Dwarf Hairgrass / Needle Spike Rush Aquatic Plant: Planting, Maintenance, Propagation, Tips, Tank Mates, FAQs, and  Complete Care Guide:

A lovely carpet plant can add beauty to your aquarium because it spreads well on the substrate. Even though Dwarf Hairgrass does not need high care but still it needs maintenance. You can achieve wonderful outcomes if you do regular maintenance. This plant spreads on its own into a full carpet in the right conditions.

  • Dwarf Hairgrass Plant Origin
  • Dwarf Hairgrass Plant Appearance
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Planting Dwarf Hairgrass in Aquarium
  • Propagation of Dwarf Hairgrass Aquatic Plant
  • Benefits of Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant
  • Tips for Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant
  • Compatible Aquatic Plants for Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Compatible Tank Mates for Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Incompatible Tank Mates
  • Aquatic Plant Species like Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Summary

Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant Guide
Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant Guide

Dwarf Hairgrass Plant Origin:

Dwarf Hairgrass originates from many regions around the globe such as from North America to Europe, Asia, & South America, where this plant is found in shallow water with abundance of light. It grows on the water surface on the beach.

Dwarf Hairgrass Plant Appearance:

Dwarf Hairgrass name describes its appearance. It is a plant similar to grass with blades instead of leaves. Each blade is comparatively thin similar to hair & it is used for photosynthesis.

Hairgrass has very thin white colored roots. After planting hairgrass, you won’t see its roots because they are hidden in the substrate.

This plant is named dwarf hairgrass because it is short as compared to similar plants. When it grows completely in an aquarium then blades of dwarf hairgrass will be 4 to 6 inches long.

Dwarf Hairgrass is not a carpet plant & it is one of the best plants for aquarists who want to provide a glass like appearance to the landscape of aquariums.

Dwarf Hairgrass has thin blades that are closely bunched. This can offer a beautiful & densely carpet like look to your tank.

Color of the plant is light green that looks beautiful under tank lights.

As dwarf hairgrass reaches some height, the blades of the plant are pulled by the water current flowing around in the aquarium. This water movement provides a dynamic setting to your aquarium inhabitants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about Dwarf Hairgrass:

We have provided answers to the questions that aquarists have been asking over the internet related to Dwarf Hairgrass.


How long does Dwarf Hairgrass take to grow roots?

Dwarf Hairgrass is able to grow very fast but still it isn’t growing roots quickly. If you provide good conditions, then it will take around 6 to 8 weeks to grow roots.


What is the ideal temperature & pH for Dwarf Hairgrass?

The ideal temperature to grow Dwarf Hairgrass in aquariums is 70 to 83 Degrees Fahrenheit & ideally you can keep this plant at pH of 6.5 to 7.5.


Which substrate is best for Dwarf Hairgrass?

Dwarf Hairgrass likes soft substrate with lots of fertilizers.


Does Dwarf Hairgrass grow without extra carbon dioxide?

Dwarf Hairgrass grows slowly without additional carbon dioxide. Still this plant will be able to grow & spread like a carpet.


Can I grow Dwarf Hairgrass in low light & no CO2?

Dwarf Hairgrass is a beautiful carpet plant that grows even in low to medium light, & without providing additional carbon dioxide. However, it will grow fast if you keep it in a fertilized, soft substrate with abundance of CO2.


Can I grow Dwarf Hairgrass in gravel?

It is possible to grow Dwarf Hairgrass in gravel but you need to consider a few things: it will be a bit difficult for the plant to form a carpet in coarse substrate (gravel) because it’s runners will not be able to spread as simply as they would in soft substrate.


Why is my Dwarf Hairgrass not growing in the aquarium?

Dwarf Hairgrass needs soft substrate & medium light in order to spread well in aquariums. Otherwise, it will not make a better carpet & will only get taller.


How to plant Dwarf Hairgrass seeds in an aquarium?

