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Moss Hunters Roll Away Nature's Carpet, and Some Ecologists Worry

I've posted this before - but it's been four or five years (no kidding - time flies).

I have serious concerns about the use of moss in our hobby. For those of you who want to see a "lush, green carpet in your vivarium", just be aware that this isn't natural. Not whatsoever.

Leaf litter is natural.

You put enough leaf litter and a little peat, or other soil ingredients, in your tank - and you will have moss growing in your tanks. It's inevitable. Better yet, it will grow where it CAN grow, not where you are trying to FORCE it to grow.

I urge you to read the article and consider the consequences of so many people saying "it's OK if I take some moss".

It adds up. Especially when people think it is OK to collect and sell it.

s
 

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Definately food for thought. I have collected moss on my parent's property before, but haven't checked out the place that I collected from to see it's impact. I'll definately check it out when I go back next month. Havn't collected wild moss for a while though as now I believe collecting wild moss is too risky in terms of diseases and other pests.
 

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Thanks Scott for the info.Sounds like the regeneration process is like giving ten dollars for a penny.There is no way the moss can keep up with the harvest rate!
 

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As a teenager I collected moss in rural WV. It was a way to make some extra cash and it was definitely abundant in my area. My uncle owned a root and fur business and would buy every scrap of moss I brought to him. I once drove a truckload of moss to a regional collection point for my uncle. What I saw there was amazing to me at the time. There was a huge warehouse that was full of bales of moss that were stacked to the rafters. At the time I had not given much thought to what the moss was even used for. I have been back to the areas where we originally harvested many times and it seemed as though the moss had come back pretty well. It did seem to take quite a while for it to rebound/regrow (maybe 5 years or more).
 

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Everything is best in moderation!
It's when an area gets picked clean that we should worry. I collect sparingly on my own land but we are talking a two inch square here and there that I then grow further in bins till I use it. And no it does not grow fast!
 

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I have serious concerns about the use of moss in our hobby. For those of you who want to see a "lush, green carpet in your vivarium", just be aware that this isn't natural. Not whatsoever.
I wouldn't be too concerned about the "moss collection in our hobby".
Most people know how hard moss is to keep in vivariums, and how hard it is to grow. So most won't even waste time with it, others will gather small pieces but I don't think anyone will go and grab a 10feet X 10 feet piece of moss that could very well be several decenies old!

Those companies that are selling moss for Auntie's Decorations are definately a threat tho and all my concerns are on them... Not only do I want my kids to be able to lay down on a moss carpet, one doesn't need much of a brain to understand moss MOST be vital to ecosystems...

My friend is working on a lush green carpet in his tank, he's layered a lot of Java moss all around and he's waiting for it to take over the whole ground area! That would be awesome but I would think he will need not to put too much foliage so it has bright light.


I'm wondering if sphagnum moss is a slow grower too? There is so much available but is it a potential problem?
 

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Our hobby probably accounts for less than 5% (if that) of wild collected moss being harvested annually. When I was working at the wholesale flower company we used to sell probably about 10-15 boxes (40+ sq/ft/ea) of sheet moss per WEEK. All that was to florists, garden centers, and other designers. None of those accounts were pet stores.

Of course the cop out of, "We're not the REAL problem" doesn't help, either. I'm not saying we shouldn't do our part to reduce wild collected moss in vivs or anything like that. Just food for thought. Our industry - even the nationwide pet trade - accounts for nothing compared to the floral industry.

I can comfortably say the wholesale business sold more moss in a week than I do in a year. (apples to oranges since theirs is wild harvested sheet moss - but still!) To top it all off, that wholesale company only supplies central Connecticut. :eek: Imagine nation wide... Not hard to figure out why wild collection of moss is an issue.
 

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I love the moss carpet look, but it definitely only grows where it wants to. For people looking ito the "lawn" look, I highly reccomend trying riccardia or riccia instead. It grows faster, and stays lower to the ground anyways.
 

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You guys are lucky that there is one DB member who contributes quite regularly to the plants forum that grows a variety of tropical mosses. Key being "grows" (not collects) domestically in the US a handful of tropical mosses that actually grow and spread in tropical vivaria, not just eventually turn brown and rot. A little more expensive than collected moss but worth every cent, and a far and away superior product than any of the packaged collected mosses out there.
 

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thats why it's good to know people with greenhouses, the moss that pops up in them grow EXTREMELY quickly for me... i layed some peat in a seedling tray, then put four "plugs" about an inch in diameter, and 2 months later, in HIGH light [2-3 inches from light] its has almost completely filled the tray.


I'm wondering if sphagnum moss is a slow grower too? There is so much available but is it a potential problem?
IME, it grows fairly quickly, after its sprouted, but its not as compact as you would think...
 

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So most won't even waste time with it, others will gather small pieces but I don't think anyone will go and grab a 10feet X 10 feet piece of moss that could very well be several decenies old!
I have seen collected temperate mosses offered for sale in the classifieds...even in the last month or two.
 

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I am talking about people in this hobby... I am aware people harvest moss to sell it for any purpose, but I think MOST people in this hobby don't do that, and that we're not the problem.
 
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