Phoenix Moss Ultimate Guide On Planting, Maintains & Care (Fissidens fontanus)

Phoenix moss is a beautiful, low-maintenance aquatic plant popular for indoor aquariums nowadays.

This type of moss is one of the easiest plants to maintain and care for, but they still have some requirements like lighting, water parameters, etc.

Scientific NameFissidens fontanus
OriginNorth America
Lighting NeedsLow
Temperature65° – 77° F (18.3° – 25° C)
Water ConditionspH: 5.0 – 7.5
Average Size1 -3 Inch
Growth RateMedium
PlacementMid and Foreground
Phoenix Moss Information Table
Phoenix Moss Ultimate Guide
Phoenix Moss Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

However, it can grow in just 4-5 weeks and has a long life span. This guide will find everything you need to know about caring for your Phoenix Moss plant, including tips on planting, maintaining, and understanding the right living conditions.

What Is Phoenix Moss/ Fissidens Fontanus?

Phoenix Moss, also known as Fissidens fontanus, is an aquatic moss native to North America. They come from the family of Fissidentaceae, which have over 400 kinds of other mosses. They are commonly known as US Fissdens, Water pocket Moss and Palm Moss.

Thus Wetlands and Freshwater lakes are perfect examples of their natural habitat. It is a dominant moss in many vernal pools, and it likes to grow in water with a pH of 6.0 or above. The leaves are usually shaped like triangles but can vary depending on the species.

They can also be large or small and hairy or smooth, although they are most often green in color. Some individuals of this plant also have rhizomes that help them to spread throughout the pool’s substrate over time.

Phoenix Moss has received attention in recent years as an indicator of clean water because it may benefit from fluoride compounds, an important mineral for plant health in its natural environment within which they grow.

To grow them in your aquarium, you would need water temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and they are better in low-temperature conditions. In addition, they generally prefer nutrient-rich water with proper filtration.

How To Care Phoenix Moss?

Phoenix Moss has specific conditions that need to be met for the plant to thrive. If you’re new at caring for Phoenix Moss, here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind when trying out this popular aquarium plant.

  • Have an appropriately sized tank ready with good lighting and filtration; if your tank is more than 10 gallons, anything smaller will not give Phoenix enough room. A fish tank is not the only option for Phoenix Moss, but remember that it will only grow to a maximum length of 6 inches.
  • You can grow this plant in a smaller aquarium, but make sure the water temperature stays between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not put the plant directly in sunlight or near a window that receives a lot of sunlight. Phoenix Moss does very well when kept under shades.
  • Use peat instead of regular soil to keep your moss happy by helping it retain moisture and improving its oxygen supply. The potting soil should be slightly acid and well aerated. However, you don’t want to pack it too tightly around the roots.
  • Since the Phoenix Moss will send out runners through the water, it will also catch dust and residues. These things can create cloudiness that is not great for your tank. You can use any filtration to clean this up, but make sure you use enough power to remove these particles from the water.
  • As you know that their growth rates are slower than other mosses, but give it some time to cover the bottom of aquariums. If you take care of the Phoenix moss using the above tips, it will continue to grow without any problems.

Benefits Of Phoenix Moss

Introducing Phoenix moss to an aquarium enhances your tank’s overall ecosystem. Phoenix moss can offer plenty of benefits to the plants and fish in an aquarium.

With that being said, many people prefer adding their favorite varieties of wild live plants over exotic aquatic life because they provide both food and cover for fish. Aquarium plants are a great way to brighten up your aquarium naturally.

Benefits Of Growing Phoenix Moss In Aquarium Tanks

  • It’s natural: Even though today’s planted aquariums are widely available, some people still prefer adding their favorite varieties of live aquatic life over exotic aquatic life because it provides both food and cover for fish. Aquatic moss is one such plant that can provide both the above benefits without purchasing a lot of expensive living marine animals from the market.
  • It helps absorb nitrates: Aquatic plants generally absorb only a fraction of the nitrates available in their water supplies. Most of them usually require a high-protein diet to use these elements to create amino acids, which are used to build new proteins.
  • Provides Oxygen: Like any other plant or aquatic life form, Phoenix moss needs oxygen to survive. If your aquarium is deficient in oxygen, you’ll undoubtedly notice your aquatic moss slowly dying off over time. To keep your aquatic moss healthy, you should ensure you’re implementing proper aeration methods into your tank and providing additional oxygen by using a supplemental air pump for aquariums.
  • It reduces phosphates and nitrates: You’d be surprised that you won’t be able to keep your aquarium water clean enough to support fish without a proper enclosure and filtration system. Phosphates and nitrates are two elements that make the water toxic for fish, so this is something you should try and avoid at all costs.
  • It can also enhance the tank’s overall ecosystem by providing food for the fish and covering them from unwanted predators. These two benefits can also reduce mortality rates in your tank.

How To Maintain Phoenix Moss?

Phoenix moss can be beautiful, though it can quickly cause problems in the form of algae and unsightly brown spots. This is why you need to take care of your moss via regularly trimming and cleaning the tank to make sure it grows properly.

