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Java fern - a BRILLIANT beginners plant

Java Ferns – one of the most underappreciated aquarium plants.

If you know how resilient Anubias is, but are looking for something a bit different. Then look no further than the Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) range. This is also an epiphyte and therefore need to be attached to your aquariums décor. They do not like there rhizome to be buried in soil, but if you must plant them in your substrate, you might not get any growth out of them.


Well although they appear very delicate, they are extremely resilient beginner’s plants! On top of that their water requirements are very wide and they will NOT punish you for most beginners mistakes.


In nature they grow in moving streams and therefore will appreciate water movement over their leaves for oxygen and over their rhizomes for debris removal.

pH from 6 to 7.5 are all acceptable for this versatile plant

Hardness – a KH between 3 and 8 are all great

So if you care for your fish as you need to do, regarding regular water changes and filtration, then your Java Ferns will reward you with beautiful growth.


They would appreciate moderate addition of liquid fertilizers, but if you stock fish they can actually grow without fertilizers, albeit much slower.

Addition of CO2 is not needed, but like all plants they will appreciate it


As you must have realised by now, light can be very low. But a recommended light level is 0.35 to 0.5 Watts of T8 lighting per liter of water (translated to moderately low lighting) If you give them too much light you will start to develop problems with algae on their leaves. If you lighting is too intense for them, then you can move them to spots underneath overhanging plants and those inevitable dark (lighting) spots that develop.

Planting tips

· Don’t cover the rhizome with your soil

· Good at growing on rock, wood and other aquarium décor

· Ensure a little water movement

Interesting fact

Old leave can become the source of 100s of new baby plants. Yes you heard me correct. As older leaves start to decay, loads of small baby ferns develop from the sori (small spots on the underside of the leaves that contains the spores of the plant) and if left to develop a bit, can be attached to a new location. It is that easy to multiply your plant. So dont remove older leaves, you can even cut the leave loose and let it float to have a bigger chance of success.

Invest in this enduring plant that can reward you for may years in your aquarium jurney!!!

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Unknown member
Sep 16, 2020

It is astonishing how hours of work end up in a 3 minute read - But it will be worth all that time, it if assist a single hobbyist to success ;)

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