Both Eleocharis Parvula and Eleocharis Acicularis, or dwarf hairgrass, are easy plants to grow. Both do well with CO2 and nutrient-rich substrate. Both plants will appreciate being fed trace minerals.
Sometimes both plants are advertised as E. acicularis or simply dwarf hairgrass. It can be quite difficult to tell the plants apart, especially when they haven’t yet reached their full growth.
E. parvula grows about two to three inches tall, with shorter, thicker leaves than E. acicularis. The leaves don’t often grow straight but wave and curl. It grows faster than E. acicularis and is a darker green. You may find it easier to grow.
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E. acicularis grows about five to eight inches tall, with much thinner leaves than E. parvula. The leaves are straighter, more needle-like, and lighter green. Its growth is slower than E. parvula.
Both species spread by sending out runners and will eventually create a beautiful grassy-looking carpet.
With any carpeting plants, regular trimming is a must. When you cut the tops of the leaves it helps the dwarf hairgrass maintain its grassy look. Regular trimming also stimulates new growth, helping the plant be thicker and lusher.
Eleocharis Parvula in the Wild
Other names for E. parvula are small spikerush, dwarf spikerush, and hairgrass. It is in the Cyperaceae family, the sedges.
Found across Europe, Asia, North America, and parts of South America, E. parvula grows in brackish and saltwater environments, often in marshy conditions or mudflats. Its distribution is widespread and it doesn’t live in very highly specific environments.
Eleocharis Acicularis in the Wild
Other names for E. acicularis are least spikerush and needle spikerush. It is also in the sedge family, Cyperaceae.
E. acicularis also appears in Europe, central and southeastern Asia, North America, northeastern South America, and Australia. It is probably not native to Australia, with some evidence that it was introduced there.
LIke E. parvula, it grows on the muddy edges of streams and pools and in dense mats in marshy areas.
Growing Dwarf Hairgrass
Is Dwarf Hairgrass Easy to Grow?
Both E. parvula and E. acicularis are moderately easy plants to grow. Not the “easiest” as they require special care when planting, need plenty of nutrients, and need regular pruning to be at their best. Dwarf hairgrass also needs plenty of light.
If these requirements aren’t fulfilled your hairgrass will soon lose its shape or become infested with algae. If conditions are favorable to the algae, it will quickly overtake your plants and suffocate them. This can lead to slow or stalled growth and brown patches.
Clean up any debris that collects on the leaves. Make sure to trim regularly, about once a week, maybe before your water change. This will encourage the plant to spread out instead of up, achieving the thick carpet.
Dwarf hairgrass needs medium to high lighting. If the light level is too low, the plants will grow very thin and as tall as they can to find light and will not spread out into a lush carpet.
Does Eleocharis acicularis need Co2?
Co2 is necessary for photosynthesis. Because E. acicularis and E. parvula are medium to high light-needing plants, they’ll probably need some added Co2 to be at their healthiest.
For optimum results, it’s great to have a Co2 regulator and have it synchronized with your aquarium’s lighting on a timer. If your regulator has a durable needle valve you will get a more precise bubble count.
A rate of about 30 ppm, or 1 to 3 bubbles per second, will give you denser growth at a much faster rate. Your coloration will also be much more vivid.
You can definitely grow without added Co2, and overall, it seems that a combination of the correct lighting and nutrients will give you an excellent result over time.
How Do You Plant Eleocharis Acicularis?
To start off with, your substrate should be about 2 inches deep and supplemented with a good fertilizer.
Usually, both E. acicularis and E. parvula come in small plastic pots. The roots will be growing in a dense mat, almost wool-like.
Remove your new plant from its plastic pot and begin to carefully free the roots from their mat. This is a delicate process and will take time if you want to keep from damaging the roots. Using your aquarium tweezers can help.
You’ll be planting in clumps of just a few blades together, about 5 strands at most. Plant the little clumps about an inch apart. Make sure to bury the roots well enough that the leaves don’t come free and float up to the surface. Also, make sure that none of the leaves are buried.
Can Dwarf Hairgrass Grow in Gravel?
Neither gravel nor very fine sand is the best for dwarf hairgrass. Gravel is too coarse for the roots to take hold easily. The plants will be more likely to come free and float up out of their mooring. Runners will also have a much more difficult time taking hold and your plants won’t be able to make a thick carpet as easily.
One of the best choices for dwarf hairgrass is coarse sand. The roots can easily take hold, and still have plenty of air.
Dwarf hairgrass really appreciates extra nutrients. It is more of a root feeder than other aquarium plants, and root tabs are a good option for feeding them.
When using root tabs it’s best to bury them between the plants rather than directly under the roots. This will encourage the runners to grow faster as they head toward the source of food.
Other nutrients like liquid trace minerals will also be helpful. It’s a good idea to test your water regularly to make sure you’re adding what the plants need.
When deciding on Eleocharis Parvula vs Eleocharis Acicularus in a planted aquarium, the choice is mainly aesthetic as both these plants require the same level of care. Both will make a nice dense carpet given the right nutrients and substrate.
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