Riccia and Java moss carpets. Step-by-Step guide

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by James Flexton, 22 Sep 2007.

  1. James Flexton

    James Flexton Member

    Stotfold, Herts/Beds
    Hi Everyone, here's a guide on how to grow and attach riccia to slate or bogwood in the aquarium.


    When you purchase your riccia (Dwarf Riccia or Riccia Fluitians) it will come in either a plastic tub, plastic zip lock bag or on a piece of mesh. Quite daunting at first as most people look at their little batch and think "what on earth do i do with it now"

    for id purposes dwarf riccia is on the left, riccia fluitians is on the right

    to attach riccia to an object follow these steps, I was aiming for a large carpet, For a hilly effect use a few of these on a smaller scale and put together on the substrate.

    1- do a decent water change (around 30-50%) as per your usual regeime ensuring the riccia has the best possible start.

    2- remove the riccia from the tub/bag or mesh (no problem if you have to break it up in the process) and place it in a tub of aquarium water. Then break up all the clumps of matted riccia into seperate plantlets.

    3- with a piece of airline tube make a loop and float it in your tank (at least 10 inches across) or use a plastic tub with a transparent lid (breeding traps have been used if a bit unsightly)

    4- place the seperated riccia pieces inside the "floating fence" or tub (filled with tank water) making sure it isn't matted together.

    5- leave for a week to grow without touching anything. it will get a bit messy with some bits escaping from the fence. just scoop them up and put back inside. if your using a tub this wont be a problem.

    6- fill a bucket with warm tap water and take out all the riccia in the tank placing it in the bucket. (noticing you now have twice as much riccia than a week ago!!)

    7- swish it all around to get out any debris and seperate the matted bits again.

    you now have a few options.

    riccia on slate, wood, or plastic mesh

    depending on the choice above you can use a transparent nilon hairnet, cotton thread or fishing line to tie it on.

    a hairnet is by far the best in my opinion and easiest to work with so long as it fits over the object. just make sure at the end of the process you do not leave any loose netting for fish to get caught up in.

    i have used a plastic mesh with a hairnet.


    now is a good time to place the mesh or slate in the tank to see how it will look, get the size right and visualise the finished piece.


    8- lay your riccia on the object everywhere that will have direct light. ie not underneath or behind. This is where it can all go wrong, put to much on and the bottom layer will not get enough light and die in a few weeks time leading to the "carpet" breaking free of the net and making a hell of a mess. place enough riccia on the wood,slate or mesh so you have a thin layer, you should just be able to see the wood/slate beneath it.

    as i have riccia coming out of my ears i have used as much as possible in mine, this is about the limit, any more and it will not go to plan.




    9- place the hairnet over the top and wrap cotton thread around a few times and tie off making sure the netting is pulled tight against the mesh/slate. leave it loose and you will have a flat slate tile for example with a dome of riccia on top rather than a flat carpet (remember it floats). there have also been plenty of stories of plecs getting bound up in loose netting - not a pretty sight so take time over this part.


    10- as long as there is light directly on the riccia you can place the object anywhere you like. The closer to the light, the more it will pearl. (ie usefull for a cave roof)

    the blue bits from the mesh will be concealed when the riccia starts to grow.

    i have used riccia fluitians for the mesh piece, and have used dwarf riccia for a few more slate covered pieces

    finished effect (but needs to grow out a little)


    You will notice after a week or so the riccia will grow over the netting and start to break off and float to the surface, this should provide a continuous harvest of fresh riccia so long as you clear the surface riccia every couple of weeks.

    after 1 week
    side view
    after 3 weeks

    full tank shot

    if you do not remove this floating riccia often enough the blanket effect on the surface will cut off the light to the whole tank killing everything. keep an eye on it trust me!!

    Keep co2 as close to 30ppm as possible, this is one plant that will survive without co2 but will never reach it's full potential (the pearl carpet effect) without it.

    For the cotton thread/fishing line method just tie on one end and wrap it round every direction till the riccia is secure.
    the problem is when it grows the whole lot comes free and makes a hell of a mess. riccia does not have roots so will never attach itself to anything.

    Here are a few more pictures of my riccia, all held down with hairnets.


    and under moonlight


    Please dont be nervous of riccia, as you can see from the steps above the process is simple. With the correct lighting and co2 anyone can create a lovely bubbling carpet for their tank within 2 weeks.

    You will rarely find Riccia available at the LFS, the easiest source to obtain it from is mail order suppliers such as Greenline or Java.

