Aquarium Plants

Aquatic Grass – Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis

The Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis is native to South America, specifically Brazil as its name suggests. This plant is also commonly called Watergrass or False tenellus and is commonly found in shallow streams and river basins with low water flows.

The Aquatic Grass (Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis) is known in English by the name of «Brazilian Micro Sword» , and is a foreground plant that is used in freshwater aquariums.

It is commonly purchased as a beginner aquarium plant and is widely used by aquarists who do not want to do too much work because it has a fairly slow growth rate. This means that it does not need to be pruned or maintained too often.

However, its cultivation can be classified as medium difficulty, so beginner aquarists should know that it may be better to try to cultivate this plant when they have some basic knowledge about the cultivation of aquatic plants.

Before starting to see in depth, we are going to stop at the file with the general description of this plant. If you are just starting out with live planted aquariums, you may be interested in taking a look at our planted aquarium guide for beginners, where we explain step by step how to set up your planted tank.

Aquatic Turf Sheet

  • Origin: South America.
  • Scientific name: Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis
  • Maximum size: 7.5cm
  • Growth: slow-medium
  • Light Needs: Moderate to High
  • Water temperature: 21 to 28ºC (24º to 26º optimal)
  • Reproduction: by stolons
  • pH: 6.8-7.5
  • gH: soft to moderately hard
  • CO2: it is beneficial. Optimum 10/20mg/l.
  • Difficulty: easy-medium

Aquatic Grass belongs to the Apiaceae family and can be found growing partially or fully submerged along the banks of rivers and streams throughout Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

This type of plant does not grow very fast, but it grows dense enough to form a beautiful mat in a few months by placing several seedlings in a checkerboard-like pattern.

It is a small growing plant which makes it suitable for many tanks, including nano aquariums.

It is quite easy to reproduce, all you have to do is take the runners from this plant and plant them in the substrate.

This plant can be found in practically all aquarium shops and fish nurseries.

Description of Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis

Water Grass almost looks like grass that grows in the meadow. It has thin, very elongated leaves, usually light green in color that do not grow much.

One of the really nice parts about this aquarium plant is that it doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain or make sure it grows well.

It usually reaches a maximum size of 7.5 cm (3 inches) in an aquarium and will form a spectacular dense mat if given the right mix of Co 2, nutrients and lighting.

Although it can grow quite well without carbon dioxide supplementation, aquatic grass grows best with good aquarium lighting and some Co 2 input.

This type of plant will do fine without any extra nutrients, but as with most aquarium plants, it does benefit from some extra nutrient supplementation. This plant will flourish if given nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and other micronutrients.

One of the problems with aquatic grass is that it is very invasive and tends to overgrow other plants. This means that if you have other plants growing in the tank, you will need to prune it regularly to prevent it from overtaking the other plants.

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis is definitely a great choice for large and small aquariums due to its size, and because it is very easy to keep alive it is also ideal for beginners.


tank requirements

This plant can be kept in all tanks due to its small size. Its habitat requires a tropical freshwater aquarium, with a water temperature that must be between 21-28ºC (70-83 degrees Fahrenheit), so that it can develop without problems.

It grows well in soft to moderately hard water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.5 slightly alkaline.

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis is primarily used in the foreground of an aquarium, and good Aquatic Grass care requires a nutrient-rich plant substrate, unlike common aquarium gravel.

Many experienced aquarists highly recommend the use of Flourite, the premium aquarium substrate, which provides essential nutrients for root plants.

If you want this plant to grow well in the aquarium, you will have to provide it with adequate lighting. A minimum of 1 watt per liter (3 watts/gal) should be considered, which is considered a moderate need for light.

The light this plant receives should be unobstructed, any light provided should be direct light. That said, it can be grown in shade, although its growth will be severely restricted.

Aquatic Lawn Maintenance

Aquatic Grass is a plant that must be planted in a substrate rich in nutrients. If your substrate does not contain enough nutrients, you will need to add liquid or tablet fertilizers.

Tablets may be a better option, as they stay close to the roots of the plant, thus keeping all the nutrients close to the root.

Periodically adds phosphate, potassium, nitrate, and micronutrients to the water column. Many recommend using Seachem Plant Pack Fundamentals to help with Aquatic Grass growth.

