How to Raise Elodea

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Also known as anacharis, elodea is a member of the Hydrocharitaceae family of water-loving plants. Considered a waterweed, elodea grows fast and can provide an abundance of oxygen to a busy aquarium. Elodea works perfectly in the background or middleground of your tank, and thrives when floating freely. You can raise elodea yourself in a separate tank.

Things You'll Need

  • Sterile potting soil
  • 20-gallon fish tank
  • Sterile sand
  • Lukewarm water
  • Aquarium heater
  • 25-watt fluorescent bulb

Place a 1 1/2-inch layer of sterile potting soil in the bottom of a 20-gallon fish tank. Cover the potting soil with a 1 1/2-inch layer of sterile sand.

Fill the tank with lukewarm water. Pour the water in slowly so you do not stir up the substrate (soil and sand) at the bottom of the tank.

Allow the water to stand for at least 24 hours. The waiting period will give chlorine and other impurities in the water time to dissipate before adding the plants.

Maintain a constant water temperature between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an aquarium heater if necessary.

Remove approximately 1 inch of foliage from the bottom of each of the elodea plants. Bury the elodea in the substrate, keeping all of the foliage above the sand level.

Provide the elodea with at least 12 to 16 hours of light per day. A 25-watt fluorescent bulb in the hood of the tank should suffice.

Tips & Warnings

  • You do not have to plant elodea in the substrate. If you prefer, you can simply allow the elodea to float freely in the tank.
  • Remove half of the water in the tank monthly, and replace it with cold water.
  • Do not use soil or sand that you find outdoors, which may contain microorganisms that will contaminate your tank. You can purchase sterile potting soil and sand from a garden center or nursery.
  • Do not use a filter in the plant tank, which will convert the ammonia in the water to nitrogen. Elodea prefers the nitrogen.
  • Do not add any to the plant tank.
  • Do not use incandescent bulbs to light the elodia. Incandescent lights get too hot and can burn the foliage.

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