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Re: Dying Java Ferns

Hi, all

I was prompted by the recent thread on dying Java ferns to post my own
version of the problem. It is basically the same as Lance Tuttle's: 
everything in my 46-gal heavily planted aquarium grows very well, except 
a single Java fern I planted there about 6 weeks ago. It just sits in 
there and does nothing. The plant came from the pet shop with several 
tiny baby plantlets attached to the leaves, but they are all gone now. 
The leaves have a few brown regions that look like decaying material, but 
they don't die or anything. The same brown regions are in the plant since 
I bought it at the pet store and won't go away. The rizome is secured 
partially on the gravel surface and partially on a large piece of 
driftwood (not tied but just stuck into a crevice). 

The tank has an UGF plate acting as a substrate circulation system 
(David Webb's style) and I add PMDD daily doses into the system, not 
directly in the water column. Could this be a factor affecting the Java 
fern, which takes its nutrients directly from the water ? Recently I 
noticed potassium deficiency symptoms in the hygrophyla polysperma that 
I am correcting by increasing the KCl content of my PMDD. Could this 
be a factor in impairing the Java fern growth ? Or is the water just 
too warm (79F) ? About one month ago I used copper treatment to get 
rid of snails. Except for some Val dead leaves, plants didn't seem to
bother. Are Java ferns sensitive to copper ?

Tank parameters:
- light: 90 Watts (2 C50s, 1 GroLux) 12 hours/day
- yeast CO2.
- 3-layer substrate: 1" laterite + crushed vermiculite + sand (pool
  filter, silica) topped with 1" plain sand, topped with 1" 2-3 mm 
- water flow in substrate circulation system is roughly 5 gal/day.
- canister filter with ceramic noodles, floss and PhosGuard while
  the tank settles in (the setup is about 3 months old). I'm about
  to remove the PhosGuard, which might be exausted already.
- 30% water change bi-weekly.
- pH=6.6-6.8, KH=5, GH=8, NO3- ~ 10 ppm, Fe ~ 0.05, temp 78-79 F
- about 45" of fish load (mostly small species + 2 angels and 2 pearl
  gouramis) fed mildly.
- plants: rotala indica, higrophyla polysperma, corkscrew valisneria,
  micranthemum micranthemoides, echinodorus tenellus, echinodorus 
  bleheri (2 specimens), anubias nana, higrophyla difformis, frog bit.
  The Java fern is located under the swordplant leaves, in a shaded 
  area very close to the anubias. The anubias grow quite well though, 
  sending one new leaf / week. Even the water wisteria, which almost 
  died and was reduced to a tiny spec of leaf in the older setup, is 
  growing back to a healty specimen in this same not so brightly-lit 
  region of the tank.

-Ivo Busko
 Baltimore, MD