Java Moss on Driftwood: 5 Quick & Fun Ideas for An Aquarium

java moss on driftwood

Java moss is a popular plant for keeping in fish tanks because it’s easy to care for and extremely hardy. Its unique ability also can give any boring and bare aquarium a boost of life.

Driftwood is one of the most versatile pieces of aquarium décor. It can be used to create an elaborate aquascape, build hiding places for your fish to hide in and explore, and provide essential fiber for plecos. However, the likelihood will be that you’ll probably find that there is still something missing with bare driftwood. This is where java moss comes in!

Java moss is a perfect plant to use to cover driftwood. Its small and compact leaves will quickly attach themselves to the wood, and its fast growth rate means it won’t be long before the entire piece of driftwood is covered, providing a much-needed splash of color and life.

Keep reading to learn more!

Java Moss Profile

java moss on driftwood

Before we get into how to grow java moss on driftwood, let’s take a look at the plant itself.

Although java moss is the most common aquatic moss species in the aquarium trade, there is confusion caused by its scientific name. In the trade, java moss is sold under the name either Vesicularia dubyana or Taxiphyllum barbieri. It’s easy to see how this confusion can happen because they both have similar-looking leaves.

Vesicularia dubyana was the first introduced to the hobby and called ‘Java moss,’ and is the name most widely used. However, as early as 1982, the moss expert Zennosuke Iwatsuki identified that the plant sold as java moss from aquarists was, in fact, Taxiphyllum barbieri.

Nowadays, V. dubyana has been more or less completely supplanted in popularity by T. barbieri, which was introduced to the hobby in 1933. Compared with V. dubyana, T. barbieri has a fast growth rate and has only been found in Vietnam. Additionally, V. dubyana (Singapore moss) is monoecious, while T. barbieri is dioecious. They have something in common and differences.

Many more species are now sold under the trade name of “Java moss,” but the price can vary remarkably. My favorites include weeping moss (V. Ferriei) and Taiwan moss (T. alternans), especially the latter, looking extremely striking.

Will Java Moss Grow on Driftwood and Rock?

Most commonly, java moss is used to attach to aquarium driftwood and rocks in an aquarium to add an aged look or build hiding places and spawn sites for fish and shrimp. You can leave them free-floating, but it’s relatively rare.

How to Attach Java Moss on Driftwood and Rock?

Java moss grows easily on almost every surface to spruce up your aquarium. Try to place it as thinly across the surface as you can so that you get as much of the java moss to cover the surface as possible, which will help keep its vigor up without having too many lower layers die off from lack of moisture.

I find the best places to attach the moss are along the length of the branch of the driftwood, as well as the base, rather than around the edges. This gives a more natural look, as if it’s growing out from the wood, and also provides more surface area for the roots to attach to.

There are several items that can help anchor java moss to surfaces, many of which you will probably find around your house. Here are some of the most popular:

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#1 Cotton Thread or Fishing Line

This is an effective way to attach java moss to something difficult to glue. Simply tie the thread or fishing line around the moss and driftwood. Tie it with many knots is not necessary. Two pieces of thread string will work. Additionally, don’t over-tighten the string but makes sure there’s no slack so the java moss can’t float away when your snails or shrimp inevitably decide to have a nibble.

Most cotton threads will rot after a few weeks and leave the java moss in place, so make sure to check it regularly and replace the thread as necessary.

A fine fishing line is a good option if you don’t want to use anything that will rot in your aquarium or worry about the attaching time. You can use either a clear or green fishing line, depending on your preference. It can be difficult to spot and will soon be covered in java moss.

#2 Cyanoacrylate Superglue

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have any thread or fishing line, you can use a small amount of superglue to attach the java moss to the object. Don’t worry, super glue is safe for use in an aquarium because Cyanoacrylate becomes completely inert when moist or wet.

Although aquarium sealant and adhesives are better, they are not really necessary. The normal cheap household super glue you can buy at the hardware store is usually fine.

