Vallisneria gigantea (common name: eelgrass, tapegrass, vallis)
Overview: Vallisneria gigantea is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. This perennial plant thrives well in wetlands like ponds, lakes and quiet streams as well as slow moving rivers and streams. True to it’s name, Vallisneria gigantea grows tall with leaves growing up to 1 m long. They are suitable for larger aquariums with bigger fishes in it. It is fast growing (almost 1 cm a day), therefore pruning is highly recommended if used in aquariums. It is fairly undemanding, and thrives well when an iron-rich fertilizer is added to water.
Appearance: The leaves of Vallisneria gigantea grow in clusters from the root and float above the surface of water. The leaves are long and can grow up to 48 inches long and 0.4 inch wide. The leaves are dark green in color with rounded tips and prominent raised veins. They are tough and not eaten by herbivorous fish. The white flowers have three petals and arranged in tubular form towards the end of the peduncle on water surface.
Hard / soft plant: Hard plant
Ideal water temperature: Vallisneria gigantea grows well under optimum temperature range between 20 and 28 degree Celsius.
Vallisneria gigantea prefers high lighting intensity but grows well under moderate lighting conditions as well.
Ideal pH conditions: Vallisneria gigantea is not fussy about water hardness or pH levels, but it has been found to grow fastest in alkaline water.
Functions and advantages:
1) When planted in groups Vallisneria gigantea provides habitat for fishes and birds.
2) It’s large leaves are ideal for concealing filters and pipes in aquariums and increase the aesthetic appeal of fish tanks.
3) In larger water bodies, it controls free-floating algae growth on water surface.
4) It is compatible in fish tanks with gold fish in them as the tough and strong leaves of Vallisneria gigantea are not edible for these fishes.
Did you know?
Vallisneria gigantea is found in large patches on the surface of permanent water bodies. It reproduces via water pollination. The male flowers are released under water and upon reaching the water surface they are encapsulated by the female flowers and reproduction takes place.