How to Plant Java Ferns and Anubias on Rocks
Anubias or Java Ferns are excellent options for low light tanks. Unlike most freshwater plants, they can go in aquariums that feature African Cichlids or Goldfish. These two plant species are easy to care for and not demanding at all. You can leave them in the pot, attach them to driftwood, or, like we’re doing here in this week’s blog, plant them on aquarium rocks. They’re the hardiest and easiest to work with.
This tutorial is also available in video format. Please see the video at bottom.
Gathering your Supplies
Anubias, or Java Ferns, that are approximately 3″ – 4” tall and potted. – Texas holey rock, or any aquarium rock with structure. Super Glue Gel
It’s best if you have small plants that are about 3″ – 4″ high in their small black plastic pots. Texas holey rocks measure approximately 5″ to 7″. They’re excellent for Cichlid and Goldfish aquariums because they balance the pH and the hardness. You can also use Okho stone or smooth river rocks. Besides rocks, plastic castles or stones could be used. It should be weighted so it stays in place.
To attach, you could use thread, fishing line, or a rubber band to tie. These aren’t ideal. It is best to use super glue gel from a hardware shop. The gel isn’t super runny. You want to use original super glue, not another type of glue. Cyanoacrylate is the key ingredient. It’s a liquid acrylic. It creates an acrylic bond between the plant and the rock. Gloves are welcome to keep your hands from sticking together.
Let’s get started.
Step by Step: Gluing the Plants to the Rocks
1. The top of the super glue gel can be opened by prying off the cap with the screw-on screwdriver. 2. Prepare the plant. Take the tag off and gently, but firmly, remove it from the pot. 3. As much as possible of the plant rock wool (the cotton-like material around the roots), be removed. You should get to the root level. You can remove it with very gently running water, too. Clean the roots with your hands. Anubias are just one plant in a pot. Java ferns are two or more plants in a pot. 4. Find the rhizome, the largest lateral area of the anubias plant between the roots and leaves. You can also locate the new growth of tiny bud-like leaves growing out of one end of the plant. More leaves develop from the rhizome. This is the part of the rhizome that supports the plant. The rhizome can be covered if you prefer to plant it in gravel. 5. Locate the best place to plant your plant. Natural crevices or dips work well. 6. Use a paper towel to dry the plant roots. 7. Place a thin layer on the rock that is about twice the length of its rhizome. Super glue gel is excellent because it sticks to the rock and doesn’t run off the sides. 8. For about a minute, press the roots and plant rhizome vertically up against the rock. Eventually, all these roots are going to grab onto the rock and hold the plant. 9. Continue with the same process, except this time you will find another rock and a new plant. These are water plants that dry quickly so you should do them in about 10-15 minutes. 10. Once they are dry, you can place them in the tank. They will continue to grow, giving you that jungle look.