    Java Moss (pics - step by step)


    updated pictures after 6 weeks growth

    full tank shot

    the moss will branch upwards (towards the light) in about a month this will look like a lawn of grass. all you have to do is give it a quick haircut every month or so to keep it neat. this will work fine in tanks as low as 1 WPG with no CO2 although it will obvoiusly grow more readily with co2 and higher light

    i will update this when mine has grown a little

    Good luck with your tanks and dont forget to post pictures in "the white room".


    Attached Files:

    anass.elgad likes this.
  2. Mister Ron

    Mister Ron Newly Registered

    North East England
    thanks for the guide :D , will definetly use your advice when I reset my ricia carpet next, you highlighted an important flaw in my attempt. (no slate to weigh down) :oops: , currently I'm holding mine down with large pebbles, but the corys keep pushing them off. :)
  3. moonunit

    moonunit Newly Registered

    "mod edit"

    sorry i deleted this post as you did nothing more than quote my whole article which takes up a lot of space on the page. If you have a question which you meant to add please reply and i will do my best to help out.

    thanks, James
  4. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Another great article :) THanks for sharing, the noobs will appreciate them ;)
  5. mickey

    mickey Newly Registered

    this noob definately enjoyed reading through that article,very interesting & easy to follow :D
    Aqua360 and plantnoob like this.
  6. evey71

    evey71 Newly Registered

    thanks for the help on this technique. I was trying to work out HOW to do it. I wondered about the slate until I read someones answer, it is used as a weight. I will try these techniques although I do not have c02.

    I was wondering how do you make a wall using christmas moss? I would appreciate some help on that if you know?

    I appreciate that you shared your knowledge.

    Kind regards EVEY ;)
  7. YzemaN

    YzemaN Member

    Hi evey
    Take a look at this thread. LD is a bit of a moss wall master:

    He starts his moss wall after a few pages. Good luck :)
  8. FifeFish

    FifeFish Newly Registered

    could i use an orange satsuma net to anchor the riccia down?
  9. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    worksop, nottinghamshire
    you can use anything you like as long as the holes are small enough to not let the moss float back up through it again
  10. blockader

    blockader Newly Registered

    are you using the hairnet for the java moss installation or do you just need fishing line to hold it down? i am mostly concerned with it not being secured well enough and invading the rest of my tank. thanks.
  11. Goodygumdrops

    Goodygumdrops Member

    From the pics there,it looks like thread or line for the moss.With the moss,unlike the riccia,it will after time cling to the rock/bogwood/whatever.
    I actually did a moss slate a couple of days ago (my first!!),java moss.I just laid the moss thinly over one side of the slate,wrapped fishing line fairly tightly round and round the stone,tied it off,then rinsed the whole lot under the tap to get rid of any loose pieces.I haven't had any stray bits floating around so far.
  12. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    a bit off track but about a year ago this was one of the threads on TFF that got me hooked on planted tanks. :D thanks james
  13. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Here is how I planted my Riccia when I used it in my tank long time ago:

    Aluminium mesh, bend the sides down and filled it inside with Riccia then placed in the tank:

    Here attached to some stones using cotton thread:

    Then it just fills up:

    This the main rock, other two at front were removed to place riccia carpet:

    Final shot, also note at the top a branch covered in Riccia:

    Hope that helps :)
    1stgolf likes this.
  14. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Thats a good idea Paulo :) Thanks for sharing although i doubt i will be using riccia again. I took it out months ago and i still havent got rid of it :twisted: It only tankes one strand/ leaf to be lleft over and it will continue to grow - it is from the original batch you sent me!
  15. skinz180189

    skinz180189 Member

    Selby, N.Yorks
    Cheers for this guide, should come in useful when I get some moss :).
  16. ScottYalloP

    ScottYalloP Member

    I really like the idea of having it as a cave il try it thanks.
  17. samd0912

    samd0912 Newly Registered

    Waterlooville nr Portsmouth
    Im off buying plants for my tank tomorrow so Ill be back again to have another read if I can find any moss!!!
    The wood is soaked, the mesh is ready and Ive got this guide to help me!
    Thanks again James.
  18. Ben M

    Ben M Member

    hi, i was wondering if i could grow the riccia? i have 1.25wpg of t8, and i dose 4ml of tpn+ daily. the tank is 120cm x 40 cm x 45cm. i don't use co2. i think that i could grow the java moss, but i'm not sure about the riccia.

    any thoughts?

  19. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    worksop, nottinghamshire
    Riccia does better with CO2 injection in submerged conditions, however if you float it you won't have a problem.

    Leave it floating a couple of weeks so it doubles in size then try tiring some to a rock.
  20. Ben M

    Ben M Member

    thanks, i'll try that. all i need to do now is find somebody selling some. :D

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