Thus it is necessary to learn how to manage Phoenix moss in aquariums without harming the plant or killing its home life.

  • There are many ways to trim phoenix moss, but some methods are better for different reasons and have varying degrees of success. A trimmed phoenix moss looks like a broom with elegance about it. An un-trimmed one looks like a wild bush and is usually something that makes your tank look unkempt.
  • For large clumps, you need to remove most of the top foliage, similar to how you would trim other plants in the aquarium. However, when removing an entire clump of moss at once, be careful not to remove too much foliage, as this will result in your moss dying from lack of light and nutrition.

When trimming mosses in an aquarium, start on one end or side and work your way around. Always work from the outer edge inward, as this will help prevent leaves from bending up or sideways, which reveals shoots that may have grown underneath them.

In this way, those shoots will not be cut off at their root. Each time you trim leaves, check each shoot so that they do not grow more shoots beneath them. If this is not kept in mind, the plant will become overgrown and die.

Common Problems Of Planting Phoenix Moss

Many people love to plant Phoenix Moss, and they are easy to grow and require little care. However, these plants have a problem that can make it difficult for you to enjoy the beauty of Phoenix Moss in your aquarium.

The most common problem is when the condition is known as “hanging moss” occurs; this means that the moss suddenly stops growing and leaves start turning yellow and brown.

It has been damaged during planting or pruning, either through an injury or an insect infestation. This problem is caused by the lack of nutrients in the soil.

Soil conditions like unsuitable pH acidic or alkaline, poor drainage, low fertility, and even compaction can be factors that affect the health of Phoenix Moss.

Without adequate nutrient supply, its roots will eventually be unable to provide food for the plant, and it will begin to wilt.

If you’ve noticed that your Phoenix Moss hasn’t been growing as well as you expected it to, there are a few things you can do to help revive it.

Soil aeration and fertilization are known methods of restoring Phoenix Moss to good health; they both increase the rate at which its roots absorb nutritional elements from the soil.

Aerating the soil is usually done by digging holes with a spade and inserting your Phoenix Moss into it. This allows oxygen and water to seep through and reach the plant’s roots to grow better.

The nutrients will be absorbed into the roots of your plant over time.

Similar Plants To Phoenix Moss To Grow In Aquariums

If you are looking for a plant to give your aquarium a natural beauty, the list below will show you which plants are comparable to Phoenix moss.

Java Moss

Java moss has more color variation than Phoenix moss, but it’s less tolerant of high temperatures. It does well in colder water, though, so it’s beneficial for tropical and cold water aquariums.

Vine Moss

String or Vine Moss is also very similar to Phoenix Moss in terms of growing conditions and appearance. One difference is that String or Vine Moss likes bright light while Phoenix Moss prefers low light conditions.

Egeria Densa

Egeria densa has a similar appearance to Phoenix moss. To make it grow best, the substrate should be mildly acidic, similar to the pH of Phoenix Moss. It grows particularly well in soft water and does not require high-quality water conditions.

The above plants are similar to Phoenix moss in terms of their appearance and growth requirements. However, none is more similar than Anubias barteri var. nana with its reddish tint and delicate tips.

It has a more refined appearance than other aquatic plants, but it is slow-growing and very sensitive to changes in nitrates and phosphates in the water, which have to be kept relatively low to thrive.

Can Phoenix Moss Grow Out Of Water?

Yes, you can see the Phoenix moss growing out of the water, or even you can grow it out of water too. But as explained, they need water to fulfill their need for nutrients. Thus they thrive better when submerged fully or partially in the water.

It still can grow even out of the water but with a slower growth rate than when it is in water. As they are perfect for surviving in both water and on land, leaving them out of water is not a problem.

But you will need to give them extra care to provide the nutrients they need. Also, do not put them directly on the soil or rocks.

Phoenix moss does require more frequent rinsing to remain healthy and attractive when grown out of water. However, that also depends on how much light it receives and how often you have moved it.

Who Are The Suitable Tank Mates For Phoenix Moss?

Phoenix moss can be seen in carpet form in your aquarium. Due to its nature, it can cover the whole bottom of the aquarium, which is a great hideout for all the small fish and other aquatic animals.

Phoenix moss is a very dense, fluffy bushy kind of aquatic plant that can be the food source for tank mates. So, Phoenix moss can be housed with small to medium-size shrimp, snails, fishes, etc.

They would be better tank mates in terms of living conditions. But you should always do your research before buying any new life for your tank and make sure that the fish or shrimp you are getting is compatible with the plant you already have.

Phoenix moss is a type of moss with brightly colored green spots on a dark brown or black background. Its appealing coloration makes it a popular choice for aquarium tanks, and it’s relatively easy to care for.

However, you can’t just set this plant in the water and expect it to work; you need to follow this guide to ensure its proper growth. Thus, if you have the aquarium to decorate, start with planting the live plants such as Phoenix moss.

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.