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Caryl

Java Fern

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Whenever I plant Java fern in a tank it seems to take over and all the other plants die. I have been told this is because the Java takes all the nutrients before the other plants can use them. Is it possible to have a well planted tank with lots of different plant genus (genuses? geni?)as well as Java?

PS. Anyone want some Java fern? :smile:

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Hi Caryl,

It is certainly possible to have a tank planted with java fern as well as other species of plants.

What size tank do you have and how much light do you have over it?

How old are the tubes?

When you add Java Fern to an existing tank how quickly is it before the other plants start to die?

Fluorescent tubes will give out less light over time, perhaps as the light diminishes conditions begin to favour the Java Fern and not the other species that you have.

If the Java Fern is out competing the other plants for the nutrients I would expect you to see signs of nutrient deficiency in the leaves of the other species prior to their death. Do you see, for example:

in the growing tips:

pale white or clear new growth,

crinkled, deformed leaves,

in the older leaves:

dark green veins with yellowing leaves,

holes (may be ringed with yellow)?

Derek

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Hi Derek,

The tank is 1.2m wide x 53cm deep and 45cm high from the top of the gravel (around 10cm deep) to the top of the tank.

Lighting is a double 4ft fluorescent running ordinary bright white tubes, 12 hours daily. The tubes were new at the time the plants died off. The lights are in a reflector and sit on top of a glass lid 5cm above the water level.

The plants, apart from the Java and a Japanese rush, started dying a month or two after set-up. They slowly turned pale and started to rot at the base of the leaves. I did not notice any deformities or crinkles in the leaves.

The other plants (if I remember correctly) were Hygrophilia polysperma, Cabomba, Anubias nana, a Japanese rush and a lot of crypts which had previously overtaken the tank and were the main reason it had been stripped down and replanted as you could not see the fish for the plants! The Java was not in the previous tank.

Lack of light could certainly have been the problem with the Cabomba as they like strong light. The Java had been in one section at one end of the tank and the other plants were arranged in bunches everywhere else.

The tank used the old filtration as I kept the bacteria going, the same gravel, and the plants were given fertiliser tabs.

Plant growth was vigorous in the tank before it was re set-up with the Java added.

[ This Message was edited by: Caryl on 2001-07-06 03:33 ]

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Hi Caryl,

You say the plant started to die after about 1 month. This is typically the time many plants will survive in a situation that is not ideal. They hold out for about a month and then begin to die off.

Most commonly plant die-off of this type is due to excess Nitrate or Phosphate levels (most likely Nitrate). Anything over 30ppm nitrate tends to inhibit the growth of most plant (except Java Fern).

To successfully setup a planted tank, it must initially have no fish or very few fish. It can also not support a very big fish load even when matured.

The 2 lights you have sould be enough for the plants you listed. I would check the nitrates. Do you get excessive algae growth at all?

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No I did not have a lot of algae, just a faint green sheen on the glass.

The tank has been re-set up and now only has 3 bristlenoses in it (mainly because I could not get them out of their niches in the log - hanging them upside down out of the water for 2 hours didn't make them let go either!). I bought new plants - hairgrass, cardamine, cabomba, hygrophila polysperma, cherry leaf, green and black mondo grasses and another which looks like mondo, is just as stiff, but a lot finer. There is also some pine tree I think (the top has a red tint on new growth) and a plant which is green, grows straight up with sawtoothed edges on the rounded leaves which grow in pairs. Each new pair grows at right angles to the previous pair. It sends out fine roots at each set of joints.

The 2 fluorescents have new tubes and are certainly brighter than before.

Temp - 25C

pH - 6.8

CO2 - 20 mg/l

GH - 4

KH - 3

Nitrite - 0.025

Nitrate - either 0 or 40 depending on the test kit used :smile:

Iron - 0

Phosphate - 5

Can you tell Grant won a fancy test kit at conference?

I have no idea why the phosphate is so high as the bristle noses have only been fed once since the tank was set up a month ago. It reads 0 from the tap.

All the plants have been growing well so far and I have been trimming them and planting the offcuts. The polysperma is the only one not growing as rapidly as the rest - and the finer mondo-like plant.

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Hi Caryl,

Looks like you need some iron.

Your iron test kit may not be sensitive enough, but a reading of 0.1 is usually enough to make plants grow. Watch out however, - if your phosphate is 5ppm, adding iron will probably cause a bit of algae initially until the phosphates drop.

Check out this website for an excellent report about plants and fertilisers.

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilize ... onlin.html

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Warren-I have to take issue with your statement that a planted tank will not support a very big fish load even when matured-My tanks are all very heavily planted and a stocked significantly higher than they would be without live plants.A planted tank offers the ability to stock an increased load as the plants are using up the excretia from the tanks inhabitants-the bioload in my tanks is incredible;what with high fish numbers,shrimp and snails-indeed I often attribute this high stocking level as one of the reasons that without CO2 injection I am able to grow as lush plants as I am.

