Hemianthus micranthemoides
Baby Tears


Background History

Hemianthus micranthemoides is beautiful aquatic plant known for its bright light green coloration and tiny round leaves. Found naturally growing in the waterways of Southeastern United States and Central America.  It remains a popular aquarium plant for aquascapers attempting to create Nature Aquarium or Dutch influenced aquascapes.

Hemianthus micranthemoides is also known commonly as Pearl Grass, Baby Tears, and formerly known as the genus Micranthemum micranthemoides

Growth Characteristics

Hemianthus micranthemoides is an easy to grow stem plant that will grow well in a wide range of water conditions, tank parameters, and fertilization schemes.  At minimum, moderate lighting should be provided to allow the leaves to grow into a rich bright green.   It can be grown with or without carbon dioxide, and minimum fertilization, but will grown extensively with these supplements.  Occasionally leaves may turn brown indicating either poor lighting or insufficient nutrients.

The stems will grow to a height of 2-8 inches (5-20 cm) with four tiny round leaves per node.
Propagation is like any ordinary stem plant.  It can be cut in half with bottoms left in the substrate to sprout side shoots.  The tops can be replanted.   

Aquascaping Application

Hemianthus micranthemoides is a multipurpose plant that can fit in any part of the aquarium.  In small aquariums, this plant makes a perfect background or midground plant.  The small leaf structure will make the aquarium appear larger than it is.  While in large aquariums, in greater densities Hemianthus micranthemoides can be planted in the foreground or midground to accent and fill holes in an aquascape.

This plant is best planted in small to medium size clusters, stem by stem, into the substrate.  From there, it may be trimmed according to the aquascaping style desired. Hemianthus micranthemoides response very well to trimming, and can be groomed to grow in a lush bush, or even a more manicured mound such as the ones found in Dutch aquascapes. 

In some cases, hobbyists have trained Hemianthus micranthemoides to grow horizontally to form a dense carpet. High light is needed in order to do this, and regular trimming of the emerging horizontal side shoots.

Plant Profile
Scientific Name: Hemianthus micranthemoides
Common Name: Baby Tears
Difficulty: Easy
CO2 Requirements: Low
Lighting Requirements: Medium
Plant Arrangement: Variable
Growth Rate: Moderate
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Hemianthus
Origin: North and South America
Plant Type: Stem
Water Hardness: Medium (GH = 9-13 dH)