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Can't grow java fern

16835 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  stan132
I've tried on at least a half a dozen times to grow the stuff, but it either out right dies or barely stays alive and doesn't grow.

I've tried very low light, low light and medium lighting.

No, I don't bury the rhizome.

I've tried no ferts, flourish and also flourish excel. No improvement over nothing.

I've tried starting out with every size and condition from a little sprout to a huge mother plant mat.

Some settings its been heated and sometimes not. Almost always with fish, but small easy going species.

What am I missing? Its not like I can't grow plants. I have several planted tanks.
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what have you done with the rhizome? i mean, have you tied it onto a piece of driftwood or something? I prefer using super glue gel to attach the rhizome, but once it is attached to something and established, it should start growing pretty well.

how long have you waited for it to grow? they grow really slowly, so if you move them around or chop them up before they establish themselves, they'll probably die.

also, what kinds of fish to you have in there? i doubt this is the case, but some of your fish may be ripping them apart before they get a good chance to grow.
In almost every situation I've left them set on the substrate and anchored them with a little rock on a few of the thin roots on one end of the rhizome opposite the shoot.

I've also tried attaching it to lava rock by putting a loose rubber band around the two. It was just tight enough not to drift away, so it wasn't holding it tight against the lava rock.

I even bought a nice established young clump that was on a hunk of lava rock already. That died out as well.

I've had most of them in calmer areas of the tank because I didn't want them wandering. The big mother plants had some flow on their leaves though.

I've had people recommend them that have them bobbing in bare tanks that they do daily water changes on and telling me they are bullet proof. :icon_conf I don't get it.

Almost forgot to add that in all of these situations I've never tried breaking the rhizome. I've never tried moving them either. After they wither away I leave them thinking its like most other plants that go through an initial shock, and also in hopes the dead leaves will sprout babies, but they almost never do. When they do, they never get more then a half and inch in length and then die themselves.

I've had them in with a variety of species and several different tanks. I've had them in an angel tank, a few guppy tanks, some Endlers' tanks, in with some White Cloud Mountain minnows, several betta tanks, shrimp tanks, and I even tried one in a jar all by itself.

I'm so frustrated!

All of the java fern has been the plain old variety. I have someone who is shipping me some Windlov for free for helping him out on shipping procedures. I'm freaking because I really don't want to kill it. I've read that they aren't as easy going.
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You should get some nutrient test kits. Water parameters would be nice. And here is a list w/nutrient deficiencies and their symptoms.

Watch your plants closely for all the different signs. My guess is you're not just lacking one nutrient. Are you dosing anything? How much light do you have? Any CO2?
Okay. Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate your help, and help is what I'm here for, but come on, we are talking java fern. An easy and low light plant.

I have a planted 55 gallon, 2 - 20 gallons and 5 - 10 gallons, as well as several other unplanted tanks, non of which have CO2. There's no way anyone is going to convince me I need CO2 to grow java fern when all of my tanks are doing fine without it. I've already mentioned that I've tried it in several different light conditions, as well as several different tanks.

I do fertilize with Flourish liquid, Flourish Excel on tanks without Val and use Flourish root tabs. I'm fortunate to have high iron well water, so I don't have a need to dose that.

About my only limiting factor on plants that I choose for my various light setups has been my pH, which is 8.4, and I know is making you all gasp. Hey, I live in an area surrounded by lakes, streams and natural ponds that are teaming with plants and have the same pH, so don't even bother telling me I have to lower my pH (which usually gets prescribed along with adding CO2).

Okay, so this is where you all say its my pH. Java fern's range is up to 8 and every other plant that is listed up to 8 has done fine in my water.

I have a feeling this is going to remain a mystery. I give up. Forget it.
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No, you don't need Co2 for Java Fern, but if you were dosing CO2 the need for other nutrients might be higher due to that. If you want a good answer, you need to give out some information first! Which apparently you are not willing to do, as I still don't know how much and how often you fertilize Flourish and Excel!

I have a Java Fern 'Narrow' at the moment and it needed some extra fertilizer too, as the tips were melting. I don't really like Flourish, as I can't dose nutrients separately depending on what's needed.

Nevertheless, the problem IS probably your pH and you need to accept that or stop whining that your are plants are dying.

Plants have a pH optimum that lies somewhere in the range of accepted pH values. If your water is not even within that range, surely they won't be happily growing and multiplying! Lowering the pH is not very difficult and can be done easily by using a commercially available, acidic substrate, RO water or just some cheap peat moss. If your surrounding streams and pond are teaming with plants, that's great, but they are very likely NOT Java Fern!! Get other plants that are able to grow in your pH then!

If several other people have told you this before I did, why can't you accept that, instead of waiting and whining until somebody tells you what you WANT to hear. This is NOT a mystery, sorry!
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^ What she said. Honestly. I mean, you say in your own post that the optimum pH is up to 8. Yet your pH is 8.4. I'm not sure if you know this but the pH scale is not linear. What this means is that the difference in alkalinity from 8.0 to 8.4 is much more drastic that the difference between 7.0 and 7.4. Does that make sense?

And just because other plants do fine in that pH doesn't really mean all that much. The only way that statement would be of any value is if you said "all my other java ferns do fine in this pH," but saying all your other plants in general are doing fine means nothing, because they are not java ferns, and THAT is what you are having problems with.

Now, with all that being said, I'm not necessarily saying that pH is definitely your problem. I'm only basing this on your claims that everything else checks out, and all other plants are doing fine, and so on and so forth, so that leaves your high pH as the only anomaly.

I highly recommend you start using a different water source, or at least try blending it with RO water or something.

Or, you could go ahead and set up a Sulawesi tank or a cichlid tank!
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Feel your pain

I feel your pain, my low tech tank grows S.repens and Telanthera Cardinalis without a problem, but not Java Fern or Amazon Sword! I really don't get it. My Java doesn't die but it never grows and looks horrible.
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