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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I have read a few threads about mosses on this forum but didn't find what I was searching for.

When my terrarium setup will be completed, I would like to add mosses a little bit everywhere so it can cover all my three walls and maybe the branches I will use.

What kind of moss can I use to cover those three walls and branches? Is there some tricks I can use to make them spread faster?

I remember reading something, a few years ago, about mixing mosses and yogourt and add this mixture on rocks and logs. Is this technique useful?
 

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I think a slurry of several moss species is the best way to go. Like the one NEHERP sells. I'm sure other sellers have similar products you can find in Canada.

It is really hard for me to pick the right species of moss for a location. If you use a slurry of different species hopefully you will have at least one type of moss that likes each location you apply it to.
 

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I highly discourage people from collecting moss in the wild. This is for a few reasons.
1) Most importantly, it is harmful to the environment. Bryophytes play an important role preventing soil erosion, in decomposition, and in simply beautifying natural areas
2) Most temperate moss species will not grow well long term in humid vivaria. They need a dormancy period to truly thrive.
3) You run the risk of introducing pests
4) You run the risk of introducing pathogens
5) You run the risk of introducing pesticides and other harsh chemicals.

When selecting moss for vivaria and terraria, I generally recommend buying the common aquarium mosses and liverworts. Bryophytes such as java moss, Christmas moss, Riccardia, Pellia, Taiwan moss, etc. make great choices because they are commonly propagated in captivity, grow well in humid vivaria, are often inexpensive, and are beautiful.
There are also other ways to obtain bryophytes, like waiting and watching what grows from spore out of your driftwood and substrate, trading with fellow hobbyists, and isolating specimens from plant imports; but I think aquarium bryophytes are the easiest solution for somebody wanting easily accessible moss and liverwort.
I do not recommend the yoghurt method, because it often molds over. Others have had success with that method, but I do not attempt it anymore.
 

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My favorite moss is Mood Moss. I think it adds such an awesome bright green fairy tale plush pillow look thats just perfect- just keep it in the shade. I also like sheet moss after it takes in the viv; it grows nicely in my experience and has looked much nicer in my vivs after some time compared to when I first planted them. But yeah, when I think of moss, i think immediately of mood moss. Best bet though is to do with the other commenter said and mix in a bunch of species. They can be tricky and its nice to see what takes well, and just experiment a little. Just keep them out of direct light!
 

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In my limited experience, the type of moss you’ll be growing really depends on the location in which you’re wanting it to grow. Decide where you want the moss to grow…that will likely lead you to what type of moss you’ll be able to grow.

For the mosses mentioned(riccia,java) you’ll be needing a pretty dang moist and bright area in your viv to get them going. Probably more moist/humid than PDFs would care for. If you do want any of the aforementioned mosses, I would think it’s often best to get them going and established well before you add any PDFs. Just because the moss will require an overly moist/humid environment so they can become established.

Do you have any inhabitants? Are you planning on adding any? If so, what ya got?
 

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In my limited experience, the type of moss you’ll be growing really depends on the location in which you’re wanting it to grow. Decide where you want the moss to grow…that will likely lead you to what type of moss you’ll be able to grow.

For the mosses mentioned(riccia,java) you’ll be needing a pretty dang moist and bright area in your viv to get them going. Probably more moist/humid than PDFs would care for. If you do want any of the aforementioned mosses, I would think it’s often best to get them going and established well before you add any PDFs. Just because the moss will require an overly moist/humid environment so they can become established.

Do you have any inhabitants? Are you planning on adding any? If so, what ya got?
If I remember correctly, this user is contemplating a plant-only build. That is the only reason I recommended those bryophytes. I have had success with pretty much all of these when given time to establish wet before adding frogs. I should have made that clear. Do not keep dendrobatids in The conditions necessary to establish amphibious bryophytes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think a slurry of several moss species is the best way to go. Like the one NEHERP sells. I'm sure other sellers have similar products you can find in Canada.

It is really hard for me to pick the right species of moss for a location. If you use a slurry of different species hopefully you will have at least one type of moss that likes each location you apply it to.
Thanks for the info. I will check that.

I highly discourage people from collecting moss in the wild. This is for a few reasons.
1) Most importantly, it is harmful to the environment. Bryophytes play an important role preventing soil erosion, in decomposition, and in simply beautifying natural areas
2) Most temperate moss species will not grow well long term in humid vivaria. They need a dormancy period to truly thrive.
3) You run the risk of introducing pests
4) You run the risk of introducing pathogens
5) You run the risk of introducing pesticides and other harsh chemicals.

