There are so many benefits to including plants in your freshwater aquarium. They can provide good sources of food, shelter, and hiding places for your fish. With so many potential roles that they can play, there is really no reason not to grow live plants in your fish tank.
However, it can be tough to figure out what kind of plant you should grow. There are so many options out there, and knowing which ones will be compatible with your species. Luckily, anacharis offers all the benefits you might be looking for a in freshwater plant- with minimal downsides. This plant acts as a suitable food source, keeps your tank clean, and also provide adequate shelter to the fish that need it.
What Is Anacharis?
Also known as the Brazilian Elodea, Egeria, and Brazilian Waterweed, anacharis is easy to grow and even easier to care for once you’ve added it to your tank. You can even propagate it at home so that you don’t have to buy additional plants when you are ready to include more.
Anacharis is sold in most fish and aquarium specialty stores. It is known by many scientific names as well as common names, such as Egeria densa and Elodea densa. Egeria densa is the most modern scientific name and therefore the most correct, but you may find it by either name at your local fish store.
It’s improtnat that you ask for anacharis by its scientific name for several reasons first, this plant is very similar to two separate invasive plants – Elodea canadensis and Hydrilla verticillata. Knowing the difference between the three is vital in ensuring that you maintain the health and vitality of your tank.
For starters, E. densa will have leaves that are substantially larger than those found on the other plants. These leaves can grow up to half an inch in diameter and are formed in whorls of four to six. E. canadensis, on the other hand, has whorls of three while H. verticillata has whorls of five.
This plant is native to North and South America, originally found in countries such as Uruguay, Argentina, and southeast Brazil. Because it reproduce so quickly and easily, it is now found in many other areas of the world. This popular aquarium plant can be found at just about any aquarium stores and is a favorite among fish keepers for its lush, verdant appearance.
A perennial plant, anacharis grows wild in ponds, slakes, and other slow moving bodies of water like streams and canals. You can occasionally find anacharis in calm rivers, too. The plant will rise and fall depending on the temperature and available daylight. During warm daytime weather, the plant will rise to the surface to soak up the bright sunlight, and at night- or when the temperatures otherwise drop – the plant will sink to the bottom substrate so that it can stay warm.
This plant can be found in waters up to four meters deep, and it can tolerate a range of conditions. You don’t have to have a tank with a particular oxygen level, pH, or nutrient balance in order to grow anacharis – it will probably adapt to the conditions you are already maintaining in your tank.
What Does Anacharis Look Like?
Anacharis is easy to identify because it is so lovely to look at. This plant has a long green stem with tiny green leaves. These leaves travel the entire length of the stem. The exact color of anacharis will vary between plants, but usually it is a dark green color. It can look somewhat like grass or be even darker. This color is determined by the water conditions in which the plant is growing.
When grown in the wild, anacharis can grow up to three feet tall and three millimeters thick. When grown in a fish tank, it will not usually grow this high and will limit its growth to the size of the aquarium in which you are cultivating it.
This plant produces tubular stems, each of which has several nodes that produces leaves. Each node will have a whorl that includes three to six leaves. Lower leaves usually have fewer whorls. Each leaf is either oval or oblong and is about three centimeters long.
At the end of each branch, anacharis has a compact cluster of leaves. The ends of the stems produce delicate stringy roots. In the wild during the summer months, anacharis will produce a small white flower. This flower will have three petals and will sit just above the surface of the water.
Where Can I Purchase Anacharis?
Anacharis is available at most pet stores or aquarium hobbyist shops. When you decide to purchase anacharis, make sure you only select a plant that appears to be healthy and thriving. Don’t purchase a plant that looks wilted or limp in any way – you likely won’t be able to revive it once you get it into your tank. Any plant that has black, brown, or limp leaves is likely about to die before you even get it home.
Plants are usually sold in bunches of six to sixteen stems. When they are sold in stores, they are usually between seven and eight inches in length. They typically don’t have any roots as they have been cut. This is nothing to worry about, as the plants will produce new rotors when they are planted.
Stems will be connected via an elastic band. Whatever you do, don’t leave this band on the plants when you get the bundle into your fish tank. Remove the band right away, as it can suffocate your plant and cause some tissue damage to the stem.
Most stems can be purchased for less than $3, with bundles costing slightly more. When trying to decide how much to buy, it’s important to keep in mind the size and volume of your fish tank. If you are growing anacharis for a pond, try to keep in mind the ratio of one bunch per square foot – it will multiply accordingly to fill that space.
How Do I Plant Anacharis?
