Java Moss Ultimate Guide on Planting, Maintains and Care

Java Moss is one of the popular aquarium plants uses in the various types of fish tanks. They are straightforward to grow in the freshwater tank. These plants belong to the Hypnaceae family based in Southeast Asia.

You will find them growing in a moist tropical environment. They generally grow anywhere if the condition is suitable. It grows on rocks, river water, lake, and even on tree trunks.

Java Moss
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The Java moss plant does not require much sunlight to grow. They can grow in low lighting conditions as well. Therefore, many aquarists grow these plants in an aquarium tank or a separate bucket of water or tub indoor.

Table of Contents

The java moss is available to purchase online and offline stores. Many Aquarius recommend using Java moss for aquascaping.

It looks beautiful in the water when covered over the rocks and background structure of the tank. It also prevents the large fish from eating the eggs laid by the mother fish on the rocks or the leaves.

The recently born fry will hide behind the java moss and protect themselves until they become big enough to swim around the large fish.

Scientific NameTaxiphyllum barbieri
OriginSouth East Asia
Lighting NeedsLow
Temperature59-82°F (15-28°C)
Water ConditionspH 5-8
Average Size3-10 inches
Growth RateSlow to Medium
PlacementMid and Foreground
Java Moss Information Table

Moreover, the java moss helps remove the toxic substances from the water and keeps the water clean and healthy for the fish. The fish can eat the java moss comfortably when sufficient food is not provided to them in an emergency.

The plant will protect the health of the breeding fish and give it the right amount of nutrition when you are not available around the home.

1) Placement Of Java Moss In Aquarium

The Java Moss is a bunch of small trees similar to the green grass. They come in different shapes are sizes. Also, when you place them in the tank around the rock, they adapt to the environment covers the surroundings as they grow.

You get versatility while using the Java Moss in the decoration.

Follow the guide will help you know more about using the Java Moss plant in the aquarium.

Carpeting with Java Moss

Use the java moss to make the live carpet that covers the bottom of the fish tank. It will give a natural texture to the aquarium floor, which will enhance the beauty of the fish tank.

The Java moss plant is a sandwich between the holding contain that stays at the bottom of the tank. The Moss stems stay safe under the container where they can grow comfortably in the free space.

As the java moss grows, it will cover the entire bottom contain, and only the green carpet look will be visible to the viewer.


If you want to cover the entire side or back panel with the java moss, you can make the vertical layer using the holding device to cover the back panel.

The structure will appear similar to the bottom carpet, but the green leaves will be more wobbly than the bottom layer. The java moss is attached to the plastic fixed to the side or back panel of the aquarium.


Driftwood looks great when you put them in the live aquarium. The Java moss would be the plant that will add the greenery to the driftwood structure.

It will give a natural wood appearance when it is fully covered with the tiny Java moss. Place the Driftwood at the bottom of the tank.

Ensure that they are fixed properly in the place, and the trunk is not moving. Also, while selecting the Driftwood for this project, choose only hardwood.

The Driftwood much holds the excess weight of the plant when they grow substantially. As soon as the java moss covers the entire Driftwood and its branches, it will look like shrink trees growing under the natural habitat.

Coconut shell

If you are willing to give the aquarium a more deep and natural look, then coconut shell will help you. The rounded shape of the coconut shell is good for building caves or tunnels.

When you grow the java moss on the coconut shell, it covers the top layer of the shell and creates a circular pattern.

The half-cut coconut shell with the small tunnel at the bottom would make it look like the tunnel. You can also create a cave out of it. Put them near the rock to make it appear like a deep cave of early cavemen.

2) Tank Requirements & Java Moss Care

One of the good things about the java moss plant is it doesn’t need maintenance or expensive resources to keep them in good shape. The java moss can grow in all kinds of water conditions and habitats—no need to build the fancy set up around the plant.


The java moss can grow in low lighting conditions. You do not have to put them under the direct sunlight or bright illumination of the LED light bulb. More light may cause the plant to grow faster.

However, the bright light may also expedite the growth of algae and other water plants.

Nutrients and Fertilizers

Java moss doesn’t need special nutrients or fertilizer to grow. It will start growing without any external source when the water condition is good. The natural growth rate of the java moss is comparatively quick than any other aquarium plant.

