Micro Sword vs Dwarf Hairgrass

Micro Sword vs Dwarf Hairgrass [9 Factors Compared]

Choosing becomes hard when it’s between two of your favorite aquatic plants. On top of that, you got a small fish tank where you can incorporate only one of the two aquatic plants.

Now you’re stuck with the question, which one to choose- micro sword vs dwarf hairgrass?

Well, if you prefer low maintenance then the micro sword is best. On the flip side, if you’re on a budget then plant dwarf hair grass. If growth time is an issue then dwarf hairgrass wins the race. But, both of them will look good in your aquarium and have the same sort of benefits.

This is just a glimpse of what we have for you. To get a detailed overview of both the plants, just scroll below.

Defining Micro Sword

You might be wondering what is micro sword?

Well, you could be familiar with its other names: Micro Sword Grass, Brazilian Micro Sword, Copragrass, Carpet Grass, and Lilaeopsis brasiliensis. No matter which name you heard of, they are all the same.

To put it simply, it is one kind of freshwater aquarium plant that can be found in different types of pet stores.

But in case you’re wondering- can micro sword grow in sand?

Yes, they can! A micro sword is normally sold as a potted plant. Which makes it difficult for people to find its roots in the store. But you can still start growing micro sword by transplanting them to water.

micro sword plant
Source: Liveaquaria.com

For steady growth, a micro sword plant needs to be vibrant and green. So you must ensure that its environment is suitable. Great news is that even if you’re growing algae on rocks in the aquarium that will help in the growth as well.

Defining Dwarf Hairgrass

Now questions might arise: what is a dwarf hairgrass then? 

Well, dwarf hairgrass is a grass-like plant that appears at the bottom of an aquarium. Yes, the fresh greenish plant makes the aquarium quite attractive to look at. We all found it amazing as a kid.

dwarf hairgrass
Source: Kingkoigoldfish.com

To be honest, I used to call it water grass when I was a child. So if the original name is hard for you, then just call it water grass. 

Basically, it is used as a carpet for an aquarium. And it fascinatingly grows so fast that it easily coats the bottom of the tank. It spreads all around the tank and makes the environment lively for the fishes.

Micro sword vs Dwarf Hairgrass-Quick overview

By now you’ve got an idea about both micro sword and dwarf hairgrass. Now if you’re stuck between the two, now’s your chance to clear your thoughts. So, let’s not waste any time and rush to a quick overview of the differences between them.

CharacteristicsMicro SwordDwarf Hairgrass
Time needed to growGrows slow (approximately 8 months)Grows much fast(approximately 4-6 months)
Lightening requirementsModerate to highModerate
Size2-5 inches3-6 inches
Popularity (in fish-keeping industry)ModerateHigh

Now that you’ve observed the primary differences, the characteristics of these plants must be much clearer. And this can help you in choosing the perfect one for you.

But if you have some time, then you can just scroll below to have an in-depth analysis of the plants. So buckle up and let’s get started.

Micro Sword vs Dwarf Hairgrass- In-depth Guide

We know how you’ve been stressing over the differences between these two plants. And deciding which one to choose for your fish tank is no easy job.

But we’re here to guide you through your decision-making process. So, keep your thoughts aside and get into the in-depth guide of micro sword or dwarf hairgrass. Let’s get started.


Like every other plant, both the micro sword and dwarf hairgrass have varieties. Let’s take a deep look at each of the types.

Micro Sword

Every plant has varieties and the micro sword is no different. As per our knowledge, the micro sword plant has a kind called Narrow Leaf Micro swords. And the basic kind which is mostly seen is also known as the wide type.

As the micro sword has thicker leaves, it happens to carpet the bottom of the tank much well. So if you’re looking for a thicker carpet, be sure to go for the micro sword.

Dwarf Hairgrass

Unlike the micro sword, the dwarf hairgrass has numerically more varieties. The two types are-

  1. Eleocharis parvula &
  2. Eleocharis acicularis 

The aforementioned kinds of dwarf hairgrass are from the Cyperaceae family. The acicularis hairgrass grows taller than the parvula. They also happen to have curlier blades.

