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Java Moss Ultimate Care Guide 2021

What is Java moss?

Java moss is a very nice aquarium plant that uses to decor your tank especially in aquascaping.

Java moss is one of the easiest and popular aquarium plant among aquascaping experts. It is easy to care for and grow therefore having a small clump of these plants can produce a massive underwater forest.

Some fish keepers so hard trying to give natural ambiance to their fish.

This is the best aquarium plant in the world that you can go with.

Java moss

Why I am saying this even beginner fish keeper can easily care and can create an underwater forest that gives the extract natural ambiance similar to the wild rivers and streams.

Quick look

If you visit tropical rivers and streams, you can observe well grown Java moss within the underwater tree branches, trunks, and rocks.

Therefore it is well growing in tropical climatic conditions. This article will give you a full guide about java moss keeping.

You will realize that how it is easy for a beginner fish keeper to grow and the required conditions for its optimum growth.

Java moss belongs to the family Hyphaceae. The scientific name of Java moss is Taxiphyllum barbieri. There quick stats as follows,

  • Scientific name – Taxiphyllum barbieri
  • Care – Easy
  • Genus – Taxiphyllum
  • Growth – Moderate 
  • Optimum temperature – 70-80F 
  • Optimum pH level – 5-8
  • Water hardness – 6-20dGH
  • Lightning – Moderate lightning is prefer
  • Tank placement – Good carpeting for mid and foreground of the tank
  • Average plant size- 4 inches (10cm)

Note: Many fish keepers get confused with its scientific name. Formerly it was called Vesicularia dubyana but currently most of the time we are not using that name.

We are using Taxiphyllum barbieri as for sale the java moss so on. Be aware of that!.

Source Wikipedia

Java moss overlook

Java Moss

Java moss is a fantastic addition to any aquarium. And it gives a super cool aquascaping.

Since it is easy to grow and maintain, itself this plant can get attach to various gravel, rocks, driftwood, and other aquarium decorations keep in the tank.

This aquarium plant consists of irregular shape well branch tiny stems completely covered by the oval shaped leaves which are 2mm in length.

It covers the entire length of the stem. This java moss plant can grow well in both emerge and submerge. It has lots of tentacle like feet which are called rhizoids.

They use rhizoids to attach or anchor themselves to a surface.

Do not get mislead thinking these rhizoids as roots. Because these tentacle like structures are not grounded or provide any nutrients to the plant.

Only use for the anchor to a surface.

These get benefits from water column fertilization which are absorbed by these tiny leaves and stems. Therefore we can conclude that real roots are absent in java moss.

This helps to keep java moss in any place at the tank, in any decoration.

As I told earlier, this plant is formely named Vesicularia dubyana. The reason for changing the name is having insufficient proofs concluding that one found in wild is not the plant sold in the aquarium trade.

But there are still debates on those two plants.

Even if you ask from an aquarium plant store still you can have vesicularia instead of the real java moss.

Before changing the name both vesicularia and real java moss are identified and many people called it as,

  •  Christmas moss
  •  Singapore moss
  • Dubious bladder moss 
  • Mini moss 
  • Triangular moss etc.

Java moss for sale?

Yes, you can find this super cool aquarium plant on online stores or local fish stores around for about 3$ cost. Please be sure to use latin name when buying the java moss.

Java moss origin and distribution

It is native to Southeast Asia. Therefore this plant is originated and well distributed in the following regions/ countries.

  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam 
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines 
  • Java Island 
  • East Indian archipelago

So java moss grows well in tropical climatic conditions.

If you go to Singapore you can observe these plants widely spread on the rocks, tree trunks of Singapore rivers, streams. That is why people called it Singapore moss.

Java moss appearance

It has a tiny stem that grows up to about 4 inches(10cm). Also consists of oval shape tiny leaves along the entire stem which is about 2mm in length.

When you buying it from the fish store if it has a green color, indicates that your java moss plant is healthy and young.

With time it will turn into a bright dark green hue. It says that leaves that grow inside the tank are smaller than leaves grown above the tank or which grows on the land.

Java moss benefits

Is java moss good for aquarium?

Yes, It is widely used for aquascaping. Aquascaping is the art of arranging or crafting the driftwood, rocks in a manner of decoration similar to gardening.

