An Easy Aquatic Plant is the Java Fern (Microsorum petropus).
Java Fern is one of the world’s most widely used plants in planted aquariums. It slow growth, unique leaf structure, and reproduction method makes it an aquarium smash hit. Java Fern is tolerant of all lighting conditions and environmental conditions, from alkaline water to soft acidic water to brackish tanks. It is also easy to find in most local fish stores; but if not, there is always some available on our website.
This article is a good start if you want to learn more about Java Fern. It is very easy to plant Java Fern. All you have to do is add it to your water. You can actually just drop the Java Fern in your water and it will start growing. Java Fern will thrive while floating, or the current may allow it to attach to something that its roots can hold onto. It can be planted in gravel, tied to a piece or rock of wood or any other decor, and then it will choose its destination. My favorite way to plant Java Fern is to use super glue gel. Simply glue the piece of decor to which you wish to attach the Java Fern. It should be held against the glue for at least 30 seconds. Then let it dry in the air for 3 minutes. It will grow quickly if you place it in the tank. Be sure to not bury any rhizomes (twig-like portions of the plant)! The rhizome contains all roots and leaves. It will rot if it is submerged in gravel or sand. This plant has a great advantage: it doesn’t need substrate. Java Fern is a great choice for tanks with bare bottoms.
Growing Java Fern can be done with almost any type of light. Indeed, it will be thankful for any brightness in its life! Java Fern isn’t picky about which spectrum of lighting you’re using or even the number of watts. Java Fern will thrive if it is provided with a 6700k-specified bulb. Any range from low to medium-high light is perfect for this plant. The plant can actually be burned or melted if it is exposed to very intense light. So resist the urge to recreate the Sahara Desert over your tank. Java Fern is able to survive without much light. It can be kept in a bucket for up to a week and still live! For example, one of my breeding tanks had a bulb burned out for several months; yet every time I shined a light into the tank to catch the fry, the Java Fern looked great!
Assuming you’ve got it planted and are giving it some light, your Java Fern will soon be reproducing. Tiny Java Ferns are formed at the edge of the leaves. When they reach maturity, they will drop off and attach themselves to where they belong. You can also take the leaves off and let them flot in the aquarium. Even better, the plant has an emergency plan. It will produce new plantlets if it begins to die. This can sometimes be as high as 20 babies per leaf. This is a great method for getting ready to setup a new tank or propagating it to give to a new fish friend.
As an added benefit, aquarium fish love to swim through these plants. Java Ferns can make a jungle for fish to swim in. This plant is slow to grow so many people only need to trim it once a year. Nature will then decorate their aquariums as naturally as possible. Most fish do not like the taste of Java Fern, so even many plant eating fish will not eat it. They are thick and sturdy. They can take a beating from a large cichlid or some goldfish who just like to play with them.
It should not be difficult to source Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus). Once you have found the Java Fern and begun to propagate it, it is worth knowing that there are many other Java Fern varieties available. These include Java Fern Trident and Java Fern Needle Leaf. Java Fern Windelov’ and Java Fern Narrow Leaf. There are also other lesser-known varieties. Each variety has its own unique appearance and all the same requirements for growth.
Java fern ‘Windelov’
Java Fern is slow to grow so be cautious about starting up a tank and not pruning too quickly. Since this plant is such a slow grower, it can have terrible fights with algae. A good crew of algae eaters and sucker fish go a long way to ensuring it wins the battle. It can also be planted with fast-growing plants like Vallisneria.
If you lose the battle to alga, take a couple of leaves off and put them in a glass of water. After it has made some plantlets, you can remove them and put them back into the tank. You may win the battle. So what are waiting? Java Fern is your best friend!