Spread of Dwarf Sag vs. Vals - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Spread of Dwarf Sag vs. Vals

Hello everyone,
I really like Vals. I've been waiting for my lfs to get Italian Val since the winter. They've only been getting Americana which are too thick for my taste.
Finally, I didn't want to wait any longer. I went to the lfs on the weekend to grab some vals. I just wanted vals, it didn't matter what variety. Well, there were no vals of any kind.

I decided to go for the closest thing, the Dwarf Sag. I thought these guys are carpet plants but the ones I got range from 3"-12"+. Did some reading online and found out these guys often grow tall. Others have said there may be a different species being labeled as "dwarf" going around. I don't mind having a tall Sag, it's what I'm looking for, so I'm very happy with these. They look so much like the Italian Val I've always wanted. I know what I have are Sag because the tips on the edges of the leaves are smooth.

What can I do to help encourage this plant to keep growing as tall as possible?
I have low light / low tech.

My second question is on how the dwarf sag propagate compared to vals. While browsing pictures online, I noticed that tanks with a lot vals tend to have their spread pretty evenly throughout the tank. For the dwarf sag, I notice they stay very close together in big groups. I can't tell if this is how they normally spread, or if the tank owners were replanting runners. Can anybody confirm?

Is there anything I can do to make the dwarf sag send runners evenly across the tank and not so close to the mother plant?

My final question is on colors. Sag or Val, which one has a richer green color? I'm setting up another tank in the next few months and I'm looking to have it filled with vals or dwarf sag, whichever one is more green.

Thanks
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 11:55 PM
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Low light will already encourage the leaves to grow tall. I have Vals in a greenhouse with full sunlight and they are about 2" tall, but as soon as they go under low light they grow leaves to about 16" tall.

Clonal growth from Vals tend to be evenly spaced out. I do cut the runners off and replant them closer to one another.

As for color, it really depends on the type of Vals you choose. I have some leopard Vals that are dark red with black/brown stripes, some Vallisneria americana that are more brown/green, some Vallisneria spiralis that are green in my aquarium, but blood red in the greenhouse, and some Vallisneria asiatica that are lime green. I wish I could provide pictures but the colors get washed out on my phone.

I can't give information on Sag as I haven't grown it.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
Low light will already encourage the leaves to grow tall. I have Vals in a greenhouse with full sunlight and they are about 2" tall, but as soon as they go under low light they grow leaves to about 16" tall.

Clonal growth from Vals tend to be evenly spaced out. I do cut the runners off and replant them closer to one another.

As for color, it really depends on the type of Vals you choose. I have some leopard Vals that are dark red with black/brown stripes, some Vallisneria americana that are more brown/green, some Vallisneria spiralis that are green in my aquarium, but blood red in the greenhouse, and some Vallisneria asiatica that are lime green. I wish I could provide pictures but the colors get washed out on my phone.

I can't give information on Sag as I haven't grown it.
Thank you for your input, Capsaicin! I had no idea there were that many versions of Vals. I've always thought it was only Italian, Corkscrew and Americana. Very interesting to hear how light affects their height as well as color.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 09:41 PM
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There are currently about 16 species of Vallisneria.

When plants get stressed out from low nutrients or high amounts of light, they produce pigments called anthocyanin that makes a red color in the leaves. Some plants naturally produce red colors even though they are in perfect conditions, but some use it as a defense mechanism. Similar to how we get sunburned, plants get damaged from UV rays as well.

Italian = Vallisneria spiralis
Americana = Vallisneria americana
Corkscrew = Vallisneria natans, or some still consider it to be Vallisneria asiatica.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
There are currently about 16 species of Vallisneria.

When plants get stressed out from low nutrients or high amounts of light, they produce pigments called anthocyanin that makes a red color in the leaves. Some plants naturally produce red colors even though they are in perfect conditions, but some use it as a defense mechanism. Similar to how we get sunburned, plants get damaged from UV rays as well.

Italian = Vallisneria spiralis
Americana = Vallisneria americana
Corkscrew = Vallisneria natans, or some still consider it to be Vallisneria asiatica.
Is there any way to tell if the red pigment is due to low nutrients compared to those that produce them naturally?

I've recently found out that when my C. Spiralis is low on iron and micros, as new leafs grow, they take on different colors. It turns a copper red first, and if the issue is not corrected, newer leafs will turn a very dark brown.

I also just noticed the new growth on the dwarf sag that's just coming out has a red tinge to it. I set them up in two tanks, both approx same nutrient levels. In the other tank, the newest growth is all green. The one where it has some red has a stronger led. Should be interesting to see how they look once settled in.

I had no idea there were that many species of vals ! I really hope my lfs give the actual name when they get the next batch. I think it depends on which supplier they receive plants from, sometimes it would have a common name like Jungle Val, but sometimes they would use the scientific name.
So far every all the plants I've gotten from there has been accurate.

Thanks for the info. I thought vals were just simple plants, looks like they're all equally complex when it comes to different species of one plant.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 03:46 AM
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From what I've seen, there are a few popular species of Vals that are easily purchased in any local fish store, and some rarer kinds found on websites like this one.

