Common name: HC
Scientific name: Hemianthus callitrichoides
Geographic location: Cuba
Light: High (3WPG+)
Hemianthus callitrichoides is native to Cuba, and thus probably why it’s taken so long to become less rare in the hobby. It is a ground cover and has the distinction of being the smallest leaved plant available for the task. It needs higher light and CO2 to flourish and will benefit greatly from regular fertilizing. Often it is bought growing in its emersed state and therefore it is sometimes difficult to get it established in the aquarium. Keeping it anchored in the substrate is one of the most difficult feats, but small pieces of lead wieght can be used to hold it down until it can root itself. The roots are fine and delicate, so avoid disturbing it once it is established.
The best way to get your hands on some is to buy it from another aquascaper. Shipping it from nurseries in Asia has mixed results as it does not take kindly to delays in shipping, and costs can become prohibitive. Growing it emersed is one option for growing it quickly. Using artifical light on timers and regular potting soil, growth of this “green gold” is much faster.
My experiences with this plant have been positive. I got my first batch from an online retailer and it was almost dead due to a delay in shipping, however it did eventually grow back. It has grown well in my tanks but it has never really been used yet, it’s just been floating around. I’m currently growing it to put into an iwagumi style tank. I have been most successful growing it emersed; I have almost 2 shoebox sized tubs full of it now! I will auction it off on Aquabid when it is mature.