Jungle Val is a great aquarium plant that will create dramatic views in your aquarium. A low-maintenance aquatic plant that will create a lush jungle-looking scape in your aquarium.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about Jungle Val care, so you can enjoy a healthy-looking plant for years.
Jungle Vallisneria or Jungle Val is a freshwater aquatic plant that goes by many names like Tape Grass, Eelgrass, wild celery, or Water Celery. The scientific name for this plant is Vallisneria Americana, which belongs to the freshwater tape-grasses family of plants.
It’s native to America and can be found in lakes, streams, and creeks in most parts of south, central, and parts of North America. It usually grows in shallow parts of the water body, no more than ten feet in depth. Once established, It will reproduce quickly and form a dense forest that provides a safe refuge for fish and invertebrates.
Jungle Val is an easy plant that anyone with the right tank conditions can keep and grow.
Jungle Val’s appearance resembles seagrass, shooting out long bright green ribbon-like leaves directly from its root into the water column. The plant leaves grow very tall which makes it a great background plant for your tank.
Depending on the region jungle Val is coming from it can look slightly different. The difference is usually in leaf thickness and some types might have spiral leaves. Since it’s a tall plant, the plant will sway in the water even with low water flow. This will give your aquarium a dramatic look and feel which complements the fish movement in the tank.
From time to time, Jungle Val will also grow a tiny flower which will then release small spores into the water which will float on the surface of the tank.
Jungle Val is a very tall plant that in some cases will grow to 6 – 10 feet in length. This means you should always plant it in the background. Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can place this plant in the middle to grow up and to the sides. But in our scapes, we usually plant it in the corner of the aquarium where filter output is. This gives the plant enough space to grow along the length of the tank and the flow of the water will move the plant that will dramatically move the leaves.
Jungle Val is a root feeder plant so it requires a good mineral-rich substrate which we will discuss further in the planting section of this article. To have bright colors and healthy leaves, you will need to provide them with a strong light source. When they get low light you will see your plant will start to melt and will slowly die.
Jungle Val Care
This is a relatively easy plant to care for, they are well-known for their ability to grow in any aquarium conditions as long as they get good light. They require planted tank substrate, occasional water changes, and good lighting to thrive.
This is a relatively fast-growing species of aquatic plant, which will need minor maintenance and pruning from time to time. Jungle Val will grow towards the surface of the tank where light is coming from. This makes the plant vulnerable to algae growth so it’s very important to maintain a clean and balanced tank to avoid algae growth on the leaves.
Regular water changes will control nitrate levels and create a healthier environment for your plant to live in. Algae-eating fish like bristlenose pleco and Oto cats are great fish choices to keep your plants algae-free.
As mentioned, under the right conditions, Jungle Val will grow fast and tall. The lighting and nutrition in the substrate have a direct impact on the growth of the plant.
The ideal habitat for this plant is an aquarium with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5 and temperatures between 72-82 °F, but they grow best at 78 °F. Jungle Val plants do not require CO2 but you might need to supplement root tabs from time to time.
However, like all aquatic plants, for even faster growth and lush green coloration, we recommend adding CO2 and liquid fertilizers to your tank. This will help your plant to grow and reproduce faster than a tank without CO2.
Planting Jungle Val
Jungle Val is a root feeder plant, which means it needs a nutrition-rich soil or substrate. This plant will develop a complex root structure so a substrate with a minimum depth of 2 inches is recommended.
The softer the substrate the better, in nature these plants are found in soil and slightly sandy rivers and ponds. Sand is the closest aquarium substrate to what these plants grow in the wild; however, sand does not have any nutrition, and jungle Val needs a nutrition-rich substrate. When using sand you will have to add root tabs regularly to your substrate so the plant can grow.
In recent years companies developed very high-quality aquarium substrates for planted tanks which provide all the nutrition a plant needs while letting the plant easily grow new roots. The only downside to these substrates is the cost. For a large tank, it becomes super expensive to only use these substrates.
Most aquarists will only use planted tank substrate for the portion of the tank where root feeder plants are growing and for the rest of the tank they only use regular aquarium sand or gravel.
You can also plant jungle Val in a small pot and place the pot with the plant inside your aquarium. You can use terracotta pots or specially made aquarium planters. Simply fill the pot with planted substrate and place the plant in it. You can cover the pot with aquarium decoration and rocs so it doesn’t change the appearance of your tank.