Spread seeds evenly in an aquarium without filling it with water. Then put soft substrate on top of the seeds so that it stops them from floating in the aquarium. Adding water will moist the substrate. When seeds grow about 1 to 2 cm above substrate then it is time to slowly add more water.


Can Dwarf Hairgrass grow only in sand?

Yes, you can grow Dwarf Hairgrass only in sand. It needs nutrition supplied through its roots & it is fine to fertilize this plant using sand or soft substrate.

Purchase root tabs & spread them in the tank substrate or sand. Ensure that the layer of sand is at least two inches deep, before planting Dwarf Hairgrass.


How to grow Dwarf Hairgrass into a full carpet?

Dwarf Hairgrass is a carpeting aquarium plant which can spread into a grassy field inside your tank. You can simply grow this plant even when you plant it in sand. It does not need fertilizer for growth, but if you want to spread it well into a complete carpet, then adding root tabs & additional carbon dioxide will help.


Why my hairgrass is turning brown?

If you find your hairgrass turning brown then it indicates the deficiency of nutrition. It is recommended to provide macronutrients to resolve this problem.


Why hair algae is growing on my hairgrass?

If you find that hair algae is growing on your plant then it indicates high lighting & higher levels of nitrates. Keep algae eater fish & lower your tank lights to fix this problem.


Why does hairgrass not grow in my aquarium?

If hairgrass does not grow in your aquarium then it indicates that the plant you have bought is not adapting to its new conditions but it was grown emersed & has a problem in growing submerged. Make sure you ask the owner to give you a plant that is adapted to submerged conditions.


Planting Dwarf Hairgrass in Aquarium:

It is advisable to divide Dwarf Hairgrass into bunches of only four to six blades of grass. If you add more plants in a bunch then the carpeting speed of this plant will be considerably reduced. Choosing small packs will avoid the roots & runners from competing with each other & the plant will spread quickly under right conditions.

When you trim the roots of the plant then it will help the plant to regain roots quickly with higher energy. As Dwarf Hairgrass carpets using its runners, it can help the plant spread faster in your aquarium.

Use plant tweezers for grabbing the plant by its roots. Plant tweezers are recommended for planting any kind of hairgrass plant in the tank. Your fingers can’t do this job.

Spread each bunch half or one inch apart. An inch is enough gap to excite the plant runners to spread without overcrowding the bunches.

Push the bunches into the fine substrate. Hold every bunch in tweezers & push every bunch slightly into the substrate.

Pull the tweezers out when the bunch is one third inch deep. Make sure that you shake it because it will allow substrate to fit around the roots of the plant. Now you can safely remove the tweezers without worrying about uprooting the delicate blades of dwarf hairgrass.

Trimming will help the plant in spreading & forming new shoots. When you trim the plant, it will force hairgrass to use its energy to make fresh shoots.


Propagation of Dwarf Hairgrass Aquatic Plant:

Split the bunches of the plant at the roots & replant them to help hairgrass in spreading.


Benefits of Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant:

Dwarf Hairgrass will make a field around the bottom of the aquarium with its beautiful look. It is a carpet plant which offers some services that only other carpet plants provide. It can offer a shelter for the bottom dwelling species.

It can offer food to fish & defend them from water currents.

Dwarf hairgrass is beneficial to your aquarium inhabitants. It releases oxygen & absorbs carbon dioxide in the presence of light which can oxygenate the aquarium water. It removes nitrates present in the water by absorbing them as fertilizers, which help the plant grow well & provide a healthy environment to your fish.

Your bottom dwelling fish, invertebrates & fish babies can use dwarf hairgrass as shelter. Certain species like to eat hairgrass, algae growing on them & microbes that the plant can harbor.

Dwarf Hairgrass is densely packed which provides a medium on which large amounts of good bacteria can spread, which helps in breaking down toxic ammonia into nitrites, & further into nitrates.

Dwarf Hairgrass grows fast & needs simple care. It is a hardy plant recommended for beginners.

