black spots on Java Fern? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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black spots on Java Fern?

Wondering what these are and if I should worry about them? I'm suspecting snails, maybe? I'm really new to the aquarium world, including plants! I went in looking for Java Fern specifically, to help with cycling my tank. They had one of the Windelov variety (which I purchased) and two small plants that look like this one. These two were thrown in as a freebie with the other plants I purchased, as they aren't in the best of shape and were the last two of their current stock. However, this is the only leaf with these odd spots on it! I haven't seen any evidence of snails since I've had these plants in my tank. . . really curious about this!







Thanks for looking!
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 12:57 PM
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I don't think it is snails, probably more a nutrient deficiency. Do you use a fertilizer?

One thing I see though is that you have burried the rhizome. That's the rooty mass at the base. If buried, it will begin to rot =/ It's best if Java Fern are tied to to rocks, driftwood, or other decorations. If you can weight it down though, it can grow resting on top of the substrate.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! This plant CAME to me this way, these spots didn't appear in the week or so it's been in my care. I will fix the base, (thanks for that advice!) and no - I haven't added any fertilizer or anything to the tank yet (still working on figuring out the cycle and the fish before I even get to focusing on the plants!)

The other one is in even worse shape, and has blackish lines all over the leaves - as if someone crumpled it like a piece of paper. I've found information regarding that online, but not seeing anything about spots! Both plants have gotten greener and grown a bit since being added to my tank. . . so I guess they like it better here thus far :)
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 01:30 PM
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Looking at your last picture, at the base, it actually almost looks like something growing, maybe algae, but I'm really no expert so maybe someone else will chime in.

Java Fern is pretty slow growing though, for cycling the faster a plant grows the faster it is pulling ammonia out of the water. Ideal plants for this are the floating kind, because they are right up with the light and if their leaves break the surface they can get to CO2 easier.

Every plant helps though! And you really can't have too many ;)
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 03:29 PM
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I recently (well in the past month) added a java fern to one of my aquariums that has something very similar. Stationary, brown/black spots. I think it is some kind of reproductive feature like spores. I've seen them on other true ferns, but I don't know if java fern is a true fern. So I'll hang out here with you until the experts chime in!

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 03:43 PM
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I had Java Fern that had the spots in the past as well. I don't know exactly what it was but it didn't seem harmful at all. Java Fern is one tough plant. I have had a heck of a time getting it to stay where I want because my fish insist on helping in the aquascaping area and seem to enjoy moving the rocks I had piled on the roots so it kept floating around. After a few dozen times of redoing that, I gave up and it floated to the filter intake where it got stuck but that didn't kill it, it just grew and grew. Finally because it was getting so big there, I had to take it off so I tied it to a log but the log flipped over on it and sat like that for awhile. This plant just doesn't die, . Not that I am trying to kill it bit I have been hard on it and it just keeps going and going.

All that said, I agree that if you are using to help with the cycle it might not be the best choice from that perspective but it is a great little plant. What is the plant you have in the background?

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post #7 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input! I'm still curious for a definitive answer on what they are, but am more than happy to take you at your word that they aren't harmful, and glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has 'em!

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Originally Posted by Inga View Post
What is the plant you have in the background?
THAT is Hornwort, purchased for the same reason, and it has DOUBLED in size since I got it :) I got several bunches, and much of that is free-floating. I only 'planted' some of it (and the Java Fern), because I have an African Dwarf Frog in the tank who needs a secure and stable hiding spot/helping hand to the water line. :)

I was also looking for some water sprite, as I've been advised that this is also a great one in helping with ammonia (plus I really like it!), but the LFS was sold out of it.
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 04:24 PM
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Hornwort is also great for ammonia. I have some in my goldfish tank for just that reason. It can double it's size in just a few days. Great plant to have in a cycling tank.

---Izzy

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post #9 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 05:09 PM
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The spots are completely normal, and are sort of like spores I guess... When the plant decides to repsoduce, it will develop plantlets on all those little spots.

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post #10 of 14 Old 03-01-2012, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome! I can't wait for that day! How neat...
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