How To Plant Java Fern

How To Articles

Planting Java fern is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. As an avid aquarium enthusiast, I have had the pleasure of growing Java fern in my tanks for many years. In this article, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of planting Java fern and share some personal tips and insights along the way.

Choosing the Right Java Fern

Before you start planting, it’s important to choose healthy and vibrant Java fern specimens. Look for ferns with lush green leaves and roots that are well established and free from any signs of rot or damage. If possible, opt for tissue-cultured Java ferns, as they tend to adapt better to new environments.

Preparing the Tank

Java ferns thrive in a wide range of aquarium setups, from low-light to high-tech tanks. However, they prefer to be attached to driftwood or rocks rather than being planted in the substrate. So, before planting, make sure you have some suitable hardscape materials ready.

I recommend using a piece of driftwood with a rough surface to help the ferns attach and grow. Soak the driftwood overnight to remove any tannins that may discolor the water.

Attaching the Java Fern

To attach the Java fern to the driftwood, gently tie or glue the rhizome to the desired spot. Avoid burying the rhizome in the substrate, as this can lead to rot and hinder the fern’s growth. I prefer using fishing line or cotton thread to tie the plant, as it is non-toxic and will eventually dissolve over time.

Position the fern at a slight angle to create a more natural and visually appealing look. You can attach multiple ferns to the same piece of driftwood to create a lush and dense planting.

Providing the Right Conditions

Java ferns are known for their adaptability and can survive in a variety of water conditions. However, they prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature range of 68-82°F (20-28°C).

Lighting is another crucial factor for the growth of Java fern. While they can tolerate low light conditions, moderate to high lighting will promote better growth and richer colors. Consider using a full-spectrum LED light or a fluorescent tube light for optimal results.

Maintenance and Care

Once your Java fern is planted and settled, maintenance is relatively easy. Avoid dosing them with CO2, as it’s unnecessary and can lead to the growth of unwanted algae.

Regularly check for any dead or decaying leaves, and trim them off to maintain the plant’s health and appearance. Java ferns are slow growers, so be patient and allow them time to establish and spread.


Planting Java fern is a fantastic way to add beauty and natural charm to your aquarium. By following the steps mentioned above and providing the right conditions, you can enjoy a thriving and lush underwater garden. Remember, each fern is unique, and experimenting with different arrangements and placements can create stunning and personalized aquascapes.