So when you put them in the aquarium, they will do their job and extend their territory without needing special care. If you are willing to use the fertilizer, then use the liquid form of the nutrition or fertilizer as there are some java moss plants which doesn’t have roots.

Using CO2

The CO2 is sometimes used to speed up the growth of the Java moss. The use of CO2 is not essential at all. The java moss grows rapidly without needing the support of an external source.

When you use the CO2 in the pressurized container, the plant will consume the provided CO2 and rapidly grow the plant. Compare to the growth with the water-based java moss; the CO2 will have quicker growth.


The java moss doesn’t require special arrangements to place in the aquarium. You can plant them on any existing decorative such as rocks, stones, Driftwood, and gravel. Even you can lay them on the ground, and they will keep growing.

The use of the component is optional when you have to give the java moss a specific shape to make the aquarium look elegant. You can find different types of material in the market that makes the plant appear beautiful in the aquarium.

Pre-made java moss carpet is also great when you do not want to wait for the moss to grow. Buy them in the required size and place them in the aquarium.

3) Methods of Planting java moss in your aquarium

Java Moss can be added to the aquarium without any preparation, but there are some steps that you may have to follow to avoid damage to the roots of the plant.

Super Glue Method


  • Java Moss Plant
  • Substrates to hold the plant such as rocks and Driftwood
  • Superglue to fix the substrates at the place.
  • Clean spray bottle
  • Forceps (Optional)


  1. Take the large size of the java moss. The size of the moss would depend on your requirement. Measure the place in the tank where you are willing to fix the java moss plant. The 2-inch pieces will do the job if you plan to grow the java moss in the tank.
  2. Put the super glue on the decor where you are going to fix the plant.
  3. Hold the java moss gently in hand and place it on the super glue. Do not touch the superglue with the bear’s hand. It is harmful to the skin. Use the forceps if you are not comfortable handling the java moss in hand.
  4. There are possibilities that the java moss will start drying out due to the heat in the environment. Use the sprayer to put the water on the java moss to keep it hydrated.
  5. Once the glue is dry and java moss is stuck to the decor, you can place the decor in the aquarium.

Tying Method


  • Java Moss
  • Rocks, Driftwood, and other substrates to place the plant.
  • Fishing line
  • Cotton Thread
  • Clean Spray bottle
  • Scissors to cut the excess growth


  1. Use the scissor to cut the large clumps of the java moss plant into small size pieces. The 2-inch size is recommended for the plant.
  2. Tie the pieces of the java moss on the decor. Ensure that they do not get disengage from the decor. Use the cotton thread or the fishing line. Use the clips to place the excess line or thread attached to the decor.
  3. The process may take some time, so if you find the java moss is getting dry out, spray the water on it to keep it hydrated. Spray it lightly on it and do it frequently until you finish the work. The cotton thread could break down over time. If you see any cotton thread flowing in the water, remove it immediately.

If the fish swallow the thread, it will get stuck in their gut, and they will die. As the java moss grows, it will cover the decor and create its habitat around the decor.

Meanwhile, it will have covered sufficient space to enable the java moss to stick the decore independently without needing thread. The fishing line will not be visible once the java moss covers the entire decor.



  • Java moss plant
  • Use the Plastic canvas or any other waterproof flat surface manufacturer for the aquarium.
  • Suction Cups
  • Fishing line
  • Needle for the plastic canvas
  • Measuring tape
  • Small knife


  1. Use the measuring tape to map the area you want to cover the java moss in the carpet form or wall.
  2. Now, clean the glass with the dry cloths before applying the glue to the inside of the aquarium. Ensure that there is no substrate or any other decorative in the middle of the carpet and glass. Any type of algae or substance may prevent the suction cup from sticking to the glass. A good grip is needed to make sure that it will not fall if you place the java moss on the side glass or back glass.)
  3. Use the scissor to cut the plastic canvas sheet to fit the measured area in the tank. Cut the two sheets for the same size.
  4. Poke the plastic sheet to make the hole to stick the suction pump. Use the tip of the knife to make the hole. Be careful while using the knife. Create holes in all the corners and about every six inches alongside. Make extra holes in the middle to add more stability.
  5. Take the java moss and spread it over the sheet with the suction cups.
  6. Again, put the second layer of the java moss on top of the previous moss layer.
  7. Now, use the needle to sew the plastic canvas sheets and the java moss layer together—no need to pass the needle through the square. Pass in the specific distance and repeat the pattern to fix the moss tightly on a plastic sheet.
  8. Go one by one from the edges and tie the java moss to the side to ensure that it will not come out from the sheet. Cut the excess fishing line without fail. Fish may try to eat them and get injured.
  9. Sew the horizontal line as well. Tie it off gently and cut the excess fishing line. The center place will keep the java moss at the place, and it will not create a bump on the surface. Also, it will not allow the java moss to float in the water. The moss plant will stick to the ground or the side surface.
  10. Once the java moss is tied to the plastic canvas, attach the entire structure to the tank. Press the canvas gently to allow the suction cups to stick to the glass.

