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Re: Questions about Java Moss/Java Fern
alsup at localnet_com wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I'm just getting back into killies after a 35 year lapse. My God, how the hobby
> has changed!! RO stuff, special gravels, filters I never dreamed of way back
> then, and on and on.
Welcome back! I took about 25 years off to raise a family and build a
company, so know just how you feel. The basics haven't changed much, so
you'll be back in the swing quicker than you think.
Wait 'til you discover how many cheap, small plastic containers are
available to do what was expensive 35 years ago!
Surprise 2 is that we know less about what our fish are called than we
did in 1960! Science has dramatically influenced nomenclature, to all
our frustration. Fortunately we learned to identify them by location or
collection code, so we quit killing off nice aquarium fish by
inadvertent hybrid sterility. Typical club conversations these days
might be, "How are your GH2s doing?" "Just fine, but the GBN 88/10s are
not giving me any eggs. Do you have any M'Bonge's left?"
This drives newbies (and old returnees) absolutely wild, but it
eventually starts to make sense. :-) We can keep them off balance by
using Scheel's three-letter abbreviations here on killitalk, too. If SJO
and AUS start to make sense, we make up a few of our own. :-) See:
for one list of such TLAs. ;-)
> Among the things different is the availability of Java moss/Java fern. I have
> some fish coming to me soon, and I was able to get what was said to be some Java
> moss at my LFS. It came in a bunch, each seperate strand about 6 inches long,
> and doesn't seem to be joined at the bottom as I would expect a plant to be.
> It's just sitting there loose - I took the rubber band off - in my 10 gal. tank.
> 1)Is this Java moss or Java fern? The few pics of java moss I was able to find
> on the web looked more like some kind of thready algae or very thin stems.
It can be a wad of tangled fibers, but each strand has little
side-branches on it. It is a real fern, lacking roots, flowers, etc. It
also lacks real stems, like Anachris or Hornwort have, but each strand
is fuzzy with the short side branch having the same kind of fuzzy
leaflets. Overall effect of a mature bunch is very much like a wad of
> 2)Should it be planted in some kind of container? I'm using a bare tank, with
> the idea of breeding, so there is no gravel for it to be rooted in, and I don't
> know if it should be rooted in anything anyway.
It works just sitting there, but it can be tied to rocks or driftwood to
give special visual effects. It can penetrate and get horribly tangled
in mops, if you let it.
> 3) How much light should it get? I don't want to make the breeding fish
> uncomfortable, yet I want the plant to grow. Presently it is getting only
> indirect light during the day, almost a twilight situation in the evening to
> about 2 AM (I keep late hours), and light from an overhead room fixture from a
> 100 watt bulb at night (2 AM to sunrise). Is this sufficient, or will I need a
> lighted hood, or what?
My Java moss and fish have always done best with lighted hoods. You can
use a little 9W or 13W compact fluorescent over a 10G tank and it will
grow nicely without searing the eyes of the fish. It provides good shade
and cover when it fills in. Until then, float a few mops for the fish to
hide in. Put lamps on a timer, though, as I have sterilized fish by
denying them a daily light cycle.
IMHO, I doubt if you have enough light for it to grow very well, but it
(unlike other plants) probably will not die at that level.
Java Fern is a different-looking plant with broad leaves a bit like a
swordplant, but few roots and a generally darker green coloring and more
wrinkly. The leaves grow from a join point rhizome with a few hair-like
dark roots that can also be tied to a log or rock, where they eventually
will attach. Propagation is by plantlets off edges of old leaves,
usually. Spores form but rarely cause new plants, IME. Doesn't like
deeper planting in gravel. It sinks, so I just let it settle on whatever
substrate the tank has and eventually it attaches to gravel grains or a
It, too, seems to survive in very low light.
Wright Huntley -- 209 521-0557 -- 731 Loletta Ave, Modesto CA 95351
"The main political divide of our time is between those who trust
the state and those who do not." -- Alberto Mingardi
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