The Anacharis Plant
Aquatic plants play an essential role in the development of ecosystems within an aquarium. They can be used as décor, as a food source, or as water purifiers such as the Duckweed plant which feeds off of phosphates, nitrogen and ammonia (which are harmful to animals) in the water. The Anacharis Plant is a great option for first-time hobbyists or fish owners that desire a low-maintenance live plant.
What is an Anacharis Plant? Where did it originate?
Originally found in Brazil, this plant is sometimes referred to as the Brazillian Waterweed. These plants have been known to sink to the bottom of their habitats and attach themselves to the gravel or substrate. They have also been known to remain free floating around the tank. The Anacharis Plant consumes waste produced by the aquarium inhabitants as well as fertilizers that you provide. These plants do not stay small and can grow up to three feet tall in the wild. Today, the Anacharis Plant enjoys life in a suitable habitat for a variety of fish, snails, and other tankmates.
What does the Anacharis Plant look like?
These plants are almost entirely a long, green stem with small green leaves covering the entire body. The greenness of the plant can vary from light green to bright green. Darker green plants or brownish plants are older and likely dying or dead. The Anacharis Plant will move up and down in the water (mainly in the wild) depending on the time of day as well as the water temperature. During warm, sunny days the plants will rise to the surface and soak up the sun. Cooler nights or cloudy days will encourage the plants to sink and rest on the bottom. You may see this behavior if you include the plant in your outdoor pond or water garden. When shopping for an Anacharis Plant you should only choose plants with:
- Sturdy green stems
- Multiple healthy green leaves
- Very green
- Fine white roots
*Avoid dark green, black, brown or black leaves as this usually means they are decaying*
Where does the Anacharis Plant grow?
These plants originally grew in Brazil. They are also found throughout North America and South America. The plants can be easily grown in captivity if the conditions are right and you gather a few fresh clippings to get things started.
How does the Anacharis Plant grow and thrive?
These plants are much easier to keep alive than they are to keep from overgrowing. They do not grow to suit their habitat; they quickly outgrow them without much help from you. This makes the Anacharis Plant an excellent choice for beginners who know how to use scissors. While this aquatic plant may thrive in any size tank, you should provide a large enough aquarium that will not suffer as the plant grows.
The Anacharis Plant is suitable for aquariums with tropical or cooler water temperatures. They usually do best in water that reads between 70ºF and 78ºF (some plants have survived in even cooler temperatures, but it is not recommended). They prefer their water pH level to fall between 6.5 and 7.5. They do require adequate lighting as low light or darkness can be fatal to the plant. Be aware that more intense light can cause algae to develop quickly.
They are one of the only aquatic vegetation that does not need to be planted in the gravel or substrate. They can thrive rather well only floating about the tank. However, there are some steps to “planting” your Anacharis Plant that could help.
Step one: Remove any rubber bands or other bands from the stems. These bands come in handy when purchasing and handling your plants, but, they are damaging to the stems and can actually cause them to die off or rot away.
Step two: Separate the bunched stems (as if you were handling a dozen roses). Check each stem for damage. If there is any apparent harm, then these pieces will need to be gently cut off.
Step three: Now it is time to plant! The side of the stem with the white roots should be buried under the gravel or substrate, about two inches and placed about an inch apart from each other.
Step four: Make sure to set the longer stems along the back side of the aquarium, outdoor pond or water garden. Shorter stems should be planted in front of them. The longer stems can also be used to hide any ugly equipment.
If you prefer to float your Anacharis Plants then simply follow step one (remove the bands) as well as step two (separate the stems and check for damage). Then, instead of planting the stems in the gravel or substrate, just place them in the tank water. They will grow much more quickly with the free floating method as their bodies are closer to the light source.
Who would benefit from the Anacharis Plant?
- Free floating plants are ideal for baby fry fish as it provides shelter and hiding places
- These plants consume fish waste, phosphates, ammonia, and Therefore, all tank inhabitants will benefit from their presence.
- African Cichlids will enjoy eating any algae that develop on the leaves as well as eating the plant itself.
- Snails (like Apple Snails) will benefit from the plant as a food source as well.
- If you add them to your outdoor pond or water garden where Koi fish are housed, then you can be sure that the Koi fish will make a meal or two out of them.