My wife suggested planting something “long and grasslike” so I straightaway thought of vallis. There are several species of Vallisneria commonly available and I plumped for Vallisneria asiatica as sold by Aqua Essentials. This is the second smallest vallis (Vallisneria torta being the smallest), and is listed as growing to 30 cm with pretty corkscrew twisted leaves that add interest.
I ordered two bunches, each of which came with four individual plants ranging in size from 18 to 23 cm. These looked like they had been repacked from the original grower which I suspect was AquaFleur since the Aqua Essentials website picture is a match for the one in the AquaFleur catalog. The idea is to make a “curtain of plants” up against the left side of the aquarium and whilst this was the original purpose for the Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, the lysimachia has proved to be too floppy to hold its upright position. I can say that upon planting the vallis, the otto catfish were immediately interested.
Vallis is considered a very easy plant to grow in aquarium, yet also has a reputation for being sensitive to liquid carbon. Initially I kept going with 1ml per 40L daily Easy Carbo I had always been using, but when the vallis showed signs of distress I stopped the treatment. Stopping the daily dosing of liquid carbon is something I had been thinking about anyway for a while so this was a good excuse to try something new around fertiliser dosing.
Vallisneria asiatica fourty-five day update
After fourty-five days in the Fireplace Aquarium there have been some significant changes in the vallis. Several of the plants towards the back have melted completely away. Others have had some partial melting as well. That said, there also appears to be some significant healthy looking new growth particularly in the front plants. Now that I look at it more closely, I think all of the original leaves are going to melt and be replaced by new, darker green, more solid leaves. Vallis does not grow emersed, so this is not a transition from emersed to submerged growth, yet different water parameters may have much the same growth state transition effect.
Vallis is reputed to like a lot of light and the plants at the back tend to get shaded by the fast-growing ludwigia. I did cut back the ludwigia quite drastically recently (it doesn’t mind that at all) so there will be a few weeks with essentially full illumination across the tank which will give the vallis an opportunity to do some consolidation and maybe build some new-growth height.