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Low Tech Moss Carpet


10 Jun 2016
Had a read of http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/riccia-and-java-moss-carpets-step-by-step-guide.297/ and has me tempted...

I am planning a 30cm cube cherry shrimp tank and like the thought of having some are of moss carpeting the substrate but every picture I can find of a moss carpet is either one that is just been made or one that is in a tank with added CO2.

The tank has what appears to be a 5.76W x 2 LED (which looks like it might be pretty poor http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/help-lighting-my-aquanano-40.27987/) but I guess on a smaller tank it might be better.

I read a few things that without CO2 the growth might be scrawny and not look great but does anyone have pictures of a low tech moss carpet?

I am presuming Java Moss is probably the moss of choice for low light, no CO2 but is pretty stringy so doesn't produce the nicest carpet effect? Would flame moss work (I believe Christmas moss is too needy??)
All mosses kinda do in low tech it is just the grow speed which is the most affected. I grow several moss sp. in my low tech tank, a couple of Taxiphyllum sp. one is Peackock which also grows relatively fast.. Flame moss is very slow but does good, also Fissidens does good but stays very small and grows very slow. So for densly carpeting, you need tons of patience or quite a lot of moss to begin with. :)

Not a moss but a rather fast grower in comparison is Lomariopsis cf. lineata..

When it comes to growing mosses i always have very good results with adding a Root stimulator fertilisor.. This is commonly used to jump start rhizoid growth in terrestrial seedlings or make young shoots root faster. It contains special vitamines and hormones to jumpstart hairroot growth, Rhizoids, and since moss actualy doesn't realy have roots but attaches with rhizoids, this stuff will make it attach quicker and propagate faster.. Only thing is, this stuff is rather expensive and not realy aimed or sold for aquarium use, so when it comes to dosing it is purely experimental, but i had stunning results with adding 1ml per 10 litre aquarium volume next to the regular ferts. Moss will love it, other plants will benefit as well with it. There are several on the market, i only have used
Rhizotonic.. Not a must, but definitively a booster..
All mosses kinda do in low tech it is just the grow speed which is the most affected.
I have a huge amount of Java Moss in my 180l tank which is low tech (albeit with far too much light) and it is more straggly than some of the pictures I see.

Will moss in a low tech setup ever get the same dense lushness you see on these amazing tanks or will that need CO2?
Yes it can, but will take much longer.. The trickiest part is the tanks initial startup and mosses very slow methabolising and not a good compatitor agains algae.. They are actualy perfect little dirt catchers. If you run into algae issues during the startup periode then moss will be one of the first to accumulate it.. Getting algae out of the moss, will unfortunately also kill a lot of moss, which makes the whole process even more time consumming.. Not to get algae issues is start off with very low light and this again makes moss grow even slower.

I had a nice rock fully covered with a pretty large wig of fissidens, grown in a special little propagator tank for a year.. Placed it to soon in my newly setup low tech a year a go.. Then the staghorn come and distroyed it for 80%.. Now i have to start over again, a year of patience down the drain... :( But hey, that's called welcome to the hobby.. :)
Taxiphyllum sp. 'Spiky' have all the tolerance of Javamoss (=Taxiphyllum barbierii), but grow "fatter".
I've done very nice carpets within 3 months, using this in very low light and no added CO2 (0,3 w/l of T5 tubes in 40 cm. depth).
One was a showtank for Intetzoo...........but I have no personal pic.s, sorry.....
Just "fold" very small tufts of moss and stick them gently into substrate, using tweezers.........like you would do Eleocharis sp. 'mini'.
Does it not float off with the slightest disturbance?
No - this is why you stick them gently into substrate - exactly like you would do a rooted plant.
Moss do not grow roots, so you have to bury a little of the actual moss on the substrate. The part above substrate will happily grow on.
Taxiphyllum sp. 'Spiky' have a horizontal growth-habit, so it will naturally spread on the substrate. Howevet, should some of the new growth decide to grow upwards.......just press down gently with a flat hand.
- and one more tip; as the moss-carpet develop - growing more dense - it is advisable to gently "wacuum-clean" once in a while, since a surprisingly lot of detritus will accumulate in it.........
I think for me Java moss is arguably one of the easiest carpeting plants to grow and also one of the most adaptable. Java moss will happily grow on just about any surface, whether it is gravel, rock, driftwood, or even a resin aquarium ornament