ABC PLANTS - Microsorum pteropus "Java Fern"
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Microsorum pteropus is a water fern known as the ‘Java Fern’. Because it is adaptable and famously difficult to kill, this plant is a very popular species among beginner hobbyists. It is native to Southeast Asia where it is often found growing on rocks, the ground, or the bark of trees. It may also grow like a grass on jungle floors where soft, acidic water rains down from nearby streams and waterfalls. In your tank, the Java Fern can be attached to hard surfaces like driftwood and rock. You can secure the plant using super glue, thread, or fishing line, all of which can be removed after a few weeks, at which point the roots should be relatively well-attached to the desired surface. This plant should not be buried in the substrate as it is a rhizomatous species; the rhizomes can rot if covered, causing the plant to die. You may want to float the plant instead, although the rhizomes will grow until they find a surface to which they can attach.
The Java Fern may look delicate, but it is really quite hardy and does not require CO2 supplementation or intense lighting. In fact, strong lighting may turn leaves brown or transparent. As its leaves take in nutrients from the water, this plant does not require substrate fertilizer. You can, however, add a liquid fertilizer each time you perform a water change. This should promote robust growth, although your plant may develop burn spots if too much fertilizer is given. Healthy leaves come in a variety of shapes, from bushy to spiky, and are often leathery in texture. Black spots or circular bumps may develop on the undersides of the leaves, but these are sporangia (reproductive organs) and are not a sign of disease. The leaves can also grow quite large and are particularly wide, making the Java Fern well-suited to the midground or background of most tanks. You should remove all new plantlets if you want to prohibit thick, bushy growth. However, due to its slow growth, this plant may only need to be pruned a few times a year.