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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Community! :eek:

I have a few questions that I wanted to ask in detail. I have scoured the posts that were previously put up, but didn't feel I got the answers I was looking for...

So just to bring everyone up to speed -- I have a whole ten gallon full of java ferns (nothing terribly big at all). They have never done terrible well or bad. However, I think it because I have never considered real good lights, ferts or even co2. Never the less I have not been able to kill them and after a year of having them I would like to know a little bit more about them. :)

So here is a picture of one of the plants:



This is a pretty good sample of what is in the tank... some smaller some bigger.

My first question is about when I first received the plant. I order is on aquabid/ebay. It was what appeared to between three and fours leaves and at the base of these leaves their was what appeared to be just typical thread. Nothing special about it... just black thread that was wound around the base of these leaves.

So is it possible to just clip leaves and wrap the base to get a new plant started? Or did I miss something... like was there a small piece of rhizome in there? I originally thought is was just leaves because the thread that was wound around the plants was not a huge amount. Anyways some light on this would be great.

Next:



This is a good example of a rhizome that split off a bigger section. As you can see there is some major nibbling done to this thing :mad: -- I had some Buenos Aires Tetras that I was using as dithers. In the madness of moving alot of fish around. I dumped these guys into the ten gallon. Apparently these guys love eating plants. :icon_roll

So here are some questions is about pruning. Do I prune back these damaged leaves? Do I prune back all of the damaged leaves? And when pruning how close to the actually rhizome do I prune? Also will these leaves repair themselves? Or is it that once a leaf is damaged they are done...

Finally, in this ten gallon I have a power head that has an attached filter. My of the plants often produce young... many of the young was just bouncing around the tank as there is nothing to anchor to. So I thought I would just stick them in the filter. My thinking was that alot of nutrients have to pass the filter and that it may be a beneficial place to be.



I would like to know when is a good time to start growing these out like the parent plants. I presume they should stay here until they are somewhat bigger... and can I just take like 3 of these guys tie some thread around them and plant them?

Finally if I wanted to start giving these guys ferts. (and I mean slowly... the easiest way - I don't want to be buying ferts in bulk and I doing alot of measuring hahaha :icon_eek:) What should I know? Is there certain ferts that are real important to the Java fern? Would I be wasting my time by dosing ferts without co2 and a decent lighting setup?

Cheers for any help! :thumbsup: I hope thread helps answer others questions as well.
 

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1. No. You can not just clip the leaves and replant them, there needs to be a rhizome for the plant to continue growing.

2. Damaged leaves do not repair themselves. But they also never really rot. (other plants do, java ferns are just really hardy. and they do rot eventually, just realllly slowly.) So only clip leaves off if they are unsightly or bug you for whatever reason.

3. Lights are far more important to plants that nutrients. If you want to grow nice plants, get a nice light. Once you have good plants, than you can make them look better and grow faster with extra ferts and CO2. But you only need those if you have faster growing plants. That being said, Flourish Excel adds carbon to the water and stops algae growth, so that may do you some good. Excel will do more to kill algae than it will to help java ferns grow though, so it won't really work wonders, but its worth a try.

Also, when you take pictures of plants, add in a quarter or a penny or something next to them so we know generally what size they are, otherwise it can be hard to tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1. No. You can not just clip the leaves and replant them, there needs to be a rhizome for the plant to continue growing.

2. Damaged leaves do not repair themselves. But they also never really rot. (other plants do, java ferns are just really hardy. and they do rot eventually, just realllly slowly.) So only clip leaves off if they are unsightly or bug you for whatever reason.

3. Lights are far more important to plants that nutrients. If you want to grow nice plants, get a nice light. Once you have good plants, than you can make them look better and grow faster with extra ferts and CO2. But you only need those if you have faster growing plants. That being said, Flourish Excel adds carbon to the water and stops algae growth, so that may do you some good. Excel will do more to kill algae than it will to help java ferns grow though, so it won't really work wonders, but its worth a try.

Also, when you take pictures of plants, add in a quarter or a penny or something next to them so we know generally what size they are, otherwise it can be hard to tell.
First off ~ thank you very much for the response.

1. I kind of figured you would need a bit of rhizome to grow a new plant. I guess what I was most confused about than - was why the small plants had thread around the base. Only logical explanation I can think of is the person selling the plants cut off just the smallest bit of rhizome possible. But than what would be the advantage of sticking multiple pieces inside a thread bundle?

Can all the small pieces fuse? Or is it just to look more appealing to the consumer? I guess if I had just received a small bit of rhizome and one leaf I would of been a little upset. :hihi:

2. Pruning - Is it best to prune all the way back, real tight to the rhizome? Or should one leave a bit of stem left off the rhizome?

3. Lights! I was thinking about replacing the cheapo top I have now with...

Coralife 20"

Here is a good thread that talks more in depth about other bulbs for this fixture:

Bulbs

Seems to be a good solution without breaking the bank. Would that light work well with no top on the tank? Or should I get a glass top for it as well? Does a top reflect to much light? I was thinking it might just boil down to preference.

