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How To Grow Christmas Moss: Aquarium Plant Care & Essentials

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By Lindsey Stanton

beautiful Christmas moss

If you are on the hunt for some good plants for your aquarium, especially if you are a beginner aquarist, Christmas moss makes for a really good option. Christmas moss works really well for planted tanks and for fish tanks too. It’s an easy to take care of plant that does not require too much maintenance.

It’s also a fairly hardy plant that is usually not affected too much by changing water conditions. That being said, there are a few things that you need to know in order to take care of Christmas moss (you can buy it at Amazon here).

Today we are here to talk about how to grow Christmas moss the right way but first let’s cover some of the general plant information.

General Info

Blue bolt aquarium shrimp eating while hanging from christmas moss in freshwater tank
Image Credit: Shrimplake, Shutterstock

Christmas moss is native to tropical areas of Asia including India, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. In case you were wondering, its scientific name is Vesicularia montagnei. Christmas moss is a creeping type of moss that grows outward in a slow manner, it does not grow very tall, but it can get pretty wide no doubt.

It makes for a good carpet moss in planted aquariums and ones with lots of fish. It makes for a good ornamental plant, plus smaller fish like to seek cover among it, sometimes even nipping on it for food.

Christmas moss is usually always submerged under water and tends to grow on the edges of shady river banks. This stuff can grow to around 10 cm in height and will keep growing sideways as long as it is unobstructed or not trimmed.

The leaves of Christmas moss are rounded, sometimes slightly oval in shape and come to a very short and abrupt apex or point. The leaves tend to be very small, only 1.5 mm in length and usually stand at a right angle compared to the stem.

People like to use Christmas moss for raising fish fry and tadpoles because it helps provide cover from predators and cannibalistic parents.

At the same time, Christmas moss provides young fish and other young aquatic creatures with a source of food. This moss does make for an ideal mid-ground and foreground plant, creating a nice green carpet along the floor of your aquarium.

Christmas moss is easy to trim and control in terms of size, therefore making a good choice for both smaller and larger aquariums.

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How To Grow Christmas Moss

Christmas moss
Image Credit: EKramar, Shutterstock

Something which makes Christmas moss so ideal for all kinds of aquariums and people is the fact that it is relatively easy to take care of. It is very hardy and versatile, being able to survive in most conditions.

One of the most important things to remember is that Christmas moss is a freshwater plant. High levels of salinity will definitely kill this plant in a matter of weeks or even days. Other than that, there is really not too much that goes into growing Christmas moss.

Water Parameters & Temperature

In terms of water temperature, anything between 65-77 degrees Fahrenheit will do just fine, or in other words, around room temperature is good.

When it comes to the hardness of the water, which is how much calcium and magnesium is dissolved in it, measured in dH, the ideal is between 5 and 20 dH, which is fairly soft. The acidity or pH level of the water is also important to keep in mind.

Christmas moss can handle slightly basic and slightly neutral water. It will do fine in a pH level anywhere between 5 to 7.5, 5 being quite acidic and 7.5 being somewhat basic.

Planting & Location

Christmas moss is a pretty slow growing plant with a slow growing root system. This means that you should attach it to some driftwood, rocks, or little trees with some mesh or fishing line, at least until the root system develops sufficiently.

You can also place Christmas moss between 2 mesh screens and place it against the wall of your aquarium, this will result in the moss growing like a carpet.

It can grow like a carpet across the floor of the aquarium and it can grow up the sides too. It does need to be trimmed every now and then in order to retain a nice shape.

On a side note, while this can be used as carpet or aquarium flooring, Christmas moss is known for helping algae grow, which can be a problem.

Lighting & Nutrients

When it comes to lighting, Christmas moss does do very well in fairly high light levels, but it is not necessary. This stuff will grow in fairly dark conditions, but just much slower than if there is a lot of light.

Also, while Christmas moss does do better with some CO2 injection into the water, it is not necessary.

Once again, it will grow faster with CO2 injection (we have reviewed some here), but it is not totally necessary. A good substrate with lots of nutrients, or at least some fertilizer will help too. Other than that, there is really nothing that you need to know to grow Christmas moss.

aquarium plant divider


Christmas Moss vs Java Moss

Christmas moss and java moss are fairly similar. Now, Christmas moss does grow a bit slower than java moss, making it an ideal foreground and midground plant, as it does not require much trimming.

Christmas moss care is slightly more difficult than caring for java moss, but in all reality, it is still very easy. In terms of the look, they both have that same green color, but Christmas moss has more of a leaf or fern like appearance.

blue dream neocaridina shrimp wondering around on a Christmas moss
Image Credit: richardernestyap, Shutterstock

Is Christmas Moss Easy to Grow?

Christmas moss is pretty easy to grow. Now, it’s not quite the easiest of all aquatic mosses to take care of, but it’s definitely not too difficult either.

One thing to keep in mind is that Xmas moss does not like being in high lighting. Low or medium lighting at the most is what Christmas moss needs.

The pH level should be between 5 and 7.5, so more towards the acidic side of things. In terms of water temperature, this stuff prefers it to be between 21 to 24°C (70-75°F).

As long as you remember these few things, your Christmas moss should be just fine.

Can Christmas Moss Grow Out of Water?

Yes, technically speaking, Christmas moss can grow out of water. However, these kinds of mosses are known for being vascular, which means that they always need to be kept very moist, even wet.

So, in an reality, it’s not the kind of thing most people would freely choose to grow out of water.

How to Attach Christmas Moss?

Christmas moss is really easy to attach to things like driftwood and rocks. All you need to do is take some fishing line, gently tie the moss to the rock or driftwood, and you should be good to go.

After a while, depending on the water conditions, the Christmas moss’ roots should start to attach themselves to whatever surface you have tied it to.

Keep in mind that Christmas moss should not be planted in substrate, as it will most likely die.

siamese algae eaters in planted aquarium
Image Credit: Swapan Photography, Shutterstock

How Do You Take Care of Christmas Moss?

Just keep in mind that the light should be fairly dim or medium, the water should be fairly warm, the pH should be slightly acidic, and you might want to provide your Xmas moss with a bit of CO2 and aquatic plant fertilizer to spur on growth.

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Christmas moss is a really cool plant no doubt. It makes for a nice green carpet or wall, it can be used in various situations, and it is pretty easy to take care of as well. It’s a great choice for beginners and experts alike.

SEE ALSO: Christmas Moss vs Java Moss: Which One to Choose?

Featured image credit: Sepehr Eftekhari, Shutterstock

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