Name: Vallisneria spiralis var. tortissima|
Origin: Tropical & Subtropical Regions|
Corkscrew Val is a very attractive plant. However mine is easily disturbed by foraging fish and consequently never seems to make any real progress.
I recommend not buying corkscrew val if itīs really small. I had a bad experience with a few small pieces in my tank. Get a few bunches of larger plants to have it work out better. While not a difficult plant to maintain, the little ones died real easily. I'd suggest lily grass or tape grass instead, unless you can get a large quantity of larger plants. Best of luck!!!
I've found the key to lush growth & many runners is a combination of fertilization, higher lights and CO2. When I first planted my 200 L tank, the handful of Val I had grew slowly, stayed about 10 cm high and seldom produced a new plant over the course of 6 months. Since adding more lights and CO2 and random fertilizing, the growth has just exploded on these guys. The little "forest" had increased 3 times its size, some of the leaves reaching nearly to the top of my tank. This is a beautiful plant, one of my favorites. Small schooling fish welcome the tree-like coverage and shyer ground fish like Plecos and Cories like to nap there as well, they feel secure there it seems.
I have found that if you want to grow V. spiralis and the Corkscrew Vallisneria in the same tank, it is best to keep them seperated, as Corkscrew Val takes longer to establish and can be shaded and overtaken by V. spiralis.
This summer I set my little "Tort" plants outside in partial sun. With addition of an iron supplemented fertilizer, they turned quite reddish. One even flowered in September when I harvested them; a white stem one meter long had one minute tri-lobed flower, faintly pink.
I agree that small plants do not do well. Large ones with well-established roots seem to do better. Still, I saw no growth for about 6 weeks. For some reason it then took off and sent shoots everywhere. Once it gets going, the new plants grow rapidly. Let them get about half as large as the mother plant before clipping the runner off. Some people claim that you can't grow vals and sagittaria in the same aquarium, but mine have both been doing quite well.
I have had a few small plants that were less than 15 cm tall for about 2 months, but they really haven't grown until lately. I added a DIY CO2 to the tank, but there was little change in the growth rate which was almost nil. The major change I made in my 95 L tall tank was to up the lighting from 65 W to 130 W. After increasing the lighting the growth of these vals increased tremendously, and the original plants are now about 30 cm tall. In addition, they have all sent out runner plants that are anywhere from 5-8 cm tall. I have to assume that light was the limiting factor in their growth and would recommend very bright lighting.
I was a bit wary buying this plant after reading the comments and seeing that my LFS only had 1 of a decent size, the rest were maybe 5 cm tall. I went ahead thinking that if the little ones didn't make it, I can always pluck them and throw them away. The girl at the LFS felt bad that they only had one good one and gave me about a half dozen small ones to go with it. Every one of them made it, some of them barely had one root when I planted them. They have survived replanting and being tossed around by my angelfish. As long as I can keep the angelfish from pulling them out for a week, they send out runners all the time.
I've had great success with corkscrew vallisneria, in a hard, akaline, high light DIY CO2 110 liter tank. It makes new plants like crazy.
The corkscrew val I got free from a friend was lots of tiny little plantlets, but it is possible to get them to grow from that, if you're brave enough to hack your plants about! At first, like everyone else, my fish kept digging them up. So I did something pretty brutal - I cut off most of the leaves, leaving only a few growing in the centre. The fish then left them alone and they established nicely. I now have big plants that send out plantlets all over the place.
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