Vallisneria americana – care guide
Jungle Val is a fantastic aquarium plant that can add a whole new element to your tank. It’s good for the water, low maintenance and pretty!
This guide will cover everything you need to know about Jungle Val care, so you can be sure your plant thrives.
Jungle Val (vallisneria americana) is a beautiful species of aquatic plant that goes by many other names. You may see it being sold as Eelgrass, Water Celery, or Tape Grass. Whatever name it goes by, this plant is a welcome addition to any freshwater tank.
It is native to America and belongs to the extensive family Hydrocharitaceae. Despite its prevalence in North, Central, and South America, the plant also grows naturally in Australia and Asia. In the wild, these plants grow in slow-moving streams and lakes.
Hardy and easy to care for, Jungle Val is a great choice for beginners. In fact, this plant was one of the first to be used in home freshwater aquariums. It has a long history in the trade and continues to be a reliable choice for aquarists of all levels.
The benefits of having it in your tank
Like many live plants, Jungle Val can do a lot to enhance your freshwater tank. Not only does it enhance aesthetics with its vivid coloration, but the plant can also improve water conditions.
Living plants release oxygen into the water during the process of photosynthesis. Creates a more oxygen-rich environment for your fish.
In addition to that, the plant can absorb pollutants and unwanted chemicals. For example, plants can absorb ammonia and use it as a nitrogen source. Ammonia is a byproduct of fish waste that becomes fatal in high concentrations.
Plants like Jungle Val can keep ammonia levels nice and manageable, taking a load off your shoulders.
Finally, Jungle Val can do wonders to improve the quality of life for tank dwellers. Most fish and invertebrates love to live among vegetation. Offers some stimulation while providing coverage.
Author’s Note: Jungle Val is a particularly useful aquarium plant for mischievous fish. It’s surprisingly sturdy and can handle heavy gameplay (more on that later).
Jungle Val is at its simplest when it comes to looks. It does not have complex colors or extravagant flowers. But make no mistake, this plant is still impressive.
The plant closely resembles seagrass. Thin leaves sprout from the base of the plant and spread out into the water column. The leaves can grow very long and touch the top of the waterline.
Even with low water flow, the plant can sway with the current. It creates a dense sea of movement that is beautiful on its own. The addition of playful fish only highlights the beauty of the plant.
size and growth rate
In the wild, Jungle Val plants can grow up to six feet tall! They usually grow in shallow water, so it’s not uncommon to see the leaves flowing sideways with the current. In deeper water, the plant stands tall and occupies most of the water column.
Captive plants don’t grow as big, but they will certainly try. Jungle Val is a fast grower that will quickly reach surface level.
The plant is not strong enough to grow out of water. Even if it was, the leaves wouldn’t survive long without being submerged.
As a result, most plants will naturally stop growing after they reach the surface. If there is enough space, some will continue to grow. The excess will just float to the surface like a blanket.
Author’s Note: Like most plants, Jungle Val’s growth rate is entirely dependent on water and lighting conditions. In acidic or soft water, it tends to grow more slowly.
Jungle Val Care
These plants are one of the easiest in the aquarium trade! Once established, they don’t need much to thrive.
That said, you have to start well to see success. Here are some basic Jungle Val care guidelines to help these plants flourish.
The first thing to consider is the size of the tank. Thanks to the huge size potential of Jungle Vals, the bigger the better.
On the lower end of the volume spectrum, aquarists generally recommend getting a tank of around 20 to 30 gallons. That’s as small as you can go!
If you try to grow these plants in something smaller, you won’t have much room for any fish. Jungle Val quickly outgrows small aquariums, so it’s good to go big!
Author’s Note: Jungle Val care is often even easier if you keep it in an outdoor pond. It requires a little less maintenance and trimming, you have plenty of room to work with, and the hardy nature of this plant can do most of the work.
When it comes to Jungle Val care, the best way to support this freshwater plant is to mimic the water parameters of its natural habitat. Fortunately, the wild distribution of Jungle Val is quite wide. As a result, the plant can grow in a wide range of environments.
It prefers warm waters that are on the alkaline side of the pH scale. The plant also enjoys moderately hard water conditions and low flow. In most cases, your average tropical freshwater aquarium conditions will work just fine.
- Water temperature: 64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- pH levels: 6.0 to 9.0 (slightly alkaline is best)
- Water hardness: 8 to 12 dGH
The Jungle Val grows in depths of 10 feet or less. It stays fairly close to the surface, resulting in high light exposure.
It is better to reproduce those conditions in your aquarium. Provide high illumination with specialized plant bulbs or bright LEDs. The plant must be exposed to light for eight to ten hours every day.
If you can’t provide tons of light, Jungle Val will adapt to moderate lighting. However, you may experience slower growth as a result of this.
