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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 29 gallon fw tank. I have had plants in my tank for a couple of months now. I am dosing dry ferts for macros, flourish comprehensive for micros and glut as a carbon source. No pressurized CO2. I have a finnex planted + light that I run for 7 hours daily.

I do 50% weekly WC. My water parameters are good. Ammonia and nitrites always zero. Nitrates at 5 ppm (I just increased my nitrates dose this week to try to get up around 10 ppm. My phosphates are at 1 ppm.

My plants have done well. Growth is slow because I have mostly slow growing plants, but they have been healthy. My ferns, however, have always seemed to have these black areas/spots (pictured). I think they have been present ever since I received them (ordered online); I don't think they are any better or worse. So, is this typical for this plant or is it a sign of a nutrient deficiency or other problem?

More recently, I have seen the tips of a few leaves start to turn a darker green. This can be seen on one of the pictures just below the filter intake (a smaller leaf tip). Anyone have any idea of what this is or means?

Thanks in advance.
 

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mine would always have those spots too, even when every other plant in the tank looked nice and healthy. i think its just the way the plant is (and those nasty roots) after a couple months my java fern would multiply so quickly that i could just cut off all of the ugly leaves and leave the nice all green ones
 

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It is fairly typical for java ferns to look this way. They tend to become ratty looking with age and are generally not the best indicator plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the opinions. What about the darker green leaf tips? It is hard to see on the second picture (which is rotated for some reason) just below the filter intake. Any idea about this change or is it more of the same java fern idiosyncrasy? My primary concern is whether this could be cyanobacteria, although I have never seen this.
 

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Java ferns grow out with clear/darker leaf tips. Later on the leaf tip fills in properly and becomes opaque. It is just another particularity of java ferns.
 

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Do the dark spots enlarge, then fall out, leaving a hole in the leaf? This is common when there is low potassium levels. If you are not already dosing potassium you might try adding it.
 

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An important point for attaching a member of the fern family is to cut off old leaves of ferns, such as Bolbitis and Microsorum, as much as possible before attaching them to driftwood. Old mature leaves do not easily adapt to a new environment and algae tend to grow on them. The tip of a young growing leaf of Microsorum is transparent. You should keep mainly these young leaves and cut off old ones. In the case of Bolbitis, you can cut off most of the large leaves. In an extreme case it is quite fine to attach only the rhizomes to driftwood. Doing so allows the ferns to develop clean new leaves that are adapted to the new aquarium environment.
http://www.aquatic-gardeners.org/Articles/driftwood/
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am dosing potassium and I don't think the dark spots are falling off and leaving holes.

In regards to the BBA comment, the spots are not a "growth" on the leave. It is more a part of the leave itself, if that makes sense. Not saying it can't be BBA, but just an additional description.
 

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In my experience the plantlets grow off of the little black dots. I've got one entire leaf of ferns with baby ferns growing off it in this manner
 
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