interested in the intricacies of this plant, keep reading to find our full guide on the Dwarf Hairgrass down below.


About the Dwarf Hairgrass

The Dwarf Hairgrass plant, also known as the Eleocharis acicularis, is a member of the Cyperaceae family. It originates from North America, but it is planted all over the world. It can be found in places ranging from North America, Europe, South America, and Asia.

This plant can grow to heights around 6 inches. Therefore, they are quite short compared to other aquatic plants. For this reason, they only need a tank that is 10 gallons (or more). The term “dwarf” comes from the fact that it grows quite short compared to other species.

Because of their height, they are often used as a “carpet” in the tank. It coats the bottom of the tank over the substrate. As for the appearance of the Dwarf Hairgrass, it appears to look like regular grass, hence the name. The blades of grass are very thin, so they are densely packed together.

Choosing this plant is best for people who want to add some color to the bottom of their tank. The crisp, vibrant green color looks great in contrast to both your aquatic life and the water. It looks even more stunning under LED aquarium lights.

Something interesting about this plant is that as the blades of grass grow taller, they will flow back and forth because of the water movement. This will create an alluring effect in the tank that adds to the visual appeal.

Benefits of the Dwarf Hairgrass

Cleanses the water – The Dwarf Hairgrass is going to oxygenate the waters in your tank. Also, it removes pollutants that may be infecting the water in the tank. This is going to prevent any harm to your aquatic life or even other aquatic plants.

Visually appealing – All plants are going to accentuate the appearance of your tank – and this plant is no different. The bright green color of the plant beautifully contrasts against the blue water and the fish in your tank. Also, if you allow the blades of grass to grow tall in length, they will begin to sway with the water movement.

Provides shelter – The Dwarf Hairgrass is able to provide shelter to bottom-dwelling fish. These types of fish often love places to hide away from other fish, and this plant is perfect for that.

Good for beginners – This plant is an excellent plant for beginning fish tank owners or people who have never incorporated plants into their aquarium. This is because it is easy to care for and it is resilient to different water conditions.

Fast growth rate – One of the great things about this plant is that it grows very quickly. This means that you will only need to use a small amount in order to get the “carpet” effect in your tank, as it will grow rapidly after applying it in your tank.

Photosynthesis – This tank excels in photosynthesis. It uses each of its small, thin strands or hairs to effectively photosynthesize.

Easy to plant – This plant is relatively easy to plant. The planting process is very similar to lots of other aquatic plants. Read below for exact instructions on how to plant the Dwarf Hairgrass plant successfully.

Easy to propagate – This plant is simple to propagate if you educate yourself on how it propagates. Even though it uses a different propagation method that many other plants do, if you learn how it works, you should have no problem. Also, its fast growth rate helps it a lot with propagation. Read more on how this plant propagates itself down below.

How to Plant the Dwarf Hairgrass

Planting the Dwarf Hairgrass is relatively simple and easy.

The most important thing to remember when planting a Dwarf Hairgrass is that you have a soft substrate to ground it in. Harder substrates like gravel prohibit growth. You will want to bury the roots completely in the substrate while keeping the blades of grass completely above the substrate.

This plant is known as a carpet plant, so you will want to plant it all over the bottom of the tank. Since it has a fast growth rate, they will grow to completely cover the bottom if planted accordingly.

Make sure you put this plant in areas that receive the full amount of lighting. If part of the plant is not exposed to light, it will prevent photosynthesis from occurring which stunts its growth.

Requirements for the Dwarf Hairgrass

Water – Keeping the water at appropriate levels is absolutely necessary for keeping your plant happy and healthy. For the Dwarf Hairgrass, the temperature should always remain between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For the water’s pH and hardness, it should be between 6.5 and 7.5 pH and 2 to 10 KH.

Tank size – The tank only needs to be at 10 gallons or more in size. This is due to the shorter height of the plant in comparison to other popular aquatic plants. It is also due to it commonly being used as a carpet in the tank.

Lighting – The Dwarf Hairgrass needs substantial lighting in order to successfully complete photosynthesis. Lighting is also crucial in terms of their growth.

Substrate – The ideal substrate for this plant is something on the softer side. The blades of grass are very thin and delicate, so you want something that is going to complement that nicely. This will prevent any of the grass from being damaged. We recommend you stay away from substrates such as gravel and gravitate towards something like sand instead.