Lack of light can cause a slow death. This is not a low light aquarium plant! Jungle Val needs light exposure to photosynthesize properly. Without it, Jungle Val cannot make food and fuel to survive.
Author’s Note: Improper lighting results in discoloration and wilting. If you encounter such problems, adjust your lighting settings as quickly as possible to promote recovery.
The best substrate for Jungle Val is gravel or sand. Sand is closer to what these plants use in the wild, but they quickly adapt to small rocks or pebbles.
The interesting thing about Jungle Val is that it has an extensive and robust root system. The roots remain firmly rooted. Shortly after planting, the small rhizomes will spread out horizontally and spread out below the substrate. They get thicker as the plant ages, adding even more strength.
The roots provide a lot of security, so you don’t have to worry about accidental uprooting or damage.
How to Plant Jungle Val
Planting Jungle Val is quite simple.
Stores generally sell these plants as naked or potted propagations. Whatever the case, planting them in your freshwater tank is straightforward. Simply remove the plant from the medium it came in and attach it to the substrate.
Due to its growth potential, Jungle Val performs best as a background plant. Place it towards the back of the aquarium where it can grow as tall as possible.
Make sure the crown is above the substrate. The crown is the base of the plant. If buried below the substrate, the plant will lose its leaves and eventually become extinct.
Jungle Vals sometimes goes through a period of “merging”. It is a unique phenomenon that many novice aquarists mistake for death.
When it “melts”, some of the weaker leaves on the plant will fall off. Don’t worry!
This process is completely normal. It is the plant’s way of adapting to new conditions. Removing old leaves is like getting rid of dead weight. Without the extra baggage, you can focus your energy on producing new growth.
Author’s Note: Roots do not take long to establish. Once the roots spread, Jungle Val care becomes much easier. You don’t have to worry about CO2 injections, fertilizers or any other complex planting techniques.
Trimming and pruning
Trimming is a point of contention in the aquarist community, but the general consensus is that you should never trim or prune a Jungle Val.
Some enthusiasts argue that the sentiment is too cautious. You may hear people talk about cutting the plant down without experiencing any problems.
While there are doubts that some have had success with trimming, the potential risks may make you reconsider! Pruning often damages foliage and causes leaves to rot. With leaves this size, even a little bit of rot can wreak havoc on tank conditions.
Decaying leaves will sour the water and put fish health at risk.
Author’s Note: If trimming is an absolute necessity, use extremely sharp scissors. Take some time to sharpen your scissors to make sure you’re making a clean cut. A precise cut will reduce the chances of rot and infection.
The good news is that pruning is usually not necessary. As mentioned above, most plants will adapt to the height and volume of water in your tank. Few will reach their full potential because they lack the space to do so.
When it comes to tankmates, you have many options to consider! Jungle Val is the quintessential community tank plant. Not only is it beautiful and fun for fish to swim in, but it’s surprisingly sturdy.
Despite the somewhat frilly appearance of these grass-like plants, the root system makes it a solid competitor for more rambunctious fish. Live plants are generally not suitable for wild species because they tend to uproot them at any opportunity.
Those fish can try that behavior with Jungle Val, but most of them won’t get anywhere! Remember, the root system of this plant is expansive and secure. As long as the Jungle Val is well established, it will have no problem staying upright even when paired with stronger fish species!
Feel free to tank them with aggressive cichlids or known herbivores. Of course, you can also put them in peaceful tanks with guppy fish, molly fish, and more.
They also do well with inverts like:
- Ghost Shrimp
- bamboo shrimp
- Amano Shrimp
- nerite snails
- Ramshorn snails
- River crab
You can’t go wrong with Jungle Val. This plant even does well in brackish tanks with some light salinity. It is a suitable universal choice that can complement most aquariums and aquatic creatures.
Jungle Val plants reproduce in two different ways.
In nature, the plant generates a female flower that floats to the surface. The male flowers are shed from the plant below. The female flowers trap the male ones for pollination at the surface of the water.
If you have a pond, you may be lucky enough to observe this cycle. However, it rarely occurs in an aquarium.
Most Jungle Waltz will spawn in freshwater tanks through corridors.
The plant puts out runners under the substrate. Eventually, they will root and produce a new plant not far from the main one. You can separate this spread and relocate it.
But before you do, give them some time to develop. Wait until the leaves grow a bit before separating the propagation from the mother plant. Otherwise, it will die before it has a chance to settle.
Jungle Val care is as easy as it sounds. The hardy, low-maintenance nature of this plant makes it a great choice for beginners and experts alike.
Please let us know if you have any questions about this plant that you think we can help you with. We are always happy to provide feedback and advice to our readers.