Just apply a small amount to the dry wood or rock and then attach the java moss before the glue dries. Let it dry for an hour or two, then it’s good to go. Be careful not to use too much as it can make a mess and be difficult to remove if you’re not happy with the results. A small amount on the end of a toothpick is all you need. If you put too much, it will ooze out everywhere.

#3 Dry Start Method (DSM)

Java Moss dry start

Another great way to attach java moss to driftwood is the dry start method (DSM). This involves leaving the java moss out of water for a week or two to let it callous over and form a tight bond with the wood.

This method simply allows your carpet plants to grow quicker by giving them abundant CO2 in the air as compared to underwater. All you need to do is to tie the java moss around the piece of driftwood and leave it in a humid environment for a week or two. After that, you can dip the whole thing in water, and it should stay in place.

If you want to learn more about the DSM method, check out this guide by Buceplant.

Toothpicks or River Driftwood

Toothpicks or bamboo skewers can be used in a similar way as cotton thread or fishing line. In this video, Michael uses boiled toothpicks instead of driftwood to anchor moss that grows underwater.

This is a great way to secure java moss in hard-to-reach places or where you don’t want the string or fishing line to be visible. You can get creative on the way to assembling toothpicks together. 

If you don’t want to spend 5 hours boiling the toothpicks, you can pick up some river driftwood nearby and use that instead. Make sure to rinse it first to remove any dirt or debris.

Both are time-consuming methods, but the whole process is fun, and you’ll be rewarded with pieces of driftwood covered with java moss and more DIY idea for your aquarium.

Weigh it down

To do this, place a few small pebbles on top of the java moss to keep it in place. This method works better if you have glued the java moss to the driftwood. You will definitely need to check the pebbles every now; some snails or fish might decide to make them their new home.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are many ways to grow java moss on driftwood. It really depends on your preference and what you have on hand. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your aquarium.

If you found this post helpful, please like and share it with your friends! Also, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would love to hear from you!

Have fun and a happy aquarium!

Java Moss Vs. Flame Moss Vs. Taiwan Moss (The Difference)

Java Moss Vs. Flame Moss

Aquarium mosses are underwater plants that can provide a number of benefits to your tank. They can help to oxygenate the water, offer hiding places for fish and other aquatic creatures, and even help to filter the water.

Mosses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so you’re sure to find one that will complement your aquarium décor.

Three of the most popular types of aquarium moss are java moss, flame moss, and Taiwan moss. All of these mosses are easy to care for and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions. So, which one is suitable for your tank?

In today’s article, we’ll be comparing Java moss Vs. Flame moss vs. Taiwan moss to make everything easy. In it, we go over all the care needs for each type of moss as well as the benefits and drawbacks of keeping them in your aquarium.

Java Moss Vs. Flame Moss

The main difference between Java moss and flame moss is their growth speed. Java moss grows faster than flame moss in the same condition. If you’re looking for a plant that will quickly cover the surfaces of your aquarium, Java moss is the way to go.

Java moss is a bright green color and has a more compact, bushy growth pattern. Flame moss, on the other hand, is deep green and has a more spread-out, flame-like growth style.

Java moss Vs. Taiwan Moss

Taiwan Moss is not quite as well-known as Java moss. The main difference between Java moss and Taiwan moss is their unique growth patterns. Java moss grows in every direction, while Taiwan moss tends to grow strictly downward.

Additionally, if you have Java moss and Taiwan moss in the same aquarium, you will notice that the Taiwan moss is thinner and has an elegant, refined appearance than Java moss. Taiwan moss also has brighter color.

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri)

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri)

Java moss (Taxiphyllum Barbieri) is a type of moss that originates from Southeast Asia. It’s a popular choice for aquariums because it’s easy to care for and can grow in a wide range of water conditions. 

Java moss has no “real” roots, but it can attach to any surface with its rhizoids and quickly spread to cover large areas. This makes it a great plant for aquascaping. Compared with roots, rhizoids only work as anchors that attach the growing body to surfaces instead of absorbing nutrients. Their irregular branched stems and long oval-shaped leaves are doing the job. 

