HELP! My Java ferns are dying!!! - Plant Deficiencies - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 02-14-2014, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation HELP! My Java ferns are dying!!!

Hi. For the life of me, I can't figure out what's wrong! I've had one of these ferns for 4 years and didn't have any problems until about 8 months ago when it began systematically loosing leaves.

I'll start from the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew I wanted a fish tank, so I bought a little 5 gallon, with gravel, fake plants, decorations and a few guppies to help condition the tank. In hind sight, I now know I was supposed to cycle the tank first, but as I stated, I had no idea what I was doing, so I learned as I went. I lost most of those first few guppies due to elevated ammonia and nitrates as I had not cycled the tank... I pushed on, following the advice of a local pet shop, I got a 10w fluorescent bulb, a java fern and a few more guppies. Things were harmonious for 2 whole years. (I even took care of a friend's 29 gallon tank and managed to breed my own guppies). At about that 2 year mark, I lost my oldest guppy, and for awhile I had her babies to care for, but they eventually died as well due to the stress of losing their tank mates (or that's the reason I attributed their deaths to). Through that whole 3rd year, I experimented with rocks, drift wood and more guppies. I added an anubis. And it seemed to do just as well as my Java fern. (Keeping in mind, through all three years, I never once needed to fertilize, or add a single thing for the plants specifically.) I eventually got sick of guppies as they just don't last long and breed like mad, so I let them die out and formed a new plan for my tank. This is about when my Java fern lost it's first leaf. I discovered the existence of a freshwater puffer fish that would fit in my small tank. I just need to change substrate, add rock caves and more plants. This took me some months as I'm on a limited income, but piece by piece I got it ready for my prize fish. Through the months it took me to change my tank over, my Java fern continued to loose a leaf at a time; a leaf would start by turning yellow until the whole thing was dead. I thought maybe I just needed to prun it, but that didn't seem to help. I continued with my renovation and changed the gravel to sand. I added Root Tabs to the sand and a fertilizer to the water; I have continued to do this on a semi weekly basis, but have not seen any improvement. I planted another Java Fern and some Scarlet Temple, added the rock caves, some malaysian trumpet snails and got my puffer fish. I continue to add Root Tabs and Leaf Zone (fertilizer) on a semi weekly basis, but despite my best efforts, both Java ferns are are continuously loosing leaves even though my Anubis and Scarlet Temple seem to be thriving. The only other thing I can think of is adding a CO2 booster, which I have not yet tried.
ANY advice would be appreciated.

Lighting: Aqueon Colormax Mini Compact Fluorescent 10 Watt Lamp
Additions: API Root Tabs and API Leaf Zone, along with API Stress Zyme+ and a Top Fin Water Conditioner.
Both the Old Java fern and the new Java fern are loosing the relatively older leaves, it has produced a few small leaves during this time, but it is loosing leaves faster than it is replacing them and the new leaves are a quarter of the size of the original leaves. Occasionally, even a new leaf will develop yellow discoloration that gives way to brown.
I've attached 3 pictures, although, for whatever reason, they were rotated when I uploaded them and I can't figure out why: the first is the oldest Java fern as seen from the front of the tank, the second is of the New Java fern, the Anubis, and the Scarlet Temple as seen from an angled front view of the tank, the third is a side view showing the Scarlet Temple and the New Java fern.
Hope these help. Thanks for helping me with my post.
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Last edited by Bubblegum_Bliss; 02-15-2014 at 02:18 PM..
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HELP! My Java ferns are dying!!!

Hi Amanda, welcome to APC!

We really need to see a close up photo of the java fern, and the other plants in the tank.

Are the old Java fern leaves dying or the new? Is the fern putting out new healthy leaves or not growing?

What lighting do you have on the 5 gallon tank?

Also, I moved your post to the plant deficiency forum since it seems to be about solving a plant issue.
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