When selecting moss for vivaria and terraria, I generally recommend buying the common aquarium mosses and liverworts. Bryophytes such as java moss, Christmas moss, Riccardia, Pellia, Taiwan moss, etc. make great choices because they are commonly propagated in captivity, grow well in humid vivaria, are often inexpensive, and are beautiful.
There are also other ways to obtain bryophytes, like waiting and watching what grows from spore out of your driftwood and substrate, trading with fellow hobbyists, and isolating specimens from plant imports; but I think aquarium bryophytes are the easiest solution for somebody wanting easily accessible moss and liverwort.
I do not recommend the yoghurt method, because it often molds over. Others have had success with that method, but I do not attempt it anymore.
Thanks for your help.

I used to work as a naturalist for years so I am well aware of the impacts of collecting mosses in the wild. If I collect those mosses, I will take them from the cracks in my parking lot but I will never use them in my Exo-Terra terrarium. Instead, I could little bits in very small glass containers I also bought to create little terrariums.

My favorite moss is Mood Moss. I think it adds such an awesome bright green fairy tale plush pillow look thats just perfect- just keep it in the shade. I also like sheet moss after it takes in the viv; it grows nicely in my experience and has looked much nicer in my vivs after some time compared to when I first planted them. But yeah, when I think of moss, i think immediately of mood moss. Best bet though is to do with the other commenter said and mix in a bunch of species. They can be tricky and its nice to see what takes well, and just experiment a little. Just keep them out of direct light!
In fact, I am interested in buying only ecologically grown tropical mosses. I don't want to go in the wild to collect mosses and don't want also to put my terrarium in a dormancy period.

In my limited experience, the type of moss you’ll be growing really depends on the location in which you’re wanting it to grow. Decide where you want the moss to grow…that will likely lead you to what type of moss you’ll be able to grow.

For the mosses mentioned(riccia,java) you’ll be needing a pretty dang moist and bright area in your viv to get them going. Probably more moist/humid than PDFs would care for. If you do want any of the aforementioned mosses, I would think it’s often best to get them going and established well before you add any PDFs. Just because the moss will require an overly moist/humid environment so they can become established.

Do you have any inhabitants? Are you planning on adding any? If so, what ya got?
I don't have inhabitants. I don't plan to have some. Maybe I will introduce isopods and springtails, maybe millipedes but not much than this.

I would like my terrarium to be around 70% humidity.

If I remember correctly, this user is contemplating a plant-only build. That is the only reason I recommended those bryophytes. I have had success with pretty much all of these when given time to establish wet before adding frogs. I should have made that clear. Do not keep dendrobatids in The conditions necessary to establish amphibious bryophytes.
You are correct. I want to create a tropical plants only terrarium with, maybe isopods, springtails, millipedes ... but no dart frogs or reptiles.
 

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I've been thinking about this a little lately.

The aquarium hobby has it made with regard to the variety of sterile, tissue-cultured plants. The only trouble seems to be that the companies offering these things can't seem to keep up with demand, and I get the impression that becoming a dealer of certain brands is prohibitively difficult. I've been trying to find sterile, tissue cultured Phyllanthus fluitans for ages, and while Tropica offers this, I cannot find it for sale ANYWHERE. There are only 17 Tropica dealers in the US, according to their website. Two local businesses were carrying their line around the same time a couple years ago, and then the stuff just disappeared. What gives? Criminy.

This may be slightly off topic, but it seems relevant. While I'm on the subject of tissue cultured plants- I'm a little reluctant to tell, lest it make these plants even harder to come by- these things are excellent in frog tanks. A lot of plants used in the aquascaping hobby are plants that tend to live along the margins of bodies of water. The more CO2 they require, the better they seem to do out of the water, I've noticed. The reason they require supplemental CO2 when fully submersed is probably a consequence of the fact that they live in very wet conditions, but many tend to prefer to grow above the water line. Riccia, Micranthemum, Alternanthera, Anubias, Bucephelandra, and Eleocharis are some I like.

The mosses offered this way are a little easier to find, but they still take a while to get established. I've been thinking about buying a few tissue cultures and growing them out across a bed of either ABG, sphagnum (I know, moss on moss sounds ridiculous, but it can work), aquarium foam, tree fern panel, or a layer of perlite, vermiculite, or similar in a Sterilite tub to form a carpet that I can tear into mats and place as needed.

