1 portion of Christmas moss (2" x 2" / 5 x 5 cm)
Christmas moss is as mysterious as some of the other mosses in the aquarium hobby. There is no consensus on its geographic origins and even the scientific name has a tendency to change. Its growth habits and appearance are just as varied. When grown attached to a piece of driftwood or rock, it forms triangular fronds in the shape of Christmas trees (hence the common name). If allowed to grow free floating, it tends to have a much less organized appearance and the triangular fronds are much less pronounced. In this form, it is often confused for the much more common Java Moss. In lower light
conditions, it grows much less densely, and again, is often much less organized in structure. Only under higher light conditions, attached or anchored to an object, does Christmas Moss show its true structure. It will form a
willowy bush of triangular fronds that is very attractive and undemanding.
This moss is very easy to grow in the aquarium, as it will grow with almost any amount of light. Although not as hardy as the legendary Java
moss, it will survive with low light and no CO2
. Growth will be considerably slower
and it will not form the ideal structure, but it will still survive. Like other mosses, Christmas
moss prefers cooler temperatures, under 77 F. Over this, it tends to suffer, growing more slowly.
As an aquascaping element, its uses are limited to covering hardscape (rocks, driftwood) or creating a moss wall. A moss wall is created by sandwiching the moss between two pieces of mesh and placing this in the back or sides of a tank. The moss eventually grows through the mesh and covers it up, creating a wall of attractive triangular fronds (as seen in the picture above). It can be used as a carpeting plant.
However, this is not recommended as it easily gets choked with mulm and debris and becomes an algae magnet.
Christmas moss is best bought from other hobbyists who have it growing under ideal conditions in their own aquariums (thus making identification easier). Getting it in a local pet store or online can be risky, as Java
moss can be passed off as Christmas Moss at less than reputable establishments. Christmas
moss can be identified by its more regular branching pattern and slightly different leaf shape.
Shrimps and fish fry use it as cover and it is also an excellent source of food for both, harboring tiny infusoria (bugs). Overall, Christmas
moss is an excellent plant for covering hardscape, filling in gaps, and creating living backdrops in any aquarium.
- Ideal for making Moss wall as your aquarium backdrop
- Preferred over Taiwan moss as backdrop because of its unique 3-dimensional feel
- Taxiphyllum species like Taiwan moss is flatter, thus commonly used to tie to driftwood
- Optimum temperature for growth is around 26 degrees
Celsius (79 Fahrenheit)
- Slow growing but very hardy
- Great natural hideout for fish fry
- Able to withstand a great variety of water conditions
- Attach to driftwood with sewing thread or fishing line
- Attach to wire mesh / rock / driftwood to keep the moss in the desired place,
else it could be floating around
- No carbon dioxide injection required for healthy growth