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Any way to make my Java fern grow?

4770 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  robertrobert905
I had a nice rock covered with Java fern in a heated but otherwise low tech, low-light tropical tank. I moved, the rock got thrown in a bag of gravel for a month, and it is now in a room-temp low-light tank. It's been there for 10 months. There are tiny leaves coming from the old roots, but they aren't exactly flourishing and have looked the same for about 8 months.

Is there a low tech way to make this plant grow? It's never been fertilized, but it's getting less light and less heat than in its previous tank. Is it really this slow in cool, dark conditions? Or do I need to start over?
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If you've got leaves...then it isn't dead (at least not yet). I would say add some heat to speed up metabolism. If it grew well before, and doesn't now, look at variables that changed, such as heat, light, etc.
I would say probably decreased light and heat have caused the change from growing to not. I wouldn't guess that the storage hurt it too badly, as it would be dead by now if that happened. I would add a heater and increase light a bit.
Hard to say for sure without any other information, though.
up the light. it should be 2 watts a gallon in most tanks for good growth. the more the better. i have java ferns on a driftwood posistioned right under the surface in a tank with over 3 watts per gallon (65 watts over 20 gal) and they grow big robust leaves. so its not a purely low-light plant. its just capable of survivng in such conditions.

up the light.
or you could try positioning the rock so the fern is higher up or in a brighter area/ tank.
Thanks for the advice...not what I wanted to hear of course! I have an 80w fixture over it, but that's a 48" long fixture on a 30" deep tank. I suspect that qualifies as low. It's not really a planted tank; it's just a tank with a few plants. The temperature was in the mid-to-upper 70s all spring and summer without growth, so it's probably the light. I wouldn't want to heat it much more than that anyway because the fish are comfy at that temp. (And someone had the brilliant idea of setting up a 140 gallon tank next to the house's thermostat so when it's heated, we have a difficult time trying to keep the house at a proper temperature. One for the "Don't Do That" file.)

If I grew out the plant in a more suitable tank and then dropped it into the cold dark one, would it be able to maintain, or would it likely give up? I'd position it higher in the tank, but it's the sort of tank where if anything can be knocked over, it WILL be knocked over. But I can probably squeeze it in a nice bright warm tank. I imagine it would transfer tanks better if not horribly abused between moves like last time!

Sure is a durable plant.
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Unless it gets infested with algae, you should be able to maintain it in the low tech tank after growing it to good size.

Not sure about the temperature... could be an issue. I have a couple JF's in a low tech, cool water tank as well, not quite that low light (80 very good watts over a 55gal tank). And they don't grow much in there. But more than temp or light, I blame the lack of nutrients. There is no CO2 and ferts added in that tank... tough setup for plants. Great for hair algae. ;)
Thanks y'all. I think I just need a new tank. That should solve EVERYTHING. Well, maybe not, but even as a barely planted tank, this one is for high tech people. With long arms.
any way to make java fern grow?

While we are on the subject of java fern;why do some of the leaves turn black in a low tech tank with all other plants doing great?i've never been able to grow real nice java there a particular nutrient they like? thanks,cornhusker:)
I think Nitrate deficiency is the culprit. Maybe Potassium too. Try dosing small amounts of KNO3 and see if things improve.
Very gentle water flow and nitrates = nice ferns
I started with nitrates... the growth improved a little, greens were greener after a few weeks of elevated nitrates (kept at 15-20ppm minimum) but when I moved them out of the current from my was like night and day. I had left half of the ferns in the current, half elsewhere by accident for "looks" and what a difference between the two. The moved cluster doubled the others growth in same light and water.

The first time I grew ferns I was under the impression that the better the water flow, the better for the fern. Now, I refuse to put any of my ferns in an area with water flow and my ferns are always happy.
But they are nitrate gluttons, be sure to keep the levels consistent and test often for a month to see how they deplete and only add accordingly.

These were the "out of current" ferns, leaves were 12 - 15" long...
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Feed the crap outta the fish!! That will give ya all the nitrates ya need...:proud:

(And someone had the brilliant idea of setting up a 140 gallon tank next to the house's thermostat so when it's heated, we have a difficult time trying to keep the house at a proper temperature. One for the "Don't Do That" file.)

is the tank covered? Because if it is it shouldn't radiate that much heat to the thermostat.
If the thermostat is behind the tank place a small fan to blow air at it from the bottom (ideal) or the top. If it is bare glass place a sheet of ridgid foam next to the glass if you have the room. Do anything to keep the heat in the tank an away from the houses temp control.
My tank is covered but does still impact the thermostat a few inches away.

Bastalker, I do feed the crap outta my fish! I guess I could do more, but my stocking level is a touch high and I don't want to push my luck. My toddler knows all the fish by name--I can't kill them off! Nitrates do get sort of high since I don't change the water often enough, but it's sort of cyclical.

Current is something easy I hadn't considered. I think my fern rock is directly in the flow of my larger filter. I think I can (make my spouse) move the rock.
What is the GH of the water in your tank? I had tried to grow java fern and java moss for over a year in my tank - but they had always died on me. This was very annoying because every where I looked on the internet was saying that these were the easiest plants you could grow - a bit of a blow to my plant keeping confidence! Then someone suggested I add some calcium and magnesium, as my tap water is Very Soft - less than 2GH (I think). Anyway, I added some Calcium and Magnesium as directed, and my java ferns which were previously brown frizzled lumps immediately threw out shoots (now 3 inches long after 15 days) and my java moss looks dark green and lush, and is growing well.... Just a thought....
hi i also have similar problems with my ferns, they just don't grow, and then they get darker and die eventually over many money. i have it tied on a piece of wood in the middle of my 72 gallon tank. i have 3wpg and 2x hang on the back filters to provide current. i also inject co2, i add liquid fertilizers and there aren't any algae on the leaves, but they just don't seem to be growing at all.

here is a link to my tank

the java fern is in the middle on top of the wood
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