Introduction to Jungle Val
Jungle Val is one of the best low tech plant that can even excellent for beginners in fish keeping hobby. This aquarium plant more likely to grow as a freshwater plant.
It is also called Eelgrass, Tape grass, Water celery, Vallis, and Giant Val. Its Scientific name is Vallisneria amaricana which belongs to the genus Vallisneria.
This plant has several varieties and those are categorized under the above genus.
Vallisneria americana or Jungle Val is one of best looking, most prominent plant in this fish keeping hobby. It has given pleasure to many aquarists over many years who still love to have this plant in their aquariums.
It is well suited for the background of the tank, it can use to hide filter, heater normally I grow for that.
Even it is also possible to grow on mid ground of the tank too. Therefore its scientific classification as follows,
- Kingdom – Plantae
- Order – Alismatales
- Family – Hydrocharitaceae
- Genus – Vallisneria
This article will guide you about how to grow Vallisneria or Jungle Val in your loving tank.
Jungle Val Appearance
Long grass-like leafy plant. It looks very pretty if you keep it in your tank, also can be easily identified due to its uniqueness.
By the name Jungle Val, it sounds like a forest, so has giant leaves compare to the other Vallisneria varieties that is why called the Giant Val.
It has a long ribbon like leaves, which is bright green in color. This plant also has normally longer leaves about 50-150cm and has 2cm wide.
When it overgrown it appears like an underwater forest, having so much green very pretty and awesome to have it.
Jungle Val origin and distribution
By the name Vallisneria americana it gives clues about the origin. it is native to North America and spread to Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, and New Mexico.
It also can be found around Tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Europe, west indies, and Australia.
Therefore we can say it is popular all over the world. In the wild, it is found in most of the water bodies which has a shallow, slow moving water stream.
Even it is possible to grow up to about 8-10 feet under the water.
So it can make massive underwater forests in the wild creating habitat for many vertebrate and invertebrate aquatic animals and fish.
Jungle Val aquarium Care
It is very easy to care for and grow. We need only to give a nutritious substrate when we are growing in a home aquaria.
Even though it is a freshwater aquarium plant, even possible to grow in brackish water. This plant has a well grown root system, and giving fertilizer externally is essential otherwise growth can be diminished.
You can either use root tabs or liquid fertilizer.
Do Jungle Val need Root tabs?
Yes definitely, these plant needs root tabs due to presence of well grown root system. Application of liquid fertilizer not enough to feed these roots.
Root tabs provide most of the essential micro and macronutrients to the Jungle Val plant.
It can be given by placing under the substrate according to instructions provided on its cover.
When it comes to liquid fertilizer, it is not advisable to give Jungle Val, because it has plenty of organic carbon compared to root tabs. But the efficiency of absorbing is low.
Therefore I would choose root tabs as the fertilizer over liquid fertilizer.
Tank size and Set up
Jungle Val is a fast growing plant, therefore it needs a large tank. It requires a minimum of 30 gallons(120L) capacity water tank. We can say it is well suited for large aquariums.
Will Jungle Val grow in gravel?
Yes as the tank substrate you can either use fine gravel or sand. Be careful when planting because you need to keep the plant crown above the substrate otherwise it will die.
So fine gravel well suit than a sandy substrate, it can spread its roots easily and can grow fast.
Is Jungle Val a root feeder?
Definitely, this plant is a root feeding aquarium plant that is why we need to give a nutrition rich soil as a substrate, and the fertilizers.
Since this aquarium plant having a well-developed root system it can easily absorb the soil nutrients. There is an advantage over having a deep root system.
That is some fish tend to dig the substrate and uproot the live plants. Here it is difficult to uproot the Jungle Val.
Water Quality Parameters
As it is easy to keep, can tolerate a wide range of temperature between 59-86F ( 15-30C). But water temperature for optimum growth is around 63-82F(17-28C).
It also requires a pH of 6-9.
Experts say that it grows well in slightly acidic conditions. Also can be grown in brackish water.
Therefore salinity is not a problem but it says propagation gets slower when they are growing in a brackish water aquaria. It also required water hardness to be between 4-18 dGH.
So it can tolerate the water hardness too.
lightning and CO2
This plant doesn’t require CO2 for its growth. but it says there is a slight influence towards the growth and development.
In the wild, it grows under shallow water which is with a minimum level of Co2. So do not worry about the Co2 level.
Is Jungle Val a low light plant?
No, it is not. when it comes to lightning requires a lot of attention. Because this plant grows like a crazy weed under the bright light.
Even it is possible to grow under moderate and low light but growth is very slow. It is better if you can give a pretty bright light source.
For a normal aquarium tank, 30-50 PAR lighting is sufficient. You can use either a plant bulb or a high quality LED bulb for lightning.
You also can buy it via an online store or from the local pet stores.
Therefore we can conclude that Jungle Val well grows under all light water conditions.
- Optimum water temperature – 63-82F
- Optimum pH level – 6-9
- Water hardness – 4-18
- Lightning – moderate
Jungle Val tank mates
Its leaves are not easily eatable by fish because it is leathery. Since it has a good rooting system even bottom feeding substrate diggers can’t uproot it easily.
Therefore it well suits for a tank having many plant eating bottom feeders.
But higher aggressive fish can still damage the leaves. So best tank mates are as follows,
- Pygmy Cory catfish
- Red cherry shrimp
- Blue velvet shrimp
- Amano shrimp
- Ghost shrimp
- Blue tiger shrimp
- Bamboo shrimp
- vampire shrimp
Snails such as Japanese trapdoor snail, Malaysian trumpet snail, Ramshorn snails are some of them.
