Jungle Val is a freshwater aquatic plant that’s also known as tape grass, eelgrass, and water celery. The plant’s scientific name is Vallisneria Americana, and it belongs to the tape-grasses family of aquatic plants.
The plant’s ability to survive in diverse environments and its hardy nature makes it a popular beginner plant for aquarium hobbyists. Indeed, Jungle Val is one of the earliest plants to be used by fish keepers and has remained a favorite for many years.
In this guide, we show you how to care for the Vallis plant, including how to propagate and grow your own.
Jungle Val looks like seagrass, putting out long, bright green ribbon-like leaves. The plant grows to several inches in height, making it perfect for planting at the back of the tank.
There are lots of different species of Jungle Vals for sale in the aquarium trade, and they can be difficult to distinguish. However, Vallisneria Americano tends to be the most commonly found in fish stores.
Vallisneria Americana, as the name suggests, is native to the Americas. However, the plant is also found across Australia and Asia.
In the wild environment, Jungle Vals grow in shallow, slow-moving water, including lakes, ponds, and streams. Typically, the plants grow in water of a depth of under ten feet. Sometimes, you’ll find the plant growing in bays and inlets with a low level of salinity.
Jungle Val’s long ribbon leaves can grow up to six feet long, forming vast forests and creating the perfect refuge for shy fish and invertebrates.
Care of Jungle Val
Jungle Vals are very easy to care for, growing well in most aquariums, including in brackish water. However, these are ostensibly freshwater aquatic plants that won’t grow in a marine setup.
Tank size and setup
Jungle Vallisneria is best-suited to a large aquarium, as the plant can quickly outgrow a smaller setup. Ideally, you want an aquarium of at least 29-gallon capacity.
The plant grows completely submerged beneath the water, rooting deeply and securely into the substrate. For that reason, Vals are ideal for use in tanks with fish that are diggers, remaining firmly rooted even under the most determined onslaught. Use sand or gravel as a substrate, and the plants will quickly form strong root systems. Note that the plant’s crown must remain above the substrate. If the crown is buried, the leaves will die off.
Once established, these plants can grow quite tall and should, therefore, always be used as background plants in an aquarium setting.
These aquarium plants are very easy to grow, being tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. That said, the perfect scenario for Jungle Vals is a water temperature of 640 to 820 Fahrenheit and moderately hard, alkaline water with a pH range of between 6.0 and 9.0.
If the water is too acidic and soft, the plants will grow slowly. That said, Jungle Vals will tolerate brackish water conditions, although that will also stunt their growth and may also cause problems with propagation.
Fertilizer, CO2, and lighting
Vallisneria Americana does not require any additional CO2 to thrive because, in nature, the plants live in shallow water that contains little CO2. However, the plant will benefit from feeding with an iron-rich fertilizer. You should add the fertilizer to the tank, following your weekly water change.
Because Jungle Vals grow in shallow water, often reaching the surface, they do best under bright lighting. However, the plants will cope under moderate levels of light, although they will have a significantly slower growth rate. The most suitable lighting for Jungle Vals is a specialty plant bulb or high-quality LED.
You should not prune or trim Jungle Vals’ leaves. That will cause the damaged foliage to rot, fouling the water. If it does become absolutely necessary to trim the plant’s leaves, use very sharp scissors so that the leaf may survive.
Its ease of propagation is another of the qualities that make this plant so popular for use in the aquarium.
The plant reproduces by putting out runners under the gravel. The runners take root, eventually creating a new plant. Do not separate the runners from the parent plant until the leaves have fully developed. Once the plant reaches that stage, you can move and replant it. Bear in mind that it can take up to four weeks for the plant to settle in its new environment and start to grow again.
In its wild habitat, Jungle Vals produce seeds and flowers. The female flowers grow up to the water surface, while smaller male blooms are released by the plant, which then floats to the surface. On the water surface, the male flowers are caught by the females, and pollination occurs. After pollination, the male flowers fertilize the females, creating a long, cylindrical pod that is crammed with tiny seeds. Plants growing in your tank do not generally produce flowers.
If you have problem fish species in your tank that are inclined to uproot or eat your foliage, Vals make the ideal plant species for your aquarium. The plant’s leaves are tough and extremely difficult to damage, even by the most aggressive fish.
That can make Vals the ideal plant for herbivore and cichlid tanks.
In this part of our guide, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Vals.
Q: Is Jungle Val easy to grow?
A: Yes. The species is one of the easiest aquatic plants to grow in the aquarium. Also, you can propagate new plants from the original
Q: Does Jungle Val need CO2?
A: No, Jungle Val doesn’t need CO2 to grow well, although an iron-rich fertilizer and bright lighting can help to promote good growth.
Q: Can you trim Jungle Val?
A: Ideally, you should not prune or trim the plants. However, if the leaves begin to take over your aquarium, you can cut away excess growth with a pair of sharp scissors. To avoid the issue, add the Vals to the back of the aquarium where they will create a screen.
Q: Is Jungle Val a root feeder?
A: The plants feed from their root systems as well as from nutrients derived from the water column. So, you can either use a substrate that the plants can feed through or supplement their nutrition with root tabs.
Vallisneria Americana is an easy-to-grow plant that can thrive in a wide range of water conditions, including in brackish tanks.
You can start with one specimen, and then propagate the plant to add to what you already have growing in your aquarium. Vals are great for use in tanks that contain destructive fish species, as the leaves are tough, and the root systems are extremely difficult to dislodge once they become established.