III -- the "Other" Java
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Pet World Visit
Not your average Java fern.
First Discovery: We
First Discovery: Wefirst noticed this new Java fern on a piece of weighted driftwood in the 55 where we put all our traded-in community fishes. We'd never seen it before, or any plant like it. There's Java moss growing on and over it, but it's still an eye-catcher.
Closer Look:Up close it looked a lot like one of the succulent plants that grow in rock gardens. It was firmly attached to the driftwood and continued to catch our eye nearly daily with still no clue to its identity.
Mystery Solved:Then one of our customers traded in a half bucket of what he called Java fern. Seems his wife was tired of looking at his jungle. She insisted he "simplify" as Thoreau used to say, so he traded in his Java fern jungle. This weird form of Java fern was in the bucket -- along with lots and lots of regular Java fern..
Lots of Potential:
Lots of Potential:We hauled out our trusty scissors and came up with nearly 50 starter Java Ferns. We'll need some small sunken wood pieces to attach these to. Over time (maybe a couple months) the fern roots will develop crampons that firmly attach to the wood.
Plug Anchors:We used these small plugs as anchor sites for the new Java ferns. We'd rather use a 2" x 3" or larger chunk of waterlogged wood but our supply of same is limited. Most bog wood is hard as a rock. Even a hacksaw has difficulty cutting it into starter plug size. So we used these "chips" which were easier to work with.
Not Difficult:Fasten a starter sprig to a piece of wood with a rubber band. Not a big job, but it does require a bit of manual dexterity. With a larger piece of wood, you just drop these in the water. With these little plugs you need to place them more carefully.
Java Fern Plugs:
Java Fern Plugs:By anchoring these starter plants to small pieces of water-logged wood, we turn them into "Java fern plugs." These plugs when placed on other submerged driftwood, serve to "kick start" the colonization of that submerged wood by the Java fern. The above new plugs are growing in plain freshwater.
Brackish Water Comments:
Brackish Water Comments:We also started several plugs in a molly tank with brackish water. Brackish is a fairly loose term. In this case it means two teaspoons of salt per gallon. Java ferns (and algae) grow very nicely in brackish water.
We Googled Tropica: We
We Googled Tropica: Wegoogled a Danish firm called Tropica -- an excellent plant info source.-- and found a registered variant of Java fern named after one of their original owners. This plant looks very much like their 'Windelřv' variant. We won't know for sure until we get the DNA results.
Unanchored Java Fern: Unattached ferns grow more slowly
than attached ferns. If they stay in one place long enough (no
fish knocking them about), their crampons grab onto the gravel -- just
like the standard Java fern.
Unanchored Java Fern: Unattached ferns grow more slowly than attached ferns. If they stay in one place long enough (no fish knocking them about), their crampons grab onto the gravel -- just like the standard Java fern.
Second Tier Growth: In addition to reproducing by rhizome,
this Java fern variant also grows new plants from the tips of its
leaves. We haven't had it long enough to say whether these new
plants will also grow new plants at the tips of their leaves.
Second Tier Growth: In addition to reproducing by rhizome, this Java fern variant also grows new plants from the tips of its leaves. We haven't had it long enough to say whether these new plants will also grow new plants at the tips of their leaves.
The Root of the Matter: Green l
The Root of the Matter: Green leaves grow upwards from the long thick green rhizome. Blackish-brown "roots" grow downwards. These "roots" are really crampons that grab hold of wood, rocks, or gravel. The green strands coming down are Java moss -- a plant that often overtakes and overgrows the slower-growing Java fern.
Last Words:In case you didn't know by now, Java ferns rank very high on my popularity poll. It's hard to go wrong with these guys.
Even Laster Words:
Even Laster Words:Dec. 7, 2007 a gentleman from Chicago visited Aqualand and said this plant is called staghorn Java fern. I found a couple references from the U.K. that also called it "staghorn Java fern." LA
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