If you’ve ever grown plants at home before, you should take comfort in the knowledge that growing anacharis is not much different. To get started, you should separate the stems and examine them closely for any signs of damage. Any pieces that seem withered or injured in any way should be removed with a pair of scissors.
Allow the leaves to remain on the bottom section of these tem. You should bury this stem in about one or two inches of the substrate. Allow for a space of about an inch between each plant.
Avoid planting your anacharis stems too close to each other. This will reduce the amount of available nutrients and will also make it more difficult for each plant to develop strong roots in the substrate. The plant will instead start floating, which will work for some tie, but can then become problematic as the plant gets older.
You can plant anacharis anywhere you’d like inside your fish tank, but most people grow it as a background plant. Grow anacharis along the back wall of your aquarium so that your other plants can take center stage.
How Do I Take Care Of Anacharis?
Anacharis is incredibly easy to take care of once you get it in your tank. This is a good thing – you shouldn’t be spending more time caring for your freshwater tank plants than you are for your fish! Most of the care involved in growing anacharis has to do with pruning it to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm the entire tank.
Anacharis generally grows more quickly when it is left to float, but it can be challenging to grow in this way in that it can block the availability of light to your other plants and to your fish. You may want to plant your anacharis in the substrate, as it will have access to a more nutritious source of vitamins and minerals. When rooted in the substrate, anacharis an access nutrients from both the water and these substrate – not just the water.
What’s more important than where or how you plant your anacharis is how you take care of the water. These fish need to be kept in freshwater tropical tanks, ideally those that are heated to around 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, they are easily managed and can adapt to tanks as cool as 60 degrees and as warm as 82 degrees.
Make sure you have plenty of lighting in your tank, as this will encourage the process of photosynthesis. You should include 2 watts of lighting per gallon. Too little light can cause your plants to die. However, too much intense light can encourage algae growth on the plants, particularly if they are floating close to the surface of the water.
You usually don’t need to add any fertilizers or supplements to your anacharis. However, you may want to add substrate fertilizer and CO2 fertilizer in a tropical tank. This should be added no more often than on a weekly basis.
How Quickly Does Anacharis Grow?
Anacharis grows quite rapidly when provided with the proper conditions. This plant will grow upward toward the light and then move across the surface to the later. You may find that, as your plants grow longer and produce longer stems, these stems will spiral downwards, giving your tank a forested look.
As your plants develop in the substrate, they will produce thin white roots. These roots are much smaller and more fragile than those produced by other plants. You might also notice roots sprouting from other locations along the stem, but these are nothing to worry about. The roots will either make their way down to the substrate or will just remain where they are along the stem.
You may have to trim your anacharis if you don’t want it to develop a dense pattern of growth. If you are only growing your anacharis for visual appeal and not for any other purpose, you can easily maintain it by trimming long stems with scissors.
Anacharis doesn’t stop growing to suit its habitat. If you don’t take the extra precautions to prevent it from overrunning your tank, it will quickly produce a forested habitat inside the aquarium.
Can I Propagate Anacharis Plants?
Anacharis can easily be propagated in a freshwater tank. Because it reproduces easily, you may find yourself with too much anacharis rather than too little! Just a few stems can reproduce for many years.
All you have to do to propagate your anacharis is cut off a healthy stem. This stem should be located on the main plant and it should be healthy in appearance. It needs to have plenty of leave and be at least eight inches long.
Start by timing the leave from the base of the plant. Then, bury this piece about two inches into the substrate. After some time, the cutting will produce roots and start to grow again. Make sure you remove the leaves before you plant the stem, as they will begin to decay if they are left on the plant.
How Can I Use Anacharis In My Tank?
Anacharis has a number of uses in a freshwater tank – it’s not just for show!
This plant can provide valuable shelter and hiding places for a variety of species. When you are raising certain types of fish, you will find that they need places to get away from larger, aggressive fish. Anacharis grows densely, so it provides a great spot for them to hide.
In addition, some fish will deposit their eggs or fry on anacharis leaves when they are breeding. When you have young fry that are still growing acclimated to the tank, anacharis provides an excellent spot for them to hang out.
If you have fish that eat plants, whether wholly or as a partial component of their diet, anacharis can help you out there, too. This plant provides plenty of nutrients for fish like cichlids and goldfish, as well as invertebrates like apple snails.
Anacharis can even purify your water and help to prevent the buildup of algae. Anacharis absorbs excess nutrients from the water and releases a substance that can limit the growth of certain types of algae, like blue-green algae. It can also filter and eliminate debris that is floating loosely around the aquarium.