Java Fern Spores: Must-Know Propagation Tips For Aquarists

Java Fern is primarily used in aquariums as a decoration since it’s suitable for a wide variety of tanks due to its hardness and adaptability. This plant’s most attractive feature is lush green leaves, which range in several shapes and colors. The leaves are long, thick, and thrive rapidly. When mature, the Fern can reach a height of 13–14 inches.

Although there are several ways to propagate Java Fern, spore propagation is an exciting process that many aquarists are eager to do. If you are also enthusiastic about propagating from Java Fern spores, this article is for you. So, don’t miss out!

How Do You Propagate Java Ferns From Spores?

Propagating Java Ferns from spores is easy peasy. Just follow some tips below to have a fast growth of your plant.

  • Firstly, in order to propagate your plant, you need to harvest spores when they are plump and slightly furry.
  • Then, select a healthy frond and place it in a plastic bag to dry out. A frond should be about 6 to 8 inches long.
  • When you notice the leaf is dry, shake the plastic bag to anchor the spores down to the bottom surface.
  • Put the spores in an unglazed pot with a peat mixture.
  • Next, place the pot in a plant saucer filled with water so the moisture can seep up the entire mixture.
  • Now, put the pot into a plastic bag. Then, place it in a new location with full sun (at least 65 °F).
  • Over time, Fern spores should develop on their own with little fuss. Just wait until the peat’s surface appears with a slime-like green coating. Several months later, you’ll observe some small fronds forming from the slime.

Do Java Ferns Have Spores?

Yes, Java Fern plant has spores. In nature, this plant tends to reproduce through its spores. Fern spores are reproductive units capable of giving rise to a new plant. They’re often found in a casing with teardrop-shaped, called sporangia.

The spores resemble tiny dots and tend to be harvested for propagation. To propagate ferns from spores, aquarists need time and effort to make the plant thrive beautifully.

How Long Does It Take For Java Fern To Propagate?

The propagating process depends on the circumstances. But unlike most aquarium plants, Java Fern grows quite slowly. It takes around 2-3 weeks to grow. However, when the plant is provided with appropriate fertilizers, proper lighting, CO2, and regular water change in a healthy environment, Java Fern can thrive faster.


You can notice a new leaf every week. Some can observe that the Java Fern grows an inch a month, depending on the environment. But ensure to supply your plant with enough lighting since insufficient light may slow the growth rate.

How To Take Care Of Java Fern

Java Fern care and maintenance are relatively easy since it is low-maintenance and can easily adjust to different environments. It is such an ideal choice for aquarists of all skill levels. But ensure to meet its minimum requirements for the plant to thrive.

Tank size

For optimal Java Fern’s growth, it’s recommended to have a tank of at least 10 gallons in volume. Tanks smaller than that could end up stunting the plant’s growth.

However, since the plant can quickly fill up the tank when it is mature, it is advisable to opt for a tank above 10 gallons.

Tank requirements

One of the most vital things about Java Fern care is to mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. In nature, the plant grows alongside rivers, streams, and waterfalls.

The Java Fern grows best in warm conditions with soft, slightly acidic water, so keep the tank’s pH, temperature, and lighting similar to that of a tropical forest.

  • Water type: Freshwater
  • Water temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 2 to 15 dKH


Java Fern can adapt to most lighting conditions. However, it prefers low to moderate light levels.

Excessive lighting can cause several problems for the plant, such as burn spots on the leaves or losing color and turning transparent.


Java Fern can draw nutrients from the water through its leaves, meaning it does not need fertilizer. However, in case you want to facilitate faster growth, consider adding liquid fertilizer to the tank twice a week.

Water change

Java Fern prefers oxygenated water, so consider changing the water regularly to help the plant grow faster. For example, you may change 25% of your tank’s water every 2 weeks.


The plant doesn’t draw nutrients from the substrate like other plants. Instead, absorption happens in the leaves rather than through the roots. Hence, avoid planting a Java Fern in substrates such as gravel and rocks because doing so can rot the rhizome or even lead to death.

CO2 supply

The plant does not need CO2 to grow, but providing it will speed up the growth process.


Like other plants in the tank, Java Fern is susceptible to disease. Java Fern melt is one widespread problem that the plant faces. The symptom includes large brown spots on the leaves that cause the Fern to turn mush and rot away. The areas can become more prevalent if the plant is not treated correctly, leading to severe health problems and death.

Java Fern melt typically occurs due to improper lighting conditions, poor nutrition, or too much algae in the tank. If you don’t address the issue, the melt can take over.

But luckily, the problem can easily be solved. To treat melt, remove the affected leaves, turn off the lights for several days, and give the plant enough time to recover. Besides, boost the algae conditions until the plant’s health improves. Giving the plant a boost of fertilizer can help, too.

Wrapping Up

So, now you’ve learned how to propagate from Java Fern spores and several golden tips to take care of your plant. Although Java Fern is easy to care for because it has minimal environmental requirements, it is advisable to provide the plant with sufficient lighting, water parameters, and nutrition to make it healthy all year round.