How To Maintain Java Moss

How to maintain java moss? Well, that is a very good question indeed which I will explain in this article among some other things.

Because not only does java moss have many functions inside an aquarium from hiding places, a breeding area for fish, to a source of food.

It is also amazing to use for aqua scaping by creating underwater forests, or bonsai trees, or perhaps just a beautiful wall made out of java moss.

Java moss is very easy to grow and very hardy which makes it perfect for beginners.

But first, let’s start with step 1 from how to maintain java moss.

1. Quick Care Stats

Common NamesJava Moss, Mini Moss, Willow Moss, Christmas Moss
Scientific NameTaxiphyllum barbieri
OriginSoutheast Asia
Care LevelEasy
Growth RateMedium
Size4 inches – 10 centimeters
Growth ConditionsSubmersed, or land
PlacementFloating or attached to wood or rocks
SubstrateNot needed
Minimum Tank Size5 gallons – 19 liters
Water ConditionFreshwater
Temperature59 °F – 86 °F – 15 °C – 30 °C
Water Hardness8 – 12 dGH
Water pH Level5.0 – 8.0
CO2 LevelMedium

let’s move on with step 2 from how to maintain java moss.

2. Where does Java Moss Originate from

Java moss is native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and is located in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

It grows underwater and above water and belongs to the Hypnaceae family.

And it likes to grow in moist places such as forest floors, tree trunks, rocks, along riverbanks, and other surfaces at the edges of ponds and streams.

But if you are wondering why the name Java sounds familiar? It is because the name comes from the Indonesian island of Java.

let’s move on with step 3 from how to maintain java moss.

3. What is the Appearance, Size, and Growth of Java Moss

When you buy java moss as a young and healthy plant it will be a bright green color.  When java moss gets older, the bright green colder will darken to become a deeper green shade.

The stems are covered in tiny oval leaves and can grow 3-10 inches long (7.6-25.4 cm).

Because java moss grows under and above water the branches will be finer underwater than the branches above the water. The leaves that grow above water tend to be larger in size as well.

Now the cool part is that java moss does not have roots. They have these things called rhizoids which they use to anchor themselves to anything.

Because Java moss has no roots they get their nutrients through their stems and leaves, not the rhizoids.

And this means java moss will stick to as good as anything inside the aquarium. Wood, stone but even glass on which algae have grown.

Which makes them perfect for decoration because there is no need to worry about root growth.

let’s move on with step 4 from how to maintain java moss.

Java Moss - How To Maintain Java Moss
Java Moss – Picture Made By Ranjith-chemmad 

4. What are the Aquarium Requirements for Java Moss

One of the best things about Java moss is that it doesn’t require a lot of care or a complicated setup.

But an aquarium of at least 5 gallons (22 Liter) is for java moss a requirement to be able to thrive. This way the fish have plenty of room to swim around and java moss will be able to grow healthy.

4.1. How much Light does Java Moss Need

There is no need for strong light to grow Java moss as it does well in low light. Because more light means that not only java moss will grow faster but it will also be easier for algae to take over the aquarium.

Therefore, leave the lighting on for a maximum of 8-10 hours a day to prevent algae from going nuts.

The light can also affect how java moss grows. With low light java moss tends to be darker in color. With a lot of light java moss will grow very thick and close to each other.

4.2. Do I need to Use CO2

CO2 is definitely not a requirement, because java moss will grow fast even without.

But if a substrate is present or a CO2 installation then that is perfectly fine.

Because java moss will grow perfectly awesome with a low or high-tech setup.

4.3. Are Water Parameters Important

Not really to be honest, because java moss will grow in basically almost any type of water with a moderate current.

The water temperature for thriving java moss is between 70°F to 75°F (21°C-24°C) and even if the temperature drops out of range there is still no need for panic.

Because it will take very long before bad water temperatures have an effect on java moss.

Also, try to keep the pH levels between 5.5 and 8, and for the water hardness, try to keep it in a range of 6-20 dGH.

4.4. What Type of Substrate do I need

Java moss does not need a substrate to grow. This is because they do not have roots but rhizoids. Which java moss use to anchor itself to basically anything.

Substrate, however, is optional to use, it will not destroy java moss in any way but more the opposite it will grow faster.

let’s move on with step 5 from how to maintain java moss.

5. How to Clean Java Moss Before Adding it into an Aquarium

Java moss is easy to add to an aquarium, but there are some steps to follow first. Because live plants could carry eggs, algae, or perhaps diseases. Why it is best to give new plants a bath to kill anything unwanted on them.

But first arrange 2 buckets, tap water, dechlorinator, and bleach. With bleach make sure there are no fragrances or other additives in the bottle.

After that follow the next 5 steps.

  1. Mix the bleach with a ratio of 1/20 water. 1 part bleach to 20 parts of water in a bucket.
  2. The second bucket should be filled with the same amount of water but instead of bleach add 5 times the normal aquarium dose of dechlorinator in the bucket.
  3. The next step will be removing the java moss out of its container it came in and throw away the water.
  4. For step 4 count to 20 seconds because java moss should not stay any longer in the bleach solution.
  5. After dipping it in bleach, Immediately place the moss in the bucket of dechlorinator. Keep it in there for a few minutes before removing.

And after a bleach dip, the java moss should be safe to add to an aquarium.

let’s move on with step 6 from how to maintain java moss.

6. How to Plant Java Moss

Because java moss does not have roots but rhizoids there is no use in putting them into a substrate for nutrition. But you can put it in substrate if desired.

