Java Ferns and Bearded Algae

Hi. Great list, this.

Most of the Java Ferns I've ever seen in aquarium store tanks are pretty
scraggly looking but mine is more pathetic looking than most. The rest of
the plants in my tank are quite healthy. But my Java Ferns were struck with
a hairlike, very dark-colored algae (that matches the description of
"Bearded Algae" that I've read in books) that even my vacuum-cleaner
otocincli wouldn't touch. None of my other plants were infected. I pulled
as much as I could off with my fingers, with some success. But some of the
algae grows back. And worse, my leaves are looking totally chewed-up and
full of holes. Even the new shoots coming in are looking rather gnawed
upon. And I have absolutely zero fish in the tank right now so I know it's
not the fish that are chowing down on my plants (my fish are well-behaved
and would never dream of such a thing anyway).

Any clues on what's going on? What are optimum conditions for Java Fern?
How does one solve a bearded algae problem?