Thanks Eau - I have never used any kind of plant fertiliser, had no idea tank-safe fertilisers existed! :-) I am back from the fish shop and got a special tour of the shop by the owner -it was fascinating. Apparently his fish take just 36 hours to get from Singapore to his shop! Anyway, I've bought 3 plants, he did tell me the name but I've bloody forgotten. One is a member of the water lily amply or something and its got these pretty little flowers budding on it. Tank looking much more alive already.
What sort of nutrients are in there? You might have more luck if you add some plant food, I use liquid carbon in my tank and then the plants out-compete the algae. Your lights are probably on for too long, try an hour's break in the middle of the day.
Vallis is an easy one to grow but it gets too big for all but the biggest tanks. You could try something a bit smaller like maybe amazon swords or crypts.
Yes it does look like vallis! The tank light is on for at least twelve hours a day, and it's never totally off- I just put it onto the night setting. The tank doesn't get any natural light really, well it's in a light room...but you know! I had a spectacular plan in my last tank - when we finally dismantled it, the roots of this plant had spead to all ends of the floor. The plant itself was about two foot tall. Off in a few mins to the fish shop, woo hoo!
What are the lighting levels like in your tank? Plants need quite a lot of light - about 10 hours a day? In order to thrive and out-compete the algae. Some plants will also need CO2, fertilisers etc.
I have Vallis and elodeara in my cold water tank, lights on about 10 hours, also gets some natural light (but not direct) the Vallis is growing but not quite as fast as my goldfish eats it unfortunately!
A couple of months ago I added some live plants into my tank, but they just haven taken off at all. They instantly got covered in algae and just look unsightly now. Mr bristle nose is happy chomping on the algae but the plant really isn't contributing anything to the tank. I'm not sure what it is, it looks like blades of plain grass and they were bound together. The bloke told me they would start to root and then new blades would come p through the gravel. I don't actually think it was an aquatic plant at all.
So I'm off to the fish shop this morning for a couple of green barbs and some plants - can you suggest any plant names for me to ask for, or signs that a plant is not right for my tank? Thanks!