It is a carpet plant which spreads on the tank substrate with a beautiful field of shining green, as its blades wave in the water current.



If you want a dense lawn then my advice is to plant grass in close-fitting bunches. Or use little bunches of hairgrass dotted around the aquarium bed, & use them to soften the look of rocks or decorations & to offer a better 3D effect to the aquascape.

Amazingly, this plant has a habit of remembering the shape & length that you have selected for it. For example, if you trim hairgrass very small before planting, then the growth rate of this plant will be slower, & it will not grow too long. Or if you leave hairgrass untrimmed, then you will end up with a rougher, lower refined outcome.


Tips for Dwarf Hairgrass Aquarium Plant:

Dwarf Hairgrass needs simple care & aquarists can easily grow it in aquariums. Cut the stem of the plant when it grows taller. It needs to be trimmed regularly to avoid the plant from growing too tall & to provide a carpet effect in aquariums. Make sure you leave some gap between plants when planting it in substrate so they have enough resources.

Dwarf Hairgrass is pretty neutral in maintenance. Aquatic plants need high or low care & dwarf hairgrass to find a place in the middle. These plants are suitable for moderate light intensity. If you offer higher concentration of CO2 then it will result in faster growth. Also adding fertilizers will help your plant to grow faster. However, CO2 & fertilizers are usually not required so you can skip if you wish.

Dwarf Hairgrass can be used together with other plants that provide carpet effect for an additional layer of depth & contrast to your fish tank.


Compatible Aquatic Plants for Dwarf Hairgrass:

Keep hairgrass with many other aquarium plants & fish. Once these plants grow, & its carpet effect is dense, & then it can beat other plants in chasing nutrition to the extent that delicate species may die. Hairgrass is not as tasty as other broad-leaved aquarium plants which is a good sign as many herbivorous fish may not like its taste that much & may not eat it.

Compatible Tank Mates for Dwarf Hairgrass:

Keep any fish in the range of small to medium size in a hairgrass tank. Tank mates include tetras, guppies, platies, mollies, barbs, gouramis & many other fish can be kept in the aquarium that will like the environment, & their water requirements are similar to this plant. Livebearers will take advantage of the shelter that this grass offers.

We have added more fish below that can be kept in dwarf hairgrass tank:

  • Ember Tetra
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Pea Puffer
  • Cherry Barb
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Shrimps
  • Bottom-dwelling fish including Corydoras catfish, loaches, & little species of catfish


Incompatible Tank Mates:

Make sure you do not add certain species because they are dangerous to dwarf hairgrass. Oscars & cichlid species should not be added such as electric blue acara, as it has the habit of digging in the substrate, & it can hurt the roots of hairgrass.



Many snails have the habit of eating or hurting aquatic plants including dwarf hairgrass. If you still want to keep snails then I would advise you to keep Assassin snails as it may not eat your plant.


Aquatic Plant Species like Dwarf Hairgrass:

If you are looking for plants similar to dwarf hairgrass, then have a look at the following species that have similar features:


Water Wisterias:

It is a tropical aquarium plant that you can plant in the landscape of an aquarium or leave it to float on the surface of water.


Java Fern:

It grows completely or partially submerged in water, & needs simple care & maintenance.


Java Moss:

Java Moss can be attached to driftwood, rocks & other structures in aquariums. They are pretty hard & need easy care.



A beautiful carpet plant that can help provide a layer of depth to your inhabitants. Dwarf Hairgrass can be used for many purposes in aquariums. Apart from its beauty, it can oxygenate water, & wipe out toxic chemicals. It needs simple maintenance such as you need to trim this plant regularly for a healthy growth. If you want to add a carpet plant to your aquarium then dwarf hairgrass is one of the top picks.  






Care Level


Growth Rate


Max. Size

6 inches

Min. Aquarium Size


Water Conditions

Temperature: 50-85 Degree Fahrenheit,

pH: 6.5 to 7.5

Hardness: 2 to 10 KH





Tank Placement

Form carpet on full landscape

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post