Egeria densa or the dense leaved waterweed is a very popular background aquarium plant.
The widespread distribution of the Egeria densa plants is due to several positive properties of this plant:
- It grows quickly and expansively in the aquarium
- It does not make high demands on water values, is therefore easy to cultivate and even makes a positive contribution to maintaining the biological balance in the aquarium remains
The dense leaved waterweed is therefore an ideal plant for beginners and can even be used in a freshly run-in aquarium.
The name waterweed indicates the genus to which this plant belongs. The mermaid-like waterweed also belongs to the same genus, but we will deal with this in a separate text.
The part of the name “dense” is self-explanatory and can therefore be traced back to the external appearance.
If you are not yet familiar with the dense leaved waterweed, you will find out below what this useful plant looks like, how you can care for and cultivate it, and how it can be used to design an aquarium.
Egeria densa: Attractive greening through the dense leaved waterweed
From a distance, a newcomer to the aquarium hobby could confuse the dense leaf waterweed with other stem plants such as the hornwort.
This is not only due to the fact that both plants develop long stems in nature and in the aquarium, but also because these stems are densely occupied by many small leaflets.
However, the risk of confusion with hornwort is immediately averted if you take a closer look at the leaved waterweed. In this case, you will find that the leaves of this aquarium plant are shaped differently than those of the hornwort. In the hornwort, which is also a very fast-growing plant, the many small leaflets are usually much narrower and are almost reminiscent of the leaves of a conifer.
In contrast, the Egeria densa leaves are wider. Since the foliage of hornwort and dense-leaved waterweed is often very dense, both plants in the aquarium often appear quite voluminous.
However, there is a much greater risk of confusion between waterweed-like waterweed and Egeria densa dense-leaved waterweed. In the mermaid-like waterweed, the leaflets are usually also narrower than in the dense-leaved waterweed and also clearly jagged at the leaf edge.
- The individual stems of the Egeria densa remain relatively narrow with a width of only a few centimeters, but they sometimes grow in length very quickly
- They can even reach record lengths of one meter – but this enormous size will certainly not be achievable in a small aquarium
You can tame the plant a little by pruning it regularly.
Incidentally, the leaves usually have a beautiful, rich shade of green, which can also turn out to be quite light.
However, if the plant in an aquarium gradually becomes lighter, this is often a sign that it is not doing particularly well. In this case, the aquarist should investigate what might be wrong in his aquarium.
You can find out below what requirements the dense leaved waterweed makes when cultivated in an aquarium. But first we would like to explain to you why this plant can provide important services for the biological balance in an aquarium.
Egeria densa: Influence on the biological balance
The above comparison between hornwort and Egeria densa is not at all inappropriate, even if the plants can be clearly distinguished visually.
Both aquarium plants grow very quickly. In order for them to achieve this rapid growth, they need a lot of nutrients, which they can easily get from the aquarium.
Hornwort and Egeria densa are therefore ideally suited if the nutrient content in an aquarium is too high, which in the long term could also lead to algae gaining the upper hand in the aquarium.
An excessive occurrence of algae should be avoided in every aquarium: The unwanted plants – and sometimes bacteria – are not only unsightly to look at, they can also deprive the higher plants of the basis of life and negatively affect the water quality overall.
The Egeria densa is a good oxygen producer, which is often desirable in an aquarium. Both aspects – the withdrawal of nutrients and the donation of oxygen – can be particularly advantageous when you have set up a new aquarium. The advantages make it easy to forget that you have to accept a certain amount of effort in terms of regular pruning with plants such as dense leaf waterweed.
Egeria densa: How to properly care for and cultivate the dense leaved waterweed
The Egeria densa enjoys the reputation of being easy to cultivate in the aquarium.
It has the potential to adapt to many different circumstances without having to expect significant declines in growth. Nevertheless, one can of course try to offer the dense leaved waterweed the best conditions for thriving in the aquarium. This includes, among other things, a relatively intensive supply of light: if the lighting intensity is right, the leaved waterweed can grow particularly quickly. With more light it can sometimes be achieved that the leaflet waterweed is even more densely covered with leaflets. This is usually particularly attractive and offers the aquarium residents a wide range of hiding spots.
Sometimes it can also be advantageous not to expose the dense leaved waterweed in an aquarium to excessively high water temperatures. In no case should it be over 28 degrees, a maximum temperature of 26 degrees even seems better, whereby the plant in the aquarium can also thrive at significantly lower temperatures.
The rest of the maintenance of the leaved waterweed in the aquarium essentially consists of pruning the plant regularly in order to preserve the design of the tank.
Egeria densa: Design of an aquarium with the dense leaved waterweed
If you want to integrate the dense leaved waterweed into your own aquarium, you basically have two options:
- Use them as normal aquarium plants
- Use them as floating aquarium plants
When planting, you will usually put several stems together in the substrate, which allows you to achieve a fairly dense and attractive greening.
It is important to only plant the stem ends and not parts of the foliage. If the stem is too short in the lower area to be able to plant it well, individual leaves can be removed to lengthen the leafless part of the stem.
The right position in the aquarium for the leaved waterweed is in any case the background.
As a rule, the plant is not suitable for use in the middle or even foreground, as it simply grows too quickly in the aquarium and would quickly block the view into the tank.
Simply allowing dense leaved waterweed to drift in the aquarium can be a good option if the plant is to be used in a breeding tank that does not need a substrate.
In the case of an aquarium in which the owner strives for an accurate design, the use as a floating plant is rather unfavorable, after all, the dense leaved waterweed moves through the aquarium if it is not fixed and also grows very quickly here, so that Aquarium could overgrow quickly. This is particularly disadvantageous if there are plants on the ground that is sensitive to shading.
Since the dense leaved waterweed, as already mentioned, is a real classic among the plants for the aquarium, you can purchase it at very favorable conditions. You should come across a large number of offers both on the Internet and in specialist shops.
However, if you have already introduced the Egeria densa into your aquarium, you often no longer have to buy it, but can easily reproduce it yourself. For this purpose, one uses the shoots which the dense leaved waterweed also regularly develops in the aquarium. These are then simply replanted as described above or given to another aquarium to be cultivated here drifting.