Check from the back of the glass whether all the suction cups are properly stuck to the glass if you place it on the side glass wall.

How to Maintain Java Moss?

Once you are done with the plantation of the java moss in the aquarium, the next step is to maintain the java moss. The maintenance technique will help you to keep the java moss fresh.

Cleaning Java Moss

The fish waste, bacteria, uneaten food, and algae will get stuck in the java moss. If you placed the java moss at the bottom of the tank, it might attract more dirt and waste product.

Over time the substance trapped in the java moss starts flowing on the surface of the moss. It will look gross when the quantity increases. Also, it will bring down the water quality.

You have to clean the java moss to avoid the buildup of junk regularly. There are several ways you can clean the waste product, and junk stuck under the java moss layer.

You have to take the whole structure out of the aquarium. Hold it under the running water and wash it. Use something sharp or pointed metal to poke down the junk from the moss.

Stuck it all out and rinse again under the running water. Do this 2 to 3 times to remove anything stuck under the layer of the java moss.


The java moss grows quickly when the water condition is good. It will grow exponentially and cover the entire decor in a few months. If left alone, it will take away all the free space, and there will be less space for the fish to swim.

You will notice the 2-inch java moss plant has turned into the giant blobby mess in the aquarium. It will look awful when half of the tank is covered with java moss.

The best way to control the growth is to use the trimming procedure frequently to control the plant’s growth.

Use the scissor and cut down anything that doesn’t look appealing. Also, control the moss from getting into the middle of the free-swimming space allocated for the fish.

The trimming method keeps the java moss healthier and allows it to grow continuously. The large size of the moss prevents the light from reaching the bottom of the tank.

As a consequence, the plant will die at the bottom. Leaves will stay healthy when they get sufficient lights and proper exposure in the tank.

Trimming also helps you to keep the decoration in the aquarium consistent for a long period. It saves the time to re-decorating the tank again and spending more time cleaning.

Water Changes

Changing the water every 15 days would offer the plants more nutrition and fresh minerals that support the growth of the moss.

Also, the water change procedure removes the unwanted bacteria and waste products, which are harmful. Freshwater keeps the water condition healthy for moss and fish.

Common Issues of Java Moss

Java moss may look ultimate solution to the aquarium decoration. However, the plant is not 100% secure from the problems. There will be some problem you will face when start using the java moss in the aquarium.


The java moss plant is great for cropping up the home of algae. If the tank has a bright LED light, then there is the possibility that the Algae will burst into large quantities. It will spread all over the moss and cover the entire plant in few days.

The algae growth is faster than the moss. It will cover the moss before the moss spread its leaves in the tank. It will be impossible for the moss to bypass the growth of the algae and keep it in control.

Shrimp, Cherry, and Amonos are the only fish that can clean the moss by removing the algae. But putting them in the tank would cause damage to the other plant in the aquarium.

Partially cleaning the water and spraying hydrogen peroxide directly on the algae may limit the growth of the unwanted algae. The moss will be fine after you complete the spraying process.


Snail eats the java moss leaves. If you put them in the aquarium filled with the java moss plant, they will start eating the leaves, and in few days, you will notice the growth of the java moss has reduced. The damage can be visible on the layer of the java moss plant.

Benefits of Java Moss

The java moss is a multipurpose plant use for decorative purposes and many other aspects.