Instead of substrate use a piece of string or fishline to attach java moss to pieces of mesh for the bottom or if you want to place it to a surface like a wall, tree, wood, or a rock.

And after a month or so of attachment, java moss will anchor itself to anything.

let’s move on with step 7 from how to maintain java moss.

Thread - How To Maintain Java Moss
Attach java moss with a piece of thread or a fishline

7. How to Use and Where to Place Java Moss

Java moss is perfect for decoration in an aquarium as it can grow to basically any surface. Which can be pretty cool for aqua design.

And there are a few different ways on how to use java moss in aqua design that I will share below.

7.1. How to Make a Carpet out of Java Moss

One way to use java moss is by making a beautiful green carpet on the bottom of the aquarium.

By doing that place the java moss in between two pieces of mesh, like a sandwich. And attach it with a thread of fishing line or a piece of string.

Next place the pieces of mesh at the bottom of the aquarium and the stems of the java moss will grow through the pieces of mesh.

And in a matter of time, the pieces of mesh will turn into a beautiful green carpet.

Not only is this carpet beautiful to look at, but it is also beneficial for fish and shrimp. Because fish and shrimp like to hide in it or use it for freshly laid eggs.

7.2. How to Make a Wall Out of Java Moss

Another great way to use java moss is by turning them into a wall. This will create a really cool look. And it is very easy to make.

Because a wall from java moss is made the same way as a carpet for the bottom is made. The only difference is that the pieces of mesh will be placed against the wall instead of the floor.

Place the java moss in between two pieces of mesh, like a sandwich. And attach it with a thread of fishing line or a piece of string. Next place the pieces of mesh against the wall.

And in a month or so, just like with the bottom, the wall will slowly turn into a beautiful green wall of java moss.

7.3. How to Make Trees out of Java Moss

One of the most beautiful ways to use java moss in my opinion is by making trees out of them.

And a great way to make an awesome underwater tree is with a piece of driftwood and smaller pieces of branches.

When the driftwood and branches are in the desired shape, place the java moss on top and use thread or a fishing line to secure it.

After some time the java moss will take over the branches and this will create a “bonsai”, “tree”, “forest”, decorative look.

Not only does it look awesome but java moss for trees or cave decoration is also beneficial for fish since fish can hide in it.

7.4. Can I Let Java Moss Float in the Water

basically, yes you can. Just make sure that java moss does not block any water intake or that it gets around filters or other equipment.

Other than that letting java moss float will give an awesome jungle feeling. Because it will grow in a natural way.

let’s move on with step 8 from how to maintain java moss.

8. How to Maintain Java Moss

Even though java moss is a great plant for beginners it still gets dirty and requires cleaning at times.

Java moss can be pretty dense which is a great place to collect dirt and leftover food.

This will not only make java moss looks dirty, but the water quality also deteriorates rapidly, and to top it off, algae can take over the aquarium.

8.1. How to Clean Java Moss

Uneaten food and floating dirt end up all over the aquarium. Including in between the java moss and especially if it is in an area with a low current.

And when dirt sticks around it will be a great opportunity for algae to appear. Also, detritus that breaks down can release nitrates into the water which deteriorates the water quality.

A great way to keep java moss clean is by giving it a good clean when the aquarium needs cleaning anyway.

One way to clean java moss is when it is attached to a piece of driftwood or a rock to take the whole thing out of the water and rinse it under a tap.

Another way is to use a siphon. Put it in the java moss and suck out all the dirty stuff. Just watch out that the siphon does not suck ” vacuum” up all the java moss.

8.2. How to Prune Java Moss

When java moss is left alone it will grow into one big tangled mass and the older growth may die.

Now no need to panic because it is not that the entire plant will die. But if the older growth dies, it’s impossible to untangle it from the new growth.

The best way to prune java moss neatly is by using a pair of scissors. Another way is to pluck ‘tear apart’ small clumps of moss.

This will prevent overgrowth and ensures that all stems and leaves get sufficient light.

Pruning is also a solution to avoid suffocation of the older growth. In short, regular pruning will make your Java moss grow and thrive better.

After pruning make sure to clean all the trimmed leaves and twigs to prevent java moss from growing all over the place inside the aquarium.

let’s move on with step 9 from how to maintain java moss.

9. The Eternal Battle With Algae

One of the downsides of java moss is extensive algae growth. And the biggest reason algae will take over is because of light that stays on too long or is too intense.

Try to keep the light on between 8 and a maximum of 12 hours at most to prevent algae growth.

A great way to keep algae under control is by adding freshwater shrimp like Amano or Cherry Shrimps.

Red Cherry Shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp

They are very great at eating algae and basically the only animals that clean java moss without destroying it.

Just make sure that the freshwater shrimp are compatible with the rest of the aquarium.

If freshwater shrimp is something that does not fit into the aquarium style of choice then pruning and water changes will be required to keep algae from taking over the aquarium.

But keep in mind that a little bit of algae is just fine, but let them grow and get tangled into one big mess can be extremely hard to remove.

When that is the case it is best to just remove all the java moss and start over.


Thank you for reading my article about how to maintain java moss. If there are any questions about how to maintain java moss.

Please leave them in the comment box below and I will do my best to answer them all.

Java moss is an amazing plant to add inside an aquarium, especially for beginners because this plant is very hardy, as it adapts to a variety of water parameters.

Not to mention all the cool aqua designs there are to create with java moss.

Looking for more articles about freshwater plants? Look no further and click here to gain more knowledge.


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