These mosses are often used by aquarists to provide a natural appearance in the aquarium, serve as a spawning substrate for egg-laying fish, or as a place for fry and shrimp to hide.

Java moss can grow in both low and high light conditions, and you can control its growth pace by adjusting the amount of light it receives. If you want your java moss to grow faster in the beginning, give it sufficient light.

Remember that these three moss do not need direct sunlight as it will stimulate algae growth, so be sure to provide some shading if you have a very bright aquarium.

There is no need to worry about the severe pruning of this plant as it will quickly grow back. In fact, you can shape it into attractive clusters by following the lines of bases.

Don’t lay it too thickly on the ground as this may rot under layers, which may cause ammonia spikes.

  • Temperature: 14-30°C/57-86°F
  • pH: 6-8
  • GH: Adaptable
  • KH: Adaptable

Flame Moss ( Taxiphyllum sp.“Flame”)

Flame moss ( Taxiphyllum sp.“Flame” ) is a frequent addition known for its unique growth. Aquascapers or fish keepers love this moss because of its ability to enhance any tank with a spreading green hint of vegetation. Flame moss is regularly used as a decorative plant in aquariums.

This plant has an interesting growth style, with long, thin leaves that branch out from the stem in a distinct upward spiral form a “flame-like” pattern. Compared to Java moss and Taiwan Moss, Flame Moss is a deeper green color. It also can grow thick and bushy, making it perfect for clumps in your tank or garden.

Like Java moss, Flame moss grows from rhizoids and can be anchored to driftwood, rocks, or any other surfaces in your aquarium using string, thin rope or fine fishing line, or super glue. You can weigh down your moss with rocks for your snails, who will love to displace them.

Flame moss is a hardy plant and can adapt to a wide range of water parameters. These moss are not fussy about light requirements and will thrive in low to moderate light aquariums and a variety of pH levels, making it a great choice for anyone with a low-tech tank. 

Although CO2 and liquid fertilization are unnecessary, they will help the Flame moss grow faster and boost the brightest coloration.

  • Temperature: 20-28°C/68 – 83 °F
  • pH: 6-8
  • GH: Adaptable
  • KH: Adaptable

Taiwan Moss ( Taxiphyllum alternans)

Taiwan Moss ( Taxiphyllum alternans)

Taiwan moss (Taxiphyllum alternans) is not as widely known as Java moss and Flame moss, but it’s a great alternative that is quickly gaining popularity with its low lighting requirements.

Taiwan moss looks similar to Java moss and Willow moss, but it has a more delicate appearance with supple and thicker leaves. It is an excellent alternative to Java moss as they have matching nutrition requirements.

This moss grows sideways and has delicate foliage and thicker fronds. They will become overhanging when the leaves start to grow out.

Taiwan moss can be used in a similar way as Java moss and Flame moss, as the same rhizoid rooting system that allows them to be attached to wood or rocks by using a fishing line or super glue.

You can also create a Taiwan moss carpet by growing them on a mesh sheet and attaching the sheet to the bottom of your aquarium. Taiwan moss is a slow-growing plant, so patience is required when creating a Taiwan moss carpet.

The name for this moss is very indicative of its origin. Taiwan moss has a low demand for lighting and will do well in low and high light aquariums.

Taiwan moss is also an easy plant adaptable to a wide range of pH levels, making them a smart choice for creating foreground or hiding equipment in the aquarium.

  • Temperature: 15-28°C/59° – 82° F
  • pH: 5.5 – 7.5
  • GH: Adaptable
  • KH: Adaptable

Final Thoughts

Java moss, Flame moss, and Taiwan moss are very easy and decorative plants to keep without much extra care. They don’t require additional CO2, but some added CO2 will promote growth and enhance their coloration like all plants.

You can use all three of these mosses similarly by attaching them to driftwood or rock using a fishing line or super glue. 

Choosing which moss to grow in your aquarium is a personal decision. But if you’re looking for moss with a fast growth rate and focused on the results, you will want to stick with java moss.

If there’s anything you think we missed about these three plants, please let us know in the comments below!