Why is my Star Moss Plant Dying?

A Star Moss Plant, not being an Aquatic plant is able to survive itself in Fresh Waters for a certain period of time.

Nowadays the Star Moss plant is famous among the Aquarists as a decorating tool in their Aquariums.

Table of Contents

Why is My Star Moss Plant Dying?

Compared to the other types of plants the Star Moss plant requires a minimum maintenance, but if this minimum amount of maintenance is not given on the plant properly then there will be health problems on the plant which will cause the plant to die.

Why Is My Star Moss Plant Dying
Why Is My Star Moss Plant Dying : Image Source


In the modern world people all around the world make new inventions and identify new different things. These new identifications might bring some an income and some will follow them as their hobbies during the leisure time.

Among most of the people nowadays, one of the famous hobbies is having an ornamental fish tank be it either at home or work place. An ornamental fish tank has become a common sight.

So in decorating this fish tanks people have being using various methods and techniques.

Adding various types of fish and introducing various types of Aquatic life in to the tank is a common feature.

Among these Aquatic plants, one of the plants even though not being an Aquatic plant adds a different color in to your tank.

This plant is commonly known as the Star Moss or scientifically identified as the Tortula Ruralis.

The Tortula Ruralis or the Star Moss plant is a plant with Starry shaped leaves with a bright green colour in it.

This plant is only around 1.1 inches tall and is a great decoration addition to the Aquarium.

How can I identify Dying Star Moss?

A Star Moss is a plant that has dark green colored leaves in it with a Starry look, but when it dies the leaves turn dry and into a brownish red colour.

Signs of a Dying Star Moss?

A Dying Star Moss plant will have a change in colour of its leaves, a dry look in the leaves as well as a change in colour in its stems as well.

Also a dying Star Moss plant in your tank will give a unpleasant smell through it.

Reasons for Die Star Moss?

A Star Moss in your Aquarium might die due to many reasons such as,

  • Lighting Matters
  • Too much of Food and Animal Waste within the Aquarium
  • Not using the proper Fertilizer
  • Tank mate attacks and
  • Water Chemistry and PH levels

How to protect Star Moss without Dying?

You can protect a Dying Star Moss plant by following the below,

Clean the tank regularly so that unwanted Algae attacks are prevented

Keep tank mates that can make effect on the Star Moss plant away from the plant

Always have the plant in a fresh water tank as Salt water is harmful on the Star Moss plant

Check on the PH levels of the Water

If you are using any Fertilizers on the plant have the proper Fertilizers being used.

Check that the plant receives a low to a medium amount of house light or sunlight as too much of bright light is not good to the plant.

Is Dead Star Moss Bad for Fish?

The Star Moss plant dying within an aquarium and having the dead plant within the aquarium for a long time period of time without taking any precautionary measures will cause harm on the fish with its acids.

Therefore cleaning the dead star moss plant out of the tank as soon as possible is good on the health of the fish.

Is Dead Star Moss Harmful for other plants?

A Dead Star Moss plant in your Aquarium plant might not affect all other Aquatic plants in the Aquarium with it .But it might have a certain harmful effect on some of the Aquatic plants within the Aquarium.

Does Dead Star Moss Affect to Algae Growth?

Like on all Aquatic plants the Star Moss plant will also have Algae Attacks.

Unlike on a live Star Moss plant the attack of Algae on a dead Star Moss plant will be higher. This will have an effect on the other Aquatic life and plants within the Aquarium.

Therefore the best thing to do is to remove the dead Star moss plant within the Aquarium as soon as possible.

How to recover the Dying Star Moss?

As the Star Moss is not an Aquatic plant you can remove the plant out of the Aquarium and place it in another jar or tank with or without water and see that the plant gets its requirements.

If you are holding the plant with water see that it is fresh water as salt water is harmful to the plant.

See that the plant receives only the minimum amount of light and is held at a cool temperature which will help in recovering your Star Moss plant from Dying.

How to clean Dead Star Moss in a Tank ?

A Star Moss plant in an Aquarium is mostly rooted to the substrate within the tank. At times the Star moss will be grown on a drift wood or on rocks which will make it easier to remover.

However when rooted within the substrate you can carefully take out the plant out of the Substrate. Thereafter remove all other Aquatic life and plants within the tank. Clean the tank thoroughly and place the tank mates and the Aquatic plants within the tank again.

Can I kill a Star Moss?

The Star Moss plant is a very miraculous plant which can survive itself for years without water and gain back in life after receiving the required amount of water.

Therefore it is hard to kill the Star Moss plant.

But as this plant is not an Aquatic plant, if you have the Star Moss plant in fully submerged water for a certain period of time will kill the plant.


The Star Moss plant does well in the fresh waters and is a great addition to an Aquarium or tank with great other benefits other than being a beautiful decoration.

So you can try having one of these plants in your tank or Aquarium with its very bright green colour and Starry look.

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.