Java Fern Microsorum Pteropus – Plant Guide

java fern white background

Plants serve a variety of purposes in the sea as well as in the aquarium; though not all the fish tanks utilize live plants.

Production of oxygen and absorption of carbon dioxide and the ammonia produced by fish is one of the most significant benefits of having plants in the aquarium. 

Some fish do feed on the plants especially in the wild but the Java Fern is a bit different, as its texture makes it inedible for the fish.

Java Fern Microsorum Pteropus is easy to maintain; the aquatic plant, for one, is tolerant of many environmental conditions, including lighting conditions. An interesting fact about the Java fern and what makes it suitable for aquariums is that it can grow whether fully or partially submerged.

The leaves of the Java fern grow up to 10 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide, but the family is quite big and you will interact with other variant members of the Java Fern such as the Windelov, Lance leaf, the narrow and needle leaf.

java fern

Facts about the Java Fern 

The Microsorum Pteropus does have some peculiar survival characteristics, when constantly moved around or replanted, it will exhibit some slow growth but will bounce back into shape when settled. And if provided with the best conditions, it will grow up to a foot tall, with the leaves about 6 inches wide.

Over the years the plant has evolved and developed very strong roots that enable it anchor onto any penetrable surface, the hard leaves are some of its survival tactics that make it virtually indestructible.

  Pygmy Cory Care Guide - Size, Breeding & More

Besides, if you fail to meet some of its conditions, it won’t wither easily, but if you notice any abnormality on the leaves, try to adjust the lighting because too much light leads to the development of transparent patches.  

Provide a natural environment 

When you adopt the marine dwellers as pets, it is important you replicate the life that they live in the wild so that they can achieve their full shelf life. For beginners, it might be a daunting task because it does involve a steep learning curve, as you would have to learn about the different species, the proper care system, the different types of diseases, preventive and cure methods, compatibility and the best aquarium for your pet. 

The same applies to the Java Fern, for you to care for it properly; you just need to replicate its natural wild life. In some countries the plant grows on river banks, it, therefore, affixes itself using its roots on porous surfaces to maintain stability during the harsh times. They are not dependent on water and will survive whether submerged or on the surface. This, therefore, means that it doesn’t get affected by fluctuating water levels. 

The plant also doesn’t grow buried in the soil, and if this is the case then you will notice that it has stunted growth. What’s worse is that it will most likely die if you keep it buried in substrate, well, this must be a challenge to aquarium owners, but not to worry because the solution is a no brainer. 

  Kuhli Loach Care Guide - Diet, Breeding & More

You will, therefore, tie the roots of the Java Fern to a piece of rock or wood using thread, because the latter will dissolve with time after the roots are firmly secured thus save you the trouble of having to untie it again. Since it tends to produce numerous leaves and grow big in size, it cannot be placed at the front of the aquarium but rather in the middle and to the back, as you risk hiding your beautiful Red Cherry Shrimps or the Otocinclus Catfish.

java fern and fish

Java Fern Care Guide

For starters keep your fern from too much LED light as it may not be able to save itself from algae and might get burned. Water temperatures shouldn’t worry you a tad, because it can easily survive in tropical and unheated aquarium or tanks. 

1. Aquarium size

Your tank size should be able to at least hold 10 gallons of water, this is so because the plant grows too big and it will most likely outgrow your small tank, however, it is not about the water; remember the java fern can do well in both high and low water levels. 

2. Water 

Just like in the wild the Java Fern will do well in soft and acidic waters, higher PH and hard water shouldn’t be much of a bother and even more interesting is that it can survive in brackish water. 

3. Use of fertilizer

Human beings use supplements to get the extra nutrients that are not readily available and might take longer to acquire, the same goes for the Java Fern. By using fertilizer the plant will benefit from the extra nutrients, though it doesn’t really need it. Beginners who are starting out with the Java Fern might want to add an extra dose of CO2 because it usually takes some time before they establish themselves. 

  Baby Snapping Turtle Care Guide - Diet & Tank

Importance of Java Fern to your fish

Aquarium hobbyists are conversant with the characters of the different types of fish and shrimps, most of them love their alone time, if not hiding. Therefore, the Java Fern would make the perfect cover for your fry or shrimp to hide. Plants also keep the aquarium parameters stable and are also not very edible, so your fish won’t be chewing up on them. 

The Java Fern is the perfect live plant to use for your aquariums interior décor. It will save you from using the plastic plants and the fact that it can thrive without being immersed in a substrate, makes it a perfect option for aquariums, as you will not have to use soil but rather gravel. 

The Java Fern can be used creatively to provide a balance of hiding places but in a decorative sense, for example, you could make a Java Fern wall in your aquarium or the Java Fern tree using driftwood or rock. 

The Java Fern can also be divided to fill all your other aquariums or be shared with friends, and in case you didn’t know, you can also sell them to other aquarium owners.

Was this article helpful?