How to Grow Anacharis in a Goldfish Tank

Written by karie lapham fay
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How to Grow Anacharis in a Goldfish Tank
Live plants, like anacharis, provide goldfish a "natural" environment. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If you are looking for a live plant for your goldfish tank, you can't make a better choice than anacharis. Anacharis -- also called by common names Brazilian waterweed and elodea but scientifically known as Egeria densa --- helps combat pollutants in your tank and is a top oxygen-producing plant. It provides hiding areas for fish and encourages the formation of good bacteria in the water. Even more, anacharis is an "all you can eat" salad bar for your goldfish --- and better yet, extremely easy to grow.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dechlorinated water
  • Anacharis strands
  • Lead fishing weight (optional)
  • Water pH test kit
  • Aquarium thermometer
  • Fluorescent light

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  1. 1

    Rinse purchased anacharis in dechlorinated water (water left sitting out for three or four days loses its chlorine content). Examine the plants carefully to ensure they do not harbour snails, which can quickly overrun your fish tank if introduced into the water.

  2. 2

    Place the anacharis in your goldfish tank; choose between allowing it to float freely or planting it. Anacharis feeds off the waste products in the water, so it does not need soil to grow. Bury an inch or two of each plant's stem in fine or medium-size gravel to promote root growth if planting it. Remove the rubber band binding the anacharis together as soon as possible to avoid damage to the plants --- during planting if they stay in the gravel easily, or as soon as it grows roots at latest. Consider attaching a lead fishing weight to the bunch to make it stay put if necessary.

  3. 3

    Maintain water pH between 6 and 8, ideally. Anacharis is a hardy plant, but it grows best in balanced water conditions. Adjust pH as needed.

    How to Grow Anacharis in a Goldfish Tank
    Anacharis and your goldfish need similar temperatures and hours of light. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  4. 4

    Keep water temperature between 15.6 and 26.7 degrees Celsius for best results. These temperatures are also suitable for your goldfish.

  5. 5

    Provide plenty of light for your anacharis --- they grow quickest under brightly lit conditions. Aquatics unlimited suggests a guideline of 10 to 12 hours of light each day using the fluorescent (not incandescent) light that fits your tank hood --- which should provide a little less than a watt per gallon. Do not exceed 12 daylight hours; fish do not have eyelids and must have enough darkness to "sleep" in, as Flippers and Fins explains.

  6. 6

    Trim the anacharis back as needed. While goldfish and other fish commonly eat the plant, it also grows rapidly and can double its size in three or four weeks. Pinch or cut off the upper portion to reduce size, rooting the clipping as originally planted if desired. Anacharis spreads on its own, but its exact growth, spreading and need for trimming depend on the size of your goldfish tank and the amount of and habits of your goldfish.

    How to Grow Anacharis in a Goldfish Tank
    Anacharis is an "all you can eat" vegetable buffet for your fish. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Anacharis is also suitable for outdoor koi and goldfish ponds. Check state regulations in your area, however, to make sure that anacharis is not banned as an invasive species.
  • For best fish-waste processing and algae elimination, use anywhere from six to eight stems of anacharis per 10 to 20 gallons of water to the same amount for each square foot of water surface area.
  • Since anacharis is considered an invasive species in some states, laws and regulations regarding it should be observed. Never plant it in the wild where it can take over natural areas.
  • While anacharis is a rich oxygenator during the day, at night --- like other plants--- it uses oxygen instead. Make sure that your fish environment can support the amount of anacharis you have to avoid smothering your fish.

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