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Old 12-14-2012, 05:52 PM   #1 
Leopardfire's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Texas
How to keep aquatic ferns

I just got some new Java and El Nino ferns and I put them in my 20 gallon. I don't know anything about aquatic plants, but I read somewhere that ferns die if you burry their roots. Right now, all the roots are buried and its been a few days and the ferns still look good. Is it true that ferns will die if they are buried and should I remove mine?

Also is there anything special I should do for my plants. I have eco complete substrate, but do I need to buy fertilizers for them too? I have quite a few
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:01 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Yes, the rhizome needs to be exposed. It's not a root, it's actually more like a stem that new growth springs from. If you bury it, it will eventually rot and the plant will die. It's the most important part of the plant; even if all the leaves died the plant could live because the rhizome could sprout new leaves. If you don't want the plant to float, tie the rhizome to a rock or a piece of driftwood.

Most ferns like iron, and they take most of their nutrients from the water column since they don't have a traditional root system, so if you were to dose your tank with iron you would probably see excellent growth.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:06 PM   #3 
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Ok thanks, I guess I will have to get some rocks. Also, could someone recommend a supplement brand to use for my tank? I have ferns, anubias, amazon swords, and water wystieria, so what kind would be best for all of these?
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:19 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North Central, OH
I'm pretty sure el nino fern isn't fully aquatic. (could be wrong, but dont think I am) - i'd research it.
As for the java fern, you can bury the roots if you want as long as the rhizome is exposed, I have some of my babies planted this way and they are doing fine, but the ones I have tied to driftwood seem to be growing faster.
A good fertilizer is flourish comprehensive. Can be used for all of them. Dose 1x a week I dose 6ml in my 26 gallon, so i'd suggest 5ml or a little lower/week.

Also just making sure that you know that your anubias and amazon sword's rhizome/crown needs to be above substrate as well. roots can still be buried though.
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