What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?

Written by m. j. joachim
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What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Elodea is a common water plant that looks like a tall stalk with multiple leaves. (aquarium fish image by Daria Miroshnikova from Fotolia.com)

Elodea is a popular, perennial water plant that grows easily in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and aquariums worldwide. It is ideal for scientific studies in biology and research about water habitats and ecosystems. It grows stalks of leaves that bloom in warm temperatures. Elodea is water pollinated and self-propagating. In the right conditions, it can quickly grow out of control, and in some parts of Europe it is considered a pesky water weed.


Elodea requires plenty of light to grow. Outside bodies of water with ample sunlight grow thick bushes of elodea. They become part of natural habitats for aquatic animals and fish. Elodea's density makes a perfect hiding place from predators. Sunlight is ideal for growing elodea, but artificial light works well, too. Large tanks of elodea do best with fluorescent lighting, while small tanks can thrive with a single light bulb.

What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Elodea thrives with good lighting. (tropical water garden image by green 308 from Fotolia.com)


Elodea multiplies readily and requires plenty of space to thrive. In the right conditions, 2 inches of growth per day are not uncommon. Thinning plants and pinching them back often promotes growth, keeping them healthy and bushy.

What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Elodea expands quickly and requires lots of space. (Aquarium image by crossgolfing from Fotolia.com)


Elodea grows best in loose soil composed mainly of sand and gravel. The "mobility" of the soil allows elodea to root itself, making new plants, as it breaks off and floats in the water. Dense soils tend to inhibit growth. Maintain moderate elodea growth with a balanced mixture of clay and sandy soil.

What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Loose soil helps elodea reroot itself. (aquarium image by FotoWorx from Fotolia.com)

Water Temperature

Elodea thrives in moderate temperatures. Extreme cold causes it to die off; extreme heat interrupts its chemical balance, encouraging disease and pests to inhibit growth. Lighting plays a factor in maintaining water temperature. Adjust outdoor water temperature by adding or subtracting shade plants and trees; monitor indoor aquariums as necessary.

What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Warm temperatures encourage growth of elodea. (Lake infield. A bright summer sun. White clouds. Blue water. image by katykin from Fotolia.com)

Other Species

Fish, snails, plants and other small aquatic animals and insects oxygenate and fertilise elodea. Working together, they keep the environment clean in their ecosystem. Fish eat plants and insects, often helping elodea break off and propagate. Birds swoop down to catch fish, pinching elodea and thinning it out naturally. Elodea grows best in a healthy, well-balanced habitat.

What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?
Fish and other life forms create a balanced ecosystem for elodea. (session aquarium 1 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com)

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