As far as excel - I had absolutely no problems with algae, so if it doesn't do much for the Java ferns I really don't see the benefit in adding it. I do know that plants need nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. I guess I was asking if these plants need any special treatment with those ferts. Or if I was missing something more...

Also to get more plants started should I take the current smaller plants in my filter and start bunching them and wrapping them in thread? Or has anyone else been real successful with another method of starting off smaller java ferns?

Thanks again! :icon_smil
 

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1. There must have been some rhizome on there for the leaves to keep growing
The only reason I would think for clipping a leaf off was if it was growing a plantlet from its tip, so you could tie it to somthing else to let the plantlet grow.

2. The damaged leaves arn't going to grow back on their own, they're just gonna stay that way, forever. I had a completely ravaged java fern that was totally dead for 3+ months, and when I pulled it out, most of the leaves were still green.
I sort of contemplated trying to bring it back from the dead like I'm doing with my anubias, but it wasn't really worth it.
As to pruning, I would give it a month to see if the leaves are doing anything, and then if they arn't I would just nip them off right at the rhizome.

3. Can't speak to nutrients, but I would just leave the plantlets there until you think they're/the rhizome is big enough to tie them down elsewhere.
Or you could just let them grow on the sponge, cause they definately will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So I ripped apart the tank and pulled out all the major java ferns. I wanted to take a real good look to see what the difference was between the smaller ones and the bigger ones.

1. Appears that the bigger plants were just many smaller plants that were still tied together... :hihi: That sewing thread was still there, and that is a whole year of being submerged in water. I definitely though it would of rotted away by now.

So after disassembling all of the fern groups it appears that I have 34 :eek: pieces. That seems to be a lot of pieces to me! I only remember ordering ten plants. The rhizomes are definitely in good shape. Not just tiny pieces like I originally speculated. It appears that each of the 34 pieces has at least a full inch of rhizome. So... I have put a lot more thought into the thread thing (because I am thinking I may tie them back up). After looking at the rhizome and how I like to plant the plants (buried in substrate), it seems to make sense for me. I obviously don't want to bury the whole rhizome of the plant. So a thread ball may given me an attachment that allows me to plant the plant without burying most of the rhizome. Also I don't have the patience to move around 34 individual plants... :icon_lol: So if I had more like ten bunches of three it would allow me to move them faster and clean the tank easier.

2. When I was inspecting the ferns I did do some pruning. This is how I justified it... tell me if this makes sense. I figured that if a plant has somewhat damaged tissue it is going to continue to send nutrients to it to keep what ever is left alive. Thus, I pruned the really damaged spots back to the rhizome. I figured I want the plant to focus on building new leaves rather than keeping the shredded pieces alive.

Also I keep all the trimming... I have had instances where leaves that have been broke off the plants will float to the top. They will continue to exist and rot from the lack of nutrients and the light. Meanwhile these single leaves will continue to generate new plants. It's almost like a last ditch effort to spread the seed. :hihi:

So I wanted to see if these trimming would do the same. Or if it would only happen with naturally dieing leaves. I figured I would through them in a fry saver and keep tabs on them in the tank.

3. Any advice on nutrients, lights or a successful method in starting off new baby java ferns?

Thanks again! w00t :icon_smil
 

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Leave 'em alone and let 'em grow.

One reason NOT to trip old ratty java fern leaves is that often the plant will produce new little plantlets in damaged areas.

However, you're right in that trimming off those leaves should encourage the plant to put out new leaves from along the rhizome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am not as interested in growing new plants as I am getting the ones I have in proper shape.

Do you have any input on all the other questions I have asked?
 

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Diablos - I love this article from aqualand. There are three parts to it, but this last section seems to answer a lot of your questions. I use it for my own ferns. I have found they love iron rich fertilizers. I have trimmed javas all the way to the rhizome before just to see what happens and I noticed that it will still grow leaves at different rates. Driftwood or chips of wood really seems to give the best results. http://www.aqualandpetsplus.com/Plant, Java Fern III.htm
 

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Good discussion. I have some Java fern myself that could use a little TLC. I found several small plantlets today while cleaning.

I would also like to discuss demosthenes's comment, that "Lights are far more important to plants that nutrients." Without nutrients, light just overdrives the plant and causes it to starve. In the case of slow growers like java fern, wouldn't excess light just cause algae?
 

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Hello
I just wanted to wade in and say that there isn't a lot you can do wrong with Java fern. I love the stuff. I bought 2 huge established plants back in May. Around August time I tore one of them apart to make lots of little plants, plus my two mother plants had produced loads of baby plants so I had quite a few teeny tiny Java ferns too. I tied all these baby plants (yes, it did take me hours) to two pieces of bogwood I have and left alone for a little while. They grew in nicely - as you can see below. They are the smaller leaves in front of the bigger Java ferns behind and that on the top left is my thumb lol




And they just keep growing more and more leaves. They hardly covered the wood, now I can't even SEE the wood. I'm going to have to thin this out soon and start a new piece of wood! One day Java fern will rule the world!! Mwah ha ha!

