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Yeah, you're talking about a plant that prefers to grow in the shade along river banks when you talk about Java Fern. I was always told that if you could look into your tank and even see Java Moss there was enough light and I got to admit that has held true throughout my dealings with it.

Both of these plants are extremely undemanding. Just make sure that you don't bury the rhizome of the fern or it will eventually die.
 

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yeah I am currently using a CFL 13W Spiral with a desklamp facing into the tank 4-6 inches above...I dunno if it is just the plants aclimating or not, but the ferns seem to be melting at the tips, not sure if the light is too strong...but I was thinking of using hte LED though I hate to spend the money and its not worth it...
 

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Just make sure the lighting isn't too strong, or you may face thread algae.

I recently switched to LED, and since all the leds are in the middle, the light blasts onto the moss in the upper level of the tank. I am dealing with minimal amount of thread algae in the moss.
 

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I only dose ferts when the test kits say I need to (or when I have a proven, established pattern of dosing that keeps the parameters in range).


As for the LED, shoot for something in the 10-watt range, as long as it has about the same number of LED as it has for a watt rating. Meaning, it's using something similar to 10 "1 watt" LED emitters. Even 5 watts of LED light may be plenty for java fern/moss depending on how efficient the LED is, but 10 watt is a bit safer. You can always raise the LED up a few inches to lower the light intensity.

Something using 3 of the 3 watters is fine also.

The reason I say this is because many LED lights will have DOZENS of tiny LED emitters that consume only about 1/3 watt each but they are pathetic in efficiency. The 1 watt and 3 watt emitters are almost always much more useful and efficient, and predictable.


You should be able to find a good light to fit an incandescent edison-base (common light bulb) socket at Lowes. Look for 6500K, consuming NO MORE than 10 watts, with the widest possible light angle (60 degrees or larger, or else you'll have a big spot light).
 
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