/Java Moss: A Complete Guide of Aquarium Plant Profile
java moss

Java Moss: A Complete Guide of Aquarium Plant Profile

Java Moss

Java moss is a common aquarium plant belonging to the Hypnaceae family, its class is Bryopsida, and its scientific name of this plant is Taxiphyllum Barbieri.

There are many types of mosses like java moss, flame moss, reindeer moss, Irish moss, weeping moss, etc. But java moss is mostly preferred to grow in aquariums because of its many good qualities like it can grow everywhere and in any kind of water and really the easiest plant to grow as compared with other mosses.

It is known by many names like mini moss, Singapore moss, willow moss, Christmas moss, etc. java moss is best for those aquarists who are raising baby fish and tadpoles. It can provide food for newly grown fish babies. Some shrimps love to feed on tiny leaf-like structures called Phyllids. Let’s read this blog to get detailed information about this wonderful plant.

Why is Java Moss a Non-Vascular plant?

Non-vascular plants are in a division called Bryophyta. Phylum Bryophyta (means ‘’moss-like plant”) Primarily vascular tissues called Xylem and Phloem are absent in this division and mosses belong to this division, that’s why mosses are called non-vascular plants.  In this division water and other materials are transported by diffusion.

Origin of Java Moss


This plant mostly grows in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, Java, Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan. It grows more quickly in wet tropical climates. It is often found growing in tree trunks, rocks, streams, shores, and river banks. In short, they live near water or shady places where it is not too sunny.

The appearance of Java Moss

Appearance of java moss

It is a soft moss with oval-shaped leaves.  Sometimes have parts that look like roots, stems, or leaves, but there is no vascular tissue so they do not have roots, stems, or leaves. In Moss, water and other materials are transported by diffusion.

It has a small leaf-like structure with dark green color.  This plant has many little unevenly branched stems. These stems are surrounded by leaves and rhizoids. Each of the tiny leaf-like structures on moss is just one cell layer thick. The java moss that grows in aquarium water has small leaves as compared with those that grow on land.

Java moss has no true roots. It attaches itself with the substrates or gravel through its rhizoids.  Rhizoids are structures that anchor a non-vascular seedless plant to a surface. These rhizoids are used to anchor the plant to a substrate or gravel. It should never bury under the substrate rather expose it to the water for proper growth. It can grow with or without substrates.

Aquarium Requirements

Aquarium plant

This plant is very hardy and very easy to grow for beginners. And can be placed in just about any style of aquarium. Though it can grow in almost any type of temperature, pH, water it will grow more rapidly and healthier if you follow the recommended conditions for java moss. Java moss likes water between 70 – 75 F/21-24 C, suitable pH is 6-8, whereas, recommended water hardness is between 3-12 Dgh/Dkh.

In cooler water, this plant grows healthier as compared with the warm water. As far as its light is concerned it can grow in both dim lights and in the high intensity of light. But, it grows denser and rapidly in high light and red light.

Another great thing about this plant is, it grows well with the addition of carbon dioxide and fertilizers.  You will be amazed to know that, this plant also has the ability to absorb ammonia and nitrate from water so it also helps in lowering the quantity of nitrogen and nitrates from the aquarium and keeps water clean. Almost all types of fishes are at ease with this plant, shrimp love it and many fishes spawn in it.

How to Care Java Moss?

How to Care java moss

If you are a beginner and new to growing aquarium plants then this plant is the best choice. Here are some tricks and tips that will help to grow your java moss more beautiful and overwhelming. It is the easiest and great plant to grow.

This plant looks nicely clean and good if you do trimming once a month or when needed. If you do not trim; it will cover the whole area in your aquarium and will become denser. As a result of which water will not reach the middle area of this plant and java moss can start to turn brown, then it can have a huge algae outbreak and it’s difficult to remove algae, once it starts growing. The growth of algae is a major issue with this non-vascular plant.

Secondly, if java moss grows denser than it will also compete with microorganisms for nutrients. So trimming of java moss is a good option for your aquarium. You can do trimming simply with the scissors.

Java moss likes water movement so use air stone, so that it can grow healthier. Though it does not need fertilizers much but adding fertilizers help this plant to grow quickly and we also recommend you to use a desk lamp for its proper growth.

How to grow Java Moss?


There are different ways to grow this plant in aquariums. This plant is very easy to grow, you can either float it in the water directly or can attach it with any substrate.

The simplest way to grow java moss is that you just put moss directly into the water and leave it. Just attach a small clump of java moss to stone and drop it in water. Do not move it or touch it if you want to grow it quickly as soon as possible, just trim it when needed.

The most common method to grow java moss is to tie it with some thread, rubber band, or fishing line. To attach it with the substrate, just lay a thin layer of it on the substrate and tie it with any thread and leave it. Once moss has naturally bonded to any substrate or gravel, remove the thread or rubber band.

How to Remove Algae from Java Moss?


Growth of algae is a common problem with java moss. There are different reasons for the growth of algae. Make sure that you are providing the right amount of light, nutrients, carbon dioxide, etc. to your aquarium.  Because very bright light can also cause the growth of algae.

There are many methods to remove algae from this non-vascular plant. If there are just black hairs of algae on the tips of your ferns and nowhere else, clip those leaves. If your Java moss is rooted in something, tear it up, leaving the rooted portions. It will grow back healthier. Or simply use a toothbrush and swirl it around the hair algae. It usually picks up tons of hair algae.

If algae are all over the fern there is another method to remove it, take about a 1.5 pints of tank water with about 10-15 drops of Cuprex || (a stabilized copper sulfate solution) and soaked java moss in that for about 30 minutes to an hour and do not forget to rinse the java moss thoroughly after treatment.

Can Java Moss grow out of water?

grow Out of water java moss

Moss can also grow out of water readily. However, it is a non-vascular plant, so it is best to keep it moist all the time. Otherwise, it will dry out and as a result, it will die.

The Moss can be grown on the mesh, but it is important to keep it in contact with some nutrients. Underwater moss gets its nutrients from water through the process of diffusion as it has no true roots. So, the substrate should be sufficiently moist, and place the moss on it. So, moss can get its nutrients properly and can grow out healthier.

How to carpet Java Moss?

Carpet and java moss

Some people grow moss carpet, by connecting it into a horizontal, non-floating object. You can also grow it by pinning the carpet down to the substrate using a mesh net or simply sprinkle a layer of moss into the substrate and let it grow.

Java Moss Tree

how java moss grow on the Tree

You can also use Java moss to create a tree. Simply take a wood that gives a tree-like appearance with branches expanding outward. Pat the java moss on it with the help of glue and don’t let the moss dry. When you have attached the moss, trim off the extra moss, to give it proper tree-like shape. Then keep the moss tree in the tank.

What are the benefits of Java Moss?

Java Moss is a great plant with a lot of amazing benefits. It is an aquarium plant, and like all other aquarium plants, it helps to change an aquarium into an ecosystem. It has a great tendency to absorb ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites; so, it plays an important role in making our aquarium clean. This plant also plays an important role in young shrimp survival rates. It provides refuge for baby shrimp.

Aquascaping is another great use of this plant. In aqua scaping, the things of aquarium-like rock, stone, driftwood, or any gravel are arranged in a beautiful way. Everything is turning green, which gives a very beautiful and natural look to the aquarium. In short, java moss is a great plant with a lot of amazing benefits. Fish and other aquarium creatures love this plant!

Recommended Reading

Java Fern: Caring, Planting, Growing Guide