Say hello to Java fern

This plant has been in circulation since even before planted aquariums were known as planted tanks. Java fern can be ranked among the toughest of them all thriving in low light conditions that only handful of plants can survive in and surviving in Goldfish tanks. A handful of varieties have been cultivated all bearing different leaf structure and leaf size but all retaining its resilient and hardy nature.


This plant will not do well if you plant it in substrate. You can tie them on rocks or pieces of driftwood. You can also use glue (cyanoacrylate) to stick them to the hardscape. This plant will work great as an accent plant or as a midground plant. Best used in Forest and Nature Style Aquascapes. This plant belongs in large aquariums. It will survive in a small aquarium but for you to full appreciate its beauty a large aquarium is needed.


Do not trim the leaves of the Java Fern. The plant though has a habit of producing hairy root structures which you can trim regularly. Should the plant grow too big, you can always divide it by cutting some of the rhizomes. Each cut of the rhizome is a new plant. If you’re looking for more techniques of plants’ trimming, find our article explaining this matter more widely.

CO2 injection

Java Fern is known as a low-tech plant, meaning it does not need CO2 supplementation for it to thrive. Extra CO2 in the water though will make it grow faster and more robust.


Java Fern’s broad leaves make it perfectly adapted to low light conditions. They can also thrive in medium light provided there is enough CO2 in the water column. Putting it under bright light though will risk algae infestation on its leaves as the plant is prone to it.


Water parameters

Be careful with placing Java Fern under bright light and temperatures higher than 30 degrees Celsius especially if the water is a bit hard. Leaves will turn dark or black. It will not die right away. But it won’t look good for a long time.


To Sum up, Java Fern is probably one of the most common plants in the hobby. We believe you cannot call yourself a planted tank enthusiast unless you have kept this plant at least one time. Robust and attractive leaves make it the perfect plant for new aquascapers while the seasoned scape can use it to create some spectacular displays.