Vallisneria spiralis 'Tiger'

6. Sep 2020
By: George Farmer

History and origins 

The distinctive and beautiful Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ is a variety of the well-known Vallisneria spiralis that is found throughout Europe, Africa and southwestern Asia, and has also been introduced to the USA. It is usually found growing in nutrient-rich, stagnant or slow moving waters and the original form can also be found growing in the African lakes of Malawi and Tanganyika.


Plant Overview 

Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ is in Tropica’s easy category and therefore does not require high lighting levels or CO2 to thrive. It does best in harder water rich in carbonates that the plant uses as a source of carbon. It is a 100% aquatic plant meaning it will not grow emersed like most other aquarium plants and is propagated under water. It produces runners with new plants form readily. Under more intense lighting the leaves turn a reddish colour. It’s ‘Tiger’ name refers to the characteristic black marks that appear on the leaves


Preparing the plant  

  1. Remove the plant from the pot then split apart the two halves of rock wool
  2. Remove as much of the rock wool as possible.
  3. Split the plant into several portions
  4. Plant into your substrate with aquascaping tweezers.


Where to use the plant 

Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ can grow up to 60cm+ tall and is therefore best used in the background of the aquarium. It looks most effective when planted in groups giving a pleasant curtain backdrop effect. The vertical textured nature of the plant adds a great contrast to most other plant species and depending on the position in the aquarium the flowing water can add a wonderful sense of movement to the entire layout. In more shallow aquariums the overhanging leaves float on the surface and can shade the plants underneath so consider this when deciding on your layout and other plants nearby. Under strong light the red coloration give a high impact effect, contrasting well against any brighter green plants.


Maintaining the plant 

Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ is a relatively fast grower, especially once fully established. It sends out runners prolifically and can soon overtake a smaller aquarium if not kept in check. The leaves themselves can be trimmed but often the damaged tissue can rot, leaving an unsightly and poorly portion of the plant. It is best to remove the leaves from the rootstock and trim any excess runners and remove the plant entirely. Off-cut plants can be re-planted if required, or discarded of responsibly. Ensure they do not enter any natural waterways.



The beautiful Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’ is can provide a great addition to any planted aquarium. It’s distinctive vertical textures and unique pattern and colouration in higher lighting make it a pleasant change to other Vallisneria species. Being easy to grow and providing an instant background effect to any tank, we are sure you will enjoy having great success with this wonderful plant.