The Java Fern Resource

Java Fern
Java Fern
Java Fern grows to be 8 inches in height. The width and shape of the leaves varies for each of the three different forms of Java Fern – Regular, Windeløv, and Trident. For more information, read the Appearance/Anatomy section of this resource.

Keeping Java Ferns


Before Keepers keep Java Fern, there are a few things they should understand…

Adoption

Keepers should only adopt Java Ferns from reputable sources – doing otherwise can bring harmful contaminants into their aquariums. Usually, most fish stores are a safe option for this, but if a Keeper would like to have a Java Fern mat shipped to their door, we recommend they order them from Substrate Source. We recommend Substrate Source because:

  1. They package their mats very well. They even include a heating pad to keep the Java Fern mat at an ideal temperature while it’s being shipped.
  2. The mats usually come in the condition you would expect, but if the Java Fern was put through extremely hot or cold temperatures while being shipped, the leaves may have some brown spots. The nice thing is, if this is the case, Substrate Source has excellent customer service – they’ll address your concerns quickly and, if it’s necessary, will issue a return.

Order Regular Java Fern Mat from Substrate Source

Order Regular Java Fern Mat from Substrate Source

 

Order Windelov Java Fern from Substrate Source

Order Windelov Java Fern Mat from Substrate Source

 

Order Trident Java Fern Mat from Substrate Source

Order Trident Java Fern Mat from Substrate Source

Tank Size

Because of how large they grow, Java Ferns require their aquariums to be at least 10 gallons in size.

FAQs

• How do I determine the volume of my aquarium? (Opens a new tab)

Water Parameters

Plants very sensitive to the water that they live in. If the water in their aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, their health will be affected. When it comes to Java Ferns, there are two water parameters that Keepers need to keep in check, they are:

  • pH
  • Temperature

→ pH

The value of pH refers to how acidic or basic a solution is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic.

When it comes to Java Ferns, they can only survive in water that has a pH of 6.0-7.5.

FAQs

→ Temperature

Java Ferns can only survive in water that has a temperature of 68-82°F (20-28°C).

FAQs

• How do I determine the volume of my aquarium? (Opens a new tab)

Substrate

Java Ferns don’t require any specific type of substrate to survive. But if Keepers are adding substrate to their aquariums, there are two things they need to ensure:

  1. That the substrate is cleaned beforehand, so the residue that is on it – that makes aquariums cloudy – is removed.
  2. That they fill their aquariums with at least 2 inches of substrate.

FAQs

Lighting

Aquatic plants thrive if their aquariums mimic the appearance of their natural habitat.

In regards to lighting, naturally the water of Java Ferns is lit up by sunlight, so Keepers should add lights to their aquarium to replicate this. To be specific, Java Ferns require their aquariums to be lit with full spectrum (5000-7000k) bulbs. These bulbs need to have 2 watts of power for every gallon of water in their aquariums.

FAQs

• How do I determine the volume of my aquarium? (Opens a new tab)

Feeding & Fertilizing

Keepers do not need to worry about feeding Java Ferns. The leaves on this plant absorbs nutrients from the water to satisfy its nutritional needs. This plant does, however, does require a liquid fertilizer be added to its aquarium in order to survive. The fertilizer that we recommend Keepers use for this is Seachem Flourish.

Tank Mates

Java Ferns can be placed in an aquarium with any kind of fish. The tough structure and bitter taste of its leaves make it unappealing to fish that normally cause harm to aquatic plants.

Placement

Java Ferns cannot be planted into substrate. If it is, the rhizome will rot – eventually killing the plant. What Keepers need to do is use thread to tie the rhizome to a rock, log, or driftwood – basically, anything that is big and stationary in their aquariums. By the time the thread dissolves, the roots of the Java Ferns will have entangled themselves around whatever it was tied to, so it won’t float around.

Maintenance

If the Java Ferns’ leaves grow too long, Keepers may want to remove them. To do this, Keepers should use scissors to cut the stem of the leaves as close as they can to the rhizome.

If the Java Ferns develops plantlets on its leaves, Keepers may want to remove them to keep a clean-cut look. To do this, Keepers need to wait for the plantlet to grow big enough to pinch it with their fingers. When it’s big enough they can just pluck it off the leaves and dispose of it.

If the Java Ferns’ roots begin to grow too long and haven’t latched onto something, they can begin to float in open space. To remove them, Keepers should cut them with scissors.

 

Propagating Java Ferns


All Propagators really have to do to propagate Java Ferns is place them in a suitable aquarium environment and their natural behaviors should do the rest. But, just in case, here is some information that Propagators may find useful…

Propagation Process

Java Ferns propagate two different ways:

Method 1: The rhizome of this plant will grow longer in length. When this happens, new stems begin branching up from the rhizome to produce new leaves.

Method 2: Black bumps will form at the tip of the leaves of this plant. These black bumps are call “plantlets”. After 2-3 weeks of plantlets being produced, tiny leaves begin sprouting out of them. After some time, the plantlets inevitably get too heavy for the leaf to support them so they fall off – entangle their roots onto whatever they fall on, and begin growing as their own plant.

Our Recommended Propagating Techinques

There are several techniques to propagating Java Ferns, but these three are what we have found to be most effective…

→ Method 1

Step 1) Provide the plant with the suitable aquarium setting.

Step 2) Wait for the plant’s rhizome to develop more than one stem. Then, remove the plant from its aquarium.

Step 3) Using scissors, cut the plant’s rhizome between the plant’s stems.

Step 4) Using thread, tie the rhizomes to stationary objects in the plant’s aquarium.

→ Method 2

Step 1) Provide the plant with the suitable aquarium setting.

Step 2) Wait for the plant’s leaves to develop a plantlet.

Step 3) Wait for the plant’s plantlet to develop roots.

Step 4) Using your fingers, pluck the plantlet off the plant’s leaf.

Step 5) Using thread, tie the plantlet’s roots to a stationary object in the plant’s aquarium.

→ Method 3

Step 1) Provide the plant with the suitable aquarium setting.

Step 2) Wait for the plant’s leaves to develop a plantlet.

Step 3) Wait for the plant’s plantlet to grow big enough to fall off the plant’s leaf.

Step 4) Using thread, tie the plantlet’s roots to a stationary object in the plant’s aquarium.

FAQs

 

More Information


Origin

Java Fern was originally found growing on top of objects that surrounded water-spraying streams in Java Island, Indonesia. Today, Java Fern can be found in a similar setting, but now throughout most of Southeast Asia (click here to see a map).

Appearance/Anatomy

At the base of this plant, there is a horizontal stem. This stem is called the Java Fern’s “rhizome”. From the rhizome, two things start their growth: roots and leaves.

The roots on this plant are dark brown in colour. As they grow, they grow into a big bush. To go against the purpose of most roots, the roots of this plant don’t actually absorb any nutrients. The only purpose these roots serve are to attach the plant to its surroundings so that it doesn’t float away.

The leaves of this plant green in colour. As they grow, they reach a maximum height of 8 inches, but their width and shape will vary when you look at the three different forms of Java Fern – Regular, Windeløv, and Trident. Listed below is an example of what the leaf shape of each of these variations looks like:

Regular

Regular Java Fern
Windeløv

Windelov Java Fern
Trident

Trident Java Fern

Conservation Status

The Conservation Status of Java Fern was most recently published in 2011 as Least Concern, according to the IUCN.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Java Fern was most recently published in 1933 by Carl Ludwig Blume as the following:

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Microsorum
Species: M. pteropus


 


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