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Java moss as an epiphyte?

11238 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Caden
I'm wondering if java moss could be used draped over branches to give that real wet cloud forest feel or would it probably die exposed to the air like that?
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cheers mate, multiple times a day?
yah, 4-8 times a day, depending on the season.
If you put a layer of sphagnum moss on the area first and then the java moss it will require less frequent misting. It should also grow denser on sphagnum than bare wood. Just keep the sphagnum wet. And java moss gets lighter in color in high light. It grows fine in less light and looks better in my opinion.
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I've started it from a pond edge (where it will wick water) and then it will climb just about anything, even in tanks with more air movement - but the key there was that established part with water. I've also had it do better on real driftwood that was saturated (usually because the bottom of it went into the drainage layer) because it had that constant source of moisture. When I tried to do the same thing with a fiberglass root and cork bark it didn't like it nearly so much, and would only have grown if sprayed a whole lot like Zach talked about (grew better as part of a paludarium).

Almost all the "aquatic" mosses are semi-aquatic... meaning they like it wet but love most of our tanks. Avoid Fissidens and weeping moss, but stuff like Taiwan, Peacock, Christmas moss all have worked well for me and each grows a little differently.
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KeroKero,

I'm interested to hear your reason/s for avoiding Java and Weeping mosses.

Thanks,
mossbear
I was gonna say, I love java! LOL

The Fissedens in the hobby is F. fontanus, and is a true aquatic. Even in nature (I've found it locally, it's native to north america if you know where to look) it does NOT grow above the water line - instead just drying out to come back later when it's wet again. It likes to live on the "downstream" side of rocks and moves with the current. Another member on here grows the more semi-terrestrial to fully terrestrial species (which are COOL!) but you'd just be wasting your money on F. fontanus. Weeping moss is the same way. I think you can tell by the floppy stems that they are really adapted to live in flowing water and move with it.

The rest of the species are semi-aquatic - love it wet but if you put a clump at the edge of a pond in your tank it will grow up on land as well as into the water.
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Here's some java moss growing on the BG of my paludarium. I covered part of the BG with sphagnum and then put the java on it. This is probably 4" from the top of the tank, watered once a day.

An older pic


More recent


And as others mentioned, it grows very well emerging from water areas, as shown in the pics below of my paludarium





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Another thing to think about with the semi-aquatic mosses - I've heard some people complain about how java tends to get stringy and they wanted a more compact moss. I've got two thoughts on that...

1) Lower humidity (or periods where the humidity drops - this naturally occurs in the afternoons) will keep the moss tighter to it's source of moisture. Really high humidity all the time and it will set out shoots everywhere - same situation with plants that send out aerial roots because the humidity is so high. This is actually a pretty healthy thing to do for all in the tank, and you'll naturally just get longer growth in the higher humidity down near leaf litter.

I like FlyingSquirrel's orchid pic because you can see it's more compact than the paludarium - the orchid is happy and the moss stays short (which also makes the orchid happy - I've had stuff smothered by java before!).

2) Mow it like grass. In aquascaping these mosses will look short and compact in a huge tank, but in a nano they look massive! Solution? Just keep mowing them down regularly to the length you want. This is very handy for ponds that they look like they are invading, or if they are starting to clog a water feature like a drip or waterfall - turning it into a seepage instead. I use this method when it's usually in full contact with water so the above method just won't work.


I swear, some of the best plants for this high humidity hobby are the semi-aquatics from the freshwater aquatic plant hobby. I see some of that mini bolbitus growing in that paludarium too ;)
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Another thing to think about with the semi-aquatic mosses - I've heard some people complain about how java tends to get stringy and they wanted a more compact moss. I've got two thoughts on that...

1) Lower humidity (or periods where the humidity drops - this naturally occurs in the afternoons) will keep the moss tighter to it's source of moisture. Really high humidity all the time and it will set out shoots everywhere - same situation with plants that send out aerial roots because the humidity is so high. This is actually a pretty healthy thing to do for all in the tank, and you'll naturally just get longer growth in the higher humidity down near leaf litter.

I like FlyingSquirrel's orchid pic because you can see it's more compact than the paludarium - the orchid is happy and the moss stays short (which also makes the orchid happy - I've had stuff smothered by java before!).

2) Mow it like grass. In aquascaping these mosses will look short and compact in a huge tank, but in a nano they look massive! Solution? Just keep mowing them down regularly to the length you want. This is very handy for ponds that they look like they are invading, or if they are starting to clog a water feature like a drip or waterfall - turning it into a seepage instead. I use this method when it's usually in full contact with water so the above method just won't work.


I swear, some of the best plants for this high humidity hobby are the semi-aquatics from the freshwater aquatic plant hobby. I see some of that mini bolbitus growing in that paludarium too ;)
As you mentioned, my pics illustrate your points quite well. The orchid pic is near the top of the tank where the air is drier and the moss receives less moisture, which leads to tighter growth. Even in the pic of the moss emerging from the water on the bank, you can notice that the moss gradually becomes shorter and more compact as the bank slopes upward, because it's drier there. It is surprising how dry the java can grow if it has just a little moisture to wick - the moss on the sphag around the orchid is creeping off onto the foam bg. That foam bg is completely bone dry all the time, minus the 15 minutes that it's wet after misting. Yet the java is still slowly venturing outward. Amazing stuff.

Yep, that's the bolbitis you see. I really like it, but it grows slower than frozen molasses. I've got some growing submerged by the waterfall, some emerging, some up in boggy mossy area, and even some growing epiphytically in sphag on the bg. Agreed on the aquarium plants...cryptocoryne, microsorum, hemianthus, anubias, the list goes on
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The wicking bit does seem to be key and is usually the bit missed as well which is why some have trouble with it. Give it half a chance at it will move all over the place :)

All the semi-aquatic ferns seem to be slow, but I've had really good luck with mine lately. I've got young babies all over the place, but it will take them a while even on aquasoil to get up to size LOL.
Yes it can be. I put it on pvc branches covered in moist clay, and it has grown so much that my imitators cannot climb on the branches easily at all. I will post a picture when I get back. I actually regret doing it.
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