Java Fern - dropping leaves

Mike999

Java Fern: how many decades am I going to live through, knowing that I still can't grow the darn stuff!

Here we are, almost a year since I bought the plants below and it's just dropping one leaf after another (browning out with holes, then falling off).
I do see new growth from the rhizome, but still - I appear to be losing leaves faster than new ones are appearing.
Unless it's readjusting - I moved it from the bottom of the aquarium to 1/2 way up (propped on a log). Attached via string to mopani wood.

Tank:
38g (3'x1.5'x1')
LED fixture (JC&P full spectrum from Amazon.ca)
Fertz: Thrive (once/week (3 pumps)
Anubias (2 different species - growing fine)
Jungle Val (growing great - must prune every 1-1.5 weeks)
Bolbitus (African fern - slow grower but looking very healthy).
Dwarf Sag. (While slower growing than Jungal Val - is still very healthy)

2 x hob (Aqua clear 50 / Whisper 40)

Temp: 79F
Substrate: pool filter sand
Light: 7 hours/day timer
Water change: once week/50%

Fish:
10 x Odessa barbs
1 x Albino bristlenose pleco
1 x Kribensis
 

Frank the Fish guy

Rhizone above the substrate (not buried).

Good substrate with lots of iron in the substrate.

Plenty of light but not too much.

Start making adjustments to the time that light is on and start looking for a change in the plant in the direction you want.
 
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Mike999

Light is on 7 hours/day
Substrate is pool filter sand.

Java fern is attached to piece of wood, well above substrate

I will try adding additional iron supplement to see if that helps.
 
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Frank the Fish guy

Reduce or increase light and find the sweet spot.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

I think water hardness has something to do with it. I see java fern do really well in soft water but struggle in hard water
 
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Mudminnow

Java fern is a bit of a mystery for me. It sometimes seems bullet proof, but in other tanks it just dies off. I had set up a tank for a family member a couple of years ago that had the same plant species in it that yours does (minus the dwarf sag). This was a high tech tank that used the very hard tap water available. All the other plants did (and still do) well, but the java fern eventually died away.
 
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Mike999

I am going to experiment.

1. I am increasing the Thrive dosage up to 7ml/week (from 6ml/week), once weekly = ~ 35 gallon aquarium treatment (for my 38 gallon).
2. I am also going to add Excel, but at 25% strength = 5ml once/week, rather than 20ml (using Excel directions: for >40% water changes).
3. Holding light @ 7 hrs/day.

This may/may not help with the Java fern and/or Anubias (with their holes in a couple leaves) we'll see.
-----------------
If no improvements are noticed after a couple weeks of this test, I will use Thrive 2x week (@ 7ml per dose) and increase Excel to 50% strength (and hold).
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Given that Vals. are apparently sensitive to Excel, this should slowly acclimate them. I will not be going to 100% recommended Excel dosage just in case that's pushing it. Besides, I'm already using root tabs on the Vals, Crypt and Dwarf Sag. every 3-4 months. I really don't need ridiculous growth rates on those - I just want to see if improvements will be had with Java ferns and Anubias.
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I have a 10g aquarium with 1 plant - some type of Anubias and it's incredibly green & healthy with zero holes in it and no algae at all on the leaves.
I dose 0.75 ml of Fluorish + 1ml Excel (overkill no doubt), likely once every 2 weeks.
Light is whatever came with it, 15w/10g = 1.5 watts/gallon. It's happy doing what its doing.
6 harlequins + 1 bristlenose pleco.
 
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Mike999

Here's an example of some of my Anubias in the 38g: algae and holes/leaf tearing.
Notice the newer leaves have no algae on them.

I'm thinking it might be counterintuitive to add even more Thrive, beyond once/weekly, given the current green spot algae or whatever is on them. So, maybe reducing the light from 7 hours to 6.5hrs + adding some Excel (at 25% for first couple weeks etc., then 50% strength) might assist.

You're right - I could go to the Co2 route - but I've never done that before. I'll start with the Excel in this tank and see how it goes.

Those dark red bloches you see on the back/front? Yeah, that's some kind of cyanobacteria, possibly. I've scraped it off most of the front with a long-handled double edged razor blade, but obviously more there. Could be all related, who knows.




Anubias_algae_leaftearing.jpg



Anubias_Holes&Algae.jpg
 
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Frank the Fish guy

I don't like Excel. It is basically toxic. Maybe the cause of your problems in fact. Liquid carbon is a myth. You can search through Fishlore to find what I mean.
 
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Mudminnow

I think you should trim off the old dead/dying leaves. All plants (that I know of) loose their old leaves eventually. But, the old leaves feed algae as they break down. Also, many plants seem encouraged to grow more when their old growth is trimmed away.

That being said, I don't think age is the only reason your anubias is loosing leaves. There is some chlorosis in even some of the younger leaves. This suggests a deficiency of some sort.
 
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Mike999

Frank - I've never used Excel in my 38G aquarium before yesterday - so, it's not the cause of this problem.
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@ Mudminnow - Will do. I'll take them out (easy: attached to rocks/wood) and cut off leaves with the holes. I'm also going to try some hydrogen peroxide (1:2 solution - in a spray bottle). See if that cleans them up a bit. I've tried manually scraping/old toothbrush, but it's pretty snug on the leaves.
Agreed on some deficiency - I'm thinking too much light, resulting in not enough (or any) CO2 and/or fertilizer (given the light intensity). I'm not opposed to dropping it from 7 to 6 hours/day.
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Ideal solution may be to provide them shade (they're both on left side of tank), by getting some kind of larger easy (if exists) floating plant. There isn't really any obvious other plants to tuck them under for decent shade.
------------------
Work in progress...I have a few things to try over the next few weeks.
 
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Msdp11009

Frank - I've never used Excel in my 38G aquarium before yesterday - so, it's not the cause of this problem.
--------------------
@ Mudminnow - Will do. I'll take them out (easy: attached to rocks/wood) and cut off leaves with the holes. I'm also going to try some hydrogen peroxide (1:2 solution - in a spray bottle). See if that cleans them up a bit. I've tried manually scraping/old toothbrush, but it's pretty snug on the leaves.
Agreed on some deficiency - I'm thinking too much light, resulting in not enough (or any) CO2 and/or fertilizer (given the light intensity). I'm not opposed to dropping it from 7 to 6 hours/day.
-------------------
Ideal solution may be to provide them shade (they're both on left side of tank), by getting some kind of larger easy (if exists) floating plant. There isn't really any obvious other plants to tuck them under for decent shade.
------------------
Work in progress...I have a few things to try over the next few weeks.
Hi. I know I am late to the game. Mr clean erasers (the ones with no soap or generic brand) are very successful and quick at getting algae off my plants. Granted,I have always nipped it in the bud, but I just gently wipe and it is gone.

ps I can’t grow java fern either and I have water on the hard side.
 
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