Help growing Jungle Val ((Vallisneria americana) - GTA Aquaria Forum - Aquarium Fish & Plants serving the Greater Toronto Area.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:12 PM   #1
Karen00
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Default Help growing Jungle Val ((Vallisneria americana)

Hello all,

I think I'm the only person on the planet that can't seem to keep Jungle Val alive in my tank. From everything I read about this plant on this forum it grows like weeds for people and it doesn't seem to matter whether they have high tech or low tech setups. LOL

My tank setup is a 15g low tech tank. Here's what I have:
- Water: My water is Toronto tap water (ph about 7.2, moderately hard) and the temp of my tank is around 23c/73f. All of my parameters seem to be within the range that Vals like.
- Higher flow in the tank for oxygenation. I'm replicating the conditions for a faster flowing river environment.
- Lighting: I have one light hovering over the tank. It's a GE LED 60w Daylight bulbs (760 lumens, 5000k) I used to have a single LED over the tank that was more in the warmer 6500k range then I read some posts that said freshwater plants tend to prefer the cooler 5000k range so I switched. I can't honestly tell if the plants I have care which of the two types of light they get. They seem to be growing the same (crypts, swords, moss and another unidentified plant).
- Ferts: I dose weekly with Flourish Comprehensive.
- Substrate: Sand. I used to have gravel but just recently switch to sand so it remains to be seen whether the plants prefer this.

I got the plants in my tank from a member of this forum. He has a high tech setup with CO2 and the high end lights. The plants were huge when I got them. Under my conditions those leaves died off and smaller leaves came back and now the plants have a more compact bushy form. I expected this to happen and prefer the look given I'm trying to create a river like look. I'm sure a true river look would not have these plants at all but I like to have plants and not just moss. These plants are doing quite well in these conditions (very healthy).

In comes Jungle Val. I have been trying on and off to keep this plant for three years but they just melt away and die. I fully expect the original leaves might die off as the plants adapt to my conditions with lower light but I don't seem to get the regrowth of new leaves. Every plant just melts away.

I read this plant does well in low tech setups so what am I doing wrong? Do these need more light? Do they need root tabs? Is the flow in my tank too high?

I honestly expected I wouldn't be able to keep the swords, crypts, etc. but would have these growing like weeds in my tank. It has been just the opposite. I was hoping this is one plant that might stay tall in my tank so I could use it as a background plant to hide things like my air tubes, etc. but apparently this plant has other ideas.

Thanks in advance for any help. If you need more information on my setup let me know.


Karen
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:05 PM   #2
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I can give you a bunch more Jungle Val if you want, but damn.. I've never heard of -any- troubles growing it, exactly the opposite in my own case as well. The only thing I can figure is the stress of switching from high tech to low tech may have temporarily stunted it?


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Old 06-04-2019, 09:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepcarpenter View Post
I can give you a bunch more Jungle Val if you want, but damn.. I've never heard of -any- troubles growing it, exactly the opposite in my own case as well. The only thing I can figure is the stress of switching from high tech to low tech may have temporarily stunted it?
Thanks for the speedy reply Jeepcarpenter! LOL! I know.... everyone has the exact opposite problem. My problem is worse than stunted Vals... they actually die off within a few weeks. They just melt away. I would be happy if I could keep them alive in a stunted form but no love so far. I got two more plants and I'm watching them melt away before my eyes. I'm just waiting to see if some new leaves emerge that have adapted to my tank's environment but it's not looking good however I've only had them a week.

Another thing I read is to make sure the crown stays above the substrate which I have done so I don't think they're rotting away because the crown is submerged.

I will definitely take you up on your offer of taking some Vals off your hands! I will send you a PM. :-D

Like I said I have to be the only person on the planet that can't grow these plants!! Haha!

Cheers.


K
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:30 PM   #4
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I tried for a while to grow val. plants.
I found they would start okay, but then break near the top of the 20 gal tank and then each leaf would gradually rot away.
I eventually gave up.

I expect it was due to the lack of light. I tend to run low light set ups. and I have grown okay with not having vals.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:36 AM   #5
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Default Help growing Jungle Val ((Vallisneria americana)

Well, I cannot speak as to the problems growing it; but can attest that mine grow perfectly fine just loose in the water column, in extreme low light conditions, no ferts, no substrate, no major water changes.. really.. with nothing but a pinch of light and flow.. not even heavy stocking.. I have a 15g long with a 13w -Oooooollllllldddd- and faded out fluorescent that barely gives off enough light to see fully in the tank (really should replace the bulb).. one male fundulopanchax scheeli, a couple Pygmy cories, a spyxi snail and a handful of ramshorns.. other flora of wisteria, microswords, duckweed and spiky moss; the Val's average 12"-16" and just keep on growing more and more runners to the point I no longer put them in the substrate and just weigh them down with ceramic rings as Infolific had suggested to me for water sprites.

In my 20g high with 3x 23w CFL they grow like crazy, 2-2 1/2ft long before melt or rot starts, and double the amount of runners.




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Old 06-05-2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepcarpenter View Post
Well, I cannot speak as to the problems growing it; but can attest that mine grow perfectly fine just loose in the water column, in extreme low light conditions, no ferts, no substrate, no major water changes.. really.. with nothing but a pinch of light and flow.. not even heavy stocking.. I have a 15g long with a 13w -Oooooollllllldddd- and faded out fluorescent that barely gives off enough light to see fully in the tank (really should replace the bulb).. one male fundulopanchax scheeli, a couple Pygmy cories, a spyxi snail and a handful of ramshorns.. other flora of wisteria, microswords, duckweed and spiky moss; the Val's average 12"-16" and just keep on growing more and more runners to the point I no longer put them in the substrate and just weigh them down with ceramic rings as Infolific had suggested to me for water sprites.