In an aquarium environment, Jungle Val propagates by shooting runners. This makes it super easy to propagate this plant.
Once a plant establishes a good root system and has all the nutrients it needs, it will start shooting runners above the substrate and below the substrate. These runners will go in any available direction and will soon develop small leaves and root structures and become fully independent plants.
After they developed leaves 2-3 inches in height you can cat the runner that connects the plant to the mother plant so the new plant can grow independently. You might also need to move the new plant to somewhere close to the background to avoid blocking the tank’s field of view. When moving the plants it will take some time for the plant to adjust to its new environment and then it will grow tall and long very fast.
Jungle Vals produce two types of flower, the female flower that grows to the surface of the water and the male flower that grows to 2-3 inches and stays underwater at all times. When the time is right, the male flower will release its pollen into the water which will immediately float to the surface where female flowers can catch and pollinate. which will then release seeds into the water and new plants will grow out of them. This type of propagation often happens in the wild but is rarely seen in an aquarium setup. In the aquarium plants will only produce male blooms but no female flowers.
Maintenance: Pruning, Trimming, yellow leaves & Algae
In general, Maintaining Jungle Val is super easy. In a well-maintained aquarium, you might need to remove or move the new runners from time to time. If you neglect it, the plant will continue to send new runners and soon will cover your entire aquarium.
As mentioned, this plant will grow tall and soon will cover the surface of your aquarium, blocking the light from reaching other plants. To avoid this you can trim the leaves only when they grow too long and out of control. Do not trim the plant when it’s too small.
Every time you prune or trim the leaves you are risking the plant leaves fully die. This is why trimming should be done only when the plant has grown too long and it’s out of control.
When trimming the plant you should use very sharp scissors and only cut the outgrown parts of the plant. Always leave 2-3 feet long leaves so the plant can grow and make new leaves. This will reduce the chance of leaf rot in the newly pruned leaves as the plant will absorb enough light for photosynthesis and produce energy to regenerate.
Sometimes leaves may turn yellow and start to melt which means the plant cat gets enough nutrition. When you see dead leaves, simply remove the wilted leaf and add a root tab close to the plant’s leaves. Avoid adding root tabs more than is necessary as they might cause algae to bloom or even kill your Jungle Val.
Some types of algae love to grow on Vallisneria leaves! Which can cause the plant’s leaves to look ugly. To avoid algae growth on leaves, try reducing the time your aquarium light is on. Frequent water changes will also help to prevent algae growth by removing minerals that algae need to grow.
Jungle Val is a great plant for community tanks that has different types of fish. It is an ideal plant for most South American fish and most will not disturb it.
Jungle Val is not an ideal plant for African Cichlid tanks. Most African Cichlids love to dig in the substrate and might uproot your plant. African cichlid tanks also need higher pH and Jungle Val does not do well in higher pH.
Vallisneria’s tough leaves will help it to tolerate most nippy fish and many fish will not even bother disturbing it. The plant will survive any fish as long as they don’t go after the roots. As long as the roots are well-established, it’ll have no problem thriving!
If you notice your fish are going after the roots of the plant then you should place decorations or rocks to block the fish or just move the plant to a new tank.
Buying An Jungle Val Plant
When looking to buy your first Jungle Val, pay attention to its leaves. pick the ones that do not have yellow colors and don’t have holes or cracks on them.
There are different types of Jungle Val plants that might be available in pet stores. Usually, the thicker the plant’s leaves are the harder the plant is.
Is Jungle Val Suitable for your Aquarium?
This plant is great for most setups, with many freshwater tanks already fulfilling the necessary criteria. As long as your water parameters are within the suitable range and you have plenty of light and a soft substrate, your Jungle Val will thrive.
Jungle Val is a tall plant and will grow up to 6 feet so it’s not an ideal plant for small tanks. We do not recommend planting Jungle Val in an aquarium smaller than 50 gallons. As long as your tank is big enough with good lighting and substrate your plant will have no issues growing.
One of the great aspects of this plant is the fact that it easily grows and propagates. You can start with just a few plants and in no time you will have an aquarium full of Vals.
Jungle Val is an easy plant to care for and does not need anything special. It is hardy and low-maintenance so both beginners and experts can create dramatic looks in their tanks.
We hope you use the information in this article to create unique scapes in your tank.