Sorry, my point being, your teeny tiny little baby Java ferns will do fine if you tie them down now. I find if I let them float around for a while before I tie them to something then they get all twisted and the leaves grow in different directions which just makes it more difficult when you DO tie them down.

And I haven't always used ferts or excel with them. They do just fine without. And my lights only amount to 1w/g with reflectors so nothing major in that department either.

You said you like to plant your plants in the substrate - I figure you already know not to bury the rhizome. I haven't any xperience burying PART of the rhizome, but I don't think its a good idea. If you don't want to tie them to anything that'll be visible, then how about a small piece of slate under each group just to weigh it down?
 

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I have two 10 gallons right now with only moss and java ferns; both were set up within a month of each other. One has 20 watts, the other has 15 watts compact flourescent. All other parameters are the same, down to the type of fish in the tank (betta and snails). I have noticed the lower light tank has a lot more babies and the one with 20 watts has better growth on the mother leaves. However, the lower light has diatoms, and the one with 20 watts is so far algae free. Not a big difference in lights, but a little experience on my part.
 

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There's no "secret" to growing Java ferns. Just provide the right balance of light, CO2, and ferts same as with all other plants. With low lighting and no CO2 or ferts, Java fern will still grow- just more slowly. If you want yours to grow as quickly as it possibly can, get a pressurized CO2 system going, 3 wpg, and start dosing EI ferts. Otherwise, like I said- just leave them alone and they'll grow in just fine. :icon_smil
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent and helpful posts! :eek5:

After thinking a lot about the plant -- I decided I would tie down alot of my plants. Here is what it looks like...





Although I like the idea of planting it in substrate, without really knowing if there is a proper way to do it I feel like I may be stunting it unintentionally.

The only question I really have left is... Is it nessacary to provide all of this at once?

... right balance of light, CO2, and ferts ...
I was really hoping to take baby steps. Like buy them one thing at a time over the span of 6 months. So will I negatively affect the tank by doing that? Should I just wait till I have enough money to buy it all at once?

Also I would like to talk about this one a bit more:

I would also like to discuss demosthenes's comment, that "Lights are far more important to plants that nutrients." Without nutrients, light just overdrives the plant and causes it to starve. In the case of slow growers like java fern, wouldn't excess light just cause algae?
Thanks!
 

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If you can only afford one thing at a time, get the CO2 first. Then ferts, then lighting.

top shotta nailed it- if you increase your lighting without adding CO2 and ferts along with it, you're asking for algae issues and plant growth deficiencies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you can only afford one thing at a time, get the CO2 first. Then ferts, then lighting.

top shotta nailed it- if you increase your lighting without adding CO2 and ferts along with it, you're asking for algae issues and plant growth deficiencies.
NICE! Exactly what I was looking for... time to go start researching all the parts to co2.
 

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Wicked driftwood! I am also discovering that java ferns LOVE excel. My work tank is growing out well since the addition of excel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What is the deficiency that is causing this?

I am assuming the the lack of nutrients is causing this, but which one? Help!

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Progress!

Not necessarily the progress I was looking for, but I believe it is decent. What improvements could I do to improve growth on these guys?







Btw, I never did get a response to the post above this one. I got a couple leaves that went that route. Anyone ever deal with that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hello All!

Was working on the this particular tank tonight... I've run into an issue or two so I thought I would resurrect this thread. First to bring you up to speed:


&


The plants have really filled out, and I have been pretty happy with the tank.

After re-reading this entire thread there are a few things that I have learned and would like to put down again in hopes to help others.

1. TIE your java ferns down. The substrate just doesn't do them justice. These guys need to have the rhizome exposed.

2. If you have leaves that are majorly damaged TRIM them. If you have decent stock you will be knee deep in baby plants eventually. It is best to focus on getting your parent plants into good shape. Trimming these plants bad leaves will encourage new growth.

3. Watch out for other plants. This may only be a low-tech problem...but I have noticed out of the three plants I keep in my tank the Java ferns are the weakest at absorbing nutrients/light. I currently have broad leaf watersprite and java moss. Both of these will out compete the Java ferns for the nutrients. So you will really need to cut back on both to make sure the Javas prosper.

4. Adding ferts... Make sure to add allllllll of the ingredients. Don't read somewhere that you can get away with nitrogen and potassium. I am convinced that without adding the entire spectrum you will see negligible impact on your plants.

I am hoping that all of this helps! Now my problem!



I am pretty sure this is a sign of nutrient deficiency. I slacked a bit on the regiment and so far I believe that is the cause. I was hoping to get some feed back from others. Btw, I am talking about the black spots.
 
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