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Vals & substrate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:49 am
by kb46
Well, after much, much, much deliberation I have decided to forgo heavily planting my 75G and going extra-simple with Vals and a few epiphytes. Since I'm setting up from scratch and much of my budget will be consumed by the purchase of new cannister filter/s (and livestock!) I've been trying to find out whether Vals will benefit from a good substrate or whether I'd be largely wasting effort and cash?

Ideally, I would like to use what I have at hand - peat and laterite. I was thinking of creating a Crazy-Gar "Val Corral" and using some sort of enriched substrate in that area, if Vals would appreciate it. The rest of the tank would have just plain aquarium gravel, but no plants either, just hardscape. The lighting is 3x40W T8 and the tank is 18" deep.

1. Are Vals "worth" a rich substrate? or is it likely they would just grow like weeds regardless? :dontknow:

2. Would I get just as much benefit from putting down a dusting of peat, mixing some laterite in with a base of plain fine aquarium gravel and topping off with more plain gravel - or, if I'm going to enrich a substrate, should I go the extra effort and mix a heavily enriched DIY substrate using soil, potash, etc? (Obviously I have a bit more reading to do before I attempt the latter!)

WDYT? :think:
Kylie

Re: Vals & substrate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:56 am
by J.B.
Kylie - It has been my experience that Vals are not at all finicky about the substrate they are in. I have had them grow like wildfire in an enriched substrate like Eco-Complete and Flourite, as well as pool filter sand.

I would think you could save some cash or apply it to livestock and/or equipment, and just use the substrate you have on hand.

Re: Vals & substrate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:49 pm
by kb46
Thanks JB.
J.B. wrote:Vals are not at all finicky about the substrate they are in. I have had them grow like wildfire in an enriched substrate like Eco-Complete and Flourite, as well as pool filter sand.

I thought as much - seems a pity to go to town on a DIY substrate if it goes unappreciated - I feel taken for granted often enough without my hobby joining inthe act! :biglaugh:

Another Q.
Which variety of Val would be best for my tank? It will be planted in the lowest light part of a pretty low-light tank (1.3wpg). I don't mind extra length flowing along the surface but I don't want too high a maintenance load to keep it in check. I'm assuming maintenance for Vals is more along the lines of trimming off unwanted runners and thinning out - removing whole plants rather than trimming leaves?
I can get Nana, Corkscrew, Gigantea and Contortionist (Unfortunately most plants here are sold under common names so I'm not sure if some of these are the same.)

K

Re: Vals & substrate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:19 pm
by J.B.
Which variety of Val would be best for my tank?


I've only got experience with one species; Vallisneria americana var. gigantea which has done well in any of my tanks to include my 75g.

I don't mind extra length flowing along the surface but I don't want too high a maintenance load to keep it in check. I'm assuming maintenance for Vals is more along the lines of trimming off unwanted runners and thinning out - removing whole plants rather than trimming leaves?


A little bit of both actually. I've trimmed leaves back along with clipping runners and relocating whole plants. When/if you do decide to trim the leaves themselves, use a sharp pair of scissors and trim one leaf at a time. The first time I trimmed mine, I tried to give it a rounded shape to leave it appearing a bit more natural than a straight across cut, but that practice did not last long. The leaves, after being cut, turned a bit yellowish-brown, but that soon went away as the leaf began to grow again.

I can get Nana, Corkscrew, Gigantea and Contortionist (Unfortunately most plants here are sold under common names so I'm not sure if some of these are the same)


I'm not sure how many species of Vals there are. Vallisneria americana has several variants; gigantea, natans and one I've seen called mini-twister which is not surprisingly very similar to "corkscrew" Vals. :shrug:

Re: Vals & substrate

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:57 pm
by freshfish
I'd pick whichever one fits your aesthetic best. The americana is broader-leaved, the nana is very narrow (I really like this one) and the corkscrew... you know. :whistle: I don't think the corkscrew gets quite as tall as the other varieties?