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Java Moss

February 5, 2009

Java Moss Factoids

Origin

Southeast Asia including Java

Substrate

None needed – anchors to wood or rocks

Fertilizers

Usually not needed but are beneficial

Lighting

Low light okay, medium better

Threats

Apple snails, copper, large cichlids

Water

Not picky, even brackish

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Java moss just starting out in a (salty) molly tank.  Bits of blue from former home.

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Java moss latches onto bits of gravel or whatever else it touches.

Introduction: You need no gravel or substrate to grow Java moss.  However, it will attach to bits of gravel which keep it from drifting throughout your tank Java moss attaches even better to rocks and driftwood (and plastic tubing and sponge filters).  It looks like the above in the beginning.

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If your Java moss touches your sponge filter, it will colonize it.

Origins: Originally from Java and other Southeast Asian countries. Java moss now comes from aquatic plant farms or from friends’ aquaria — or, of course, from Aqualand. Oddly enough, the moss we ship in comes in brown and looks dead.  We raise our own.  It grows better in some tanks than others.

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Close up view of Java moss.

Suggestions: If you want faster growth, fluff up your moss to let more light get to it.  If you want to colonize a rock or piece of wood, lash your moss to your decor item with fishing line or rubber bands. You can also staple it to your wood. Not practical on rocks. Java moss looks best as an inch-thick growth on your wood. Personal opinion.

Fertilizers: When you fertilize Java moss, you get faster growth and greener growth.  Your fish provide plenty of fertilizer most of the time.

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Since it floats, Java moss often attaches to your filter stem outlets.

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Once it gloms on to your filter stem, Java moss can impede your water flow.

Water Flow: Java moss loves moving water.  Put some in your outdoor pond waterfall spillway.  It grows unbelievably well in spillways — becoming almost a terrestrial plant.  Check the flow of water in your aquarium.  Its love of fast moving water can plug your filter.  When the strands get sucked into a power filter, they tend to wrap around your impellor and impede or even stop it.

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Java moss attaches to your filter stems and will grow out of the water.

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In the other corner the Java moss grew even thicker.

Dirty Moss: In tanks with inadequate filtration, digested food and other detritus can accumulate in your Java moss.  Solution?  Clean your tank, you lazy turkey.  Seriously tho, you can vacuum it with a slow gravel cleaner or take it out and rinse it lightly in the sink.

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Here’s Java moss used as an anole waterer.  Experiment with your Java moss.

Terrarium/Paludarium/Frog Tank: Any terrarium with a drip system or waterfall could probably carpet a wall or floor with Java moss.  Since it grows emersed.  This stuff makes a perfect anole waterer on an anole tank wall.  Java moss works as well as misting and definitely looks better.  Staple it to strips of plastic window screen.  Make sure it reaches a continuous water source.

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Java moss grows into a useful thick mat.

Lighting: Medium level lighting encourages Java moss to grow fast — possibly so fast you need to thin it out.  After all, you want your fish to swim around your tank — not stay in one place.

Killifish Tanks. Many killie keepers use Java moss as an egg-laying site.  Java moss pulls fish wastes out of their water.  It also grows in the low light small aquaria many killie keepers maintain.  You still need to make water changes, however.  To make a killifish spawning mop out of Java moss:

  1. Lasso a good clump of Java moss.

  2. Attach a cork to the clump.

  3. Toss in your breeding tank.

  4. Remove in ten days to hatching tank.

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Java moss makes a natural background when it grows this thick.

Tetras/Barbs/Danios: Java moss makes a perfect egg-laying site for these minnows.  Ditto goldfish, a much larger minnow.

All the Livebearers: Newly born livebearers elude their hungry parents by hiding in the Java moss.  Lots of tiny edible critters also live in the moss.  Much better baby saver than hornwort.  Also way better for the mommas than those miniscule breeding traps.

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Java moss grows fast and green in brackish water that would kill many plants.

Water: Java moss grows just fine in Des Moines water. Don’t get excited about pH values. pH 9.5 to 10.5 fresh out of the faucet dropping to pH 7.5 in 48 hours. Our water contains extra lime. 220 ppm. Ignore it. You can even add salt or use softened water (which adds salt).  Your Java moss will grow anyway.

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In darker tanks, Java moss grows a darker green (almost brown) — kinda ugly.

Brackish Water: Some fishes (mollies, archers, bumblebee gobies, puffers, morays, etc.) require extra salt. Java moss grows just fine in brackish water.

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Start new “colonies” by putting a starter clump on your driftwood.

Reproduction: Many plants reproduce by root division.  Java moss reproduces by dividing up your current moss colony and spreading it from tank to tank.

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You might want to trim it back when it covers your wood this heavily.  Divide it.

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This will make several good starter clumps.  Fluff them up.

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Java moss on driftwood in a 55.  No other plants need apply.

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Here it’s colonized a Tetra power filter.

Willow Moss: Oft times you see this name used synonymously with Java moss.  The two are actually different but are both so often used interchangeably, that you may never know which is which.  Does it matter?  Several species of both exist to further confuse the issue.  Willow moss grows in cooler water.  Java moss grows in warmer water.

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Java moss growing atop a piece of floating driftwood.  Plecos scoured the submerged stuff.

Last Word: Java moss thrives under less than perfect conditions. It grows best in medium light.  And, once you add it to a tank, it is not always easy to get rid of.  Under different conditions, Java moss grows differently. LA.

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