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Anacharis Plant Care Guide For Aquariums

Anacharis Plant Care Guide For Aquariums

Anacharis plants are a common choice for many aquariums thanks to their relative resilience and lack of necessary preparation. 

Anacharis plants thrive in a wide range of aquarium environments in terms of water parameters, temperature, and light intensity, making them easy to take care of with little effort. 

If you’re going to be caring for Anacharis plants, you’re in the right place! I’ll be sharing all of the information you need to grow, propagate, and tend to your plants. 

What Is Anacharis?

Anacharis (Egeria densa), or Elodea Najas, is a tall, lush, and fast-growing perennial aquatic plant that blooms in still or slow-moving water. This includes ponds, streams, lakes, canals, rivers, and deep, clear water. Anacharis is invasive, forming dense mats and out-competing native species.

The plant is native to South America and is also known as Brazilian waterweed, Giant Leafy Elodea, pondweed, Anacharis densa, or large-flowered waterweed. 

Anacharis Appearance

Anacharis is a tall plant. It sports long, sturdy green stems with elongated, narrow strands of leaves. White roots sprout from the stem, growing deep into the substrate or merely floating in the water. 

The green-hued leaves (light or bright green, depending on the water) have serrated edges and pointed tips and are set in whorls of 4-6 around the stems. At times, Anacharis bears pale-white flowers that float on the water’s surface. The plant remains green throughout, branching out on the water’s surface and forming a thick canopy. 

Anacharis Size & Growth

The Anacharis plant grows to a height of about 6 ft (1.82 m) or more (9 ft (3m) in the wild). It has fragile stems that grow to about 1/8th of an inch (0.3 cm) in diameter. This stem plant grows as a floating plant but can also grow from the substrate, with roots developing from underneath the stem.

Under the right conditions, Anacharis proliferates. Don’t be surprised to find the plant growing a foot (30.48 cm) or more every month.

Tank Setup

Anacharis are non-fussy plants. Thus, they don’t need much preparation before placement into the tank. You also don’t need substrate/gravel and can grow them in a bare tank by floating them in the aquarium.

Tank Placement 

Since the Anacharis plant grows pretty tall, getting a medium or large aquarium is best. This will allow you to position your Anacharis in the background. Alternatively, position the plants on one end and have other shorter plants in the middle.

Tank Size

Sizewise, it’s best to get an aquarium that provides your Anacharis ample room for growth. Go for a 15-20 gallon (567- 75.7 liters) tank on the minimum to ensure your plants don’t take up lots of space, leaving none for your fish.

Water Temperature 

Anacharis are hardy plants, but they prefer growing in aquariums with temperatures ranging between 50 to 77°F (10 to 25°C). While they thrive best in cooler water tanks, they also do well in tropical aquariums. Still, Ancharis growing in outdoor ponds can overwinter in temperatures lower than these.

Water Flow

Anacharis prefer still water or gently flowing water devoid of strong currents. Therefore, you want to grow your plants in an aquarium featuring low flow rates. Alternatively, consider positioning them in a spot without strong flow or a distance from your filter’s outflow.

Here’s how to keep your Anacharis plants protected:

  • Choose a filter that complements your tank’s volume
  • Break a strong current by placing driftwood in front of the filter’s outflow 
  • Direct the outflow upwards – to the tank’s surface 


Anacharis grows best in water with a pH between 6.5-7.5. They also prefer fairly hard water at 3-8 KH, though water hardness is generally not an issue. However, the plant will melt if transferred from extremely soft water to hard water. 


Anacharis can do well in an aquarium, even without CO2 injection. That said, CO2 contributes to faster growth, denser stems, and dark green leaves.

A well-balanced aquarium system (one with a good balance of carbon dioxide, light, and nutrients) offers the most suitable growing conditions. And while an increase in CO2 levels may benefit your plants, you want to maintain CO2 at 30 ppm. This is because high CO2 concentrations can be toxic to fish and any other species in your aquarium. 

Try U.P. Aqua Co2 Regulator for Aquarium, a sturdy, adjustable, easy-to-install, high-quality CO2 system.


The best light conditions for your Anacharis are moderate to strong lighting. For photosynthesis and optimal growth, go for 100-150 PAR rate (or full spectrum 5000- 7000 LED/ fluorescent bulbs). Have the lights on for 8 hours per day, and your plants will be dark green, bear more branches, and have a shorter growth form.

Note: Anacharis growing in low light conditions typically grow tall with widely spaced bright green leaves, while overly intense lighting may promote algae growth.


You can use aquarium gravel, sand, or a nutrient-rich substrate like aqua soil. To nourish your plants and boost their health, choose a substrate with high organic content. Note that you may not require aquarium soil if you only plan to grow Anacharis in your aquarium. 


To maintain your plants in tip-top condition, you need to keep the aquarium clean. This entails ensuring the tank always has good-quality water. Change the water (partially) regularly and buy a good filter for your water to stay healthy. 

While the volume/frequency of water changes depends on the size of your aquarium, fish population, and filter capacity, a good rule of thumb is weekly water changes. Aim to change 25% of the water content. Additionally:

  • Clean the filter often and unclog it when necessary (consider using getting one with a pre-filter sponge)
  • Remove substances like fish waste and uneaten food from the substrate’s surface
  • Regularly clean the aquarium glass to get rid of algae 
  • Test the water conditions – for ammonia and nitrites concentrations

Anacharis Benefits

Anacharis plants offer several benefits. They:

  • Provide oxygen, shelter, and excellent hiding places for breeding fish and offspring
  • Are a source of food for aquarium livestock  
  • Help control blue-green algae growth 
  • Absorbs fish waste, ammonia, phosphates, and heavy metals
  • Promote tank clarity and regulate the waters, improving its overall health

How To Care for Anacharis

Caring for Anacharis is not hard since they adapt quickly to varying water conditions. Beginner aquarists need not worry either, as all you need to do is control the growth rate so your plants don’t grow too fast and overrun your tank.

How To Plant Anacharis 

As mentioned, you can grow Anacharis by planting or floating since the plant can extract nutrients from the water or the substrate. Nevertheless, Anacharis grows faster when free-floating.

To grow rooted Anacharis, select your preferred substrate, then lay it down in a layer inside the tank. For healthy roots, place each stem cutting 2 inches (5 cm ) deep and 1 inch (5 cm) apart. If you insert the stems too near the surface, the result will be floating stems, whereas being too close will cause them to compete for nutrients. 

Don’t forget to trim any leaves at the base. They will die if you anchor the stems without doing so. Wait a few days, and the cuttings will sprout roots, firmly attaching the plant to your substrate.


Trimming and pruning your Ancharis plants regularly helps them maintain their lush appearance. Besides, constant trimming is necessary as the plants grow profusely in nutrient-rich water. 

Begin pruning your Anacharis once it reaches 8 inches (20.3 cm) in length. Cut off 3 or 4 inches (7.6-10.16 cm) from the tip and trim some long stems. 

Propagation & Care

Propagating Anacharis in a home aquarium is straightforward. You only need to get 4-inch (10 cm) stem cuttings from a healthy, mature plant, then plant them right-side-up in a substrate.

You could also float the cuttings in your aquarium and wait for them to develop roots. Use a weight to anchor the cuttings at the bottom, allowing the roots to grow into the substrate.

For optimal growth, prune your plants and provide intense light. You could also add carbon dioxide supplements and fertilizer though these are optional.

How To Clean Anacharis

Before adding Anacharis into your tank, gently remove the rubber bands tying them together, and cut off damaged/dead leaves and roots. Also, look out for snails in the foliage. Finally, rinse the plants carefully.

Pro Tip: Burn or dry out any extra cuttings. If they find their way into waterways, they can be hazardous as they often take over, effectively clogging them and hampering water flow.

Common Issues & Prevention 

While Anacharis don’t suffer many health issues, tall, thin plants with weak stems and minimal, wide-spaced leaves indicate ill health. Common issues include:

  • Melt: Often strikes new plants whereby melting plants turn soft and get sucked into the filter. To avoid this, remove any melting stems. 
  • Pests: Snails and worms can access your aquarium by hiding in new plants’ roots, leaves, or stems. Therefore, always rinse off new plants (or use a mild bleach solution first) before placing them inside the tank.
  • Hair algae: This occurs in tanks with too much lighting or nutrient deficiencies. It affects the leaves and stems. To resolve this, minimize the lighting period/intensity and add CO2.
  • Dormancy: If your plant refuses to grow, try increasing your light gradually – the period and intensity. Alternatively, plant it if it’s floating.

Anacharis Tank Mates

Anacharis is compatible with many aquatic species, including small fish, shrimps, apple snails, and some turtles for whom they provide food. However, goldfish tend to munch on the plant.

Anacharis also thrive outdoors in ponds with more diverse fish species.

Is Anacharis The Right Plant For Your Tank?

Anacharis is suitable for your tank if you seek a visually-appealing plant that contributes immensely to your tank’s health. Besides being a food source for aquarium creatures, they provide oxygen and help keep the tank clean. 

What To Look for When Buying Anacharis

Anacharis are inexpensive aquarium plants that are readily available in fish stores. When purchasing, go for healthy plants with light-bright green coloration and sturdy green stems. Avoid those with black, brownish, or yellowish hues as they indicate ill health.

Anacharis FAQs

Does Anacharis Need Soil?

Anacharis does not need soil as it thrives in various planting mediums, including aquarium gravel, sand, muck, and aquatic soil.

Does Anacharis Need CO2?

Anacharis can survive without CO2 though injecting the gas aids faster growth and contributes to denser stems and darker leaves.

How Do You Make Anacharis Bushy?

You can make Anacharis bushy by trimming it. Pruning causes the plant to shoot buds on the sides, which creates a dense, forest-like outcome.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, growing and tending Anacharis is simple. They grow incredibly fast, their needs are basic, and they are some of the most beneficial aquarium plants. Also, these background plants remain green all year, providing a visually appealing addition to your aquascape.

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...