Vallisneria takes its rightful place at the top of the ranking of the most unpretentious aquarium plants. Even a novice aquarist can cope with its cultivation, and experienced ones are able to create magnificent compositions with its help. In our article, we will talk about the popular varieties of vallisneria and the conditions of its maintenance in the aquarium.
Vallisneria sp. (Vallisneria sp.) Is a group of perennial herbaceous plants from the Hydrocharitaceae family. The genus was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 and named after the Italian botanist Antonio Vallisneri. The systematics of Vallisneria has been repeatedly reviewed; at present, the genus includes 14 species.
Vallisneria is a truly aquatic plant (hydrophyte). A characteristic feature is ribbon-like leaves, straight or twisted into a spiral. The dense thickets that Vallisneria forms fairly quickly create a bland background in the background, which is why it is often called “wallpaper for the aquarium.”
In addition to beauty, Vallisneria is of great benefit: like any living plant, it releases oxygen into the water and absorbs dissolved organic compounds from it, the accumulation of which is undesirable, for example, nitrates. Vallisneria is very useful when starting a new aquarium – its unpretentiousness and rapid growth allow you to establish biological balance in a fresh aquarium much faster and prevent the development of algae.
Vallisneria requires minimal care, so it can be safely recommended as the first living plants in the aquarium.
Scientists have proved the possibility of using the Vallisneria culture to treat wastewater from salts of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Vallisneria has neat bushes with ribbon-like leaves. Usually, they are bright green in color, but sometimes they can have a reddish tint or short dark veins. The leaves are straight or spiral twisted, collected in a socket, and can grow, depending on the type, from 20 to 100 cm. They are completely immersed in water and, reaching the surface, spread along with it. This distinguishes them from arrowheads, whose underwater leaves never creep. Venation parallel. Leaf blades of many species have a finely serrated structure, so when handling a plant, you must be very careful not to cut yourself.
The root system is moderately developed, the root length reaches 10 cm, the color is white or yellowish. They are dense and not fragile. The flowers in most species are small and nondescript, although some are quite large, collected in umbrella inflorescences on long peduncles. Dioecious plants, there are male and female plants on which the corresponding types of flowers develop.
Widely distributed on all continents in the reservoirs of the tropical and subtropical zones, some species have advanced up to the temperate zone. In our country, Wallisneria can be found in the lower reaches of the Volga, Ciscaucasia, and the Far East. Vallisneria perfectly develops both in rivers with a fast current, and in stagnant water – lakes, backwaters. Often a dense carpet of Wallysneria can cover a significant portion of the bottom of a pond.
Types of Wallisneria
A widespread plant found even on the border of the temperate zone. The leaves are bright green, ribbon-like, in most cases spirally twisted, although this does not depend on the species, but on the growing conditions. The plant name was received not for the shape of the leaves, as one might think, but because the peduncle with a female flower sits on a spiral leg. In an aquarium, the length of plants is usually 30-40 cm.
Perfect for decorating the background of the aquarium and side walls. Warm water (20-28 ° С) is necessary for maintenance. It is best if it is soft; with high rigidity, the plant becomes smaller. It does not have high lighting requirements. A soil fraction of 4-6 mm with a layer of 3-4 cm will be optimal. It is important to ensure that rust does not enter the aquarium; if it does, the plant dies quickly.
Easily propagated by the vegetative method, with the help of shoots, on which daughter plants are formed. Up to 50-100 new plants are formed per year. Communication with the mother bush can be cut off after the formation of several leaves and the appearance of roots. Seed propagation is extremely rare since aquariums contain mostly female plants.
Giant Wallisneria (Vallisneria gigantea)
Under natural conditions, giant Vallisneria is found on the islands of Southeast Asia.
A very large plant and ribbon-like leaves, the length of which can reach more than 1 m. The leaf blade is bright or dark green. It is recommended to plant in large and tall aquariums along the back or near the side walls. It is worth noting that leaves that reach the surface can create a natural shading of the aquarium, which may not be liked by other types of plants, therefore it is recommended to install additional side lighting in the aquarium.
A tropical aquarium with a water temperature of 20-26 ° C is required for maintenance. The range of parameters in which the plant can exist is very wide, but it is recommended that the water be soft and slightly acidic.
Vallisneria prefers bright light lasting up to 12 hours.
The roots of the plant are quite long, so a large layer of soil is required, preferably at least 5-7 cm. It likes silty soil. They do not need additional feeding, but respond well to the application of liquid and tablet fertilizers, for example, Tetra PlantaMin and Tetra Crypto.
Propagated vegetatively with the help of processes.