In my 20g high with 3x 23w CFL they grow like crazy, 2-2 1/2ft long before melt or rot starts, and double the amount of runners.
Wow, that's crazy!! So when you say loose in the water column do you mean free floating? If so I didn't think they could be grown this way. Maybe I should try that. I also forgot to mention when I was describing my setup that my light is actually about 2-1/2' away from my tank (and off to one side) because I'm also using it to grow plants around the tank (terrestrial). It could very well be that while it looks like enough light is getting to the Vals it might not be getting enough but then the same can be said for my other plants which are growing fine (albeit stunted) at the bottom of my tank.

@ksimdjembe... I'm glad to know I'm not the only person in the world who can't grow these. LOL!!! Thank goodness the ones I recently purchased from Petsmart were really cheap!! LOL
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:10 PM   #7
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Default Help growing Jungle Val ((Vallisneria americana)

Yep, loose and free floating. My lights however, even the barely there ones; are only a few inches from the surface. You could try supplementing light with a 23w 5000-6500k CFL bulb but n a desk lamp or clip-on maybe? Or I can put more of them back into my growout tank and keeping growing you a wall to replace them every month or so.

I am currently setting up a couple 20g long' to run the same lighting to fuel both the tanks as well as HOB terrestrial plant refugiums, aquaponics style as I need more room for my mint, lettuce and other herbs; as well as maybe some more pothos and wandering Jew simply because my girls love purple everywhere. Unfortunately will be months yet before I can provide much as to lighting sparsity at great distance, depth or angle for such.

As well, for substrates I have grown Jungle Val in ADA, Dirted MTS, and just simply inert gravel or Pool filter sand as well as just tossed in, never dosing any types of ferts of any sort so my best guess if not simply stunted.. must be either lighting, or maybe they don't like something in the water even? I have heard reports of some types of plants having an impact on other types, essentially killing the competition but I have not read in-depth, mainly been focusing and experimenting of which plants do well for me in extreme low light conditions and in my water.
Haven't yet moved up to which are compatible with which. So far for me H'ra will only grow in 10" or less of water, pogo erectus melts and regrows until non-existent, red ludwigia just keeps melting and starting over from sprout and Subwassertang pellia I think I just had too much flow for it to grow proper but lost it all before I could test otherwise.

Keep in mind I am no pro, veteran in the hobby but still always learning as I go; so take anything I say with a grain of salt as I am only speaking from my own experiences, not variable specific or controlled environmental testing.

2 1/2ft though.. is quite far for plants to absorb light within water, unless there are a -lot- of lumens. In my 75g recently setup (40 days maybe?) the Val's are at 19" deep, a bit sundered from some dwarf water lettuce overhead; receiving 6000lumens of light, 10hrs/day at 2" above surface. They are not growing even as fast as my 15g X-low light, but still about 3/4" each stalk in those 40days without melt.

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Old 06-05-2019, 01:56 PM   #8
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@Jeepcarpenter. That is amazing to hear of your success. I think you're going to have to keep a wall of Vals growing just so I have a constant supply. LOL!!

I also forgot to mention I have my lights on 12 hours a day and that my tank is open (no lid) so they're not getting the light from a lid/canopy. I thought the extra couple hours would compensate for the distance the light is from my tank. As mentioned though my other plants are doing great. It's just the Vals that keep melting and dying. I usually find just the crown/roots floating on the surface after a few weeks.

So either they don't like the flow in my tank or they do need more direct light even if it's low light. I like your idea of doing a clip on which maintains my open air feel. I might try that. I think I will also try free floating them which will give them more light closer to the surface. This will be a good test to see if it's actually a problem with the light level.

Just today I had to cut them back because most of the original leaves have melted away. There are still a couple smaller/newer leaves that were there when I bought them. I'm hoping these will survive and grow out. It won't take long for me to know whether the two plants will survive.

I was debating whether to do a moss wall or Jungle Val wall. The way it's going it will probably have to be a moss wall. LOL!!
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:22 PM   #9
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I doubt this is at play... but...

I remember looking into the possibility that some groupings of the plants I had might have been working against each other. Diana Walstad’s ‘Ecology of the Planted Aquarium’ had a section describing this, and among other things, if there weren’t sufficient water changes, might give an opportunity for some plants to give off chemicals that could act against other plants. Essentially one plant or plant type might chemically fight another- aquatic plant chemical warfare.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:47 AM   #10
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I doubt this is at play... but...

I remember looking into the possibility that some groupings of the plants I had might have been working against each other. Diana Walstad’s ‘Ecology of the Planted Aquarium’ had a section describing this, and among other things, if there weren’t sufficient water changes, might give an opportunity for some plants to give off chemicals that could act against other plants. Essentially one plant or plant type might chemically fight another- aquatic plant chemical warfare.
@ksimdjembe This is a very good point!! I do weekly water changes so I don't think that's a factor but it could very well be that some plants are emitting something that the other plants don't like (in my case the Vals). I think if you do a true biotope setup and all the plants, fish, etc. are from a specific area then this plant warfare probably doesn't come into play but... if they come from different regions (even though they require the same conditions) might play a role in some plants doing OK and other not. Plants from one are might be emitting natural chemicals that are suitable for their region and other plants they live alongside but could be toxic to plants from another region. I'm going to check out that book so thanks for providing that!!
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