Java fern dying - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Java fern dying

I bought a large mat of java fern and it was doing fine for awhile, but I noticed the leaves in the centre of the mat were turning brown and dying. While doing a wc today I noticed the centre was completely dead, and the roots looked like brown dead grass.

The outer leaves are still green and dark brown roots.

20g L low tech tank. 24" t8 bulb. I have some duckweed in there but I try to keep it sparse so that the light isn't blocked. Why is the fern dying?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 08:56 PM
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any Ferts?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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I do not dose. Sand substrate. Just stocked with shrimp and ember tetras.

Not the best photo (phone) but here's the tank. Fern is on the far right.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Should I be dosing? I've got flourish and flourish excel but don't use them due to shrimp and copper.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:06 PM
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how many Hrs is light on???
CO2???
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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No co2, low tech tank.

Lights are on 8 hours/day
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 07:53 AM
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My roots on my fern are brown but my rhizomes are green you should be fine. What is temp of the tank?
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:42 AM
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I'm a complete newbie with plants but something similar happened to me recently and it turned out there were air pockets in the sand that was causing the roots and plant to turn black
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:41 AM
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I dose Excel and Flourish with my shrimp and have never had any issue. My guess would be a longer photo period (or try and break it up into 2 different ones) if algae is your concern. With most of my T8 fixtures, I have found it was necessary to drag it out for the plants to do well.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:23 PM
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Re: Java fern dying

Are the fern's rhizome completely buried in the substrate? IME, ferns don't like their rhizome buried in anything. Although they are a tough and hardy plant, they seem like little girls when it comes to that.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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No the mat was placed onto a piece of rock, which is above the substrate. And the roots arent a dark healthy brown. They are like the yellow of hay or dead grass.

Temp is 76.

Could it be the duckweed? Like I said, it is very sparse so I only have a little in the corner. But the current of the tank pushes it to the right side, above the dying fern.

Last edited by karawr; 03-03-2013 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Temp
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 09:39 PM
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I am wondering if your Java Fern matt is so dense in the center that no light is getting in there? It's kind of hard to tell from your photo (though it looks like you've got a really nice set up there).

Or is it doing something like this? I am a newbie to plants also...so I am no expert...




I had to cut back the brown leaves off a group of my Java Ferns...and they're showing new growth...though rather slowly. (below) (Hope I didn't hijack the thread...)


"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last edited by Saxtonhill; 03-03-2013 at 09:46 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yes it looks similar to that. The green leaves slowly got brown/black spots, eventually turned completely brown (dead) and fell off. I am also wondering if maybe the mat is too dense.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 10:33 PM
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Mine are starting to come back...lots of new little green leaves on the brown rhyzomes and roots but it sure is taking a long time.

"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 01:04 PM
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How many watts is the light? T8? I am wondering without getting the answers to these questions yet if the Java Fern is getting too much light. It's really a low-light plant and grows very slowly.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap
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