Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, commonly referred to as the Brazilian micro sword, is an absolutely beautiful aquarium plant, a great plant for planted tanks, one that is not too hard to care for, looks nice, and makes fish happy too.
That said, just like with all plants that you might put in your aquarium, you do need to take proper care of it.
This is what we are here for today, to provide you with a detailed guide on how to care for the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis in your tank.
We will cover many aspects of Brazilian micro sword care, such as its growth, planting, water requirements, its size, and so much more. Let’s get to it and figure out how to take care of the Micro sword.
Table of contents
- Summary & Requirements
- How To Care For Brazilian Micro Sword
- Runners & Reproduction
Summary & Requirements
The Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis is a South American plant, one that can be found in a variety of South American countries, although, as the name implies, it is originally native to Brazil.
The reason why this plant is referred to as the Brazilian micro sword, besides the fact that it is from Brazil, is because it closely resembles the larger version of this plant, the Brazilian sword plant.
Yes, of course, it is much smaller, but in terms of appearance, these two plants are quite similar. Both are grass-like, with long and green blades, bright and beautiful green.
Now, the larger version, its leaves, do look more like swords, whereas the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis is more grass-like in nature.
The Brazilian micro sword plant does not grow very large, usually up to about 3 or 4 inches in height, and it features a compact growth that can end up looking like a grassy carpet or lawn., which is why many people use it, due to this beautiful lawn effect which it creates in planted tanks.
When it comes to the growth of the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, keep in mind that under the right conditions, it will grow fairly quickly, although not at lighting speed by any means.
Most people would say that it has a fairly moderate growth rate. Although, if you take care of the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis properly, such as by giving it lots of light, good substrate, some nutrients, and more, you can make the Brazilian micro sword plant grow fairly big and healthy.
Once again, keep in mind that this plant will only grow to around 3 or 4 inches in height, with some people managing to get a couple of extra inches out of it.
People tend to really like how this plant forms a fairly thick and dense carpet, although, it is generally taller than other carpeting plants in aquariums, so it is quite the unique option to go with.
Seeing as the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis plant does not grow all that large, it makes for a plant for a small to medium size aquarium, although it can obviously be used as a beautiful plant in larger tanks as well.
Most people would agree that this is a great plant for any aquarium over 5 gallons in size, although we personally would not recommend putting it in a tank under 10 gallons.
Remember, although this plant is not as large as its cousin, the Brazilian micro sword does still grow to a decent size, so it does not make the best option for nano tanks.
As is the case with all aquatic plants, the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis does need to be placed in water with the appropriate pH level for survival, which means that the water needs to have a certain level of acidity or alkalinity.
To allow the Brazilian Micro sword plant to grow properly, it should be in water that is slightly acidic, neutral, or slightly alkaline. The right pH level for the Micro sword plant is between 6.8 and 7.5.
In terms of water hardness, which represents the content of dissolved minerals in the water, the Lilaeopsis aquarium needs to be fairly soft to moderately hard.
This means that there should not be too many dissolved minerals in the water. the dGH level, which is how water hardness is measured, should ideally be under 10 dGH, although in some cases up to 15 dGH may be acceptable.
Generally speaking, to keep the micro sword plant happy and healthy, softer is better.
To allow the micro sword plant to grow properly, it does require the water to be fairly warm. The temperature for this plant should be between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with somewhere around 78 degrees being ideal.
Yes, this means that to allow for proper growth, you will probably need a heater for your tank.
What is convenient about the micro sword plant is that it does not require all that much light. A basic aquarium light that provides a moderate amount of light will do fine.
Sure, it can handle both high and low light conditions, although higher is better than lower. While the micro sword can survive in darker waters, its growth will be slow, and the plant may be faced with health issues. Plants generally do not fare very well in dim lighting.
The micro sword Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, seeing as it does not get very tall, and seeing as it can be used as a carpeting plant, it makes for a good plant to have in the foreground, particularly in smaller aquariums where you want to make something like a lawn.
In smaller aquariums and in medium aquariums, you may also choose to use it as a midground plant, although the foreground is probably best. Due to this plant’s relatively small size, using it as a background option is not ideal, unless you have an extremely small nano tank.
Something else that is important to note about the micro sword Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis is that it requires very nutrient rich substrate, as this is a plant which requires a whole lot of nutrients for proper growth.
Most people would recommend using a premium substrate such as fluorite, due to its nutrient rich makeup.
With that being said, you can also plant the sword Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis in a fine gravel substrate, but you will need to supplement the water with nutrients and CO2.
Plants like this, ones with strong root systems especially, due need good substrate with lots of nutrients available, particularly because it must develop a very strong root system.
How To Care For Brazilian Micro Sword
One of the most important things that you need to remember when caring for the micro sword plant is that it needs nutrients, fertilizers, and CO2 to be supplemented in the water.
This plant needs a whole lot of nutrients, and while it will grow if you do not supplement the water with CO2 and fertilizers, the micro sword will definitely not flourish without them.
In theory, the above section that covered the pH, water hardness, temperature, substrate, lighting, and all of that other fun stuff is indeed the guide on how to care for the micro sword plant.
As long as you follow all of the tips and guidelines which we have laid out above, keeping your micro sword plant alive and well should not be a problem.
Another important thing to note when caring for the micro sword plant is that it does not do well with certain fish, particularly those which are voracious eaters of plants, as well as fish that like to uproot plants.
Remember that the micro sword plant needs to have a strong root system to stay alive, so any fish that will dig around and uproot it are a big no-no.
Runners & Reproduction
When it comes to propagating the micro sword plant, there is really not much work that you have to do. The micro sword plant will create runners all on its own, which are like little baby offshoots. The runners of the micro sword plant will spread all on their own, take root, and form new plants.
However, if you want to propagate this micro sword plant on your own, all you have to do is pinch the runners off from the original micro sword plant, and then plant those runners in a new location.
As long as you follow the care guide as outlined above, you should not see any issues with propagation and reproduction.
Is Brazilian micro sword a good beginner plant?
When it comes down to it, the micro sword plant is ok for beginners, but maybe not the best. It is not overly hard to care for, but due to the fact that you have to supplement the water with carbon dioxide and fertilizer, it can make keeping the water chemistry at an ideal level for your fish a little tricky.
So, if you are putting together a community fish tank that has specific water requirements, then this plant may not be the best option.
Can you aquascape with Brazilian micro sword?
Yes, you can absolutely aquascape with the micro sword plant. It stays relatively small, it does not get too large too fast, and as long as you provide it with nutrients and the right conditions, it will stay alive no problem.
What plants are similar to Brazilian micro sword?
While the Amazon sword plant is larger than the micro sword, the two are still similar. If you are looking for similar plants to get that cool carpet effect, some good option to look into include java moss, dwarf hairgrass, and dwarf baby tears. Other similar plants include lilaeopsis novaezelandiae and lilaeopsis novae zelandiae.
Can you trim Micro sword?
Technically speaking, there is no reason why you cannot use a pair of sharp scissors and trim the micro sword right across the top. It will not kill the plant, but beware that it probably won’t look too nice!
The bottom line is that this is a beautiful freshwater plant that can be used for fish tanks and aquascaping alike. It might not be the most beginner friendly plant out there, but if you follow our guide to the tee, keeping it alive and healthy should not bee too difficult.