Java Moss Care Guide for Beginner Aquarists – 2020


Java moss is a plant native to Southeast Asia and to decorate aquariums. It is an easy and affordable way to improve the aesthetics of a freshwater aquarium.


The plant is easy to grow but requires thorough care to ensure that it grows properly. 


In this guide, we cover primary java moss care and maintenance tips. After reading this piece, you will learn how to grow java moss in the aquarium and the ideal water conditions and other factors that promote the growth of moss inside your




Category Rating
Care Level Easy
Aquarium (Tank) Conditions 590F -860F (150C-300C); pH level 5-8
Growth Rate Slow growing
Family Hypnacea  
Lifespan 10 years



Java Moss Overview


Java moss (Calophyllum darbieri) used for aquascaping freshwater aquariums. The aquatic plant helps create a natural environment for the fish inside aquariums.


It can cover the entire aquarium floor. Some aquarists also put the plant on the branches of decorative wood figures to create a java moss tree.


Java moss helps soften the harsh features of the tank and make it look more attractive. These plants also filter the aquarium water, which results in cleaner water for the fish.


Aquarists add the moss to aquariums to make them appear pleasant and eye-catching. The plant also serves as a safe place for the fish to deposit their eggs. Java moss protects the eggs from larger fish who may otherwise eat them. Additionally, the plants also serve as food for the young fry inside your aquarium. The plants are also used in shrimp tanks as they provide a great hiding place to shrimps.


Natural Habitat



Java moss is common in waters around Southeast Asia, including Thailand, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The plant is common in areas with slow-moving, clean water. It introduced to Europe from Java Island that gave its name to the plant.


In the wild, the moss grows near the shores on drowned trees, stones, and snags. The moss can travel to long distances near the beach as it gets air humidity from inshore plant roots.


Java Moss Appearance


Java moss is a green-coloured plant with a soft stem of about 17 cm length covered with small leaves. The leaves of the plant pointed like teeth. Young leaves are light-coloured while older leaves of the plant are dark-coloured.


Java moss plant has rhizoids or thin flippers that consist of different microscopic protozoa. The plant uses the rhizoids to stick to the surfaces. They use stems and leaves for absorbing nutrients and water that are required for the plants to thrive.


Benefits of Adding Moss to the Aquarium


Adding Java moss to the freshwater aquarium will provide various benefits. The main advantage is that the plant will convert metal and other toxic compounds to keep them safe. The moss will also help boost the oxygen level inside the aquarium that is important for all fish.


Java moss also serves as a hiding place for small fish and crustaceans such as shrimp, crabs, and small fish. Your fish will feel relaxed at calm swimming in water containing the moss. The crustaceans will hide behind the moss and keep it clean by eating biofilm and algae.


java moss


How to Plant Java Moss?


Java moss commonly installed as a carpet. To establish a java moss carpet, you should anchor the moss into a flat object. Most people use a mesh net to pint the rug to the substrate.


You can also sprinkle a layer of the substrate into the moss. The moss will grow right through the substrate. The main thing is to allow the moss to grow roots and hold itself to the surface.


You can also use driftwood, stones, and other plants to fix the moss. You can use other things to secure the moss, including zip ties, rubber bands, and speciality plant glues. You can use any item that can weight down and secure the moss inside the aquarium.


Trimming Java Moss


Can leave Java moss to grow wild or you can trim the moss into specific shapes. To shape the moss, you will require an aquascaping toolset consisting of a pair of scissors, tongs, and spatula.


You can use curved scissors to make straight cuts. After trimming the moss, you can use the straight or curved tongs to remove the debris. Can use the spatula to move sand and plants inside the aquarium gently.


You can minimize the debris in the tank when trimming the moss is to use a siphon hose. You should use a hose with 3/8 inch tubing that will have enough suction to remove the moss trimmings without sucking too much water. You can attach the scissor to the siphon tune using a rubber band. In this way, as soon as you cut the moss, Will suck it into the hose.


Aquarium Conditions for Java Moss



Java moss is a resilient plant that will grow in almost any water condition. The plant can grow in a tank with temperatures between 590F -860F (150C-300C). Java moss does not require intense lighting. Medium-level lighting will be adequate for the moss.


For the optimum growth, tepid or slightly saline water is required. The pH value of the water should be between 5 and 8. Consider purchasing a pH reader to ensure optimum water parameters for the growth of the moss.



java moss placement




Placement of Java Moss



The great thing about the moss is that you can place it moss anywhere inside the tank. There is no need to add substrate or worry about root growth. The plant will grow at any place you want. Here are some of the recommended places for the moss inside the aquarium.



Carpeting with Java Moss



Most aquarists use the moss to make green carpet along the aquarium floor. The moss placed between two pieces of plastic grid. You have to attach the grid at the bottom of the tank. Fix the moss on the floor, and it grows through the spaces of the grid. It will fill all the pieces within a few months completely covering the grid pieces.



Java Moss Trees



Another everyday use of the moss is to use the moss to create a tree. You can use a piece of driftwood to grow the moss tree. Just attach pieces of moss to the tree, and it will grow like leaves on a tree. It makes the driftwood appear like a small Bonsai tree inside the aquarium.


Aquarium Walls



You can grow the moss as walls inside the tank. Attach the moss to the wall of the aquarium. The moss will cover the aquarium walls within a few months.



Breeding Mop



Many fish like rainbow fish lay their eggs on plants. The eggs sink to the bottom of the tank and stick at the place. 

Place loose tangles of the moss in the breeding aquarium. After the eggs have hatched, you can move the moss to a different aquarium to raise the fry.



How to Grow Java Moss at Home?



Java moss can cover the entire aquarium. A great thing about the moss is that you can break off a part and attach it elsewhere. The new position will grow inside the aquarium. Propagating the moss in this manner will save you a lot of money. You won’t have to but the moss to cover the entire aquarium.