Filtration – It is important to have a filter in any tank regardless of the number of plants and/or aquatic life. A good filter will clean out the waters of the tank which eliminates your plant from being contaminated with any negative bacteria. Also, if you have longer blades of grass, the movement of the water created by the filter will add to the visual appeal in your tank.

Tank Mates

In terms of compatibility, this plant works well with plenty of other aquatic life and aquatic plants.

One thing to note about keeping this plant with other plants is the density of this plant. This plant has a very high density and growth rate, so if not taken care of properly, it can get out of hand and take over the entire tank.

Another issue with the high density of this plant is that it makes other plants fight for resources. This could result in other plants dying easily because the Dwarf Hairgrass will receive most of the nutrients.

Most fish work great with this plant. Bottom-dwellers benefit most from the plant since it gives them places to hide and it provides them with shelter. Some popular bottom-dwellers that are commonly paired with this plant are Corydora Catfish, Bumblebee Catfish, and different species of Loaches.

Small, peaceful fish are great when paired with the Dwarf Hairgrass because they usually swim towards the middle area of the tank, so they will not come into contact with the plant. Some of these fish include Mollies, Guppies, Danios, Platies, and Tetras.

Some fish to avoid pairing with this plant are larger fish because they might eat the plant. They also might uproot the plant to search for food sources. An example of these fish is the Oscar fish.

Snails usually are fine in planted aquariums, but avoid pairing them with the Dwarf Hairgrass. They will likely tear through the plant and cause serious damage. But, if you really want to keep snails in your tank, there are a few that should not bother the plant.

How to Maintain the Dwarf Hairgrass

One of the many great things about the Dwarf Hairgrass is that it is very easy to maintain. The main thing you have to do in order to care for it properly is to trim the strands when they begin to grow too long. Remember: these plants have a very fast growth rate, so you may need to trim them quite often.

Trimming the plant is completely up to personal preference. Some people prefer it to be shorter and some prefer it to be longer. Some people like to keep it longer in the back and shorter towards the front for a better landscaped appearance.

A benefit of keeping the grass on the longer side is that it gives your fish a place to hide. This is especially important for bottom-dwellers.

If you notice that your plant is not growing as it should be, there could be a couple of things prohibiting its growth. The first one is the most common and that is the light source. Make sure that your plant is completely exposed to light since that is how they grow.

If you confirm that all of the plant is being lit properly, it may be a lack of nutrients. In this case, there are supplements that will make sure your plant is getting all the nutrients it needs, and it should begin to grow normally.

If you notice that there is algae growth on the blades of grass on this plant, this could indicate that the light source is too powerful. If this happens, either dim the light source or shorten the amount of time the light source is powered on.

How to Propagate the Dwarf Hairgrass

It is very possible to successfully propagate the Dwarf Hairgrass, and many people have done it in their at-home aquarium. However, you might notice it is a little bit more challenging to propagate than some other plants.

You cannot simply cut off a part of the plant and place it separately to grow a new plant. Instead, there are these things called runners that branch off the root area and form a new plant. The downside to this method of propagation is that you do not have a lot of control over it.

Thankfully, this is not a huge problem because of the fast growth rate of this plant. Even though you do not have a lot of control over propagation, the growth rate lends itself to more runners being produced, and you can spread these all over the tank.

There are not too many ways to manipulate the speed of propagation. But, in order to maximize the speed, make sure that all of the requirements are being met and that you are taking great care of this plant. If the plant is in the best conditions, it might stimulate a faster rate of reproduction.

Some people have reported that one way to speed up reproduction is by raising the temperature of the water. While there has not been too much research on this method with this plant, it it worth trying out if you want to make this plant propagate faster. Just make sure that the water gets no warmer than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wrapping Up

The Dwarf Hairgrass is perfect for both beginning and experienced fish tank owners alike. They are easy to maintain, they have a fast growth rate, they are sturdy and resilient, they propagate easily, and they cleanse and oxygenate the water.

A great benefit that many people enjoy about this plant is that they are able to be put in tanks that are as small as 10 gallons. Therefore, they are excellent for a variety of different tanks regardless of size.

If taken care of properly, the Dwarf Hairgrass could make an exceptional addition to your tank.

Leave a Comment