Cruddy looking java fern leaves?
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Old 05-02-2006, 05:07 PM   #1
uncskainch
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Cruddy looking java fern leaves?


I have a good-sized hunk of java fern attached to my driftwood, but many of the older leaves are partially gone (thank you, mislabeled snail at the fish store!) or have pin holes, black spots, or algae on them from various past algae/water quality issues that have sense been resolved.

How hard can I prune it back to remove the unattractive leaves? Should it bounce back pretty readily, or should I wait for the good leaves to approach the number of "bad" leaves before an aggressive pruning?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-02-2006, 07:03 PM   #2
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It might get more energy to grow new leaves when you cut the damaged leaves. Java fern isn't a really fast grower, so it might look a bit naked for a while, but heavy pruning shouldn't do any damage to the plant if it is growing now (like new leaves appearing).
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Old 05-02-2006, 07:11 PM   #3
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You should be pretty flexible with that. The more you cut, the longer it will take to fill in again, so it depends how you want to preserve the looks of your tank. You can go as extreme as cutting off most of the leaves, as long as the rhizome is established new leaves will grow back (in time).

I usually just pick the oldest/most affected leaves.
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Old 05-04-2006, 05:10 AM   #4
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I had the same problem, and waited it out a little bit. i increased the amount of Flourish Nitrogen into my tank and started adding phosphorous as well. the black areas started sprouting new leaves. the new sprouts look as if they rely on already dying leaves to grow.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:56 AM   #5
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Thanks -- I have noticed a few plantlets growing from the worst looking leaves. Maybe I'll wait for them to get some size on them and then trim the dying leaves off and let the rhizome bring back some healthy growth. I'm doing Greg Watson ferts using EI, so my plants are getting regular doses of macros and that may be helping the new growth.
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:24 PM   #6
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Java fern is a rugged plant, rugged enough to withstand a 30 second soak in a 1 in 20 solution of bleach in water. That will kill off the algae leaving it white until it falls off. I have done that a couple of times, most recently a week + ago, and now the fern, a Windelov variety, is growing very, very well.
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:02 AM   #7
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I am starting to think that some of the ratty, brown looking Java ferns are due to the plantlets.

I have noticed that when I allow the Java fern to throw off tons of plantlets and not pull them off, the plant leaves get a bit brown.

Has anyone else made that observation?

Mike
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:09 AM   #8
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my java fern started getting ratty lookin ....so i pruned back the crappy leaves and started dosing more nitrates....java's love nitrates...and bam....looks nice now...
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Old 05-05-2006, 02:16 AM   #9
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I've noticed the same thing. I think the mother plant tries to give as much food for the tiny plantlets as possible (or the plantlets will suck nutrients from the mother leaf), just like some other species' mother plants do when they are growing flowers etc.
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