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Many people keep killifish in bare tanks, but it is possible for many plants to thrive with no substrate and in low light conditions


Java Fern (Microsorium pteropus) (Fig. 1) South East Asia. Java fern is one of the most regularly used plants in a killifish aquarium. It will attach itself to rocks and wood (especially if attached first for a couple months using elastic bands). It forms large clumps that are not palatable to must 'plant eating' species of fish and snail.

Its roots also act as a good spawning substrate for plant spawners; in fact many fish will ignore spawning mops if java fern is present. Propagation: rhizome separation, and through baby plants that appear on existing leaves (Fig. 1b)

Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) South East Asia. Java moss is not only a great spawning substrate for many plant spawning fish, but is also a good refuge for fry; it provides cover and essential infusoria. This plant is quick growing in or out of water, and like java fern will attach itself to rocks and wood. Some people have even sucessfully attached it to the glass backs of aquariums.

Java Moss (Bolbitis heudelotii) Tropical Africa. African water fern is very similar to java fern in its ability to thrive whilst attached to wood and rocks. Bolbitis does however prefer some water flow, and does better in tanks with filter flow directed at it. Propagation: again by rhizome separation.

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)


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US ebay listings

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Canadian ebay listings

Large Java Fern Live Aquarium Plant

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Java Moss Live Aquarium Plant

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