Life in the Bowl: Anacharis

Anacharis, also known as the Brazilian Waterweed, is an ideal aquatic plant for the bowl. Light to bright green leaves, with branching stems covered in small grouped leaflets. Anacharis anchors itself in the substrate by sending out tendril like roots, but will also grow just as well free floating. In fact it may grow so well that it will require frequent pruning. Works well as an algae fighter and nutrient sponge usually at a very affordable price.

To the best of my knowledge there are at least 3 types of known (generic) anacharis.

  • Elodea canadensis
  • Egeria densa
  • Hydrilla verticillata

Hydrilla and Egeria grow abundantly in many of the water ways of some of the southern states causing major ecological and water use problems. Millions of dollars have been spent to control the growth of these plants, particularly in the Carolinas and are illegal to import, sell and distribute in South Carolina. Therefore I only recommend the use of Elodea canadensis who's main difference to the others mentioned is it's leaves in consistent whorls of 3.

It's very easy to get confused between Elodea canadensis and Egeria densa since Egeria leaves in whorls of 3-4, so sometimes what appears to be Elodea turns out to be Egeria after a few months of growth. A more detailed description of the Anacharis problem can be found here.

I have found some possible good sources of Elodea canadensis at the end of this article and will do my best to keep this list not only maintained but I plan to test some of these sources as well and report in my findings.

An easy, beautiful plant for the bowl loaded with benefits such as oxygenation, water cleaning through nutrient absorption and excellent coverage for fish and shrimp to hide behind, swim around and climb on. And it's probably one of the least expensive plants available.

Placing your anacharis is easy and filled with options. To start you could just take a small bit like this and place it in your bowl. It will grow just as well floating as it does placed in gravel.

Almost as easy is placing one end into a shell like this cowrie and then dropping it into the water.


In less than a minute you can have a miniature forest for your betta.


Anacharis cutting can also be placed directly into sand. Just clasp the ends together as so.


      1. Place the ends as deep into the sand as possible and
      2. adjust as needed
      3. Roots will eventually form if the plant is left undisturbed.

Top view of our newly planted anacharis



Anacharis clippings can also be left free floating. This does not seem to hamper their growth at all though they will eventually send tendril like roots such as the one seen here to try and anchor to the bottom.





Elodea canadensis sources: