Vallisneria Spiralis (aka Eel Grass or Tape Grass) is one of the many species of aquatic Vallisneria plant, and the one that is most perfectly suited to keeping with goldfish. It grows in the wild in hotter climates such as South America, in stream, rivers and lakes.
It has long been a popular plant in goldfish keeping circles, with pictures of it appearing in drawings from the middle of the 19th century!
Vallisneria Spiralis is comprised of long, narrow spiralling leaves that can reach up to two feet high, although they rarely grow this tall in the coldwater goldfish tank. It is a mid-green in colour, and may appear darker towards the tips.
Caring for Vallisneria Spiralis plants
Vallisneria Spiralis is one of the most popular plants for both tropical and coldwater goldfish tanks, and for good reason. It is fast growing, attractive in appearance and low maintenance to care for.
It does require reasonably high levels of light, although the growth rate of the plant can be slowed by reducing lighting levels. No specialist fertilizers are necessary to keep Vallisneria Spiralis, although it will benefit from the addition of a good quality general purpose fertilizer in the tank.
The plant is happy at a pH level of 6.5-8.5, so is fairly forgiving of the odd slip-up in water quality and conditions.
Vallisneria Spiralis is not only fast growing, but also quick to reproduce, so you will usually find that adding one specimen to the tank is all that you need to get you started, and it will spread and grow without outside interference. In the right conditions, Vallisneria Spiralis will live for many years.
Keeping Vallisneria Spiralis with goldfish
Vallisneria Spiralis is often the snack of choice for goldfish, and they will happily eat the leaves of the plant with gusto. However, this makes it particularly well suited to the goldfish tank, as it grows quickly enough to make up for the attacks of all but the hungriest goldfish!
In fact, Vallisneria Spiralis can grow rather unruly and out of control if not pruned by inquisitive fish!
Where to buy Vallisneria Spiralis
Vallisneria Spiralis is commonly sold by retailers such as garden centres, pet shops and aquarium specialists. You can also buy them online.
Take care when buying to ensure that it is actually Vallisneria Spiralis that you are choosing, as around ten other species of Vallisneria are also commonly used in fish tanks, and not all of them are well suited to the coldwater goldfish tank.
A single reasonably sized plant will usually set you back around $5.