Since I told it well suited for substrate diggers you can even use cichlids as the tank mates.
Important: To achieve maximum growth you only need,
- Bright light source
- Root tabs
How to propagate Jungle Val?
How to plant Jungle Val?
I think it’s the most common question for all beginner fish keepers. Do not worry, here I will discuss all the methods of propagation.
When planting you can either use your finger or long tweezers for plants, but many people use the finger to plant.
You can use plant the Jungle Val by digging a hole in the substrate about 3cm depth and plug the plant directly into the hole and cover with the substrate.
Be sure you keep the crown above the substrate, otherwise, your plant can subject to rot.
Once you plant, it will grow rapidly if you set all the conditions at an optimum level.
There are two ways of Jungle Val propagation.
The first way is by shoot runners, it is also can be known as vegetative propagation. Here mother plant gives rise to numerous shoots from its roots.
Those shoots run along the substrate in every direction.
Once it is away a couple of distance from the mother plant it sends roots into the substrate.
Hundreds of daughter plants come out. These daughter plants also send shoots once it gets matured.
Note: Don’t de attach the daughter plants from the mother plant until its leaves are well developed.
It only takes three to four months to get mature and send shoots. Since rapid multiplicative behavior, it can even outgrow the aquaria.
Jungle Val can grow very tall, height is about 50-150cm (it is a rough value when it has more bright light can grow more than that height).
If you looking from the top surface, it appears to be a canopy that floats on the water. there you can trim it (discuss more about the trimming below).
The second way of propagation is by seeds. It is not common in indoor aquariums.
In wild it also reproduces by seeds there what happens is female plant produces flowers which grow to the surface of water and male plant produce a large number of flowers under the water.
These flowers eventually come to the top of the surface there these male flowers pollinate with female flowers by waves or wind.
After the fertilization, it produces a cylindrical shape pod that contains the tiny seeds but propagation by seeds is very rare when we compare with the shoot runners.
Can you trim Jungle Val?
Yes, trimming is very essential if you want to manage your fish tank well. As I said earlier these plants tend to overgrow within the aquarium tank. Thereby it makes a canopy above the water surface.
This may affect the lower level plants, these plants are now shades under the canopy.
Now Jungle Val trimming is needed. It is better to use a sharp cutting aquarium scissor for this purpose.
Important: Trimming is doing before the daughter plants produce their roots: why I am saying this, once these daughter plants get rooted it will make a good root system and became difficult to de attach.
Even if you de attach result soil breach into the water column and it dirt the water column when pulling the roots, sometimes root tabs also can breach in water.
It leads to massive algal blooms.
When trimming these long leaves at the top, promotes the growth of shoots from the roots. And also sometimes these trimm leaves can die because they are already damaged.
Only a few leaves can recover. Do not worry, as many of the damaged leaves are shed and regrowth of new leaves takes place. If you identify it as an invasive and fast growing plant, that is because you haven’t trimmed regularly.
Do not skip the process, even it can be done when you are changing the water.
Therefore it is better if you can change 30% of the water once a week.
Benefits of Jungle Val
First, it helps to produce a very nice aquascape. This is because it grows like an underwater forest.
This plant provides housing for many aquatic fish species such as small fish, shrimps even fish can lay eggs on those leaves, thereby it helps in fish breeding.
Also provides many hiding places for aquatic animals those who are very shy.
Val also helps to prevent harmful ammonia spikes, since has a good root system waste which is accumulated on the substrate gets absorb by the plant for its growth.
It also prevents excess algal blooms in the tank, How? it absorbs all excess nutrients present within the tank, also regulate gaseous exchange (O2 and CO2) within the tank.
What are the problems associated with Jungle Val?
jungle Val melting
Why is my plant melting? It is a common sign for all aquarium plants, some cases have a positive impact, some have a negative impact.
When you first plant it gets melt when get adapt to the new water conditions. There you need to keep the crown or plant bulb above the substrate, otherwise, it will die permanently.
Since having a good root system new leaves will induce after several days. But if you cover the crown to the substrate will not get recover.
Also, you should not apply fertilizer just after planting because it will not effective and the plant can get die.
Even if your tank water lack enough amounts of nitrates and nitrites levels can lead to melting.
This symptom occurs when your plant not getting enough iron and light. There leaves turn in to pale green or yellow. To cure provide food supplementary fertilizer.
Jungle Val leaves turning red colour
Yes, Because of the excess light. when it receiving too much lightning leaves turn red. It is better to give only the required amount.
As I told earlier we need to keep always the crown or bulb of the plant above the substrate and it is also a sign of nutrition deficiency. So better to provide phosphorous, nitrates, iron, and trace elements that directly affect the plant’s health.
Vallisneria americana is the best freshwater beginner plant in this hobby.
It can easily grow in any aquaria around the world. Therefore it can tolerate a wide range of temperature, pH, and other water parameters. So I hope this article will help you to get maximum benefits from Jungle Val and a better aquascape!
Is Jungle Val Easy to grow?
Yes, it is very easy to grow even under a wide range of temperatures. So has a massive multiplicative due to short runner propagation.
Why is my Val dying?
Once my Val starts to die, although I set all conditions at the correct level. There I understood that my lightning is not enough as I used two marine lands LED lights.
After several days it completely died and I have seen regrowth of leaves after a few days later. So be aware of that.
Supply plenty of light, trim leaves after brought from the shop before planting, regularly take care by changing water, supply supplementary fertilizer your plant will grow well.!