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What to do if your Java Moss is not growing

Java Moss, which has the scientific name of Taxiphyllum barbieri, is one of the easiest live plants you can add to your fish tank.

With that said, it can be extremely slow growing. To see how you can get this plant to grow faster, you can check out this troubleshooting article from Aquarium Blueprints.

1. If you just added Java Moss in your aquarium, then we recommend that you have a little patience. This is because it may take some time for the plant to adjust to your water parameters.

It may also take additional months for the moss to show some growth as well, depending on your tank setup.

2. You should also make sure that you have the ideal water parameters to grow Java Moss.

Although Taxiphyllum barbieri is extremely hardy, it does best within a temperature range of 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C).

Furthermore, this species prefers low lighting. We actually don’t use any lighting fixtures for our tanks. Instead, the sun coming from our window curtains and ambient room lighting are enough for this moss to expand rapidly in our aquariums.

3. Java Moss will do better with more nitrates in the tank water.

For the uninformed, this compound is the result of the beneficial bacteria strains in the aquarium converting ammonia (which come from organic wastes) to nitrites and then nitrites to nitrates.

When we added Seachem Matrix, which helps decrease nitrates significantly, to one of our tanks, we found that our Java Moss would no longer grow as fast as before.

With that said, make sure you don’t exceed having more than 40 ppm of nitrates in the water volume as it may have negative effects on the health of your fish and other aquatic pets. If you have more sensitive species, such as Cherry Shrimps, then you should keep the nitrate concentration to below 20 ppm.

To raise nitrates, you can feed more food and do less water changes.

4. If you have other types of plants in the same tank, then these may be out-competing the Java Moss as the other species usually consume the same nutrients.

In this case, you can try re-homing the other plants to see if your Java Moss will end up growing faster. Once you see that the moss is expanding, then you can try putting the other plants back in the same tank.

5. Having a lot of algae in your tank may hinder the growth of your Java Moss as well. Therefore, you should remove as much of the algae as possible.

6. You should also make sure to keep the moss clean. The easiest way to do so is to add snails like Pond Snails or Ramshorn Snails.

These creatures will eat any algae and organic wastes that appear on the moss and everywhere else in your tank. Furthermore, they will also consume any dying parts of the moss, giving way to new, healthier growth.

7. Based on our experience, Java Moss does not like to be clumped together or tied down.

When we first got our moss, it was originally tied down to a rock. Although it was growing, it wasn’t doing so at the speed that we would like.

Once we decided to detach the plant from the rock, it started to grow a lot faster.

8. You should also make sure that you have enough water flow throughout all areas in your tank. The flow rate will help deliver the nutrients to the Java Moss.

If possible, you can try putting an air stone or bubble on the opposite end of the output nozzle of a filter.

9. If your Java Moss is still growing slowly, or not at all, then you can try using a liquid fertilizer.

We have great success using Seachem Flourish, which you can learn more about in our review.