There is a great confusion on the internet between Echinodorus Tenellus and Helanthium Tenellum. Both names do refer to the same plant. There is also a great deal of confusion between the broad version which is commonly known as the pygmy chain sword and the reddish, thinner variety of the same name. The plant being referred to for this profile is the red, thin variety.
Echinodorus Tenellus (Red) are perfect accents to green grass fields of an Iwagumi or a Jungle Type Diorama set up. Echinodorus Tenellus (Red) will possess thin slender reddish or brownish blades if put under the right conditions. This beautiful small plant may seem fragile but it will show the opposite in fact it has proven very difficult to kill this plant. It may become ugly and unhealthy very fast but it will bounce back right away if the conditions of your water column are right.
Echinodorus Tenellus does not require high lighting. It will be perfectly content when you put it under medium lighting. When put under brighter conditions though the plant will begin to turn out reddish blades as opposed to the regular green blades.
This plant does not require CO2 but for faster growth it is definitely recommended. Echinodorus Tenellus (Red) is already a fast grower in itself, giving off runners just as soon as the parent plant can establish itself in the aquarium. With CO2 addition there is a good chance that the rate of growth is doubled or tripled.
Definitely include iron in what is being dosed to the aquarium. This plant will definitely benefit from the addition of iron and nitrates. It is recommended to follow a strict schedule for dosing the tank to keep this plant looking healthy. Keep this plant at temperatures of 20-30 degrees Celsius with neutral PH water. This plant can tolerate anywhere from soft water to slightly hard. TDS is recommended for 80-150PPM.
Planting and Placement
Echinodorus Tenellus (Red) can be used as a carpeting plant all by itself. ̛It can also be used to accent other carpeting plants like Monte Carlo or Hairgrass. It can also be kept as an accent, planted strategically in a bunch or clump in your aquarium. For a more natural effect Echinodorus Tenellus (Red) is mixed with similar looking green carpeting plants like Lilaeopsis Braziliensis or Lileaopsis Mauritiana.
This plant propagates via runners. Do not cut uniformly when trimming. Removing individual leaves and living some intact to thin the carpet out would be recommended as cutting all the leaves halfway.