Scientific name: Vallisneria gigantea
Usual maximum size in aquariums: 50 - 200 cm (19.69 - 78.74 inch)
Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.3
Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 18°N (71.43 - 321.43ppm)
0°C 32°F30°C 86°F
Recommended temperature: 22 - 28 °C (71.6 - 82.4°F)
Reproduction of the plant: Runners
Origin (in the wild): Oceania
How fast these plants grow: Fast
Recommended substrate: Gravel
Demands on lighting: Medium
Ideal placement in a fish tank: Background
These plants will send out runners under the substrate and plantlets will develop from these. After a while the daughter plants will develop their own root system, at this stage they can be separated from the mother plant to grow where they are or they can be transplanted to a different area of the aquarium. When planting these always leave the crown of the plant above the substrate, this is easy to spot as the crown will have a lighter colouration to the rest of the plant.
These plants do not like a strong water flow, indeed this can even damage the leaves especially when growing on young plants as well as mature plants so be careful how much flow is emitted from your filter, adjusting the aim of the outlet nozzle will allow you to control the flow speed. You can even aim the nozzle towards the back of the aquarium it slow the flow dramatically.
Easy. Care should still be taken to ensure that this plant receives all the nutrients that it requires to ensure a good sturdy growth. You should also trim back the leaves if they reach the water surface and start to block the light from other plants in the aquarium.
As the name suggests this plant grows to a large height. The name gigantea is the name used by distributors but it s correct Latin name is actually Vallisneria Americana. It is very fast growing, it has been recorded to grow 1 cm a day. Always make sure that the leaves do not get fractured, as soon as this happens the leaf will die off. Many keepers think that this plant cannot be pruned back, this is not true. As long as the leaves are cut back with sharp scissors they will be o.k. Leaves that are dying off can also be removed by lifting them away at the base.
Great plant for beginners as well as for experienced aquarists. Usually requires about 2-4 weeks for acclimatization but later it can reproduce and can become the primary plant in your fish tank.
In order to stimulate the growth, you should use some kind of fertilizer. JBL balls are good for this purpose.
Lighting is quite important for nice green colour. Use 0.7 Watt per 1 L in order to let it grow properly. Later you can reduce the lighting ratio.
You will find that the growth works in cycles, the leaves will grow well for a few months and then suddenly stop before new leaves start to emerge. This is perfectly normal and no reflection on how you are caring for this plant. They seem to do well when a sandy substrate is used in the aquarium, this tends to allow the roots to develop and extend quicker. It may be wise to add some substrate underneath the sand that contains iron as this is a very important additive to ensure healthy growth.