A non-linear Schrodinger equation for Langmuir waves is presented. The equation is derived by using a fluid model for the electrons, while both a fluid and a Vlasov formulation are considered for the ion dynamics. The two formulations lead to significant differences in the final results, especially in the expressions concerning the modulation instability of a plane Langmuir wave. When the Vlasov equation for the ions is applied, a Langmuir wave is modulationally unstable for arbitrary perturbations independent of the unperturbed wave amplitude, in contrast to what is found for fluid ions. A simple analogy with negative energy waves explaining the different features of the two cases is outlined.