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What Affects the Growth of Elodea in Water?

By M. J. Joachim ; Updated September 21, 2017
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 thrives with good lighting.
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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 lightbulb.


Elodea expands quickly and requires lots of space.
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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.


Loose soil helps elodea reroot itself.
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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.

Water Temperature

Warm temperatures encourage growth of elodea.
Lake in-field. A bright summer sun. White clouds. Blue water. image by katykin from Fotolia.com

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.

Other Species

Fish and other life forms create a balanced ecosystem for elodea.
session aquarium 1 image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com

Fish, snails, plants and other small aquatic animals and insects oxygenate and fertilize 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.


About the Author


M. J. Joachim, has been an internet writer since 2007. She has published over 600 articles on sites like Helium, Plus Pets, Crochet N More Newsletter and Associated Content. She graduated from San Jose State University in 1989.