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Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus Callitrichoides) Care Guide

Dwarf Baby Tears (Hemianthus Callitrichoides) Care Guide

If you’re looking for a beautiful plant for your freshwater aquarium, look no further than Dwarf Baby Tears. This is a freshwater plant that can spread on the substrate of your tank to make lush, green flooring. It can also float freely, making it a versatile plant choice.

Dwarf Baby Tears, or Hemianthus callitrichoides, does best in a 10-gallon (38 L) tank with a pH level of around 7.0 and a temperature between 68 and 75 °F (20 and 24 °C). This plant is perfect for covering the bottom of your fish tank and stimulating your fish.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dwarf Baby Tears, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the characteristics of this plant. I’ll then share the proper tank conditions and maintenance for Dwarf Baby Tears. 

Dwarf Baby Tears Tank Requirements

Due to the particular conditions for Dwarf Baby Tears to thrive, they’re typically not recommended for beginners. Following a specific care routine for this beautiful aquarium plant will be key to its survival. 

Tank Size

Prepare a tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons (38 L). although the Dwarf Baby Tears can sometimes grow in smaller tanks, it’s best to give this plant more room to spread out. 

If you’re keeping fish in your tank, you should likely have a 10-gallon (38 L) tank at minimum for the fish to thrive, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. 


The proper temperature for Dwarf Baby Tears to thrive is between 68 and 75 °F (20 and 24 °C). Any warmer, and your Dwarf Baby Tears will likely die. Keeping a thermometer nearby or within the tank can help you monitor the temperature in the range needed to keep this plant happy. 


The water’s pH is also important to consider to keep Dwarf Baby Tears alive. They can tolerate pH levels between 6.0 and 7.5. However, anything below or above this range can be fatal. 

Using pH test strips often while maintaining your tank will help keep the water within this range. You can check your water’s pH level once every two to four weeks to be sure.

Keep your water nutrient-rich, especially with phosphorus. Any plants that help produce phosphorus will pair greatly with your Dwarf Baby Tears! 


Dwarf Baby Tears need 2 watts of light for every gallon (3.8 L) to keep it growing on the floor of the tank. The plant could float to the top of the tank if there is insufficient lighting. 

Dwarf Baby Tears can comfortably grow near the water’s surface. However, if you want the carpeting effect, you’ll need to keep the light brighter, so it reaches the bottom. 


Though Dwarf Baby Tears covers most of the substrate, the type of substrate you choose is important for optimal growth and coverage. 

A substrate with many minerals, especially iron, will keep your Dwarf Baby Tears healthy. You also want to find a fine-grain substrate so the plant will root easier and keep it from floating away. 

If you’re looking for a great option for your aquarium, I recommend Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum (available on It’s incredibly mineral-rich and stimulates plant growth. It also has a slightly acidic to neutral pH, which matches the Dwarf Baby Tears’ requirements.

Using Dwarf Baby Tears in Your Aquarium

Originally discovered in Cuba in 2003, Dwarf Baby Tears is a plant known for “carpeting” the substrate in an aquarium. They’re a bright green color, with stems and small rounded leaves. They can be found growing naturally in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas in shallow waters. 

Why Select Dwarf Baby Tears for Tank

If you need something to cover the surface of your tank, Dwarf Baby Tears should be a candidate. They have an aesthetically pleasing appearance and they’re pretty easy to keep, grow, and cultivate. Your fish may also enjoy hiding within the foliage.

The Appearance of Dwarf Baby Tears 

Dwarf Baby Tears is one of the smallest aquarium plants in the world, growing only around an inch (2.5 cm) tall. They spread slowly but can cover your aquarium’s floor within a month or two under suitable conditions.

They spread very densely, covering a thick layer of substrate, rocks, and driftwood in the tank. Due to their vibrant green color, many love to use Dwarf Baby Tears in their aquarium for a lush, fresh look. 

Another characteristic that makes Dwarf Baby Tears unique is the bubbles that develop on the surface. They can sometimes produce small flowers depending on the condition. These can both add another beautiful layer of depth to your aquarium floor. 

How Dwarf Baby Tears Grow 

In proper care conditions, your Dwarf Baby Tears will spread in a thick, dense layer on the substrate in your tank. 

It’s important to note that even if you care for them properly, Dwarf Baby Tears is still a slow-growing plant. If you don’t see it spread quickly, don’t be alarmed, as it takes some time to get started. 

If you want to supplement the growth rate, you can use CO2 fertilization. While this isn’t a requirement for growth, it can speed up the growth process and even grow the Dwarf Baby Tears longer than their typical height.  

Best and Worst Tankmates for Dwarf Baby Tears

The best Tankmates for Dwarf Baby Tears are peaceful freshwater fish. Any fish that doesn’t dig or do serious damage to the aquarium plants will be best, as it gives Dwarf Baby Tears time to grow. 

Some peaceful freshwater species that are gentle with plants include: 

While this list is a great place to start, there are many fish species that would be good tank mates for Dwarf Baby Tears. As long as it’s a peaceful fish that doesn’t uproot plants, the Dwarf Baby Tears will have a safe environment to grow in.

Some fish that would not be great companions for Dwarf Baby Tears are goldfish, discus fish, or any large fish that like to sift through gravel for food sources. Cichlid fish are also not a good match for plants and will destroy them before they can even grow.

Dwarf Baby Tears FAQs

Do Dwarf Baby Tears need CO2?

CO2 isn’t a requirement for growth, but it can speed up the growth process and even grow the Dwarf Baby Tears longer than their typical height.

How much light do Dwarf Baby Tears need?

For Dwarf Baby Tears to thrive, medium to high lighting of 10-12 hours per day is required. This plant is photophilic which means it needs abundant lighting to thrive, it cannot sustain growth in dark lighting.

Will Dwarf Baby Tears grow on driftwood?

Dwarf Baby Tears will grow on driftwood. While it’s easy to tie the plant to the piece of driftwood, it is recommended for the plant to develop roots in the substrate that is placed on the driftwood surface. To start this process, simply position patches of Dwarf Baby Tears onto the driftwood, securing them in place with rocks until they attach themselves to the wood.

Wrapping Up

Dwarf Baby Tears can grow a beautifully dense carpet in your aquarium under suitable conditions. To accelerate the growth process, you can use CO2 fertilizing. 

Although attractive, this plant isn’t often for beginners as it is very particular with the amount of lighting, nutrients, and water conditions in the tank. Many other alternatives for carpeting your tank might yield better results for a first-timer or beginner.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...