Aquascaping is an art form dedicated to designing the landscape of a planted aquarium. In aquascaping, the emphasis is on the welfare and arrangement of the aquarium plants. Java moss is a plant often used in aquascaping because of its simple and compliant growth habits.
A Balanced and Aesthetically Pleasing Aquascape
In aquascaping, you want greenery with predictable growth patterns, adaptability and a tolerance for frequent trimming. Java moss, Taxiphyllum barbieri, meets these requirements and is inexpensive. Once you've added substrate, and prior to planting java moss, formulate an aquarium focal point. In aquascaping, creating a focal point adds balance and makes your presentation aesthetically appealing. This is achieved using the golden ratio of 1 to 1,618. Measure the length of your aquarium and divide that number by 2.618. Measuring from either side, use the resulting quotient to mark and bisect the face of your aquarium. This is your focal point and starting place. Before moving forward, sketch some ideas on paper.
Anchors and Ornamentation
Starting at your marked focal point, build an eye catching display with hardscape elements including rocks, stones, tree stumps, branches and driftwood. Aquascapers recommend cascading materials from the back of the aquarium, forward. For safety, it is best to acquire your hardscape and ornamentation material from an aquarium supply store. These establishments also carry a variety of natural looking synthetic aquascaping materials.
Java moss is versatile, and aquascapers often comingle different sized arrangements. Use monofilament or rubber bands to anchor clusters to your hardscape. Concentrating on your focal point centerpiece, attach pieces of java moss to various areas. To create bush-like displays, attach tufts to medium-sized rocks and place on either side of your centerpiece. When carpeting with java moss, bury short pieces in a condensed area of substrate floor space. Place smaller rocks with java moss toward the front and for hedges, streamline these rocks together. For free-floating java moss, attach a cork to any sized piece.
Java moss grows best in medium rated ambient light, but can tolerate low light. Lower lighting produces darker green java moss colonies. In colonies of java moss, new growth often overshadows the undergrowth and blocks out the light. Lower strands of the plant turn brown and die without light. To rectify, fluff and separate your java moss until light shows on the plant's lower regions.
Maintenance and Requirements
Java moss grows fast and requires frequent dividing and pruning. Always separate java moss pieces to include a full rhizome, with at least one root division. Do not allow java moss to become clogged and dirty. If your java moss accumulates detritus, its an indication of inadequate filtration. Water flow and circulation should be continuous in a planted aquarium. Java moss prefers cool temperatures of about 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Threats to java moss include apple snails, adult cichlids and high copper concentrations in the water. Most planted aquariums require the added molecular solid carbon dioxide, but supplemental CO2 is not necessary for java moss.
- Photo Credit Kerstin Klaassen/iStock/Getty Images