Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Swamped? Breathe … on Wordplay Wednesday™ May 27, 2015

Ahhhhh, breathe in the pure oxygen released by your ELODEA.

Oh, don’t have an aquarium with its green leaves swirling in the water for your fish – which are frantically trying to hide behind it from the pesky kid who keeps tapping the glass?

No matter – just head out to your nearest swamp to get the same effect on steroids (so to speak). Wellllll not exactly …

ELODEAn. a swamp; any of a genus of submerged water plants of the frog’s-bit family w/whorls of short grass-like leaves – often used in aquariums as it releases large amounts of oxygen.

Have any grade-schoolers at home? Elodea is great for science experiments, too! Create a laboratory demonstration and document its cellular activities. A+!

However, there’s a dark side to the innocently swaying greenery …
Elodea grows SO well that in some US states and countries*, it’s considered a weed and an invasive species (esp. the Brazilian elodea, which can be even more troublesome) – often called waterweed – and its sale is said to be banned, even for aquariums.

Alaska’s Fairbanks Soil & Water Conservation District generated a 2012 report that paints elodea as a bad guy in their lakes, hampering natural “fish habitat, recreation, and water quality.”

Beautiful water gardens are not immune to the infestation. If you want to include the serene elodea in your landscape or aquarium, know the type you’re buying. Stick to the benign Elodea canadensis or Elodea nuttallii. 

And now you know WAY more about your aquarium weed than you probably ever wanted to.

But look deep into one of the fresh, green images above and imagine elodea’s peaceful, mesmerizing, slow motion swaying in the waters ... take a deep breath … let it out slowly. Feel better?

* Alabama, Alaska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Washington; parts of Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia, and New Zealand

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