Why Can’t I Grow Java Fern!?

MicahD

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I have gotten it a couple times and have had no luck. Every time it browns from the top down and leaf by leaf they turn completely brown and fall off.

I have tried changing the lighting cycle, using water fertilizer, leaving the tank a few extra days before a water change to build up a little more nitrates. It still seems to die off every time. My java moss grows fantastically and my anubias does well. It’s only the java fern that I can’t seem to get to grow.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

Mike1995

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what I've done to have great success with java fern is, i put the roots and bottom of the plant in the holes in driftwood. I'm not sure the name of it, but i use the driftwood that's in chunks, not so much the spider wood looking stuff. (the ones that branch out) usually i don't even worry about gluing or tying it. It'll root itself and stay put. another thing i do is I'll gently wedge it between small river rocks. You don't want to plant java fern in the substrate. The rizome they have right above the roots will rot if you do. similar to anubias as well. You don't want to plant that either. They're a lower light plant. Personally i use excel and flourish for my other plants. It seems to do the ferns well too. Did you buy the ferns from PetSmart or petco? In those little plastic cylinders? They're grow above water so a lot of times they'll melt back and regrow.
 

WTFish?

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You have it tied or glued to something? Rhizome isn’t buried? The adult leaves will brown and fall off but you should have new ones coming in.
 

bitseriously

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Agree with @WTFish? that rhizome (the stem connecting the individual leaves) must not be buried.
I haven't had regular java fern until recently, but when I started my first tank about 8 months ago I got some trimmings of trident fern and needle fern (both cultivars of java fern), and they've only just recently started to show signs of growing and being healthy. In my limited experience, they suffer from too much light, and can take a long time to get established. But in my case, they didn't die outright, or lose much of their leaves. They just... did nothing really. So if yours are dying back, losing leaves, roots going from red-brown to black, then my suggestions won't be helpful, I think.
 

Mcasella

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Sometimes it just doesn't like the water it is in, if the rhizome is firm still it may come back.
 
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MicahD

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The rhizome is attached to a rock. Is it possible that they could be getting too much light? They are only a few inches from the light. I currently only have a cheap “nicrew” led from Amazon with intentions of upgrading to a Finnex Stingray but it grows the other plants just fine.
 

Mcasella

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MicahD said:
The rhizome is attached to a rock. Is it possible that they could be getting too much light? They are only a few inches from the light. I currently only have a cheap “nicrew” led from Amazon with intentions of upgrading to a Finnex Stingray but it grows the other plants just fine.
Yes, they do not like as much light, they are a low maintenance plant so high lighting can cause issues (like how anubias grow algae very quickly under too much light because they are slower growing).
 
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MicahD

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Mcasella said:
Yes, they do not like as much light, they are a low maintenance plant so high lighting can cause issues (like how anubias grow algae very quickly under too much light because they are slower growing).
Would to much light make them brown like that?
 

WTFish?

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Yeah, I swap my anubias and java fern around weekly, so that they trade off being directly under the light, I have cheap led’s as well.
 

WTFish?

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Here’s mine, some ugly leaves too but they eventually fall off and produce nice new ones.
image.jpg
 
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