Many aquarists use to cover the floor and walls of the tank by creating a java moss wall, java moss tree or java moss carpet.

Thereby rapid growth help to create an underwater forest. it also helps to provide hiding places for many shy fish in your tank as well.

As a java moss carpet

Carpeting with java moss produces a nice green color floor covering. It will add beauty to the tank as well.

How to create a Java moss carpet?

Java moss carpet

You need several square shape mesh or plastic grids( you can select them according to your tank size). Then you need several pieces of string to attach moss to the mesh tidely.

Here are the steps,

  1. Take the mesh or plastic grid, use the aquarium moss to fill each space in the mesh.
  2. Then each moss filled mesh tide up using the strings
  3. Next, cut off/ trim off moss using an aquarium scissor and now repeat for all the mesh or grids.
  4. Now arrange each mesh on the floor of the tank like a carpet, with time it will grow and make a very beautiful carpet.

Java moss carpet

Creating a java moss wall

You can prepare in a similar manner as mentioned under carpeting. Instead of covering the floor here, you can use it to attach mesh into the wall.

Java moss Tree creation

Java Moss tree

It is not difficult to create a java moss tree. The only thing you need to find out a small tree trunk with several branches and attach aquarium moss to it.

With time it will grow and create a nice decoration that is similar to a small bonsai tree.

So you can try it on your tank. This tree is one of my favorite way of aquascaping the aquarium moss. The most important use of java moss in an aquarium is to provide the space for egg scatters to lay egg.

Egg scatters such as Rasbora, Tetras, Barbs prefer to lay eggs on it.

When they lay eggs it sinks and gets sticks to the plant, so gives more safer and protection from aggressive fish within the tank. even after egg hatch little fry can safely hide on these dense aquarium moss.

And also act as a food source for this little fry. These little babies eat small organisms named infusoria within these aquarium moss.

Therefore aquarium moss has multifunctionality as a spawning mop.

Java moss tree

In addition, the moss plant is well suited for tanks keeping the shrimps like Cherry shrimp or Amano shrimp as they are algae eaters, clear algae on the aquarium moss.

java moss also provides extra oxygen and helps to aerate the tank as well.

Java moss tank requirements.

This is a hardy plant. We normally say if an aquarium plant is hardy it can well accept the changes in water. And also can be grown in different water conditions.

Even this plant can grow on both brackish and freshwater.

But experts say it is better to give Southeast Asian water conditions as much as possible. Since this plant is a tropical plant, it requires a slightly cooler temperature for optimum growth.

Thereby its growth diminishes in the warm water. In the cooler temperature, it grows faster and healthier. So required optimum conditions are as follows,

Java moss temperature

Generally, it needs temperature around 60-80f at the optimum level. As mentioned earlier cooler environment well suit but it also can tolerate up to about 30C.

pH level

It requires a pH of 5-8 for optimum growth, but it prefers slightly acidic soft water.

Java moss water hardness

These plants require water hardness around 6-20dGH.

When it comes to Java moss light requirements

It can easily grow under moderate and high light conditions. I prefer moderate lighting. If you give bright light it can grow faster, even become hard to get rid of.

A major problem that arises when you give the high light is algae formation.

Yes, it grows faster, dense, and compact. But once algae formed it is difficult to get out. The only thing you have to do then is throw away to avoid happening that further.

From my experience I use floating aquarium plants on the top of the water, it filters a lot of light thereby helps to reduce the chances of getting algae.

You can also try this in your home tanks.

As I told it can also grow in the presence of low light, I have my personal experience regarding that. Once I forget 3-6 clumps of java moss in a closed bucket after a month it has grown to a dense pack.

I was excited, then you decide how fast do they grow in presence of bright light.

CO2 and filtration

It is better to have a good filtration system to remove dirt within the tank. Otherwise, it can alter the water parameters and can cause damage to java moss.

If you can provide plenty of CO2 it will grow faster than normal growth. But giving CO2 is not compulsory. As I told earlier these plants are a good source of oxygen.

Better to give them a moderate water flow with a strong filtration!


Java moss is not a root feeder. It doesn’t have roots so giving fertilizer is not essential very much. Therefore you can give supplement nutrition with the water column fertilizers.