  • Java moss aerates the aquarium water using the natural process. It will improve the oxygen level in the water and make the fish breathe comfortably. If your oxygen pump is damage, the java moss will supply the required oxygen in the water.
  • Act as a natural water cleaner such as a filter in the aquarium.
  • It offers a hiding place for the fish during breeding and makes the fry survive.
  • The moss reduces the growth of the obnoxious algae in your fish tank.
  • The bottom of the aquarium tank would work as an eco-friendly carpet.
  • The plant also creates a natural habitat where the fish can lay the eggs in a safe place away from the predictor.
  • Java moss can become the hiding place for the naturally shy fish and like to stay away from the view.
  • Moss plants can become good food for herbivorous fish and tiny fries. When there is not sufficient food around, the fish will eat the moss leaves and get the required nutrition.
  • Java moss creates a natural habitat similar to the river habitat. It keeps the fish calm and stress-free. The beautiful branches and leaves fulfill the due purpose, act as decoration and create a natural habitat for the fish.

Suitable Tankmates for Java Moss

You should be aware of the suitable tank mate that keeps the java moss healthy. Most of the fish eats the small leave plants.

If you put any random fish in the tank, they will start eating the java moss, and in few days, the whole structure will be damaged. Some suitable tankmates eat the algae and keep the aquarium safe from occupying the algae in the tank.

The algae eater keeps the moss leaves clean. Here is the list of the top tankmates of the java moss plant.

  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Japanese Algae Eating Shrimp
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Catfish

Unsuitable Tankmates for Java Moss

Some fish like to eat the java moss plant. They will tear the leaves into tiny parts and eat them. It is recommended not to keep the fish in the aquarium where you have the java moss in the tank.

List of the unsuitable tankmates of java moss

  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Cichlid

Common Issues in Rearing Java Moss

The plant is very agile and grows in perfect shape. However, there will be some problems the aquarist has to face while rearing the java moss plant. If you consider the following guide, you will not face any problems while using java moss.

  • Keep the filter away from the java moss. As it grows, it may start clogging the filter, and water may not pass in the water, leaving the dirty water in the tank.
  • Pruning the plant is essential to reduce the occupying the swimming space of the fish. Remember that the fish gets stressed out when they find less space in the tank. Cut the excess part of the java moss plant and keep the growth in control.
  • If the upper layer of the java moss grows thick, the light may not reach the bottom of the roots. As a result, the plant will become brown and lose strength.
  • The algae needs to be kept in control. In the early stage of growth, the algae grow slowly. As they cover the small space in the tank, their growth rate explodes, and you will see they are spreading all over the java moss plant. Clean the moss plant frequently to avoid the algae from taking place on the plant.
  • The mild water current is essential for moving the nutrition in the water. The moss requires the right amount of nutrition to grow. Without it, the plant will die soon.
  • Put the fertilizer in the moderated quantity. It may damage the plant and prevent it from growing. Too much of the quantity would damage the leaves of the plant.


How to Trim Your Java Moss Plants?

Use the scissors and start cutting the moss from the tip of it. Control the flow of the leaves. Cut then evenly to make it look similar in height from all the angles. Trimming keeps the moss healthy and fresh.

What are the Difficulties grow Java Mosses?

The moss may grow quickly and occupy the large area in the tank if it is not maintained properly. The leaves may grow thick and dense, which then covers the surface and reduce the amount of light that reaches the bottom of the plant.

Also, water cannot reach the middle of the section, which leads to a change in color from green to brown. Additionally, the growing alga is a serious problem. Once the algae start growing on the moss, it will reduce the growth of the plant. It will lead to poor water quality.

Why is Java moss so more expensive?

Java moss keeps the water condition healthy for the fish. They grow in all kind of water condition and doesn’t require maintenance. Due to their qualities and support, the aquarium building makes the java moss the most popular plant in the aquarium.

It also supports the breeding tank where the fish can hide, lay eggs, the fry can leave comfortably around the moss plant.

Java also mosses, great food for the tank. If you forget to feed your fish due to some emergency, the fish will eat the plant leaves and survive for few days. It doesn’t require bright light or direct sunlight to grow.

How does fast grow Java moss?

Use the fluorescent light to speed up the growth of the java moss plant. Provide the right amount of liquid nutrition to increase the growth rate.

You can even try the compress CO2 to enable the moss to grow faster. Java moss naturally grows faster, and you do not require a special method to apply for increasing the growth rate.

Final Verdict:

Java moss is a great aquarium plant that serves multiple purposes. For the beginner, java moss would be the best choice. It controls the nutrient live in the water and offers clean water for the fish to live pleasantly.

Use it with the decorative and create the natural look habitat that looks stunning in the tank.

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.