Lilaeopsis brasiliensis plant gives an aesthetic look to the aquarium and an amazing dense environment for the fishes to hide their eggs and also the younger ones to hide from the big predator adult fishes. The genus name Lilaeopsis meaning ‘charming the eye’ turns out to be appropriate because of the carpet like the effect. The species name brasiliensis is a derivation from the plant’s place of origin which is Brazil in South America. Beginners might need to be extra careful before attempting to grow Micro Sword in your aquarium as they are highly delicate. However, this beginners’ guide has all the details required to successfully grow Micro Sword plant.

Lilaeopsis brasiliensis Plant overview

Common NameIt’s commonly called Brazilian Micro Sword, Micro Sword Plant, Micro Sword, Carpet grass, or Copra grass.
ColorThe Micro Sword has light or dark green colored grass-like leaves that are flat, narrow towards the bottom, wider in the middle, and pointed at the tips.
Habitat/OriginThe origin of the plant is in South America. Research says that although the plant generally grows in tropical regions, it can tolerate salt content in water to a certain level.
Average SizeMicro sword plants can grow up to a height of about 3 inches in an aquarium with normal conditions. With better lighting conditions and CO2 levels, the plants can grow from 4 to 7 inches in height.
Growth RateEven with really good conditions available in the tank, Lilaeopsis brasiliensis plant takes months to form a carpet layer.
PlacementThe plant can be placed in the foreground of the aquarium to improve the aesthetic look.
MaintenancePeriodical water changes and removal of algae are very much necessary for the better growth of Lilaeopsis brasiliensis plant. The plants can be trimmed. But they need to be removed from the substrate, separated into clusters, and then replanted. Direct trimming can cause decay. The roots if trimmed will result in faster growth and flourishing.
Planting MethodsLilaeopsis brasiliensis have very delicate and fragile roots because of which it needs to be carefully planted using aquarium tweezers. This will avoid damaging the roots. The blades of the plant should not be planted in a single clump. The best way to plant them would be to make a hole in the substrate using the tweezers and then plant the clumps. The water current in the aquarium will need to be switched off until the roots get a hold of the substrate.
Ideal SetupThe plants require the nutrient-rich substrates to grow. They can be grown in an aquarium as a foreground plant emerged or submerged in water. It can also grow in gravel or sand if sufficient fertilizers are added to the substrate.
Care LevelMedium level care is required for Lilaeopsis brasiliensis plant.
SupplementsFertilizers in the form of tablets of liquids can be added. The tablet form helps in targeting the root area. The excreta of the fish serve as a fertilizer.
LightingLED lights, T5 or T8 fluorescent lights or 5000 to 7000 Kelvin full spectrum bulbs can be used. The lighting should reach the bottom of the aquarium where the Micro Sword grows and it should cover 3 watts per gallon.
Water temperatureLilaeopsis brasiliensis plant’s origin is in a tropical region and therefore the temperature needs to be maintained between 72-85°F (22-29°C). The pH levels can be between 5.0 to 7.5 which is considered to be slightly alkaline or soft to moderately hard water.
PropagationThe mature plant produces runners which look like smaller versions of the mother plant. When the runners reach a height of at least half of the mother plant, they can be removed and planted in the substrate carefully. Care should be taken so that the roots do not get damaged and also each clump should have three to four leaflets. Natural propagation also happens when the plant is left undisturbed. However, pinching and planting the runners can help in creating the desired effect.
Approx. CostThe plant is available for a price range of 4 US dollars to 6 US dollars.
Common DiseasesThe yellow coloration of the leaves can be caused because of excessive lighting conditions. It can also result in algae formation which can cause contamination.
What to look for when buyingMake sure the leaves are green in color without any spots. The leaves should be at least 2 inches in length at the time of purchase. The plants will be available as a potted plant, in a mat or a thick piece of cloth with visible roots. The roots need to be dense and white in color.
Related SpecifiesLilaeopsis brasiliensis Mauritiana.