Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba” -Dwarf Baby Tears – Plant Profile
Dwarf Baby Tears: The smallest aquarium plant in the world is also one of the most popular ground covers in the aquarium hobby. How you can successfully cultivate this lush green mini plant in your aquarium or aquascape is described in this article.
In 2004 the company Tropica introduced this small but fine plant from Dwarf Baby Tears. Holger Windeløv discovered the plant about 90 km east of Havana in a rocky river during the dry season. Dwarf Baby Tears Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba” was rooted here in the gravel soil above the water between stones.
Appearance and habit
With a leaf size of approx. 3×4 mm, Dwarf Baby Tears has the smallest known leaves of an aquarium plant. The small cushions grow very dense and quickly form a wonderful, lush green and compact carpet. In good conditions, many oxygen pearls often form on the upper surface of the leaves after a few hours of lighting.
Cuban pearlwort grows quite quickly under the right conditions. If the seedlings are initially placed at a distance of 2 cm, the carpet can be completely closed within two weeks if there is sufficient lighting. The cushions can be up to 8 cm thick. However, this should be avoided in any case, as the lower layers die off due to a lack of light, and the whole carpet can quickly float up due to the very fine roots of the aquarium plant.
Growth and reproduction
The ground cover can be increased easily by dividing a cushion and inserting it again.
Attitude and care
Even if the plant was discovered in the gravel soil as written above, it takes root much more easily in soil than in gravel. In nature, it can simply take root where it just sticks, but in the aquarium, the plant should settle at a selected location. Sand is still suitable, and gravel works too. However, the pre-fertilized soil provides the plant with additional nutrients.
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You should fertilize with a liquid micro and macro fertilizer. Fertilization with CO2 is also essential. The rapid growth of the plant can only work with the support of CO2. CO2 is the most important building block in plant growth. You can find all details on this in the article CO2 in the plant aquarium. Fertilization with CO2 is also related to the next point:
Dwarf Baby Tears “Cuba” is hungry for light. The plant stays so small and on the ground because of the strong lighting. With strong lighting, CO2 fertilization is always important. These two points are in direct interaction here. A lot of light without sufficient consumption and fertilization quickly turns into an algae problem. In low light, Dwarf Baby Tears quickly turns brown and dies. We recommend at least 35 lumens per liter, but when buying a new lamp, we would rather recommend an LED that delivers almost 50 lumens per liter.
Planting is easy with plant tweezers. Take the portion out of the in vitro pot and divide it into 20-30 seedlings depending on the selected pot size. Insert the seedlings about 1.5 to 2.5 cm apart in the dry substrate. Plant a little deeper so that only a little of the leaves protrude from the ground. The plant otherwise floats very quickly due to its small roots when the aquarium is filled with water.
Grooming and trimming
In order to maintain a dense and even upholstery, trimming is necessary about every 14 days. If the vacation time intervenes, four weeks are no problem either. After trimming, the upholstery usually looks a lot more yellow and no longer as juicy and green as before. The trimming is still essential for the long-term enjoyment of this great ground cover. If the cushion becomes too high, the lower layers gradually turn yellow and die off. The buoyancy increases due to the oxygen produced in the cushion, and the entire cushion can float. Although this is not a huge catastrophe, since you can plant everything again, it does take a lot of effort that you can prevent by pruning back in time, as with Eleocharis sp. Depending on the adhesion of the plant to the substrate used, it is advisable to use a spring scissor (freshly planted, few roots) or a wave-cut scissors (well-grown). The wave-cut scissors are more ergonomic and make work much easier.
In the following picture, you can see how the plant has already developed roots through the substrate.
Cleaning after trimming
The many small leaves and stems can easily be collected with a net after the plants have been trimmed. After the majority has been removed, a skimmer helps to suck off even the smallest scraps from the surface.
Emerges growth/engagement in Wabi Kusa
At Wabi Kusa, Dwarf Baby Tears is simply a pleasure. The small leaves also look delicate and beautiful outside of the water. Whether planted in a Wabi Kusa Ball, whether in a DOOA Neo Glass Air Terrarium, in a simpler bottle garden, or, as in the picture, simply on dripping wet black lava stones, the possible uses are versatile.
This macro image of Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus calllitrichoides “Cuba”) shows a newly planted group on black, dripping wet lava. The red and blue reflections come from an RGB aquarium lamp.
Comparison and combination with Micranthemum Monte Carlo
The Dwarf Baby Tears is very similar to Micranthemum Monte Carlo. However, the leaves of MMC (short for Micranthemum Monte Carlo) are slightly larger. In the following picture, MMC was set in front and Dwarf Baby Tears behind. The smaller leaves are further back, the larger ones further forward. You can use a simple method to create more depth in your aquascape.
Dream combination with red bee shrimp
We think that Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba”) looks particularly impressive with red bees ( bee shrimp ). The contrast of the red and white shrimp on the lush green appears natural and extremely rich in contrast. We love it!
- Difficulty level: medium
- Color: light green
- Usage: nano aquarium, foreground ground cover, foreground group, background details
- Height: 2-7 cm
- Growth: medium
- pH value: 5-7
- Temperature: 18-28 ° C
- Carbonate hardness: 0-18 ° dkH