You do have to be careful, though, as this plant requires strong lighting and grows at such a slow rate that algae can develop on the leaves. Then they will need to be cleaned.

You can prevent algae buildup by placing some shrimp or algae-eating fish in the tank.

To experience proper growth of Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Co 2 supplementation will need to be added to the aquarium.

For consistent lush growth, it is necessary to find a balance between current, dissolved Co 2 and depth of the aquarium to ensure that this plant can properly utilize Co 2.

In the tank with proper maintenance, it can grow to a carpet of green grass with leaves about 5-7-8cm.

Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis Algae Problems

One of the ways to help minimize this is to avoid planting in a large group. Large clumps can slow the movement of water around the plant, giving the algae time to establish a foothold for their growth.

Another way to help combat algae buildup is to have some algae-eating shrimp like cherry prawns or amano prawns to help keep the surface of the leaves clean.

And as always, it’s important to ensure that water conditions remain within the proper ranges and that partial water changes are performed regularly.


The roots of the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis are not particularly strong and resistant as with other aquarium plants. Especially when they are young. So you have to take some care to plant it properly.

It is common to think that planting the seedlings in a single group can give more chances of success. But this can prevent the plant from growing. The best approach is to gently separate the plant into smaller groups as we will now explain.

Because the plants are light and have thin, shallow roots, they can end up coming out of the substrate and floating in the tank. If this happens, plant them again.

You will have to be patient and wait for the plant to take root and stay still. Once the roots of the plant are established and the plant begins to reproduce, the roots take root as a web that anchors the plant to the top of the substrate.


To achieve this, it can be planted in a single area and allowed to spread, or several smaller stems can be planted in diagonal rows, forming a checkerboard-like pattern.

The stems are planted in the soil in small groups about 2-3 cm (1 inch) apart, and 0.5-1 cm (1/4-1/2 inch) deep.

In this way, the stems will spread around the perimeter and cover the substrate more quickly, although it will still take a few months to cover completely, since this plant is a slow grower.

The roots must be completely buried in the substrate, but do it very gently, as they are very delicate. Plant stems in direct light and avoid any shade from neighboring plants to ensure proper growth.

To encourage faster rooting and growth, clip the roots with a very sharp pair of scissors or a razor blade before planting.

Be careful with runners, removing those that grow on other plants, as this can affect their development.

You can use the cutouts for breeding in the same tank or in other tanks.

Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis can also be planted in outdoor ponds and brackish water tanks.

Aquatic Grass Reproduction

The Brazilian micro sword reproduces by means of stolons that the plant produces at the root. If planted correctly, new plants will grow from these little stolons, spreading across the bottom of the tank.

Under the right conditions, aquatic grass can produce one to two runners weekly.

The stolons can be separated or left to propagate on their own. If allowed to spread on their own, they will form a much desired wallpaper over the aquarium substrate, providing a truly spectacular aquascape.

How to form a carpet of Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis

The most common is that when introducing the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis the main objective is to form a carpet.

The easiest way to form a mat is to insert the plants in diagonal rows across the aquarium substrate, so that it almost resembles a checkerboard.

This allows each plant to spread out in open spaces, and in a few months you will have a dense, lush mat.

fish compatibility

Most cold-water aquarium fish that are herbivorous, such as goldfish, may want to graze on this plant, so they should also be avoided. Unlike most herbivorous fish, plecos can still co-exist with this aquarium plant.

A good dense aquatic grass can be a great hiding place for fish eggs and fry, as they are constantly in danger of being eaten by the adults.

Smaller fish and shrimp can also benefit from this compact hideout to prevent harassment from larger tank mates.

Buy an aquatic grass plant

Avoid plants with leaves that are yellow, cracked, torn, have lots of dead tips, or are damaged in any way. You should also try to avoid plants that have visible amounts of algae.

Aquatic Grass is normally sold as a potted plant, so it is often difficult to see the roots of the plant in the store. But in general, if the leaves look healthy, then the roots will almost certainly be in good shape too.

Also, the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis may be available as a tapestry, as if it were a fabric sample cut from a larger piece. In this case it is easier to take a look at the roots.

Well, reader, we are done. For those who are researching to start immersing themselves in this beautiful hobby, and are wondering which aquarium to buy, we have a small guide that you can access by clicking on the previous link.

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