David

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Hi David,

I've had a look at your tanks on your site. You don't seem to have many fish in your tanks. Is your statement based on the fish load in your tanks or in general.

My fish load looks about 10x what you have in your tanks with the same results in the plants.

My statement is based off people who put 10 oscars or similar sized fish into a 300L Tank. The plants cannot keep up with this many fish.

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For whatever weird reason my fish are quite camera shy :( It would take WAY too long to list all of the fish that I have but as an example my 45tall has 3 large pearl gourami,4 large&1 small boesmani rainbow,6 corys,30+ white clouds,6-8 shrimp,4 ottocinclus,hundreds of snails. This would under most peoples levels be considered heavily stocked. My 75g has a large angel,4 large madagascar rainbows,4 macullochi,6 rainbows of unknown species,5 large pearl gourami,shrimp,8 ottos,hundreds of snails

I dont go in for the big fish such as oscars in planted tanks as it doesnt create the aesthetic I am looking for.

David

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Hi David,

Looks like pretty lightly loaded tanks to me. In my 300gal (approx 1200L) I have the following:

16 Adult Discus (120-180mm)

24 Black Line Flying Fox (good algae munchers!)

500 Neons

100 Cardinals

50 Corydoras

50 Silvertip Tetras

20 Rams

20 Cerviceps

0 Shrimp

0 Otos

Give or take a few as most of these fish are over 2 years old.

This is about the maximum stocking level I can run before the plants cannot out-compete the algae.

My statement about a small fish load still stands. I've seen this many fish in a 75gal (300L) tank! Needles to say it had no plants. I asked the owner if they had considerred plants but they said they could not get them to grow faster than the algae... I wonder why.

Many people put too many fish into a tank. They do get away with it and the fish are happy, but no plants. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this, just that there are too many fish to successfully grow plants.

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And your they guy saying to lightly stock planted tanks! Holy Mackeral!-if you posted that you had that many fish on one of the american boards I am a member of they would have a fit and you would get so much negative feed back.Better clarify your parameters of heavy and light fish load or people like me will get the wrong Idea,as i did.

David

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And another thread drifts off topic :lol:

Get off my java fern you tank stocking debaters!

As for stocking levels - if it works for you, whether heavy or light, then good.

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David might not get the joke here Caryl, after all your original Java Fern question was posted

Posted: 30 Jun 2001 04:39 Post subject:

well.... just about a year ago :)

Don't tell me you STILL have some left :):)

BTW, What is the latin name for Java Fern??

Bill.

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Warren's tank can be seen here in the album called Warren's Tank

http://uk.photos.yahoo.com/carylnz

Not very good photos unfortunately as it was early morning and the sun was shining brightly.

BTW Pegasus, my original java question had nothing to do with the java I now have for sale. It was given to me recently and yes, I still have a bit left. Will I send it to you wrapped in lots of bubblewrap? :lol:

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Thanks Cees. My book doesn't list "Java Fern" which was the reason for the question.

Hi Caryl,

My tank(my lovely beatiful gorgeous tank that is sat there with all the wonderful gear still in it) is still quite dry until I can find a permanent home for it. :) but thanks for the offer.

Bill

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Pegasus said...

> What is the latin name for Java Fern??

Generally it's known as Microsorium pteropus. But

apparently Polypodium pteropus may also be correct...

Interestingly there may be 60 to 100 odd species, I don't know

if any others in cultivation but apparently M. brassii (New Guinea)

and M. schneideri (Sumatra) at least are aquatic.

Andrew.

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Hmm... Java Fern....

Well, nevermind.

Back to lightly stocked tanks. My tank is lightly stocked compared to many peoples tanks I've visited. Keep in mind also that I've got massive filtration running (6000L/hour) + 50% water changes weekly using modified RO water. Many tanks I've seen around the country have fish to volume ratio's much higher than this.

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Caryl said...

> You would think Javacus fernicus would be simpler eh?

Except that there is probably more than one fern on Java.

It's a pretty big island... with *lots* of nice Nepenthes... ;-)

Andrew.

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Warren-your tanks are far from lightly stocked-they may be so to you and the other people you know who massively over stock tanks,but to the vast majority of aquascapers they are way at the outer limit-regardless of filtration.I think it would be prudent if you are giving advice on stocking planted tank,or any other tank for that matter,for you to qualify that your ideas of lightly and heavily stocked tanks are not within normal fish keeping parameters.I just find it strange that you would give advice stating that planted tanks shouldnt have many fish,when you yourself keep so many.

David

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Moved my question here seeing the topic is still flowing :)

Hi Warren,

Having not had the pleasure of seeing your tanks, could I ask you the dimentions of the 300gall.

Bill

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