Microsorium Pteropus


Common names are Siamese Sword Fern and Java Fern

Java fern is found in the Tropical Southeast Asia.

Microsorium pteropus is a fern that grows to about 8 inches tall.  The leaves are light green on a creeping rhizome.  Leaves grow off the rhizome singly.  They have a stem and are lanceolate in shape.  Java fern grows better on wood and stones than in the ground.  If they are planted do not bury their rhizomes in the ground.  M. pteropus is an adventitious plant .   This means that new plantlets start growing on various parts of the parent plant; in Java ferns they grow along the leaf margins.  It can also have its rhizome divided as a way of propagating it.  The recommended requirements for M. pteropus is a temperature of 68-82  with a pH of 5.5-7.5

When I received this plant, I immediately placed in my 55 gallon tank.  I used a rubber band to hold it to a large piece of wood that was in my tank.  After about two weeks the roots had taken hold on the wood so I removed the rubber band.  There are two 4' fluorescent lights above this tank, so it was highly lighted.  It was placed with other slow growing plants and cichlids.  I did not know the pH of my water.  I do water change of 25-30% about once a week (sometimes I do an extra small water change).  The temperature in this tank is about 78-80  F.  It grew slowly but steady.  After several weeks I noticed new leaves growing out of the ends of other leaves(they also had some roots on them).   (At this time I did not know this was an adventitious plant).  I wondered if there was something wrong with it, but since it seemed to growing alright I left it alone.  Occasionally as I was cleaning the tank, I knocked a few of these leaves off the main plant (along with a piece of the leaf it came off of).  Many of these I threw out but I left one floating in the tank.  This little piece did not grow very well.  However, it stayed green and did grow slightly so I kept it.  Later reading some books on plants, I realized that those leaves were new plants.  I no longer throw them out.  I placed a new leaf on rock in 25 gallon tank.  It is growing slowly.  There are many leaves with new plants on the leaves on the original plant.  My main plant grew to about 5" tall.

© Copyright 1999-2003 Lisa Boorman
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Suggested Reading:

Aquarium Plants : Their Identification, Cultivation and Ecology by Karel Rataj & Thomas J. Horeman

Aquarium Plants Manual by Ines Scheurmann

To check other plant references:

Plant and Pond Book List

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