Java Moss: A Complete Growing Guide

Java moss is a small flower less plant which is commonly used in Freshwater Aquariums. Some of the properties of Java moss are it attaches to various things like rocks, driftwood and roots.

One of the major advantages of having Java moss in the aquarium is, it doesn’t require any kind of special attention. It can grow in any kind of water such as water with high salinity, in normal freshwater. Also, it grows in all kinds of light. However, the best growth for Java moss occurs at around 21 to 24° Celsius. It can also withstand a temperature of around 29 to 32 °C.

Java Moss: How to Grow it

Java Moss How to Grow it

If you are planting Java moss in your aquarium ensure that there is good amount of water current. Due to its gripping nature it can be spread as a moss wall.

If your aquarium has newly born baby fishes or tadpoles, then you should definitely have Java moss in your aquarium. The reason being Java moss act as a shield and protects the babies from other big adult fishes which are cannibalistic in nature.

Another thing to consider Java moss is it acts as a source of food for young fish which are newly hatched.

Java moss also has something called as phyllids, which is a leaf like structure and this helps small shrimps to feed on it.

Due to its nature of being clinging, is used by aquarist for aqua scaping. This makes it to look good in the aquariums.

Java moss that grow on land is has little bigger leaves when compared with the one that grows inside water.

Another think to consider is, Java moss doesn’t have any kind of root for growth instead it uses its leaves as well as stems to absorb nutrients. It has rhizoid a short thin filament and this is what helps Java moss to attach to various surfaces.

Taxiphyllin Barbieri is the scientific name of Java moss. Though there is still some confusion that hangs around the name, Sometimes Java moss is confused with Singapore moss or Christmas moss.


As it was already discussed, Java moss is used mainly to cover the aquarium for its aesthetic look.

Java Moss provides a natural feel for the aquarium. This help aquarists in creating an amazing landscape inside the fish tanks.

It helps in providing a kind of shelter for newly born fishes and tadpoles. Even eggs are also attached to the moss which keeps them safe.

It provides food for small fishes and shrimps. Shrimps love to hide in the Java moss and it is a common thing to see java moss covered in tanks which has shrimps.

Another benefit is, if the moss is allowed to grow at the bottom of the surface, few surface-dwelling fishes eat the moss which provide nutrients to the fish.

The small strands provide a good hiding place for small fry and small shrimps. This provides a kind of nursery for little eggs.

One more benefit is, java moss is good in absorbing nitrate as well as phosphate. These two chemicals in large amount are very harmful for fishes.


Tank Size Requirement

A decent tank size for e.g. say 10-gallon tank should be sufficient for growing java moss.

Good thing about Java moss is it can be grown in any kind of water and the ideal condition we would suggest would be to maintain the temperature between 21 to 24° C for faster growth and for the plant to be healthy.

One other thing to consider with lighting, the plant will be become thin and tall if the light is little low and if the light is high then the plant will become little dense and shorter.


There is no need to added any kind of fertilizers either. But if still want to add some fertilizer you can add CO2.

If you want to grow the Moss quickly, you can leave it in the tank untouched for some time.

Once the java moss grows, you can be trimming it by cutting the extra grown steams just with a pair of scissors.

Most of the time aquarists forget about water flow inside the aquarium. You need a good amount of water flow throughout the aquarium so that the fresh water can circulate and provide necessary nutrients constantly over all. Hence proper filter is necessary for the water to circulate throughout the aquarium.

Sometimes there are chances of the planted moss to come out and float, the reason for this is, the bottom portion where it was stuck before has died and became loose. Nothing to worry, just cut the unwanted brown part and again gently stick the moss to the gravel.

You don’t need to trim the moss always, only if it is blocking other moss or blocking filters. The brown java moss problem starts right here when not trimmed whenever required.

We also suggest you to have a water testing kit, this helps in maintaining the right pH level for moss as well as other fishes, shrimps etc. inside the aquarium. It is always nice to prevent bad things to happen rather than searching for the solution later.

The required amount of water hardness for moss is around 6-20 dGH.


As we already told that java moss can grow quickly and it not maintained properly, chances are that it may out grow and might block the water pump present inside the aquarium.

As it grows faster, it will occupy the whole aquarium and there will be less space for the fishes to move inside the aquarium.

Another common problem with Java Moss is algae. Algae will quickly grow and if algae is not removed quickly, then it will start growing along with Java moss and it becomes very difficult to separate algae with Java moss.

