I can’t keep Java Fern Alive??

LambchopPlaty

I’ve been keeping aquarium plants for 2 years now and the one plant I cannot seem to keep alive is Java Fern, the one that’s supposed to be unkillable.

I live in a state with extremely hard water. My nitrates don’t usually dip above 25, ammonia and nitrite are always 0. I have low light, fix the ferns to rocks using fish safe superglue, make sure the rhizome stays above the substrate, and this plant always, always, always turns brown. I can’t figure out why.

I’ve tried getting the ferns from petsmart, from different websites online, from local fish stores, I can’t figure out what’s wrong.

The stems connected to the rhizome turn brown, the edges and tips turn brown, brown spots appear on the back and smaller plants start to grow (I’ve been told this only happens when the plant is stressed) please tell me what I’m doing wrong.


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StarGirl

I live in a hard water state too and can't keep the "easy" ones alive either. Java moss forget it, not with my tap water.....I do have good luck with Vals though!
 

LHAquatics

Were they in the substrate?
 

StarGirl

Were they in the substrate?
No tied to stuff like they are supposed to be.
 

mattgirl

I have to wonder if your hard water is the issue since both you and StarGirl have problems with this plant. I have soft water and my java ferns grow like crazy. I can't for the life of me grow vals though. For a while I was having great success with dwarf sag. That is until I pulled a bunch of it out because it was growing so much. It was overpowering my 5.5 gallon tank. Now it struggles to grow at all in my soft water.

I have finally learned to just go with the few plants that actually work for me. I really envy folks that can grow big beautiful amazon swords. I give mine root tabs and thrive all in one and still mine are pitiful. I am close to just pulling them from my tank.
 

StarGirl

I have to wonder if your hard water is the issue since both you and StarGirl have problems with this plant. I have soft water and my java ferns grow like crazy. I can't for the life of me grow vals though. For a while I was having great success with dwarf sag. That is until I pulled a bunch of it out because it was growing so much. It was overpowering my 5.5 gallon tank. Now it struggles to grow at all in my soft water.

I have finally learned to just go with the few plants that actually work for me. I really envy folks that can grow big beautiful amazon swords. I give mine root tabs and thrive all in one and still mine are pitiful. I am close to just pulling them from my tank.
I have problems with Swords too. I don't know why they are sold as a beginner plant either....lol
 

UnknownUser

Hm. I have no issues with swords or java ferns, my water is soft. 3 people makes a pattern so I’ll bet it’s the hard water!
 

Kribensis27

I have a difficult time with java ferns (underwater, on land, they're super easy) as well. I also believe it's my hard water. I have no issues with swords though. I pop them in the tank and wait a few months, and I have massive, happy swords.
 

Dunk2

I have to wonder if your hard water is the issue since both you and StarGirl have problems with this plant. I have soft water and my java ferns grow like crazy. I can't for the life of me grow vals though. For a while I was having great success with dwarf sag. That is until I pulled a bunch of it out because it was growing so much. It was overpowering my 5.5 gallon tank. Now it struggles to grow at all in my soft water.

I have finally learned to just go with the few plants that actually work for me. I really envy folks that can grow big beautiful amazon swords. I give mine root tabs and thrive all in one and still mine are pitiful. I am close to just pulling them from my tank.

mattgirl

I have soft water too, but I manage to kill java ferns. But then again, I’d probably make artificial plants look dead. :confused:
 

mattgirl

I was having the most success with crypts until my rabbit snails thought I was growing these big beautiful plants just for them Rabbit snails are out of the tank and I see new growth showing up. I would be perfectly content with just java ferns and crypts but would still love to have a huge sword in my 55.
 

JLAquatics

Living in Michigan alongside StarGirl as well, this same thing happens to my own Java Ferns. Maybe they get stressed with excessive KH values as mine always dies off with old leaves then makes new yet smaller leaves at the same time. However, other plants I have grow very well in my parameters, one of them being Water Wisteria. Do you have your GH and KH values of your aquarium water by any chance?
 

UnknownUser

I see emojis in this thread but i still don’t have the button to use them! Frustrated
 

StarGirl

I see emojis in this thread but i still don’t have the button to use them! Frustrated
You have to go old school and type them out.
 

Dunk2

I sure wish someone would create a page with instructions on how to do that.

Some unnamed member said they would, but then apparently dropped the ball.

So I’m left with only this guy. :confused:
 

Dennis57

Do you have snails and or plecos in the tank?
 

UnknownUser

I also want a thread with the emoji how-to-type-out list. I have no idea how to do anything
 

jkkgron2

Huh, that’s weird that some Java ferns don’t do well in hard water? I have hard water and my Java ferns are all growing well. Some have the brown spots, but I think that’s just because they’re in my shell dwellers tank, which has no fertilizer in it and bad lighting. The ones I have had in other tanks didn’t have any brown spots.
 

StarGirl

Mine just didnt grow and just turned brown really slowly.
 

sairving

I live in hard water area in Wisconsin. Like StarGirl said "easy" plants seem to have issues in hard water tanks. I tried java moss once, it ended in a melted mess. My Windelov java fern has been existing in my tank, growing new rhizome, and one leaf. That's all it's grown in 2 months.

My Red flame sword is doing pretty well and I have a tiger lotus that will have to be removed soon. Don't ask me why it's doing so well. My latest experiment is dwarf hairgrass. It was super cheap at my lfs so I bought a ton.
 

WendiWoo

Any success yet? I'm in Northern California with super duper luper pooper HARD water lol. My Java Ferns grow like crazy but I can't keep Java Moss to save my life lol. I also have Anubias, Swords that do well. My Windelov is quite pathetic lol but it's coming in slowly.
 

Mudminnow

I've noticed the same thing with hard water and java ferns. I've moved back and forth between areas with hard water and areas with soft water. My java ferns (and most of my other plants) always did better in soft water.

Furthermore, my dad had java fern in his tank with super hard water. He couldn't keep the ferns alive. So, he recently switched to RO water, and he now has super healthy java ferns.

Now, I think there is more to the story than just hard or soft water. I have kept java fern alive in hard water too. And, Java fern has done just fine in my hard water tanks that had CO2 injection. Still, I think soft water is definitely preferred.
 

FishDin

I've grown Java fern in 2 tanks under different light conditions. Both tanks have the same water (KH GH 4 &5). The only difference was the amount of light. With medium high light it grew like crazy. In my low light, low tech tank it doesn't seem to grow at all, but it's alive. In the same tank, the anubias keep pumping out new leaves.

I agree with above that there are probably more factors involved than simply hard vs soft water.
 

WendiWoo

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