You can also grow wild the moss in the aquarium. 

Should clean the moss thoroughly before placing it in the aquarium. Add unchlorinated water in a container to cover the moss.


The container should be kept open and inside the house. Avoid placing the moss in direct sunlight as this can kill the moss. Provide moderate fluorescent or LED light.


Leave the wild Java moss in the container for a few days. Check that mould does not appear on the water. If there is mould formation, you need to clean the moss again. Once you see that the water remains clear, you can add the moss inside the aquarium using the technique mentioned above.



Common Problems With Java Moss



Java moss will not grow properly in case of dense growth. Light will not be able to reach the middle sections of the moss in case it grows dense. It will cause the moss in the middle to turn brown and eventually die.


 To ensure that the moss grows appropriately, you must regularly trim the moss to ensure the moss moss’ proper growth.


Another common problem with the moss is growth. Algae proliferate and become attached to the moss. The algae growth can become a severe problem due to which you have to remove all the moss and start again. To prevent algae growth, you should maintain the right water conditions.


You can also add algae-eating fish such as rock beauty angelfish or Amano shrimp to keep the algal population under control inside the aquarium. These will eat the soft algae and also dead plant matter inside the tank.


They will also clean the moss that will promote healthy growth. You can also treat the moss with algae growth using a chemical product formulated to kill algae such as the Seachem Flourish Excel. Pour the liquid to the affected area at the recommended tank dosage.   



Related Questions



How Fast Does Java Moss Grow?



Java moss does not grow at a fixed rate. The water conditions and lighting conditions determine how fast it will grow. Water conditions that affect the growth of moss include pH level and temperature. Moss growth in medium light of 2 to 4 watts per gallon of fluorescent light will be faster than in low light conditions.


Depending on the lighting and water conditions, 

A new piece of the moss inside the aquarium will take about 3 to 4 weeks to attack the surface. It will take about four months for the moss carpet to cover the entire tank. 



How Can I Make Java Moss Grow Faster?



Java moss grows fast in ideal water conditions. It is said to develop the best if the water temperature kept between 70F and 75F (21C and 24C). The water will get faster growth and remain healthy in calmer waters.


Another critical point to note is that the moss tends to grow faster under bright lights. The water circulation level also affects the growth of moss. It grows quicker in properly circulated water.


But avoid high circulation as it can clog the filter and break apart the moss. You should keep the moss away from strong powerheads and direct water flow.


Fertilizers are not necessary for the moss to grow well. But it will grow faster if you use liquid additives as a fertilizer for the plant. Moreover, you can also use pressurized C02 to make the moss grow fast.


Lastly, moss grows well if you clean it regularly. Consider weekly vacuuming to suck up food particles and other waste. It will ensure the rapid growth of the moss.


Resist the temptation to move the moss around inside the tank. It is essential as the moss will not grow fast if it is continuously moved around inside the tank. The moss will overgrow if it does not move after it fixes itself at a location.



Christmas Moss vs Java Moss: What’sWhat’s the Difference?



Christmas moss (Vesicularia Montagne) is often mistaken for the java moss. Both look similar at first glance. But if you take a closer look, you will see that java moss has a straight branch without sprouts while the Christmas moss has tiny sprouts growing symmetrically from the branch stem.


The shoots get smaller toward the top, thereby representing a fir-tree or Christmas tree shape from which the moss’ name comes. Moreover, the leaves of the Christmas moss are more rounded with a sharp end.


Other similar moss is the weeping moss native to China. The leaf shape is identical to the Christmas tree, but it has branches of a weeping willow tree. Moreover, the leaves are two times smaller than doesn’t taper sharply at the end. 



How Long Can Java Moss Live in Aquarium?



The life of the Java moss depends on different conditions. Under optimal conditions, the moss can last for up to 10 years. It would help if you kept the mosses in moderately cool water. Moreover, moderate level lighting is essential to ensure the proper growth of the moss.



Can Java Moss Grow on Land?



Java moss is the tardigrade of the plant world. The plant can grow in both water and land. Java moss that grows on the water is smaller and brighter than thrives on the ground.



Why Does My Java Moss Keep Dying?



Java moss turns brown when they are dying. The most common reason for the moss to die is the lack of proper lighting. The plant cannot thrive in low light conditions. If the moss keeps breaking, you should use a brighter light for the tank.


Another reason that your java moss keeps dying is when it planted too thick. It will prevent the light from reaching the lower layers. Bright sunlight is required if you want dense moss growth. With proper light, the moss will bounce back to life and turn green again. 



Where to Buy Java Moss?



You can find java moss for sale in stores that sells live plant. You can buy java moss from the Petco store. But live aquarium plants even of reputable sellers often contain algae.


It would help if you gave the moss a bleach dip to kill algae or mould growth. To do the bleach dip, you will need straight bleach without any additives, two containers, tap water, and de-chlorinator.


First mix about one part bleach with 20 parts water in a container. Fill the second container with the same amount of water and five times the chlorinator dose you usually use for the aquarium.


Take the moss bought from the store. Next, you should place the moss in the container containing the bleach solution for up to 20 seconds.


Afterwards, it would help if you put the moss in the container with de-chlorinated tap water. Allow the moss to soak in the water for up to 30 minutes and then place it in the aquarium.



Wrapping it All Up



Java moss is easy to grow in the aquarium. Most beginner aquarists won’t have much trouble in taking care of moss. The guide provides primary care and maintenance tips for optimal moss growth in freshwater aquarium.


Apart from improving the aquarium’s appearance, the moss also helps enhance water quality and keep algal growth under check.


The java moss care tips mentioned in the article will help ensure that the moss proliferates and remain healthy in the aquarium.


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