The four factors for algae’s growth are light, CO2, nutrients of plants and bad water. If you maintain a healthy water in the aquarium by regularly changing the water, chances of algae will be very less.

Also, another important thing about algae is, you need small quantity of algae in your aquarium to maintain the eco system.

You can still use a soft and non-toxic tooth brush to remove the algae slowly without pulling the java moss, but this would be a pain and needs lot of patience.

There are few chemicals like Seachem’s Flourish Excel available for algae problem. But this will fix the problem only temporarily. It is better to remove the algae completely for a complete algae solution.

Thick grown moss will be a problem as the chances of debris getting stuck inside will be more. So, while cleaning the aquarium, it is better to remove the moss completely, rinse the moss with fresh water and again put it back to the tank.

Growing Java Moss

Due to the nature of Java Moss, it can be grown in number of ways in your aquarium.


Growing java moss like a carpet is a common thing employed by aquarists due to its aesthetic look inside the aquarium. To create a java moss carpet, you need couple of non-toxic meshes. Place the java moss by cutting into small pieces in the first mesh and ensure that it covers the whole mesh. Place another mesh on top of the first mesh and repeat the same process and tie them together with a thread. After some days, the when the java moss starts to grow from the mesh and creates an impression of a carpet covered with java moss.


Another way to grow java moss is just planting the java moss like a normal plant. Take one end of the java moss and gently insert into the bottom gravel of your aquarium and just add some light weight stones or pebbles around it so that it won’t float.


Java moss can also be grown like a tree with the help of driftwood. Place the drift wood vertically like a tree. Cut the moss into small pieces then tie the moss with the help of a thread. Make sure you cover the whole driftwood with moss. When the moss starts growing, it starts to appear like a tree. Trim the excess moss.

As a Floating plant

You can also just put the java moss as a floating plant. Just put the plant inside the aquarium without doing anything. However, you need to ensure that the moss doesn’t clog the filter.

You can also use your creativity to grow moss, for e.g. you can glue the sponge and cover tiny java moss on it. Once it grows it will a spectacular thing to see in the aquarium.

Java Moss FAQs

How to grow java moss fast?

In order to quickly grow java moss, you need to provide the right amount of light and maintain the temperature of around 21 to 24°C. Ensure it gets bright light.

My Java moss is turning brown?

If the java moss is turning brown, then it is sure that the moss has grown quickly and has become thick. Due to this water is not able to reach all parts of java moss and hence the brown java moss.

My Java moss is dying?

If the moss is dying then the main reason is you are not maintaining the moss properly. Few things to consider are frequent water cycling. Providing good light and removing algae during initial period of algae growth.

Will Java Moss grow on sand?

Since java moss doesn’t have any kind of root, it just sends rhizoids and these rhizoids will attach to other surfaces and starts growing there. So, it grows wherever it attaches to.

Can Java Moss grow out of water?

All mosses grow outside of water and moss being a non-vascular plant, it should always be kept moist as it absorbs nutrients from its leaves and stems.

Is Java Moss easy to grow?

Off course it is easy to grow java moss. As we already discussed above.

Is Java Moss good for goldfish or betta?

Yes, java moss is good for goldfish or betta along with small shrimps.

When to trim Java Moss?

You can trim java moss when it starts to out grow and provides less light for other leaves.

Will Java Moss float or can I just let Java Moss float around?

Yes, it will float as it has no root and can still grow while floating.

Will Java Moss grow on plastic?

Yes, it can grow on plastic, driftwood, stone, mesh.

Is Java Moss safe for turtles?

It is safe for turtles, however sometimes turtles might eat it. But don’t worry. Java moss can grow quickly.

What does Java Moss need to grow?

It doesn’t require anything special to grow. You just need to do some basic maintenance like keeping the water clean, free from algae and providing light.

What is the pH requirement for Java Moss?

It needs a pH of 5-8.

Will Java Moss spread?

Yes, it spreads and this is the reason for it to be converted into java moss carpets for amazing looks.

Where does Java Moss grow naturally?

It grows mostly in Southeast Asia.

Where can I buy Java Moss?

Due to its popularity, it can be easily bought from your local store and available online as well. Don’t worry even if you are purchasing online as couple of days in the dark box won’t hurt the moss. Once you receive the shipment, you just need to moist it and put it inside the tank.


Java moss must be there in your aquarium due to its aesthetic looks. Minimal maintenance and the benefits it provide. Due to this green moss, it creates an impression of a fully-grown tree or a carpet full of greenery in your aquarium.