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Jungle Val melts generally struggles


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20 gallon tank with guppies, pest snails, pleco and golden algae eater. 

No heater

 Nitrates kept around 50 with easy green

Nitrite 0

Hardness 300+
Buffer 300+
Ph 8.4+

no chlorine, I’m on well water with a water softener. 

jungle Val is really spread out, every once in a while it grows to the top of the tank then melts back down. Light is on 8 hours. I have a 10 gallon that melts any Val I try to transfer over. 

What else can I test for? 

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At first, my Val was melting and just wasn't growing but it was due to not having a nutrient rich substrate. You could try two things

1. Get nutrient rich substrate like Fluval Stratum or Eco Complete. 

2. Add root tabs from Aquarium Co op or API

Please keep us updated aswell!

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I find val to be very finicky. It either thrives or dies for me. Any change in the tank tends to bother it. I had an absolute jungle of it once and added a Madagascar Lace plant and all of the val just melted within days. Many plants engage in chemical warfare with one another, and I suspect val is very susceptible to the allelopathic agents used by other plants. This chemical warfare is called allelopathy and occurs in both above and below water plants. Scientists have tried extracting an allelopathic compound from val to use as an algae inhibitor and found it works quite well.  You can find an article on it at Pubmed.gov article #35278451.

My suspicion is that val is very sensitive to an allelopathic compound put out by something else (algae, other submerged plants, etc.) that causes the issues with it. Maybe even other val plants inhibit their growth. It could even be a compound that's airborne from an aboveground/terrestrial plant that settles in the water that causes issues. A nutrient rich soil, lots of light, frequent large water changes to dilute any allelopathic compounds in the water, very limited plant competition, including algae, and you might have better luck getting val to grow. It's very much a boom or bust plant for me. It's booming in one tank for me now and a bust in every other one.

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My Italian val sprouted two new plants and is just stagnant in growth. No worse, no better just there. All other plants are happy. Val seems to be the jealous type. Meaning, it doesn't like competition for nutrients or attention (?).  I haven't addressed it because it really isn't a problem per se, just not the effect I wanted. I also am to chicken to risk upsetting any of my other plants. 

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My Jungle Val bloomed once and melted away to nothing.  I got better results with the Italian Val.  I don't have anything solid to offer except that my background plants have all migrated to the front of the tank.  I have been cutting back on the artificial lighting to fight a persistent algae problem, but the aquarium is still evenly lit for 8 hours. 

My first guess is that the quality of the light matters. I consider my tank to have low-medium light. The front of the tank also gets ambient light and some early morning sun.  My second guess is that your Val is using up one or more of the nutrients that it requires.  One or both problems may be present in your 10 gallon.  

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