Lilaeopsis brasiliensis is a commonly available aquarium plant which has been in the hobby for many years. This plant is native to Brazil, where it is found growing along the shores of streams in both immersed and submersed states. This plant is sometimes called ‘Brazilian micro sword’, however, it is more closely related to the genera Limnobium and Hydrocotyle.
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis is a hardy aquarium plant and is not difficult to grow. This plant will grow under a variety of lighting conditions and will even grow in dim lighting. Intense light and CO2 supplementation will cause rapid growth and will enable a dense carpet to be formed within a short space of time. However, CO2 is not essential and this plant can be kept without CO2 addition. A nutrient rich substrate will also encourage faster, taller growth, however, inert substrates can be used. Fine sand is optimal, as this plant will struggle to grow in coarse gravel. As with most plants, this species benefits from the regular addition of nitrate, phosphate, potassium, and micronutrients in the water column.
This plant grows along a rhizome in a similar fashion to Hydrocotyle verticellata, however, the leaves are grass-like and grow more densely. To encourage carpeting, insert small bunches of this plant in a checkerboard pattern across the substrate. In a few months, the plants will grow in and form a dense carpet. This plant can become invasive and runners that grow into neighbouring plants need to be removed. Propagation is easy, simply remove a length of rhizome with a sharp pair of scissors and replant it.
Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, due to its low stature, is an excellent grassy foreground alternative to the more common Eleocharis spp. (hairgrass) and Echinodorus tenellus. It can also be used to provide vertical accents to Glossotigma and Riccia carpets.