Java Fern

General Information
Scientific Name Microsorum pteropus
Light Intensity Low to Moderate
Ease Of Care Easy
Placement Mid-ground
Relative Growth Speed Slow
Propagation Rhizome Division, Adventitious Plants
Approximate Maximum Size 8 inches (20.32 centimeters)
Water Parameters 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit (20-27.78 degrees Celsius), 3-8 KH, 6.0-7.5 pH
Supplements Aquarium Fertilizer
Substrate Tied


The java fern is a very undemanding plant that can thrive in any aquarium setup regardless of care. It's ability to be able to root onto anything it is tied or attached to over time makes it an ideal centerpiece when tied to a rock, decoration, or even a piece of driftwood where other plants would be unable to grow on. This plant grows from a tubular root called a rhizome, that must never be buried otherwise the plant will rot and start to die from the roots first. As the water flow in the aquarium passes through this plant, it will soak up any nutrients that are within the water column through its leaves and roots. Many use this plant in setups where the fish are prone to eating any live plants, since the leaves of java ferns taste very bitter many herbivores will leave this plant alone once they have a simple taste of it. This also is a good plant for those fish who like to uproot any buried plants, since if the java fern is attached to driftwood or a decoration there should be little to no worry about it being damaged or destroyed. Several different varieties have been cultivated by multiple nurseries around the world, with some varieties being found in nature still to this day. One of the most common and popular varieties is the windelov variety, which has leaves that appear to be more cut and damaged along the ends.


Once fully established inside of its home it will start to reproduce by sending out adventitious plants at the tip of its leaves where if no action is taken the leaf will fall off and attach itself to the first thing that the roots are able to get ahold of. If there is a strong current inside of the aquarium, the leave might end up near the filter intake or inside of the filter. Once you see that a leave is starting to grow roots on the outside edges, you can safely cut the leave away and try to plant it such that the roots are tied to an object so the rhizome may grow. Another way that the plant is able to reproduce is if the owner is to cut part of the rhizome that has a few stems along it to create two new plants.


Although not fully required in most setups that will be able to house java ferns, they will highly accept any high grade aquarium fertilizer. Since they get the majority of their nutrients from the water column, any extra supplements that you want to add to make the java fern turn a nice vibrant green, with lush leaves, will be required to be added directly to the water. Some substrates or tablet forms of fertilizers will help since they release the chemicals into the water, but do not expect with or without supplements to speed up any growth time as java ferns tend to grow slower than most other aquarium plants.