How to Care for Your New Java Fern II

 Aqualand's inside scoop on Microsorum pteropus

 
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Java Fern vs. Java Lance Fern:  Well, here's a change for you.  I googled "Java lance fern" and got only 19 hits.  About half were my use of the term.  Then I googled "Java fern" and got over 62,000 hits.  So I'm now (December, 2007) using the term Java fern.  LA

LA
Cryptocorynes on the left.  Java fern on right infesting a large piece of bog wood.

Java Fern Requirements:  You (actually your ferns) need water -- fresh or brackish.  pH doesn't much matter.  Hardness and softness matter little.  But they do need water.  The ferns in the tank above were in 85 F water for a year.  It took eight juvenile Uarus about a week to devour all the ferns.  They saved the cryptocorynes on the left for dessert a couple weeks later.  Water parameters make next to no difference.  Uarus do.  Most plecostomids don't skin it like clown plecos, but they will bulldoze it like a rhinoceros in your cabbage patch.  They just knock it all over your tank.

LA
Aprčs uarus.  How many times can you pun in French?

After the Uarus:  This is what the wood looked like about a week after eight Uarus chowed it.  They prefer the pricey plants.  They ignored a lush layer of floating watersprite.

LA
Re-planting the Java ferns.  Note the shy clown loach.

Re-Starting Again:  So it's time to get out the rubber bands and small Java fern plants.  Staple guns don't work because they cut the rhizomes.  Fishing line's okay but it's harder to work with.  We used the smallest rubber bands available.  We probably needed some regular bands to cover the bare areas.  However, the Java fern will cover the whole thing again.

LA
Here's a stand pf Java fern in a 55 with a background of Italian vallisneria.

Plant Compatibility:  Java fern grows well with other plants.  In the 55 above you see it growing right along with high light vallisneria.  Under very high lights, algae can grab a firm hold on fern leaves.  The faster growing vals' long leaves formed a shading canopy that perfectly suited the slower growing ferns.

LA
Java fern will root into the gravel.

Substrate:  Normally we recommend that you attach Java fern starter plugs to water-logged wood or rough rocks like limestone or sandstone.  However it will root into your gravel.  Don't bury your plug like you would a normal plant with roots (green side up).  Use a bit of one of those strips that come wrapped around your anacharis.  One strip will sink several plugs.  Let it fall to the bottom where it will root into your gravel by itself.

LA
You can put put your Java fern wherever you want.

Java Fern Roots:  Most plants grow white roots that grow into the substrate and take in the nutrients they bump into.  Java fern leaves grow from a rhizome -- a long tuber.  The "roots" are black thread-like clampons that secure them to rocks, wood, or substrate.  They appear to play little part in taking in nutrition.

LA
Filtration matters very little.  These tanks were set up for a year with no water changes.

Water Quality:  We pretty much left these tanks alone for about a year -- just adding water to replace evaporation.  No water changes.

LA
They all grabbed into the substrate.

LA
This on was anchored onto a piece of sandstone.

LA

LA

LA

LA

LA
Here's a batch that were dropped into a tank of snails.

LA
Here's a group of Java ferns rubber-banded to wood and roks.

LA
They seemed to grow about twice as fast in tanks with fish in the.

LA
None of them got any fertilizer other than digested fish wastes.

LA
The ferns in fishless tanks grew longer leaves.

LA
Ferns in fish-filled tank grew shorter leaves but grew many more leaves.

LA
Same piece of wood as above six weeks later.

LA
So, put lots of fish in with your Java ferns.

Re-Discovered Pics:  We sort of misplaced this file for a couple of years.  We added the words December 2007 because we were working on Java Fern III about a new species that we just found this year.  We always like to stumble on new (at least to us) species.  LA

© 2005 (Finished in 2007) LA Productions

For more Java fern info go to
Java Fern I
Java Fern II
Java Fern III

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

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