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The "eelgrass", Vallisneria spiralis, is one of the longest known, yet popular aquarium plants. This submerged plant has a wide distribution in Africa and the warmer parts of Europe and Asia. It forms dense, extended stands in lakes and rivers by its runners. The strap-shaped leaves are light to medium green, slightly transparent and about 5-15 mm wide. They vary greatly in length, one may expect a maximum length of 60 cm or more. Besides straight-leaved plants there are also forms with spirally twisted leaves. However this species is not named after such leaves but after the stalks of the female flowers that twist after flowering, as well as in other Vallisneria species. Also typical of the genus, long runners with "chains" of numerous plants arise from the leaf rosettes.
Vallisneria spiralis is known as an easy, fast growing aquarium plant that is also recommended for beginners. It does not need CO2 addition and prefers medium to high carbonate hardness. The light demand is moderate. A good nutrient supply via the water or also the bottom is benificial for its growth. The preferable temperatures lie between 20 and 28 °C. It propagates itself by its runners that have to be reduced occasionally. Very long leaves may be cut, but generally this Vallisneria should be planted in rather high tanks. This classic aquarium plant looks best as dense stand in the background or at the sidewalls of larger aquariums. With its fast growth, Vallisneria spiralis competes with algae, and its foliage provides a natural shelter for aquarium inhabitants. Its narrow, grass-like leaves set a vertical accent and contrast with broad-leaved, finely branched or red plants. This Vallisneria is also well suited for biotope aquariums and tanks where the temperature may drop below 20 °C.
Please be aware that the submerse form of this plant could contain snails and other invertebrates.