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Old 02-16-2005, 12:52 AM   #1
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Java moss question

So I want to install a carpet plant in my tall low light 60 gallon. Java moss seems like a good thing even if I have to prune it drastically once in a while & I have lots of wood It can climb on too.

Question is will it root in a sand substrate with clay beneath. Also when I eventually get my Kuhli loaches will just dig it all up?? I could add some pebbles for it to grab onto . . .

What will work best??
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:16 AM   #2
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I lay my java moss out as a carpet, holding it down with a few rocks. When it comes time for cleaning I take it all out, do a gravel vac, and replace it. Some parts are permanently attacked to my driftwood, rocks, and even silk plants.
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Old 02-16-2005, 04:25 PM   #3
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Well, java moss doesn't exactly 'root'; not to be a technical jerk, but it grabs onto things with rhizomes, which are usually much harder to tear away from rocks than are roots. As for the sand, I've run tanks with a sand substrate and java moss with various results; it's going to be really hard for you to keep that stuff down. One solution is precisely what you mentioned: scatter some rough (smooth is harder for it to grab onto) green gravel on it; that should be enough to keep it down (even if you have something digging in it) and still look natural.

However, I hate java moss; it's great if you have lots of problems with water quality, but honestly, in EVERY tank I've had it in, it's too much maintenance to look good. That stuff takes over, in many cases, worse than the most horrible cases of algae blooms. I would go with a different plant; the downsides are typically that you won't get the carpet effect nearly as quickly. However, if you plan on planting something else (like swords), you'll want to keep that evil moss as far away from your swords as possible. They can actually sap all the nutrients from the roots and really just make a beautiful plant look awful.

But that's just my opinion
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Old 02-16-2005, 06:46 PM   #4
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Agreed with WackyInsertions. I tried making Java moss a compressed carpet for kuhlis and failed miserably. FWIW I'm trying broken up marimo balls now, and its been working well, and kuhlis use it all the time. I think using a non-rooted carpet is best for these loaches, since they uprooted my old m. sword regularly while making their tunnels.

Java moss as carpet
Marimo balls as carpet

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Old 02-17-2005, 12:31 AM   #5
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Wacky sorry for the mistake. So java moss 'roots' or grabs on to things like java fern eh?? So what sort of maintenance are we talking about. Is it the same sort as pulling all the filamentous algae out of my pond?? I do have a sword in there & plant to get another. If it doesn't have roots in the conventional sense how does it sap all the energy from sword roots?? It would probably make my beautiful driftwood into big wavy fuzzballs huh?? Well I am going to try microswords 1st but they need so much light . . . I can't really afford to upgrade my lighting right now.

Any other suggestions or critiques of java moss.

Also what precisely is a marimo ball & how do you have a non-rooted carpet??
I guess I could use rocks & ties and just put down a carpet of hornwort (sounds ugly though).
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Old 02-17-2005, 07:07 PM   #6
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I haven't had a chance to try this but you could try attaching java moss to some of that plastic cross-stitch stuff (I'm not sure what it's called exactly but it's basically a plastic grid) and weighing it to the bottom.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:44 PM   #7
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I've said it before and I'll say it again - Java moss is the bane of my existence I'm still picking bits of it out of my other carpet plants - and this is four months after I had thought I'd gotten rid of it all.

If you're dead-set on using it I would suggest doing it like Riccia - that is, attaching it to some 'heavy object' so that it stays where you put it. For Riccia I use large, flat rocks, spread a nice layer of Riccia on top of them, and stretch a hairnet over the whole deal and tie it tight. Works great for Riccia and I don't see why it wouldn't work for Java moss. At least it might keep it where you want it and not floating around loose in your tank

Marimo balls are a type of Cladophora algae that grows in a ball shape. They look sort of like little puff balls. They don't really spread, just get larger with time and have a tendency to split open when large. I would recommend some other types of low-light plants like Dwarf Sagittaria or Marsilea (clover). They take some time to grow but do make very nice carpets and are easy to grow
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
So java moss 'roots' or grabs on to things like java fern eh?? So what sort of maintenance are we talking about.
Well, if you ever want to get it off of a rock, pretty much, your only option is to burn it. One time, I had some java moss get really really stuck on some rocks that I took out of my aquarium. It was left sitting out of water for probably a month; then I gave the rocks to a friend, and to my amazement, java moss began to grow off of those rocks. I'm pretty sure that's not even physically possible, but I swear, I saw it happen.

Quote:
I do have a sword in there & plant to get another. If it doesn't have roots in the conventional sense how does it sap all the energy from sword roots??
Well, here's the thing; like anything else java moss gets near, it will latch on to that sword and pretty much never let go. In the same way that algae can kill a beautiful plant (as brown algae is doing to my gorgeous anubais; the water here is loaded with silicates ) it can just sort of take over. I have actually had a mini-sword be murdered by java moss. Really, it is a wonderful plant if you're cheap and lazy and don't really want a full time planted tank, but I can not stress enough how much I think it is a bad idea to put that water weed in an ambitious tank.

However, that's just my opinion, and I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with me. If you're willing to be VERY vigilant with that stuff and keep it in its designated place, you shouldn't have too many problems. Although, I'd wager that from your fish knocking it around, after about a month, you'll have 3 or so balls of it growing in other parts of your tank. But again, if you load it down with gravel to hold onto, even that shouldn't be a huge issue.

There are LOADS of alternatives that will look great; any runner will do. However, you might have to "mow the lawn" every once in a while to keep that nice look. I've had varied success with these kinds of plants, and really, it just boils down to the water you're using.
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:06 AM   #9
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Hmm. . . well it sounds like not java moss then. Maybe I will try the dwarf sag. if I can find any around here. I have done a bunch of transplanting & definitely now have my tall plants in the back & a foreground to fill in. Sorry you are having so much trouble with the stuff.
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Old 02-19-2005, 04:12 PM   #10
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Sorry for my poor explanation, frog girl. Marimo balls (link) can be broken into very small balls that roll around and cover the foreground (pic in post above), and what's nice is kuhlis can hide under them and dig without hurting anything, much like using java moss as "carpet." In my limited experience the marimo balls have not attached themselves to any other plants.

(I'm sure Travis Simonson is right about other plants being more effective. FWIW, I'm now trying glossostigma despite the uprooted m. sword mentioned earlier. I'm hoping a second attempt at deeply planted rooted carpet will survive kuhlis. I can post/PM progress, though this is a high light plant, if you're interested.)

HTH
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