The Ultimate Guide to Java Fern

Java fern is a popular aquatic plant among aquarium enthusiasts. Its unique appearance and easy maintenance make it a favorite among beginners and experienced hobbyists alike. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about about this easy plant, including how it compares to another popular aquatic plant, the Amazon sword.

Java Fern
Java Fern

Java Fern: An Overview

Java fern, also known as Microsorum pteropus, is a slow-growing aquatic plant native to Southeast Asia. It is a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of water conditions, making it a great choice for beginners. It is known for its long, narrow leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. It can grow up to 13 inches tall and 6 inches wide, making it a great background plant for aquariums.

Java Fern vs Amazon Sword

Java fern and Amazon sword are two popular aquatic plants that are often compared. While both plants can thrive in similar water conditions, there are some key differences between them.


Java fern has long, narrow leaves that grow in a rosette pattern, while Amazon sword has broad, sword-shaped leaves that grow in a fan-like pattern. Java fern also has a darker green color compared to the lighter green of the Amazon sword.

Growth Rate

Microsorum pteropus is a slow-growing plant, while Amazon sword is a fast-growing plant. This means that java fern will require less maintenance and trimming compared to the Amazon sword.


Both plants are relatively easy to maintain. However, java fern is more forgiving when it comes to water conditions and can thrive in low light environments. Amazon sword, on the other hand, requires more light and nutrients to grow.

How to Care for Java Fern

This aquatic plant is a low-maintenance plant, making it a great choice for beginners. Here are some tips for caring for your java fern:

  • Lighting: It can thrive in low to moderate lighting conditions. However, if you want your plant to grow faster, you can provide it with moderate to high lighting.
  • Water Conditions: Java fern can thrive in a wide range of water conditions, but it prefers slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.0-7.5.
  • Fertilization: Fertilizer is not required, but you can add liquid fertilizers or root tabs to promote growth.
  • Propagation: Propagate by dividing the rhizome and planting it in the substrate. It can also reproduce through spores, which can be seen as small brown spots on the underside of the leaves.


Java fern is a beautiful and easy-to-maintain aquatic plant that can add a touch of green to any aquarium. While it may not grow as fast as the Amazon sword, its unique appearance and low-maintenance nature make it a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, java fern is a great addition to any aquarium.

Have you tried growing java fern or Amazon sword in your aquarium? Let us know in the comments.

Chad Latta
Chad Latta

I have over 20 years in the aquarium hobby! My love for writing and passion for helping people have led me to bring you the most effective and up to date information possible, in a way that is easy to understand. Enjoy!