The shelter provided by acicularis dwarf hairgrass is likely much appreciated. Because the little fishes enjoy playing around with its long grass-like attractive strands.

In case you’re searching for an aquatic plant that is attractive and fish-friendly, go for acicularis dwarf hairgrass.  

Another category named dwarf Sagittaria is popular among aquatic planters. However, it’s not fond of high lighting as it starts to melt. So if you’ve planted sagittaria, only feed it light for 4 hours a day.

Oh wait, there is another type which is found among dwarf hairgrass which is known as dwarf baby tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’) In short, people call it HC Cuba. 

It is known for creating the most gorgeous carpet and having white roots. That’s why it has gained popularity among professional and rich aquarium enthusiasts.

So if you want to impress your friends or colleagues with a posh carpet then choose HC Cuba.

So among these varieties just find the right one for you. 

Well, we’re done boring you with all the names and types. Now we’ll introduce you to the benefits that come with both of the plants.


So, apart from being such attractive plants, both of them have certain uses that make them unique. 

You’d be surprised to know that a micro sword can survive at any lightning capacity. It is very simple to plant and spreads rapidly. The carpet form is very dense and it spreads around the tank.

It is even useful for keeping the eggs in its thick strands which the livings lay upon the carpet.

On the other hand, dwarf hairgrass is also quite helpful as it reduces dirt and fish wastage from water. It even shelters the fishes living in the water. 

The dwarf hairgrass is able to absorb unuseful objects like residues and aquarium waste which keep the environment of the tank clean and livable. This plant is durable and it is capable of enduring difficult conditions.


Obviously, both of the plants need care but to different extents.

The micro sword is also an amphibian plant having white roots. The roots are not much coarse so it should be handled carefully and gently.

Instead of planting all the blades together, try to plant them separately into smaller clumps. For this plant, the main concern is to be attentive when planting it.

Once you’re done with planting it perfectly, the growth isn’t much of a headache. Leave this dude alone with adequate light (at 70-83 degrees Fahrenheit) and carbon dioxide. And the plant will keep growing naturally.

If you struggle with identifying the perfect lighting then check the box below as we mentioned two of our favorite lights-

Dwarf hairgrass, on the other hand, is self-sustaining, it needs little care to have proper growth. It is pretty easy to plant and it requires moderate light. Make sure not to plant it in a shady area. Because the lack of light can hinder its proper growth. 

The special care it needs is trimming its long leaves frequently to maintain the perfect size as its blades are likely to grow very fast. If not then the next thing you’ll notice is your dwarf hairgrass melting. If you don’t want to take the risk, you better be careful.

Also, try to put some algae eaters if you don’t want these buddies creating problems in your tank environment.

Keep in mind that both of the plants have some demands of light, carbon dioxide, and other nutrients. So if you are serving them with their needs, there is nothing to be worried about. Talking about their requirements, let’s see how much carbon dioxide and nutrients both plants need-

Plant NameMicro SwordDwarf Hairgrass
Nutrient solutionOnce weeklyTwice weekly
Carbon dioxide3-5mg4-8mg


As the dwarf hairgrass has great demand, so if you are looking for it in the aquarium stores, yes pal this is the right place.

The plant is not even pricey. It depends on the type of plant. But if you want to know the specific price, it will cost you  $5-$10 to get one fine carpet.

Micro sword is not as sought-after because it can’t grow without proper carbon dioxide. As it’s not quite popular, it can be found in some specific aquarium stores only. The clumps are usually sold in small pots. And the plant can be bought by spending $4-15$.


So now, let’s see how fast does micro sword grows.

In low light, it becomes much hard for the micro sword to grow. With proper lighting and carbon dioxide, it can grow much faster before you know it. Plus, it happens to grow from about 2 inches to a maximum of 5 inches.

Some special kinds seem to grow only to 2-3 inches. As mentioned before, the micro sword can grow much faster and so it quickly covers the bottom of the tank with its thick leaves. 