I have the end of a bag of NEHerp that I plan to experiment with in this way. The NEHerp mix is primarily sphagnum moss and what looks a lot like pearl moss, and a smattering of random ferns and things I haven't identified yet. It takes forever to get started sometimes. Once established, mosses seem fairly tolerant of drying out, but when getting them going, nothing short of being soaked all the time seems to work. Java moss and pearl moss have done very well for me. I haven't tried others in a tank yet. I've got Christmas moss going on a kokedama, but I had to keep that thing in saran wrap for three-ish weeks before the moss really got going. Now, it can get crispy between waterings without missing a beat. If I hadn't wrapped it, I doubt it would have taken.

I wonder if saran-wrapping moss in a tank while it's establishing might help. That sounds like another little project I might undertake.

By the way, I've always thought the yogurt thing was disgusting. Agar seems like a better choice, but it can also mold. Springtails love it, though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finally, a plant seller not too far from where I live sell Java moss. He says this moss grow well under and out of the water if there is enough humidity. I will try this option.
 

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If you can get some Christmas moss, I think you’ll find it more visually appealing. Java moss is pretty stringy and not nearly as ornate as Christmas moss in my opinion. I’m sure you’re going to have fun with the Java moss though.

Just keep it wet and very well light until it’s established.
 

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I’ve seen some beautiful setups with emersed christmas moss, but haven’t had much luck with it myself. It seems to grow stringy and sparsely for me, even with high humidity. I have not grown it under strong light though, so maybe that’s the key.

I’d recommend considering mini pellia/riccardia chamedryfolia, a liverwort often used in aquariums. It can be a little pricey, but fairly easy to find in stock online. It has a low growing, compact mounding behavior over time that I think looks very lush and beautiful, even when grown in lower light. I have it growing in a 10 gallon vertical terrarium with a 2 inch strip of mesh for ventilation on the top, lighting is a standard beamswork LED. I mist it directly with distilled water once a day and it has done great. It definitely seems to grow fastest for me on wood surfaces, but I also have it on slate and lava rock in that tank and it is slowly spreading on the rocks as well, although more slowly compared to the wood. I’ve also had luck growing it on an ABG-type substrate in a totally sealed 2.5 gallon terrarium. I set that tank up and then basically ignored it for the last two years (no misting after the initial setup, no light beyond natural from a nearby window), and the pellia has grown to carpet the substrate.

For the 10 gal, I started out with about a teaspoon of pellia in May when I set that tank up. Usually what Ive done is shred it into small pieces and distribute those on the surface where I want it, but looking back for this spot, I just set the small clump of it on top of the wood(sorry, the photo is a little blurry):
Plant Botany Flower Terrestrial plant Leaf vegetable


Here it is in September with the daily misting regime:
Plant community Nature Leaf Plant Terrestrial plant

I had to go out of town unexpectedly shortly after that September pic was taken, and it didn’t get misted for about 5 days. It looked dried out and unhappy after that, but quickly bounced back. Here’s a picture of it today, about 2 months after almost killing it:
Plant community Plant Natural landscape Terrestrial plant Organism

Plant Natural landscape Branch Fluvial landforms of streams Organism
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you can get some Christmas moss, I think you’ll find it more visually appealing. Java moss is pretty stringy and not nearly as ornate as Christmas moss in my opinion. I’m sure you’re going to have fun with the Java moss though.

Just keep it wet and very well light until it’s established.
Thanks for the info. I will check about Christmas moss. Do you know if this species need a winter dormancy period or if it's a tropical species?

I’d recommend considering mini pellia/riccardia chamedryfolia, a liverwort often used in aquariums. It can be a little pricey, but fairly easy to find in stock online. It has a low growing, compact mounding behavior over time that I think looks very lush and beautiful, even when grown in lower light.

View attachment 303315
Wow, I will check about this species too. Do you know of any canadian plant sellers that sell this plant?

So the latin name is pellia/riccardia chamedryfolia?
 

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Wow, I will check about this species too. Do you know of any canadian plant sellers that sell this plant?

So the latin name is pellia/riccardia chamedryfolia?
I’m not sure about a Canadian seller, unfortunately. I purchased mine online from Aquarium Plants Factory, which I’m pretty sure is a US company. I would try checking local or online aquarium stores, I think that’s where you’re most likely to find it.

Yes, the Latin name is riccardia chamedryfolia. It’s commonly called mini pellia or sometimes coral moss.
 
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