Vallisneria nana (dwarf)
The birthplace of this plant is the reservoirs of Northern Australia. Despite its name, the plant has long leaves, up to 30-60 cm. But unlike other Vallisneria, they are very narrow (up to 2.5 mm). The leaf blade is dark green, finely serrated on top. The rhizome is short.
Like other representatives of the genus, dwarf Vallisneria is an unpretentious plant in content. It will look best in the middle and background of the aquarium. The growth rate is fast, but the period of adaptation during transplantation may be delayed. Nevertheless, if the plant has taken root in the aquarium, then regular reproduction with the help of vegetative shoots is ensured.
Vallisneria nana is a photophilous species, so you should take care of good lighting in the aquarium. Suitable water temperature is 25-28 ° C, medium hardness. But in general, the plant tolerates deviations from these parameters well.
The root system is poorly developed, so the soil should have a fine fraction and be silty.
Vallisneria tiger (Vallisneria nana “Tiger”)
Tiger or spotted Vallisneria according to the new classification is considered to be a form of dwarf Vallisneria, although earlier it was attributed to the spiral Vallisneria variation. It has significant dimensions. The length of the leaf blade can reach 60 cm, and the width is 2 cm. A distinctive feature is the presence of dark dashes along the entire length of the leaf blade, which makes it similar to the skin of a tiger. The content is unpretentious. It needs moderate lighting, warm and not very hard water. It responds well to the application of micro and macro fertilizers. Slow growth, vegetative reproduction with the help of processes.
Vallisneria american (Vallisneria americana)
American Vallisneria grows not only in America. It is also found in the water bodies of South and East Asia, Japan, Oceania. Natural biotopes are different – both rivers with a fast flow, and slow-flowing and standing water bodies. In nature, it serves as a food for many species of aquatic organisms.
The rhizome is short and powerful, easily shoots, on which daughter plants develop. Leaves are ribbon-like, soft, grow up to 20 cm, are collected in a socket. There are two main forms of American Vallisneria – narrow-leaved and broadleaved. The width of the leaf blade in the first is not more than 10 mm, in the second – 10-25 mm. Leaves serrate with transverse veins.
Perfect for decorating the background of the aquarium or the side walls. Coarse sand or rounded pebbles can be used as soil. The layer thickness should be at least 6 cm. The rest of the plant is unpretentious: the lighting is moderate or bright, lasting up to 10-12 hours a day, water of medium hardness with a temperature of 24-28 ° C. It responds very well to fertilizers containing iron, for example, Tetra PlantaMin. Vallisneria American is very resistant to any increase in salinity.
Reproduction occurs by layering formed on the shoot. When transplanting to a new place, a growth slowdown of up to 2 months may be observed
Care and maintenance
Vallisneria is one of the most unpretentious plants in the content.
By and large, the aquarist does not even have to create certain conditions for the plant to grow and multiply. Nevertheless, to obtain lush and vibrant vegetation, it is worth taking care of comfortable lighting and water parameters.
Watch how to fast this plant grows in aquarium: Be careful this video has SOUND!
Vallisneria is able to exist without problems in a wide range of water parameters. This is a thermophilic species, and although vallisneria can tolerate short-term temperature drops of up to 15 ° С; 24-28 ° С are comfortable values. At low temperatures, plant growth slows down significantly. The water reaction should be neutral or slightly acidic. As for stiffness, for most species, it is better not to exceed 15 dGH. Water should not contain rust and excess copper, which can quickly destroy plants.
Given that the length of the leaves of Vallisneria rarely reaches a length of less than 30 cm, the middle and background will be the best option for placement in the aquarium. Due to the rapid growth of the plant, they create very dense thickets that well decorate the back or side walls, as well as the equipment. Vallisneria leaves floating on the surface can serve as a fixation point for freely floating plants.
Many aquarists cut excessively long leaves, but unfortunately, this often leads to the fact that the cut leaves begin to turn yellow and rot. Therefore, when containing vallisneria, it is better to thin out it in time, leaving branches of a suitable size. Rotting and spoiled leaves must be removed from the aquarium so that they do not impair the quality of the water.
For Vallisneria, two types of reproduction are characteristic: vegetative and seed. The first is carried out using layering. Long shoots depart from the rhizome, on which daughter plants develop. Thus, a whole cascade of plants of different sizes associated with the mother can be formed.
Seed propagation in aquariums is rare. This is due to the fact that Vallisneria is dioecious plants. Male and female flowers of Vallisneria develop on different plants. For fertilization to occur, it is necessary that both types of plants are present in the aquarium, and even bloom at the same time. But the process of reproduction is very interesting.
Female flowers on long peduncles rise to the surface of the water. Male flowers ripen and break away from the plant, then float to the surface where, after direct contact, the female flower is fertilized. After fertilization, the female flower is drawn into the water, where the fetus develops.