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Beginners Guide

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) an Easy Aquatic Plant.

by Catherine Tran 17 May 2023 0 Comments

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) an Easy Aquatic Plant.


Java fern is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, where it grows on rocks near waterfalls. It is often partially or entirely submerged underwater.

Java Fern is one of the plants widely used by aquarists worldwide in aquariums. The main attraction of this plant is its lush green leaves, which come in various shapes and colours. The leaves are long and thin and can grow thick, giving the fern a bushy appearance. Java Fern has a slow growth rate.

Java ferns tolerate most light and water conditions – from acidic to alkaline water and even brackish tanks. You can easily find Java Fern on our website here.

Java Fern Habitat Conditions & Requirements

These plants grow slowly, about an inch per month. When the plant is fully mature, you can see your fern reaching a height of 13–14 inches. Sometimes its leaves develop dark brown nodules.

This plant also requires minimal light to reduce the possibility of algae growth in the tank, and its leaves are a great hiding place for shy aquarium fish.

With its hardy nature, Java fern is compatible with many fish species, including sensitive fish species. If you plan to keep the fern in a tank with aggressive fish, plant the Java Fern firmly on large rocks or driftwood to avoid accidental spills.

Usually, you'll find them in the wild in shaded areas, so the plant needs low-light conditions in the tank. They do not require a substrate such as gravel or sand, so they are ideal for bare tanks. If you put substrate in the tank, do not bury the fern, as the roots will rot. Instead, plant your fern on a rock or a driftwood log.

You can choose an ornament and have Java Fern cling to it to live on. Java ferns thrive when floating; their roots will grow on the wood they stick to. The method is quite simple, select the ornament you want to attach the fern to, glue the tree to the decoration, hold for 45 seconds, and then let it dry in the air for another 5 minutes.

To safely introduce Java fern into your aquarium, you must first isolate the plant to ensure it doesn't harm the fish in your tank. 



Aquatic plants suitable for Java Fern

They are compatible with most other freshwater plants, so adding one of these ferns to your aquarium shouldn't be a big deal.

Tank requirements

Java ferns love shady and humid aquarium conditions.

These plants thrive in jungle environments where the water is soft and acidic, so keep the tank's pH, temperature, and lighting similar to that of a humid, shady rainforest. These freshwater plants will survive most conditions, but intense light can burn their leaves.

Set up tanks & arrange aquariums.

Java ferns are resilient and thrive in cold water; however, they prefer to be kept in a warm 68–80ºF tank.

The ornamental Java fern is best placed in the middle of the ground or the tank's base. These plants can be bushy, so plant them far apart if growing several ferns in one tank.



Breeding Java ferns on driftwood

Java ferns need a 10-gallon tank with the proper water temperature. After germinating, remove the small ferns from the tank and plant them elsewhere until they mature. This is suitable for Java Fern to sprout quickly at the leaf edge. As they develop, they leave the leaf edges and cling wherever they stop. You can also pluck the leaves and let them float in the aquarium.

The great thing about this plant is that you can grow your own Java Fern to decorate your new aquarium without the expense of buying Java Fern at the aquarium store again.

Nutrition for Java Fern

The Java fern's ability to draw nutrients from water through the leaves means it doesn't need fertilizer. However, add a liquid fertilizer to the tank during water changes to encourage faster growth.

Although CO2 is not required for Java fern growth, adding CO2 to the tank will speed up plant growth.



Taking care of Java Fern

Avoid growing Java ferns in substrates such as gravel and rocks, as doing so will rot the rhizomes. When the tree turns brown, the tree has root rot problems, or the tree is dying. To prune a fern, start by lowering the water level so you can reach the plant. Then remove any dead leaves with sharp scissors.

Java Fern is an easy-to-care-for and very friendly plant for any aquarium. If you're looking for a Java Fern to decorate your aquarium, Micro Aquatic Shop provides healthy aquatic plants and makes your aquarium community more beautiful.

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