How to control java fern size? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to control java fern size?

I understand that they can grow quite large, but I'd like to keep it all under a foot in height.

Is there a way to control the size of a java fern?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 08:15 PM
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Hi caykuu,

Some species don't grow anywhere near that size, for example I grow Microsorum pteropus 'Wendelov' and Microsorum pteropus 'Trident' and both of them stay about 5" in height.

'Wendelov' on left and 'Trident' in center;

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know! I totally forgot that different species will grow to different sizes.
Your wendelov looks very nice! In your experience, are the different types of java fern harder/easier to grow than another? Or do they mostly all have the same care needs?

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:11 PM
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They are all the same species, just different varieties. In any event, all Java Fern will require the same care methods for the most part (the thinner variations might require more light than the thicker leafed ones) and will probably all work very well for you. In fact, I have had normal Java Fern that hasn't gotten more than 4 or 5 inches in leaf length as well.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 02:23 AM
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I've had Reg. Java, Red, Narrow leaf and Trident.

I can only seem to do well with Reg, Java.

At one point I even had
all 4 varieties in the same tank. So, I can not say they all have the
same requirements.

I keep low light tanks, maybe some Var. need CO2?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
I've had Reg. Java, Red, Narrow leaf and Trident.

I can only seem to do well with Reg, Java.

At one point I even had
all 4 varieties in the same tank. So, I can not say they all have the
same requirements.

I keep low light tanks, maybe some Var. need CO2?
Hmm, interesting to know... I just went and purchased a narrow leaf java fern from petsmart, and should be receiving the standard java fern in the mail soon. What do you think was missing on your narrow-leaf?
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 11:51 AM
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lighting can effectively control size. low light that is enough to sustain life but not high enough to really promote it will generally keep most plants small

some such as swords will just send long stems out to reach for the light

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caykuu View Post
Hmm, interesting to know... I just went and purchased a narrow leaf java fern from petsmart, and should be receiving the standard java fern in the mail soon. What do you think was missing on your narrow-leaf?

As HD Blazingwolf said light is a key factor. In my tank I was not dosing that may have been part of the issue too. Maybe too much competion for water column nutrition.

The Trident, Reg, and Red were all in the top 1/3 of the tank. So equal light and all had good water flow.

The narrow leaf was on driftwood on the substrate and a bit shaded by Crypts. It grew "O.K". That narrow leaf is now in my Whiskey Barrel Pond getting lots of light and in good flow and it's got lots of little short leaves.

All that makes me think it like lower light.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
That narrow leaf is now in my Whiskey Barrel Pond getting lots of light and in good flow and it's got lots of little short leaves.

All that makes me think it like lower light.
take ludwigia, or a crypt, and stick it in a barrell with full sun. it will produce many small leaves.. it does not have the available co2 to reach ful leaf size. and even if it did, it would not be able to sustain the leaf. bigger leaves can absorb more light, thus increasing the demand for more nutrients

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info- I'd love if my ferns could grow up to 10 inches in leaf length, but my light is quite low atm. I may add another bulb, making two bulbs of T8.
Besides dosing Excel, DIY co2, and pressurized co2, is there another way to supplement co2?
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 06:59 PM
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Hi caykuu,

Those are the three most economical ways to supplement CO2. You can use Glutaraldehyde instead of Excel. Glut is less than 1/2 the cost of Excel but it really only makes sense if you have several larger tanks you are dosing.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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I only have a 55gal planted. A 500ml bottle of excel lasted me a year. Do you think it's more economical to go for the Glut in this case? Would Metricide 14 work, or is there a better type?
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
...... That narrow leaf is now in my Whiskey Barrel Pond getting lots of light and in good flow and it's got lots of little short leaves.

All that makes me think it like lower light.
Oh. I was actually going to make another post asking why my Java fern produce tiny 1-1.5'' leaves. Maybe my new DIY LED light is too high of a light for my tank.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
take ludwigia, or a crypt, and stick it in a barrell with full sun. it will produce many small leaves.. it does not have the available co2 to reach ful leaf size. and even if it did, it would not be able to sustain the leaf. bigger leaves can absorb more light, thus increasing the demand for more nutrients
Interesting point. My whiskey barrel pond results do support that. There is direct Sun from 11 am to 2pm. Everything is strong & healthily but "dwarf" in size to the similar aged adult plants.

I felt it was a matter of the plants regulating themselves by what they needed to live. I do have new growth in just about every plant. I noticed a runner on my C. Keei today.

I have everything fairly close to the surface in the pond. I'll remove the bricks under the clay pots and drop them 4" deeper for two weeks and see what effect that has. Should be interesting.

OP sorry about the Quasi derail of your thead.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 11:27 AM
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I would have to agree that the root control is light. The more light you have the more demand for ferts and co2 and will result in larger growth. I have some regular java fern in my low light turtle tank that stays under maybe 4". While the ones in my high tech tank under t5ho lightand pressurized co2 they are close to 10" or more. Light is the "boss" of everything else lol!
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