American Waterweed (Elodea canadensis)

Welcome to the world of aquariums and the beautiful plants they can host.

Today we will be focusing on the American Waterweed, Elodea Canadensis.

This highly desirable aquatic plant boasts several appealing qualities, making it a popular option for water-dwellers.

Not only is it aesthetically pleasing and easy to care for, but it provides oxygen and consumes nitrogen in the water.

Keep reading to find out how to best care for your American Waterweed aquarium plant.

Quick Stats:
Scientific Name Elodea canadensis
Common Name American Waterweed, Waterweed, Canadian pondweed
Family Name Hydrocharitaceae
Habitat Northern America
Temperature 50°F to 78°F
Height Up to 10 inches when fully submersed
pH 5.0 to 7.5
Lighting Moderate

What is American Waterweed?

Elodea canadensis is a submersed aquatic plant native to North America and Europe.

This versatile species thrives in a wide range of water habitats and environments from lakes, and ponds to aquariums and paludariums.

American Waterweed typically has a simple stem from the base which grows from 1 to 3 branches in opposite directions.

Elodea canadensis "American Waterweed" Plant Care Guide

American Waterweed Facts

American waterweed has round, articulate leaves which are sitting on both sides of thin stems.

It’s important to note that this species of waterweed is considered highly invasive and should not be released into the wild in areas where it’s not native.

Wild specimens of Elodea canadensis can be found in slow-moving water such as ponds, rivers, and creeks.


American waterweed can grow both partially submerged and completely submerged, and in clear or murky water.

When grown partially submerged, E. canadensis will only reach a height of a few inches, while completely submerged growth can reach up to 10 inches.

This species of waterweed has bright green, long, and thin leaves that are around two centimeters long, with smooth edges and a pointed base. 


Elodea canadensis is native to North and Central America and Europe, making it a relatively robust plant.

This plant can thrive in slow-moving water such as streams, lakes, and ponds with a temperature ranging from 50 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Waterweed is particularly well-adapted for life in temperate climates.

pH Preference

Elodea canadensis can tolerate a wide range of pH levels and can survive acidity levels from 6.5 to 8.5.

This species of waterweed prefers an alkaline environment where the pH is slightly more on the neutral side, however, it can adapt to acidic conditions if needed.

Vivarium Type

Elodea canadensis is quite an easy-going species.

With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in.

It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs.

The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant.

Be sure to choose setups that are moist and high in humidity.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

    • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.

    • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

    • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.

    • Aquarium– Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

American waterweed can be used in amphibious and semi-aquatic terrariums, although for the latter it should be placed partially submerged to avoid rotting and mold.

This plant should be given plenty of space to both properly take nourishment and breathe.

It’s ideal to place it in the back and sides of the vivarium where it can reach the optimal sun and shade ratio.


Elodea prefers substrate that is slow-flowing, nutrient-rich, and dark.

The ideal aquarium substrate should contain high levels of organic matter, like decomposing leaves, in order to provide an ample food source for the plant.

Elodea canadensis prefers soft, sandy substrate, as it helps the plant send out runners and poke out its roots.

Substrates such as gravel or quartzite can make the plant’s roots get lodged in between the grains.

It is important to occasionally clean the substrate around the plant to ensure it is not constricted and is allowed to reach its full potential.


Like most aquatic plants, Elodea canadensis does well with moderate aquarium lighting.

If kept inside, a balanced mix of sunlight and artificial lighting is ideal for this species of waterweed.

The natural sunlight will provide the added nutrient needed for optimal growth and the artificial lights to provide consistent and equal proportions of light throughout the water.

Buy American Waterweed

When it comes to buying Elodea canadensis, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium or pond.

Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

American Waterweed Care and Propagation

American waterweed’s rhizoids allow it to easily propagate across the substrate.

To propagate American waterweed, simply cut off a piece of it with a few leaves, then squeeze out the liquid from the stem before burying it in the substrate.

Trim excess leaves to encourage root development.

How to Grow

American waterweed prefers a wet substrate that’s easy to anchor to.

For the best results, make sure to use a mix of natural and artificial light, aiming for around 7 hours of both daily.

Water Requirements

American waterweed should have its roots kept in water at all times even if kept in a partially submerged setup.

If kept completely submerged, the water should be kept moving to some degree with the help of mechanical filtration.

Plants Similar to American Waterweed

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup.

Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find the corkscrew rush hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this aquarium plant

Here are other aquatic plants you might find will do well with or in place of Elodea canadensis:

Rotala indica "Indian Toothcup" Plant Care Guide
Vallisneria spp. "Eelgrass" Plant Care Guide
Bucephalandra spp. "Buce Plant" Plant Care Guide


Overall, American waterweed can be a great addition to any aquatic environment.

With its vibrant shade of green, intricate root systems, and ability to oxygenate the water, it can bring life and beauty into any aquarium or paludarium.

With just a little planning, you can have this underwater wonder in your very own home.

So don‘t wait, dive into the underwater world of American waterweed and see for yourself the beauty and color it can bring your tank!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Elodea canadensis is an invasive species in many parts of the world. It is able to spread aggressively in new environments, outcompeting native aquatic plant species and reducing biodiversity.

Yes, Elodea can make an ideal home for fish, due to its fastgrowing and oxygenating properties, making it a great plant for an aquarium.

Yes, Elodea can be used to help clean water as it is a natural water purifier due to its oxygengenerating properties. The plants absorb carbon dioxide and other toxins from the water and release oxygen. This helps to maintain clear, healthy water for aquatic life and can reduce the levels of pollutants.

Yes, waterweed is edible. Waterweed, also known as Elodea, is a popular edible aquatic plant that can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a slightly sweet taste and is high in vitamins A, C, and B12, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Waterweed (Elodea canadensis) is a submerged aquatic plant that grows rapidly in still or slowmoving freshwater. It can be identified by its long, thin, ribbonlike leaves and grows from freely floating stems. Waterweed reproduces rapidly by producing new shoots from rhizomes at the base of the stem, as well as by seed.

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