But the algae are likely to stay on the leaves and the leaves become brown and quite unsalutary which slightly changes the environment. To prevent this problem, red cherry shrimp can be useful to prevent algae from turning leaves dirty

For its namesake, dwarf hairgrass has short growth compared to some other plants. But still, this plant happens to grow longer than the micro sword. Its maximum growth is 6 inches.

So if you’re looking for tall plants in your tank, go for dwarf hairgrass. And for a fuller carpet, choose micro sword.


With time passing by, the availability of the plants is changing too.

Previously, the wide type of micro swords was popular. Due to the huge demand and fewer resources, that plant is being replaced by the narrow-leaved ones

Pretty sad right? Well, another reason behind the extinction of wide micro swords was a drastic paradigm shift in the choice of aquatic planters. People all of a sudden started showing interest in the narrow ones. So planters started focusing on planting and supplying those. 

So we could predict that eventually, the wide leaf micro sword got unnoticed. Mostly the availability issue arose since the demand dropped due to variation in consumer’s choices.

The demand for all varieties is more or less the same. The fast-growing ones sold faster than the slow growers. Although the situation of any of the DHG varieties hasn’t reached the point of extinction. So that’s a point of relief.

Now that you know which plant is highly available and which one can be hard to find. You might be wondering where to find micro sword near me

Well, you can visit your nearest pet shop to find both of the plants. Or you can go to any plant shop. These can even be found in aquarium stores. pretty convenient right? Even if you don’t feel like going out to get one you can always order one from aquatic shops online


Dwarf hairgrass needs to be trimmed on a regular basis, preferably once a month so that it can maintain proper growth. 

Whereas the micro sword doesn’t need frequent trimming. To precise it, trimming micro sword once after two months would be enough to maintain its natural growth.

This trimming procedure not only sharpens the blades of each plant also encourages the growth of them. 

If you’re kind of busy and don’t want to trim your aquatics every month, then just go for micro sword.

Oxygen Output

You might be wondering- does dwarf hairgrass produce oxygen?

Dwarf Hairgrass keeps the oxygen level of tank water really high. Which makes it the appropriate plant for fishes as well. Not only that, it also controls the level of nitrite, nitrates, and ammonia in the tank.

On the other hand- micro swords keep the water filtered and oxygenated at an optimum level.

Fish Compatibility

If you have fishes in your tank, you might be wondering- is micro sword safe for fish?

Micro swords grow really fast under the right conditions. This aquatic plant can cover the entire floor of the tank in a few weeks. Their blade like leaves provide excellent cover for fishes and invertebrates.

Source: Wikipedia

Now, in case of dwarf hairgrass, it’s also extremely favorable for fishes. Because it produces high amount of oxygen. It’s also best for the beginners since it’s easier to grow than micro swords.

What We Think: The Verdict

Overall, considering variety, maintenance, and availability, you can surely consider getting dwarf hair grass. On the other hand, a micro sword not only provides you with a fuller carpet but also allows your tank environment to thrive. Which alleviates the whole outlook of your aquarium.

So, think about what you want to achieve by planting these options. Then choose the perfect one for your 20-gallon planted lighting tank.


Should I trim my dwarf hairgrass?

Yes, for dwarf hairgrass trimming is a must. You must trim it to a height of 1.5 inches. Some species are capable to grow up to 4 inches. So try to keep it short for maintaining healthy growth.

Does the micro sword need to be injected co2?

Well, not always injecting is needed. If severe co2 deficiency arises then the condition might need to inject co2 injections. But in high-tech tanks with adequate co2 gas, there is no need to inject. 

How fast does micro sword grow?

Well micro sword starts growing roots in 2 weeks. But for you to see the plants blooming, it can take up to 4 weeks. And by the end of the 6th week, you’ll see your micro swords growing at full pace.


That’s all for now. By now, you’ve been enlightened with all the differences between micro sword vs dwarf hairgrass.

Comment down below to let us know about your queries. We will really appreciate them.

Thank you & have a good day.

Scroll to Top