Java moss is one of the easiest plants to grow in an Aquascape, and it's a great plant for beginners to get their hands wet in the aquascaping world. Let's talk about some of the common techniques that use Java Moss.
How to Grow Java Moss
Here's the wonderful thing about this plant: it's almost impossible to kill it. It'll grow more slowly in poor water conditions, but it almost never melts. (That's what happens when a plant starts decaying underwater.) Don't be afraid to get a big bunch of it and stick in your tank to see what happens! You can check out our favorite Java Moss here.
|Aquatic Arts Moss||Great For Carpets||9.6/10|
|Luffy Coco Mini Moss||Very Easy To Grow||9.2/10|
|Easy Live Moss||For All Aquarium Sizes||8.7/10|
Fast Growth Conditions
Java Moss needs two things to grow quickly in an Aquascape: good water and good light. With those two things, it'll grow fast enough that you'll probably get tired of trimming it back. (If you need some help trimming aquarium plants properly then check out our guide here).
- Optimal Temperature: 70-75° Farenheight
- Optimal Lighting: High and bright
- Optimal Water: PH 5-8, any salinity (even brackish)
If you can get your tank to these conditions, you'll have more moss than you know what to do with. Seriously, this stuff grows insanely fast. Getting the right aquarium heater is also important, more on that here.
Java Moss Carpet
Carpets are a beautiful addition to any Aquascape. Java Moss is an easily-maintained carpet that lasts forever, and isn't that hard to start growing. The key is how you anchor it to an object that's flat, textured, and non-floating.
People use tons of different things to anchor Java Moss. Stones, rocks, driftwood, even other plants—it's all heavy enough to hold down the plant. (At least until it starts growing at a faster rate. You'd be surprised how much a mat of Java Moss can lift.)
Anchoring The Carpet
Most aquarists use a mesh net to pin it to the substrate. I've had success using window mesh to pin it down, and weighing each end of the net down with a stone, driftwood, or another heavy piece in your tank. (This kind works really well.)
Substrate is another option for weighing it down. (Here is our guide on the best Substrate) Mix in the moss with your substrate (making sure not to pack it too tightly, especially if you're using a fine powder substrate), provide plenty of light for the next few weeks, and you'll start to see some growth coming up through the substrate.
The alternative is to simply buy pre-made java moss carpet. Here's a great source we've used from Amazon:
Java Moss Walls
Walls can be made the same way as carpets: using plastic mesh. Moss usually grows a bit faster on walls, since it's less likely to have its light blocked by other materials and fish. You'll need some suction cups to anchor the net to the wall, but the Java Moss will quickly grow over the netting and cups, and you won't see them.
Here's a great technique for preventing float-away: fold the net in half, and stuff the java moss in between each side. That provides the moss with a solid attachment while still allowing water movement through the net.
Java Moss Trees
These are little more tricky to pull off. But when it works, it can produce some of the most amazing aquascapes you've ever seen. The best way to get these results is to get a piece of driftwood that's heavy enough to hold down the moss, and has the texture to hold the tie-down string without slipping.
This is a driftwood supplier we've seen some success with: JBJ Lighting
One important point: insert the bottom of your tree into the substrate. You'll likely lose it to float-away if you don't. Java Moss has the amazing capability to lift up nearly anything.
Java Moss Balls
These are an easy way to bring some life to a smaller aquascape. They're tiny, easily-moved, and are great for water quality in smaller tanks. These can be made DIY, but if you're planning on buying moss in addition to the balls themselves, you'll likely come out cheaper if you buy premade moss balls for your first ones:
It's extremely common to use Java Moss with breeder tanks, grow tanks, or other situations where you need to provide cover for smaller fish or fry. (It can actually provide a food source for fry, which can be notoriously hard to feed.)
This is the perfect moss for breeder tanks. Easily-grown in all types of water and light, great for water quality and keeping excess nutrients out of the water column, and it can feed fry, as well. Do yourself a favor and get a ball of this when you're starting any type of fry-tank. (Especially if you're looking to protect the fry after birth.)
Since it grows so quickly in nearly any type of lighting conditions, Java Moss is perfect for new tanks that have few plants using the nutrients in the water column. The moss will pull all excess nutrients out of the column and help prevent algae from wrecking your newly-planted tank.
Because it's also easily-moved on moss balls, it's perfect for just dropping a few into newly-made tanks while they're stabilizing.
A decent protein skimmer can help keep you water clean too.
Common Mistakes When Growing Java Moss
Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when growing java moss.
- Some people don’t anchor down the carpet. You need to anchor down your java moss with some kind of fishing line and mesh in order for it to take hold. The roots of the java moss will have a hard time taking hold without this.
- People think that java moss grows really slow, even with lots of light. However this is not necessarily true. The more light you can give your java moss the faster it will grow. However, an excessive amount of light may cause a large amount of algae to grow, which is not good either.
- Avoid having no current in your aquarium, but also avoid a very high current. A decent water current will deliver nutrients to your java moss without damaging it.
- Fertilizer and nutrients are good for java moss, but don’t add too much because nutrient burn can be an issue for sure.
Java moss can be a bit of a pain to grow, but with these care tips you can make your java moss growth project much easier and way faster too.
- One of the best things that you can do is to make sure that the java moss is firmly rooted in the substrate. You can use some kind of mesh like window mesh in order to root it down. Use some kind of fishing line to attach the moss to the mesh. This will help it take root quickly.
- Java moss likes a light current and water circulation. This is because the more nutrients java moss gets the better it will do. Make sure that you have a good filter in your aquarium and that there is a pump for circulation. This will ensure that it gets a lot of nutrients.
- Java moss loves light. The more light you can give your java moss the better. LED lights are ok, but it does prefer natural sunlight.
- The ideal temperature for java moss growth is around 25 degrees Celsius, so it does not hurt to have a water heater in the mix.
- Java moss will do ok in most types of water. It can survive in brackish water, but does the best in fresh water. Moreover, java moss likes the pH level in the water to be between 5.0 and 8.0, with the preference leaning towards slightly more acidic than basic.
Java Moss for Sale
There are tons of places where you can buy this stuff online. The quality of most isn't great. Here's where we've bought some of the Java Moss that we use in our tanks: