Java Fern (Microsorum Pteropus)

Origin:South East Asia
Growth Rate:Low to Moderate
Light Demand:Low to Medium
CO2 Demand:Low

Java Fern is a plant that the roots and leaves grow from a thick horizontal stem called a rhizome, making it a rhizomatous plant. It’s a slow-growing but adaptive plant in comparison to other aquatic plants. That makes Microsorum Pteropus suitable for most aquariums.

Even if it doesn’t require extra CO2 injection, M. Pteropus will do best when receiving additional CO2 and fertilizer injection with enough and proper lighting. If it is cultivated in such conditions (which is called high tech tank), it will grow faster and healthier.


It is an easy plant to care for and maintain in aquariums. While planting, it is substantial to attach the exposed rhizome to a rock, a piece of driftwood, lava rock, etc. but not burying in the substrate. Such as all other rhizomatous plants, if the rhizomes are buried in the substrate the rhizome will decay, and later, the plant will die.

However, attaching the plant to objects can sometimes be challenging since it will float or move in the flow when it is not properly attached. To attach it to an object and make sure it sticks there until roots have taken hold, using a cyanoacrylate-based superglue or a thin fishing wire is recommended. It is vital to keep the rhizome unburied to prevent rotting and it is mandatory to keep the plant healthy.

Due to its hard leaves, Java fern won’t seem appealing for herbivore fish; therefore, it won’t be nibbled by them. It is a resistant plant suited for beginners because it won’t wither from a few mistakes and overcome unsuitable conditions.

To fully enjoy Java fern, a tank should have at least 40 liters for letting it fully developed. If the tank is smaller than 10 liters, then one can opt for ‘Anubias Petite’ which has a smaller size instead of Java fern.

The optimal temperatures for Java fern range between 60 to 83 °F (15-28 °C). The ideal pH level is ranging from 6,0-7,5. It will do great in tropical aquariums and also in cool water aquariums. Subtropical species like paradise fish, danios, or fancy goldfish will do great in a tank with Java fern. It can also serve as a shelter for the young of live-bearing fish such as guppies, mollies which eat their fry. It can also be a very suitable spawning media for egg shedding fish like goldfish, tetras, etc. After spawning, java fern with eggs can be moved to another tank for hatching fry.

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