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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I have a terrible confession to make... I can't grow java fern. :icon_redf
There! I said it.
I've always admired scapes that incorporate large mats of java fern, especially needle leaf. So despite no luck with the regular and windelov varieties, I decided to buy some. And now it's dying.
In the past, my ferns have developed holes in their leaves and browning. No new leaves grow. My windelov developed a million babies, but none of those babies ever grew. I've tried attached to rocks/drift wood, and with the roots in the substrate, but the rhizome exposed, and neither made a difference. Everything else in my tank is growing great, nothing is showing nutritional deficiencies. The new needle leaf is starting to get some black spots, and I want to nip that in the bud, and hopefully get it to grow this time!
I dose KNO3, KH2PO4, flourish comp, and occasionally excel, when I remember. Nitrates measure ~20ppm. PH ~ 8. I have one fern under 2x t5, 18" from substrate, and the needle leaf is under a t8, 8" away with floaters. Both should be low-medium light.
 

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No worries

Take the java fern out, trim it, get rid of all the nasty leaves etc, secure it to a rock, driftwood or something, then dose with seachem equilibrium, per directions, it turned my java fern from an ugly plant to a bright green lush plant
Good luck
 

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OP, three things I would suggest:

1. increase water circulation - work wonders
2. move the ferns to place with more light to observe its reaction. reason- t5no at 18" is in the low light range. I may be wrong on this one.
3. provide additional co2 - reason: I saw you mentioning leaves become black/dark, classic symptoms of co2 deficiency.
 

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This stuff is a damn mystery to me. I've also had trouble growing java fern, of all plants. I was also unable to grow mosses in that tank as well and I wonder if it had to do with the LA heat and relatively high temperature of the tank (high 70s).

I am attempting needle leaf java fern again, this time with a bit more light, much more of the plant and a much cooler tank. I will let you know how it works out.

I am not convinced, though, that CO2 or ferts, or even high light is needed for this plant. Even with those things, I think it only moderately increases growth rate. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence where people have literally forgotten about the plant in extra tanks or overfill tanks and it has prospered.
 

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Java fern doesn't need high light so you should be fine.

I agree with the second poster...get rid of the bad leaves, attach to a rock and moderately fertilize the tank. That's about the best you can do. Also check your temperature and try to lower it if your other flora/fauna allow you to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just thought I'd give everyone an update. I ended up shoving my java ferns in a back corner of my tank, where there is a lot of shade, unrooted and unattached, just sort of wedged between some manzanita, and when I checked on it today, it's growing a ton of new, green leaves. I have no idea what made the difference, other than I stopped paying attention to it.
 

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Just thought I'd give everyone an update. I ended up shoving my java ferns in a back corner of my tank, where there is a lot of shade, unrooted and unattached, just sort of wedged between some manzanita, and when I checked on it today, it's growing a ton of new, green leaves. I have no idea what made the difference, other than I stopped paying attention to it.
Hi statler&waldorf,

Ah yes, the benign neglect method...always successful!
 

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Same here, stick it in a dark corner and within a few weeks, it'll start sprouting little babies. I agree that this plant does not need any ferts or high light at all. It always grows faster than I know what to do with it.
 

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I second it with neglect. That is the only way I have been able to get low light plants to grow. My java fern lived in a plastic container in the corner for a few months until I attached it to some driftwood and threw it into my guppy breeding tank. The tank had moderate lighting on it, with a lot of coverage from duckweed and hornwort. Within a few weeks I had tons of starts. No dosing, and my light was set to a timer for 8 hours a day. Once it was moved to my main tank where I dose, have co2, and better lighting, it started to die off. Now all of those starts are just sitting in a little cup over by a tank but they are growing again go figure.
 
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