What Kind of Fish Likes Elodea Plants?

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Elodea is a popular aquarium plant eaten by few fish.
Elodea is a popular aquarium plant eaten by few fish. (Image: session aquarium 2 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com)

Commonly called anacharis in the pet world, plants of the Elodea genus have been a staple of aquarium culture for years. Recently they have fallen in ill favor as an invasive species in American and European waterways.

The Aquarium Plant

Elodea is hardy and grows fast, creating a lush, green, jungle-like habitat in your aquarium. Few fish eat it, but, for those that do, it is an inexpensive and sustainable dietary addition.

Elodea is valuable in live-plant tanks.
Elodea is valuable in live-plant tanks. (Image: session aquarium 4 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com)

Goldfish

Goldfish are the number one consumers of Elodea plants--a valuable addition to their diet. As the most inexpensive aquarium plant, it can be easily restocked as it is consumed. Be sure to remove the lead weights (the plant "twist-ties") before feeding.

Goldfish will happily consume your anacharis.
Goldfish will happily consume your anacharis. (Image: goldfish abstract image by Ken Marshall from Fotolia.com)

Other Freshwater Fish

Elodea is more valuable to other fish as shelter than as food. It often will not be eaten if there is another edible plant available. However, gouramies, tetras and swordtails are reported to occasionally enjoy a nibble.

Turtles

Turtles are among the few aquarium animals who relish anacharis. A tankful will make a light lunch.

Red-eared sliders are known for their appetite for plants.
Red-eared sliders are known for their appetite for plants. (Image: turtles sunbathing on the rock image by Galina Barskaya from Fotolia.com)

Wildlife

In the Americas, where Elodea originated in the wild, waterfowl and water mammals eat the plant. Herbivorous invertebrates, such as snails, and native fish tend to prefer it as a habitat and eat it reluctantly.

Invasion Danger

Elodea, like any plant or animal, causes huge problems when introduced to places outside its natural habitat. In Europe and parts of the Americas, it clogs waterways because of a lack of natural predators, and chokes out native plants and the animals who depend on them.

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