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Caring for Aquatic Ferns

Aquarium ferns are a wonderful addition to any aquatic environment. They’re not just visually appealing, but they also contribute significantly to the tank’s ecosystem. Here’s a friendly guide on how to care for them:

Immersed grown Broadleaf Bolbitis (Bolbitis heteroclita)


1. Selecting the Right Fern: There’s a wide variety of aquatic ferns available, including many variants of Java ferns, like Trident fernsWindelov ferns, and Narrowleaf varieties. There are also a few African Bolbitis types, and plenty of Water Sprites.

Each of these has its own unique traits and care needs, so it’s important to choose one that fits well with your tank and your level of expertise.


Submerged Java Fern (Microsorium Pteropus)

2. Lighting: While most ferns are low- light species, all ferns need SOME amount of light to thrive. Bolbitis tend to be more demanding than most others.

So, it’s best to place your fern in a part of the tank where it can get enough light without being overshadowed by other plants or decorations.

3. Water Conditions: Most ferns are robust and can grow in tanks with low light, CO2 levels, and limited added fertilizer. They typically prefer a pH of 6-7.5 and a temperature of 68-82 °F (20-28 °C).

4. Placement: Ferns can be grown either partially or fully submerged in your aquarium. They can be attached to driftwood, rocks, or other tank decorations, or even allowed to free- float. This is because they can take nutrients directly from the water column.

5. Fertilizer: Using a liquid fertilizer can help keep your aquatic ferns healthy and vibrant. But remember, moderation is key. Many are not quick growers, so over-fertilizing can lead to unwanted algae growth.

6. Propagation: You can propagate ferns using the plantlets that grow on their leaves and the rhizomes that grow at the base of the plant.

Just pinch/ snip them off and replant!

7. Benefits: Ferns offer several benefits to your aquarium’s ecosystem. They absorb gases like CO2, nitrates, and ammonia from the water, effectively purifying it for your fish.

They also add oxygen to the water during the day as a by-product of photosynthesis.

Plus, ferns provide excellent hiding spots for small fish, fish fry, aquatic snails, and shrimp, protecting them from larger predator fish.

Ferns are an exciting addition to your planted nano tank. They are easy growers, and often quick to propogate themselves!

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