Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) – Species Profile

Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri or Vesicularia dubyana) is a popular and adaptable aquarium plant. It has miniscule leaves lined up along spindly stems that grow in all directions. Like all mosses, it does not have true roots. It uses rhizoids to attach itself to hard surfaces like wood or rock. It grows primarily above the water line where humidity is high; however, it is able to adapt to being completely submerged in water, and it can also grow free floating.

Care Level: Easy
Preferred Water: pH 5.5 to 8.0, Soft to Hard
Minimum Lighting: Low
Temperature: 64°F to 86°F (17.78°C to 30°C)
Leaf Size: Length, 1 mm or less


Java Moss originates from Southeast Asia, where it can be found in moist regions growing on rocks and wood along river banks.


It is easy to propagate Java Moss. While it is not a fast grower, it can be split into multiple plants simply by cutting the existing plant into two or more pieces. Java Moss does not require much in the way of resources. It can grow under low light and low temperatures. You can increase its growth rate slightly with the addition of liquid fertilizer, as it receives all of its nutrition by absorbing it through the water column via the leaves.

In the Aquarium

Java Moss is comfortable in warm waters and temperate waters, which make it a very versatile plant for aquarium use. It is used extensively in aquascaping, from background to foreground locations. It can be attached to wood or other decorations to create a wild aesthetic or a manicured one.  When first adding Java Moss to your aquarium, you can attach it to a hard surface by using cotton thread or gel super glue. After a while the plant will attach itself to the surface with many small rhizoids. At this time you can remove the thread.

Java Moss is an excellent plant for use in a nursery tank. The tiny, intertwining leaves and stems make the perfect shelter for fish fry and shrimplets. Tiny invertebrates and worms also make their homes within the plant’s fluffy interior, provided an ample source of food for fry.

Some aquatic pets will eat Java Moss, so be sure to research whether this will become a problem for you. In my experience, amphipods (scuds) will gladly devour the tiny leaves if there is no preferred food available. I have also found that while scuds will feed on this plant, if conditions are right, the moss should be able to outpace their appetite.

Let me know what you think of this species profile.

Featured image credit: Buchling. Source:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.