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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Looking for a bright green moss like the one @Roots was cultivating in this thread. Ideally very short (<1/4”) so that it won’t choke out tiny plants. Slow growing is fine. I like the velvet carpet look, and I have some cool looking mosses in my tank but nothing quite like that - like pillow moss but smaller.
 

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Looking for a bright green moss like the one @Roots was cultivating in this thread. Ideally very short (<1/4”) so that it won’t choke out tiny plants. Slow growing is fine. I like the velvet carpet look, and I have some cool looking mosses in my tank but nothing quite like that - like pillow moss but smaller.
IF ONLY there were a slow-growing moss for moist/warm vivs that didn't choke out tiny plants! Maybe there were some once - but they got out-competed by the fast growing mosses that choke out tiny plants 😉. The moss in Roots' post is merely young. If there's enough water and humidity, it will grow taller than 1/4" in a matter of months.

Tiny epiphytes manage to survive by picking locations that desiccate just enough to keep non-vascular/semi-vascular competitors under control. If you can duplicate that moisture regime, many mosses will be well-behaved - but it's hard.

I have found 2 alternatives to moss that are better behaved but still give the green carpet effect:

1) Micro-liverwort: I found a thallose species of liverwort in Hawaii with a very small form. It spreads more slowly than moss and only grows vertically very slowly. It requires good light and can still be a problem for small neighbors if the site is always wet. But in a spot that dries just slightly between mistings, it will form a tight, low carpet on wood and rock.

2) Gonocormus minutus: This is a tiny filmy fern also common on Hawaii. It is evolved to shrivel up between rains (it's a tree-trunk epiphyte and lithophyte) and grows very, very slowly. It is a great neighbor for tiny plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Perhaps there aren’t any mosses that will stay well-behaved forever, but there are certainly some that are better than others. I have so far avoided Java moss in my tank entirely, which feels like no small feat. I do have a few well-behaved tiny mosses and maybe some liverworts, but none with that velvety look I like.

Your micro-liverwort sounds intriguing, and if I don’t kill the Asplenium you sent, I might be hooked on filmy ferns for good.

But you’re right, even one of my best-behaved tiny mosses is going to have to be trimmed from around my Dendrobium parvulum soon. But I don’t have many orchids that small.
 

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The problem is that the small, low growing, velvety varieties of moss are usually acrocarpous species that grow very slowly and tend to require very high light. The dense, smooth mound or carpet forming growth habit is comparable to the cushion forming growth you can see in many alpine plants and is often an adaptation to retain moisture and/or warmth near the plant during periods of drought in exposed situations. In vivariums they are normally outcompeted by faster growing pleurocarpous species or simply don't recieve enough light and become eteliolated.
I suspect this is true for many species found in the northern hemisphere however there ARE exceptions like whatever species Roots was growing and other rare tropicals that people find growing on orchid mounts etc.
I have a few spots of acrocarpous moss growing in drier spot but they have occured naturally and taken literally years to grow.
Kimcmich is right that there are a lot of tiny pleurocarpous mosses, liverworts and even fern gametophytes that can achieve a similar carpeting effect with much less trouble.
The gametophyte form of the Antrophyum plantagineum fern is probably the easiest to cultivate species I know of that can deliver the effect it sounds like you're trying to achieve. It's an incredibly adaptable epiphyte and in my experience will happily colonise dries areas than many mosses as well as much wetter areas.
The biology of this fern is slightly unusual in that, for some reason, in cultivation this species seems to remain as a permanent gametophytye that constantly sheds smaller versions of itself. One advantage of this is that you can literally just rub a patch over where you want it to grow and in time it will appear as if by magic. In high humidity it infrequently produces short lived fronds that never last long for me.
It's rare but available in Europe. I'm not sure what options there might be for getting ahold of some in America.
I could trade tiny patches but I'm not sure how well it would hold up in the post.
This is not my picture but demonstrates it's appearance well. You can also see a single tiny frond on the right hand side. In my tanks these tend to appear in vertical areas and hang down.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your response, I think that is what I’m looking for. Perhaps I should have said bryophyte (or whatever word includes bryophytes and filmy ferns) rather than moss. I’d be interested in attempting a trade, when temps are ideal in both our locations.

And I figured anything that stays small would likely grow excruciatingly slowly. I’m ok with a time frame of “years”.

I’m fascinated by plants that never reach maturity in cultivation. For philodendrons and marcgravias, I’m assuming it’s because trimming them keeps them from developing mature leaves. Not sure why that would happen for such a tiny plant though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, I don’t think Roots’ moss was acrocarpous, there’s a pic where you can see individual heads - rosettes? I don’t know a huge amount about moss terminology. It was just a particularly tight growing pleurocarpous moss, if Google’s definitions have not led me astray.

But you’re right that acrocarpous was the look I was going for - I have this nostalgic feeling about this moss I used to dig my toes into on the 17 acre wooded property where I grew up, and it was very tight and undifferentiated. Lush mosses like that won’t grow in my backyard here in New Mexico.
 

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But you’re right that acrocarpous was the look I was going for - I have this nostalgic feeling about this moss I used to dig my toes into on the 17 acre wooded property where I grew up, and it was very tight and undifferentiated. Lush mosses like that won’t grow in my backyard here in New Mexico.
I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. You can find amazing carpets of Leucobryum glaucum in the woodland here in the UK sometimes. It's much easier to replicate ourdoors in a moss garden. Definately let me know if you ever want to attempt a trade for some Antrophyum, I have plenty right now.
I don't know whether you also keep aquariums but look at the amazing effect you can achieve with specific algae under the right conditions. Ignore the title of the video, this is not Aegagrophila linnei, but I also hope to replicate this at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That’s really neat! I have a 10 gallon aquarium in the bottom of my tank at the moment, but I also have plans for a 20 gallon that feeds a drip wall and has some marginal and semi-hydroponic plants growing out of the top of the tank.

Any idea what type of algae that is?
 
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