Jungle Val, also known as Vallisneria Americana, is a hardy plant that many beginner and advanced hobbyists enjoy keeping in their aquarium. A significant part of that appeal is that jungle Val is pretty darn easy to maintain and grow – if you follow the correct Jungle Val care guide.
It’s not super picky and does well in many different environments. Jungle Val is also one of the earliest plants used in fishkeeping, so there’s a long-standing history for this plant in the tape-grasses family.
If you have doubts about this plant and are unsure if you want to use it in your aquarium, take a walk-through of the care and guidelines below!
Jungle Val Care: A Quick Overview
Jungle Val is a long, stringy grass that resembles seagrass, thanks to its bright green ribbon leaves. The plant gets rather tall, as well, making it the perfect background plant for your aquarium. It’s also the ideal choice for many aquariums where you have shy critters who need some natural foliage to hide in so that they can feel safe.
This aquatic plant comes in a wide range of species, but the most common you’ll find for sale in the aquarium market is Vallisneria Americano. The plant can be found in the Americas and Asia, and Australia. Go figure!
Author Note: The plant naturally grows in shallow, slow-moving bodies of water like streams, ponds, and lakes. The water is typically shallower than ten feet, but occasionally you’ll find the plant in bays and inlets with lower salinity (i.e., brackish water).
Jungle Val will grow up to six feet in height in these wild settings. The plant is fast-growing, easy to care for, and safe for fish to nibble on.
|Scientific Name:||Vallisneria americana “Gigantea”|
|Other Names:||tape grass, eelgrass, and water celery|
|Lighting Needs:||Bright lighting is best|
|pH Level:||6.0 -9.0 pH and Moderately Hard to Very Hard|
|Care Level:||Very Easy|
|Minimum Tank Size:||29 Gallons|
|Maximum Plant Size:||6 feet|
About Jungle Val
This beautiful aquatic plant goes by several names, so it can be hard to find in a store. For example, it might be called Eelgrass, Water Celery, Tape Grass, or Jungle Val.
Whatever name you find it under, you’ll discover it’s a great background plant and perfect for beginners.
Jungle Val is a vigorous plant that can handle a good number of water parameters. It does have preferred conditions (we’ll talk about them later), but they’re pretty easy to care of for the most part, primarily due to that.]
In your aquarium, the plant won’t reach its total of 6 feet in height unless, of course, you’re keeping it in a massive tank as you’d find at a public aquarium.
It will, however, increase and climb towards the water’s surface. There, at that height, it will remain. It will, however, keep growing the leaves – they’ll float on the surface of the water.
It prefers the life aquatic (with or without Steve Zissou), so you won’t find it on land.
Jungle Val does best with gravel or sand (or a combination thereof), though its preference is sand since that’s closer to what it grows naturally in the wild.
Top Tip: Surprisingly, the plant has an extensive root system, which you probably wouldn’t expect from a plant like this.
Uses and Benefits of Jungle Val in an Aquarium
Jungle Val is an excellent choice for someone wanting to plant live plants in their aquarium. This plant is known for having a brilliant color that can improve the look of your tank.
Even though this plant doesn’t have the color of some plants, it still offers a unique look that catches the eye.
Jungle Val has a similar look and effect that seagrass has. The leaves emerge from the base and spread upwards, often growing long enough to touch the top of the waterline.
So even if your tank has a low water flow, the plant will sway along with the current.
There are many reasons to include live plants in your tank; one reason is to help improve water conditions. Live plants will release water during their natural photosynthesis process. This higher oxygen environment will make for a better home for your fish.
Author Note: Another reason to include live plants is that they can help get rid of chemicals and pollutants. For example, plants can take ammonia from the water and use it as nitrogen to help it grow.
Removing ammonia is very important because it is a byproduct of fish waste, and if it isn’t controlled, it can kill the fish. Having the plants ensure your ammonia levels stay down means that your fish will live in a safe habitat.
Jungle Val adds a place where your fish and invertebrates to swim, explore, and even hide inside. There are numerous fish that are easily stressed, and having plants, allows them to hide or rest.
Tank Requirements for Jungle Val
The smallest recommended tank is 20-30 gallons; anything smaller will mean that you have little to no room for fish. Some choose to plant it in a pond to grow to its full size.
This plant does best in water that mimics its natural environment. Therefore, it prefers warm water that leans towards alkaline on the pH side.
To be healthy, it needs to have exposure to light for at least eight to ten hours a day. Without this amount of light, it will not correctly photosynthesize.
