Is Spiky Moss Good for Turtles in My Aquarium?

Spiky moss, also named Taxiphyllum Spiky or the “older brother of Christmas moss”, is a moss variety originating from the Asian regions. With a simple non-flowering and flowy plant structure, Spiky moss is commonly found to grow well in shady environments.

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This makes it ideal for any aquarium, along with its ability to grow on any surface.

Is Spiky Moss Good for Turtles
Is Spiky Moss Good for Turtles

Is Spiky Moss good for turtles?

Spiky moss is a harmless aquatic plant perfect for any aquarium! This is no exception when it comes to turtles. Thanks to this, you can now include it in your turtle tank with zero hesitation.

Do turtles eat Spiky Moss?

Yes, they do. Spiky moss, or moss in general, is a part of the diet, safe suitable for turtles. In addition to moss, freshwater turtles can also feed on algae, but not all turtles do so.

Do turtles like to live with Spiky Moss?

Absolutely! An aquarium filled with different plants will make you the owner of a happy turtle.

Having a Spiky moss growth in your aquarium will not only provide food for your turtles but will also keep them entertained and happy.

With its ability to grow on any surface, especially rocks or wood, Spiky moss is an even better option for your turtle tank, as it creates the much required and preferred natural setting for your turtle.

Is Spiky Moss toxic to turtles?

No, Spiky moss is a harmless toxin-free plant. This makes it perfect for turtles.

Do turtles eat algae in Spiky Moss?

Not all types of turtles feed on algae growths. While most freshwater turtles do feed on algae, many other varieties of turtles do not feed on algae.

In the event that your turtle prefers algae, however, you can promote these growths by increasing the lighting period of your Spiky moss aquarium to about 11 to 12 hours.

Long periods of lighting promote algal blooms and are also beneficial for turtles. Although, this should be done under supervision to not increase algae growths uncontrollably.

How does Spiky Moss help with breeding turtles?

Turtles are known to dig up sandy areas on land and lay their eggs. Once these eggs hatch, the baby turtles then make their way to the water.

As Spiky moss can grow in both land and water, it can be used to add some greenery to both the aquarium tank and sand bed. Covering the perimeter of the sand bed with Spiky moss will not only create a natural border but will also provide food to the mother turtle.

In the aquarium tank, Spiky moss can be used on rocky surfaces where baby turtles can hide or rest in. It will also create activities for the baby turtles in the tank.

Is Spiky Moss bad for my baby turtles?

No, it is not. Spiky moss is a toxin-free plant. With a simple flowy structure, it creates the perfect home for baby turtles.

How do I clean a Spiky Moss and turtle tank?

It’s simple.

Spiky moss can be grown from simple cuttings being attached to a substrate in your aquarium. These cuttings, however, don’t mostly grow in a uniform way across the tank and you will find yourself with uneven growths across.

To trim these cuttings off, all you need is a pair of pruning scissors along with a pair of tweezers. Using the scissors, you can trim off any excess growths (which you can use to replant if you wish). Following this, you can remove these cuttings either by hand or by using tweezers.

Such pruning will help prevent the rotting of the lower decayed layers while making sure there is an even growth throughout your Spiky moss.

When maintaining the tank, it is important to regularly clean any leftover food, excretory matter as well as any other debris that is collected at the bottom of the tank. Since these particles can get trapped within the layers of your Spiky moss plants, it’s best to either change the aquarium water often or (the easier method), vacuum the aquarium bed.

How to stop turtles from eating Spiky moss?

  • Feeding habits – Timely feeding will help reduce the frequency of turtles feeding on your Spiky moss. Feeding your turtles in a separate area of the enclosure from where the plants are will also be helpful. This separate feeding enclosure behavior will help reduce the tendency for your turtles to eat the Spiky moss plants which are not in the feeding area over time.
  • Create a barrier – Creating a visual barrier, like planting the moss in a higher ground area of the enclosure will also help reduce and even stop turtles from eating Spiky moss. Another method to create a barrier would be to place larger rocks together around the Spiky moss plant. This way you achieve both a natural scenic environment and reduced feeding by the turtles on the plants.

Is it easy to plant Spiky moss in a turtle tank?

Yes, it is. All you need to do is to get the cutting of moss and your preferred substrate (ideally a rock or wooden structure) and secure them together.

When selecting your substrate, make sure it is weighted, so that it wouldn’t float once introduced into the tank.

Attaching your Spiky moss cutting to the substrate is easy. A few drops of superglue or a piece of wire will do just fine.

Once planted, all that is left to be done is make sure your moss gets lighting for about 8 to 10 hours daily along with regular trimming. To speed up the growth of the moss, you can add liquid fertilizer and liquid CO2 (carbon dioxide).

Does Spiky moss affect the smell of a turtle tank?

No, it doesn’t. However, if not properly maintained and trimmed, the decaying lower layers of the moss cluster can rot and make the water impure, which can then create a bad odor.

Can turtles live with fake Spiky moss plants?

Turtles can live with fake Spiky moss plants.

Although, there is a high chance they may still bite into it. If your fake moss plant is one where pieces can be chewed off, these pieces can then be eaten by the turtle, eventually making it sick.

Hardy thick fake plants with larger leaves, however, are a good alternative. Plants such as the Amazon Sword plant, Java fern, the African water fern, Anubias, and even Aponogeton Ulvaceus Bulb plant are some plastic plants you can include in your turtle tank.

How to wash turtles in my Spiky moss tank?

You can do this by washing the turtle using water from the aquarium, then brushing the shell with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, and then rinsing the turtle back again using water from the aquarium.


Including natural Spiky moss in your turtle tank has the benefits of improving the natural environment, purifying the water, and even acting as food. This is in addition to creating the perfect landscaping.

However, like everything, maintenance is key!

So why hesitate? Upgrade your turtle tank with Spiky moss today!

By Uswatta Liyanage

Hello. I'm Uswatta Liyanage from Galle, Sri Lanka. I am the founder of this website. Since my childhood I'm an aqua plant lover and I have professionally learned more about aqua plants. So I created this site for share my knowledge and experience with all of you. Now you can refer my site and feel free to contact me if any inquiry.