You can buy these supplementary fertilizers from local pet stores and online stores.

Cleaning the tank

Have a plan to change the water weekly or monthly regular basis. It is a general thing to clean the aquarium tanks regularly.

If you choose weekly basis can change 5% of water, if monthly basis only 20% water change is accepted.

When you cleaning, do not use any chemical or soup. Be sure to use a gravel vacuum cleaner to remove dirt in the gravel, driftwood, tree trunks, and other decorations of the tank.

Tank size

If you are going to have this plant better use a minimum of 10 gallon water tanks. Because it grows faster easily.

Java moss maintenance and care

Clean the dirt on java moss

With time debris such as fish waste and uneaten food can collect and accumulate on the plant. The resulting ammonia and nitrate levels will change the water conditions.

It can highly affect plant growth so to avoid that take the plant out of the tank and rinse thoroughly in the running water.

If your java moss attaches into driftwood or another tree trunk you can take out the whole decor and rinse in the water. I hope you get the point!

Trimming the aquarium moss

As the plant gets grow faster you need to periodically trim it. You can cut the overgrown parts using an aquarium scissor.

Thereafter it will grow rapidly and densely. It helps to grow healthier, how? After trim, it will densely grow and light can not penetrate into the inside aquarium moss ball or the big mass.

It controls light and the growth rate.

Java moss growth and propagation

Java moss

How to grow aquarium moss?

When you are going to install aquarium moss for the first time you need to be sure it is secure, free from foreign bodies. There you need to bleach and dechlorinate the plant.

You can follow the below steps to do a bleach dip for aquarium moss,

What equipment do you need? You need two buckets, a dechlorinator, a bleaching agent, and a running water source or tap water.


  1. Take the two buckets, fill one bucket one bleach with 20 parts of water. Other bucket also fills with the same amount of water and add 4-5 times the normal dose of dechlorinator. 
  2. Take the aquarium moss plant out of the tank and discard all water on it. 
  3. Now immerse in bleaching solution for about 20 seconds and immediately take out and put into the dechlorinating solution and keep for several minutes. 

Now it is ready for planting!

How fast does aquarium moss grow?

Generally, it says that it is a slow growing plant but from my experience, I have seen it grow fast into a dense mass under the bright light. Within 1-2 days, it will multiply to produce many daughter plants.

Aquarium moss propagates and produces new daughter plants through rhizoids. So if you want to propagate first separate one little clump into several small pieces.

Plant those single parts in driftwood and mesh etc.

even if you left one single part on the water surface after few days it will turn into a mass of java moss ball.

so easy to grow and propagate. I hope you get the point.

Common problems arise when keeping aquarium moss?

There are few problems, that occurs as a result of rapid growth,

Your filter may clog with these aquarium moss if you not trimm regularly.

Another thing if not prune regularly it will grow rapidly and take over all the free space in the tank.

The major problem associate with java moss is the algae formation, as I told earlier you can use floating plants to filter excess light coming into the tank or you can use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of algae.

There you need to inject 20-25% hydrogen peroxide and let it soak for few hours and refill the tank.


Hydrogen peroxide will not cause any harm to your fish or java moss, it will only act against algae, or else you can manually remove algae using a small brush. There be careful not to damage leaves.

If it grows into a dense underwater forest, will mask other aquarium plants and will not get enough light for growth. So be aware!


Generally, there is no problem keeping the fish with aquarium moss. Best tank mates are messy algae lovers. Therefore best tank mates are Green dragon pleco, Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp, And catfish, etc.

But do not keep with aggressive fish species like cichlids, they damage the plant as well.

Where can I get Java moss?

you can buy aquarium moss from local pet stores or online through the internet. Aquarium moss is a popular plant all over the world you will not face any trouble finding it.

Most of the pet stores have their own nursery to grow these aquarium plants. So no worries at all even you can ask your friend if he has. Be sure to bleach and dechlorinate before planting in the tank.


If you are a fish enthusiastic who loves keeping aquarium plants and aquascaping. Here java moss is the great choice for you. Because it is easy to care for and maintain.

Even beginner fish keepers can start keeping without prior knowledge. I hope this article will help you to improve your knowledge of this aquarium moss!


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