Java Fern (Microsorum petropus) is an easy-to-acquire aquatic plant.
Java Fern is one of the world’s most widely used plants in planted aquariums. It slow growth, unique leaf structure, and reproduction method makes it an aquarium smash hit. Java Fern is tolerant of all lighting conditions and environmental conditions, from alkaline water to soft acidic water, brackish tanks, and even brackish. It is also easy to find in most local fish stores; but if not, there is always some available on our website.
If you have found this article, it is likely that you are looking for more information about Java Fern. It is very easy to plant Java Fern. All you have to do is add it to your water. Really – even if you just drop it in, it’ll start growing. Java Fern can be floating or attached to something by the current. You can also place the roots in gravel or tie it to a piece wood, rock or other decor. My favorite way to plant Java Fern is to use super glue gel. Make a simple glue bead from the decor piece you wish to attach the fern to. Hold it against the glue for 30 seconds, and then let air dry for another 3 minutes. Place it in the tank and watch it grow! The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t bury the rhizome (the twig like portion of the plant). All the roots and leaves extend out of this rhizome. It will rot if it is submerged in gravel or sand. A great benefit to this plant is that it does not require substrate, making Java Fern idea for bare bottom tanks.
Growing Java Fern can be done with almost any type of light. Indeed, it will be thankful for any brightness in its life! Java Fern isn’t picky about which spectrum of lighting you’re using or even the number of watts. However, Java Fern will do best if provided with a 6700k spectrum bulb. Any range from low to medium-high light is perfect for this plant. You can even burn it or melt it at the extreme end of the spectrum. So resist the urge to recreate the Sahara Desert over your tank. Java Fern can live off such little light that many aquarists have forgotten it for several weeks in a bucket and it still lives! For example, one of my breeding tanks had a bulb burned out for several months; yet every time I shined a light into the tank to catch the fry, the Java Fern looked great!
Assuming you’ve got it planted and are giving it some light, your Java Fern will soon be reproducing. The leaves are trimmed to form tiny Java Ferns. Once they mature they drop off and attach themselves to wherever they should land. You can also break leaves off and let them float in the aquarium. You can also break off leaves and let them float in the aquarium. If it dies, it will immediately produce new plantslets. Sometimes it can have as many as 20 babies per plant. This is a great way for setting up a new aquarium or to propagate the plant to get a fish friend.
As an added benefit, aquarium fish love to swim through these plants. Java Ferns can make a jungle for fish to swim in. With the slow growth factor of this plant, many people only do 1 big trim every year and then let nature takes its course decorating their aquarium au natural. Most fish do not like the taste of Java Fern, so even many plant eating fish will not eat it. They are thick and sturdy. They can take a beating from a large cichlid or some goldfish who just like to play with them.
Sourcing some Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you’ve found it, and you’ve started to propagate them, you’ll be glad you did. Each variety has its own unique appearance and all the same requirements for growth.
Java fern ‘Windelov’
One needs to be careful about starting up a tank with Java Fern or pruning too much at once! Since this plant is such a slow grower, it can have terrible fights with algae. A good crew of algae eaters and sucker fish go a long way to ensuring it wins the battle. It can also be planted with fast-growing plants like Vallisneria.
If you do lose the battle to algae, just pull off a couple of leaves and float them in a dish of water under some light. You can then remove the plantlets and put them back in the tank. This will hopefully win the battle. What are you waiting to do? Enjoy Java Fern!