The best substrate to use for this plant is sand or gravel. These plants are naturally found in sand, but they can adapt to grow in pebbles or more minor rocks.
|Water temperature:||64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit|
|pH levels:||6.0 to 9.0 (slightly alkaline is best)|
|Water hardness:||8 to 12 dGH|
Basic Care Guide and Maintenance for Jungle Val
The maintenance for Jungle Val is among the easiest of freshwater plants. Unusually, you have to do much beyond planting the plant and enjoying it.
While there are ongoing arguments within the aquarist community regarding trimming Jungle Val, the general thought is that you should not prune or trim a Jungle Val.
While some may talk about having no issues, it is essential to be careful because pruning done wrong will result in the plant dying.
Author Note: Even careful pruning can damage the foliage and result in leaves rotting. Then the decaying leaves will quickly sour the water and then cause your tank’s water quality to plummet.
If there emerges a situation where you need to trim Jungle Val, it is essential to make sure you use very sharp shears. If need be, make sure to sharpen the shears yourselves. This is because making a precise cut will help reduce the likelihood of any rot and infection.
This plant doesn’t need to be trimmed often because most plants will adapt to the tank you put them in. However, they should only grow to fit the height and water volume inside your tank. It is rare for this plant to reach its full potential in a tank because it will lack room.
Common Problems with Jungle Val
Jungle Val is an excellent plant for beginners for those new to keeping aquatic plants. It can tolerate minor changes in the water and remain healthy and reproduce.
While confused for dying, melting is a normal part of a Jungle Val’s life, especially after being replanted. Melting is the process of the weaker leaves turning brown and falling off the plant.
If for some reason, there are dead leaves that aren’t falling off, you can use a pair of exceptionally sharp scissors to remove them; if you use dull scissors, the worn blades will rip and do permanent damage to your plant.
While it’s not common for this plant to need fertilizer, if you notice prolonged melting or if it seems not to be growing right, fertilizer can help.
If you decide to apply fertilizer, it is essential to choose a high-quality fertilizer. When using the fertilizer, it’s necessary to follow all of the instructions; typically, the fertilizers should be given once a week.
One easy to control method that helps ensure everything in your tank is healthy is to keep the tank clean. It is essential to remove any dead leaves before they have a chance to decompose. In addition, it’s vital to make sure your tank has an excellent filter to help keep the water circulating.
Whenever algae start to form, it is important to wipe them away. Otherwise, it will begin to build up and begin to cause problems for your plants and other tank occupants.
How to Plant Jungle Val
When purchased from a store, they are usually found in pots or bare propagation. Either way, the process of planting Jungle Val is easy. The plant only needs to be removed from the container it comes in and then secure the new plant into your tank’s substrate.
This plant does well as a background plant because of its growth potential. However, it does best at the back of the tank, where it has the most freedom for growing.
It is essential to make sure the plant’s crown is above the substrate produced when planting. The plant’s crown is its base, and if it becomes buried, the plant will lose its leaves and eventually die.
It’s common for Jungle Val to go through a time of melting. This is easy to confuse for dying. The plant’s weakest leaves will fall off the plant during this process.
This normal process allows the plant to adjust to new conditions by eliminating old leaves that aren’t as healthy as others. This is a way the plant can be focused on producing fresh leaves.
Jungle Val does not take a long time to establish roots. Once the roots have spread, the plant’s maintenance is more straightforward. As long as the plant is healthy when you purchase it, there is no need to worry about complex planting techniques, CO2 injections, or fertilizer.
Top Tip: Jungle Val can quickly adapt to various water conditions. This plant can be planted in and thrive in alkaline and hard water. In addition, this plant can grow in brackish water.
However, this type of water will reduce its speed of growth and overall amount to spread.
How to Propagate Jungle Val
Jungle Val is a plant that can reproduce in several ways.
When this plant is in the wild, it will produce a flower that will float. The male flowers will then be released and caught by the female flowers, allowing pollination to happen. If these plants are kept in a pond instead of a tank, it is possible to see this cycle.
When this plant is kept in a freshwater tank, it reproduces almost always just by using runners. It is very uncommon for this plant to produce seeds when kept inside the tank.
Instead, they have runners that grow under the tank’s substrate and begin a new plant close to the original one.
After it has had time to grow, it is possible to separate this new sprout and replant it elsewhere. The key sign to look and see if it’s ready to separate is if the leaves have developed.
If you are not patient and separate it too soon, the plant will die.
Once you have separated the new plant from the summer, it can take about four weeks to acclimate to where they are planted. After the weeks have passed, it will start to grow its runners.
We hope you enjoyed our Jungle Val care guide!