Vallisneria spiralis
Vallisneria americana (usually sold as Jungle Val)
Vallisneria asiatica/Vallisneria natans
Vallisneria nana
Vallisneria erecta (what I believe to be the leopard Val that has large/wide leaves with dark red or green coloring and black stripes)

I'd really like to see some other Australian species become popular as they are very nice looking plants. My goal with this Master's thesis is to obtain every species and accurately document both vegetative and reproductive traits, and compile this information into a nice website.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 01:52 PM
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I keep dwarf Sag in a bowl by the window that receives afternoon sunlight. It stays low to 3 inch and the color is dark green in comparison to dwarf hair grass in the neiboring bowl.. I recently transferred one patch to my medium light high tech tank, and it looks light green in comparison to dark green Anubias. Time will tell if it will shoot up 15 leaves over time in medium light setting.

I prefer more sturdy Sag leaves over delicate Vals leaves, and Sag can withstand Excel which I dose from time to time to suppress algae. If you prefer tall Sag, you should buy the tall type that stays consistently tall resembling Vals. All Sags spread by runner similar to Vals but slower.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 08:59 PM
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My 29g BF and 29g standard both have "dwarf" sag. The BF is finally starting to bolt and reach for the surface. The standard bolted for the surface some time ago and streams across the surface for 4-6in.
Sparse dwarf is from February and the other from May both this year.
I will update with a BF pic after I get home from work.

Here is what the dwarf sag in my bowfront looks like.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-19-2020 at 03:30 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsaicin_MFK View Post
From what I've seen, there are a few popular species of Vals that are easily purchased in any local fish store, and some rarer kinds found on websites like this one.

Vallisneria spiralis
Vallisneria americana (usually sold as Jungle Val)
Vallisneria asiatica/Vallisneria natans
Vallisneria nana
Vallisneria erecta (what I believe to be the leopard Val that has large/wide leaves with dark red or green coloring and black stripes)

I'd really like to see some other Australian species become popular as they are very nice looking plants. My goal with this Master's thesis is to obtain every species and accurately document both vegetative and reproductive traits, and compile this information into a nice website.
Would love to see the website when you get it up and running. Please keep us posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
I keep dwarf Sag in a bowl by the window that receives afternoon sunlight. It stays low to 3 inch and the color is dark green in comparison to dwarf hair grass in the neiboring bowl.. I recently transferred one patch to my medium light high tech tank, and it looks light green in comparison to dark green Anubias. Time will tell if it will shoot up 15 leaves over time in medium light setting.

I prefer more sturdy Sag leaves over delicate Vals leaves, and Sag can withstand Excel which I dose from time to time to suppress algae. If you prefer tall Sag, you should buy the tall type that stays consistently tall resembling Vals. All Sags spread by runner similar to Vals but slower.
Love those window bowls! Tank looks great too with all those Anubias! I just noticed the more sturdy leaves you mentioned. I actually like the softer Val leaves but it's not a big issue. I hope mine constantly grows tall. Not sure if it's the variety that constantly grow tall. It was labeled Sagittaria Subulata.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishguy1978 View Post
My 29g BF and 29g standard both have "dwarf" sag. The BF is finally starting to bolt and reach for the surface. The standard bolted for the surface some time ago and streams across the surface for 4-6in.
Sparse dwarf is from February and the other from May both this year.
I will update with a BF pic after I get home from work.
Thanks for sharing your pics. Those tanks look fantastic! Did the Sag spread naturally in your tanks? That's the kind of propagation I like. I've seen pics and videos of them growing extremely close to the mother plant only, sort of looked like a big bush of Sag. I hope mine doesn't do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishguy1978 View Post
Here is what the dwarf sag in my bowfront looks like.
Thanks for the pic! Wish I could keep multiple gouramis like that! All the gouramis I've had were quite aggressive.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 03:52 PM
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Your welcome. Yes, the sag has spread on its own. Both tanks are dirted and have fiberglass screen material between the dirt and gravel so I don't have the ability to uproot plants easily.

Water change and removed all the duckweed and floating plants. Trying to decide if I should trim the dwarf sag jungle.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Your welcome. Yes, the sag has spread on its own. Both tanks are dirted and have fiberglass screen material between the dirt and gravel so I don't have the ability to uproot plants easily.

Water change and removed all the duckweed and floating plants. Trying to decide if I should trim the dwarf sag jungle.
Attachment 900053
That looks fantastic! It's the type of tanks I like most. Very happy to hear that's how they spread naturally. I can't believe Dwarf Sag can grow so tall! So far mine are doing great. In the lower light tank, new growth has reached about 6" this past week, and there are more coming up currently less than 2". On the nano tank with more light, they're staying put at around 4" where the light is strongest. This is great, I have them growing tall in the tank where I want them to grow tall. I'm really liking this plant, the green color is very rich!

Thanks for your help!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 10:12 PM
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Thanks, I'm chuffed at how well both tanks are doing. I have dwarf sag in 2 other tanks that are dying off, rrrh.

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