Name: Vesicularia dubyana|
Origin: Southeast Asia|
A little bit goes a long way: the thinner this is spread over rocks and driftwood, the better it will root itself and the prettier and healthier it will look as it grows. But watch out! I used less than a sandwich-baggie full of moss in a 4ft 150 liter tank. In less than 4 months, the moss grew until it covered the entire substrate and two large pieces of driftwood with a dense carpet with a minimum thickness of 3 inches! The tank looked beautiful, and I gave away a lot of moss to family and friends in those four months. Before the year was up, I had to remove the driftwood (which I had not seen for a couple of months anyhow) just to keep some open swimming space in the tank. The tank was 40cm deep and lit with 65W of fluorescent light, 40W of which came from a "daylight" bulb. It was filtered with a piddly penguin bio-wheel 110, and I was shamefully negligent in my water changes. I added no fertilizer besides any fishfood missed by the fish and snails. Enjoy the plant, but be prepared to do a lot of pruning.
There are plenty of ways to grow Java Moss, and plenty of ways to control it. But be ruthless. Every piece you discard represents nitrate you're finally eliminating from your system.
One thing I like to do is float Java Moss from a little chunk of natural corkbark, so that it hangs down like Spanish Moss. Try this at the front corners of your aquarium, or use this to hide a sponge filter at a back corner. Fishes that spawn in a spawning mop will use it happily. I tie monofilament round the corkbark and just insert some Java Moss under it. Maintaining it is easy: from time to time I take the bark with its attached moss, and trounce it in a bowl of water to clean out detritus. I roll it gently to keep it moderately dense. If it's getting too long I clip the end.
Java Moss can grow on a coconut shell like a green lawn. Steep the coconut shell first in boiling water to leach out some of the tannins. Cover the wet coconut shell with half-inch clippings of Java Moss. Let them fall where they may, all over the coconut, and spritz them to make them lie flat. Put it in a saucer of water with a glass bowl over the top for three weeks in a sunless window, till the Java Moss is covered with fresh pale growing points. Later, whenever the moss needs clipping, take the coconut shell out and shear it close with the flat of the blade of scissors. Try this same trick with that ceramic hollow log that should look more real than it does.
Nothing saves more Platy fry than a tank almost full of loose tangles of Java Moss. Nothing makes a Betta or a Dwarf Gourami more comfortable than a thicket of Java Moss.
I bought a small piece of Java Moss that was the size of a softball. I put in my 200 L tank and eventually it was the size of a basketball! It grew fast and was a beautiful bright green color. At the time I had some Swordtails in my tank. One day I looked in my mass of Java Moss and saw a bright orange fry swimming around. I didn't even know the female was pregnant! I guess that was the only one to make it to the plant, and she grew up and had a healthy life in my tank.
This stuff is one of my favorites, I use it in all my tanks, but it is a real monster! Java moss is lovely, useful to maintain water quality and as cover for fry, but when it's happy, it takes over your tank! I give away handfulls of the stuff at least once a month, and twice a year I yank out all I can reach, and purge my filter intake, until only a few strands are left clinging to my rock cliffs. Within 2-3 months, it's a huge healthy mound again! One of my favorite ways to aquascape with Java moss is to take a large, flat rock or piece of plastic (the stuff they sell for needlepoint works well) and cover it with a thin layer of java moss. Wrap a hairnet around it, and you have instant carpet plant! Java moss is adaptable to almost any light, temp or pH, and it ships very well, also. Very nice plant.
As the earlier posts have noted, Java Moss is a prolific grower! During a period of despondency (aka not performing weekly tank maintenance), Java Moss took over the tank. It embedded itself so tenaciously into my driftwood that I chose to remove the driftwood rather than continually and ruthlessly prune the Java Moss. To eventually kill the Java Moss, I let the driftwood dry out for two years! It's a great plant for fry, I admit. But there are other plants I would and do chose before selecting Java Moss again!
Java moss is an excellent plant for bottom feeders to take refuge in. In my 250 planted tank I have a whole carpet full and all my Kuhli Loaches and Corys love to swim under it as no other fish in that tank can get in it. It really gives a natural and healthy look but be warned, turn your back for a week or two and it thrives and overcrowds the tank.