Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss)

Vesicularia dubyana

Vesicularia dubyana, also known as Singapore moss or Java Moss, is one of the most popular types of moss in the hobby, and for good reason! They’re extremely easy to grow and work great as a foreground plant. In fact, many aquascapers will use this as the primary background plants, using larger more colorful plants in front of it to give it some depth and contrast.

It’s important to note that Java Moss doesn’t have any roots, instead taking nutrients from what falls into the aquarium or from CO2 injected into the water.

Java Moss is an extremely adaptable species of moss that can be used to create lush aquatic plant environments in aquaria and tanks. This plant grows best at temperatures between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 6 to 7.5, making it ideal for community aquariums.

Vesicularia dubyana is a simple-to-grow and highly versatile moss that does well in low-light environments. With this information on vesicularia dubyana, you’ll be able to use Java Moss in many different ways to benefit your aquarium!

Vesicularia dubyana and Taxiphyllum barbieri are both known as Java moss in the aquarium trade, and separating them can be challenging. Despite being the original Java moss, Vesicularia dubyana has been overshadowed by Taxiphyllum barbieri in popularity.

Origin and descriptions

Vesicularia dubyana

Java Moss, also known as Vesicularia Dubyana, is a plant that originated in India. It can be used in many different ways in an aquarium because it is flexible and versatile. Plants such as Java Moss can be used as foreground plants among larger stem plants. Alternatively, it can be grown in a container with rocks or wood surrounding it. Once plants are attached to a surface, they can spread in any direction.

Java Moss attaches to rocks, logs, and driftwood by means of its rhizoids. Due to its roots not burrowing into gravel or substrate, this plant absorbs excess nutrients from the water column. This will result in a healthier environment for the inhabitants of your tank. Java Moss is hardy and grows rapidly when fertilized regularly. It is perfect for aquariums housing newly hatched fish.

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Vesicularia dubyana vs taxiphyllum barbieri

A moss commonly known as Java moss, or Vesicularia dubyana, is also known as Taxiphyllum barbieri, which is a different species. In 1982, Japanese moss expert Zennosuke Iwatsuki stated this, which was later made known to the aquarium hobby in general several years later (Benito C. Tan et al., 2004).

The correct name for Java moss was suggested to be Taxiphyllum barbieri. Known as Singapore moss by moss aquarists, Vesicularia dubyana is the true form of the moss.

However, it was in fact Vesicularia dubyana that was first imported into Europe as Java moss. Identifying the species is clearly shown in an old aquarium literature photo. A later import of Taxiphyllum barbieri occurred in 1969, when G. Benl introduced it as “Bogor moss”, incorrectly referred to as “Glossadelphus zollingeri”.

Fast-growing mosses, however, were often mistaken for Vesicularia dubyana, and in due course, they largely displaced genuine Vesicularia dubyana. Nevertheless, long-time aquarists often still have Java moss, a mixture of Vesicularia dubyana and Taxiphyllum barbieri.

True Vesicularia dubyana, now referred to as Singapore moss, has again been imported from Asia in recent years.


Vesicularia dubyana

The Asian tropics are the most common habitat for Vesicularia dubyana, which is widely distributed in moist, wet environments. Mosses such as this grow emersed as well as submersed with a creeping or horizontal habit and have a similar appearance to Christmas mosses (Vesicularia montagnei). They have narrow leaves and irregular ramifications. Also, the cells are longer (over three times as long as they are wide).

Vesicularia dubyana has leaves that grow at regular intervals, tend to ramify less densely, and often appear threadlike under weak light. Taxiphyllum barbieri’s leaves have a sharper angle on the stem, and it grows at regular intervals.

The spore capsules of Vesicularia dubyana develop not only when grown emersed, but also under water, whereas those of Taxiphyllum barbieri do not.

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Many years have passed since the introduction of Vesicularia dubyana as a non-demanding aquarium moss. Similar to Taxiphyllum barbieri, it has many uses. In addition to having finely ramified branches, Vesicularia dubyana grows more slowly, which is an advantage.

The most attractive way to display it is to tie it to driftwood or to rocks, and regular trimming will help maintain a neat appearance. Although it does not require much light, moderate lighting is preferable. Due to the reddish-brown stems that this moss grows on as well as the spore capsules on the stems, Vesicularia dubyana shares characteristics with rugged forest moss.

Vesicularia dubyana propagation

To propagate java moss take a piece of the matting and tie it to rocks or other decorations in another part of your tank where you want more coverage. In time you’ll have two thriving pieces!

Vesicularia dubyana care

Vesicularia dubyana

Java moss is a low-light, low-maintenance plant that does not require much care. It is tolerant of a wide range of water conditions and can grow in freshwater or saltwater tanks. One of the most common ways to start Java moss growing is by attaching pieces to driftwood or rocks with string, thread, fishing line, or thin wire. It can also be grown in bags of wet sphagnum moss.

In spite of its low requirements, Vesicularia dubyana grows well with little light and with a good supply of CO2 and nutrients. In addition to being used for moss walls, it looks best mounted on rocks or driftwood. By cutting or carefully plucking too big stands, they can be reduced before they become detached from the substrate.

The moss, known for decades as “true Java moss”, is a versatile choice for hardscapes. Fine, ramified shoots with occasional sporogons resemble forest moss and are suitable for natural layouts.

Lighting requirements

A general rule of thumb is that the aquarium should be lit for 10-12 hours per day. When determining how much light a Vesicularia dubyana java moss needs, consider the depth of the water and whether you want to add any additional plants. For most aquaria, 10-12 hours of lighting is sufficient.

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In low-light conditions, Java moss may not grow as well as it does in brighter settings. If your tank does not get enough natural light then it may need more than 12 hours worth of artificial lighting each day.

For deep tanks with little other plant life to provide shade from the intense sunlight at the surface, high levels of artificial lighting are needed so that all parts of the tank can receive enough light from above.

Water requirements

Java moss needs to be kept moist at all times. It will not do well if left dry for too long. The water should be changed every couple of days, and the moss should be misted with a spray bottle or a watering can once per day.

For feeding, it is recommended that you feed your moss with an aquarium plant fertilizer every other week. When adding fertilizers to the water in which you are growing your java moss, it is best to use ones designed specifically for aquatic plants because regular fertilizers may have chemicals that are toxic to plants.

Nutrient requirements

Java moss does not require much nutrient supplementation, but if you want to give it some extra nutrients, use Seachem Flourish Excel once a week or as needed. Remember that this species is sensitive to copper, so avoid using any products containing copper.

If the pH of your tank is over 7.8, lower the pH before adding java moss because Java Moss prefers acidic environments with low pH levels (5-6). One thing to keep in mind when adding java moss is that if there are other types of plants with more aggressive roots in the tank already, they may potentially uproot and pull out java moss. If this happens, trim off the portions of java moss that have been uprooted.

Maintenance tips and tricks

Java moss is a very low-light plant, so it should be placed in areas of your tank that are shaded or receive very little direct light. It likes to grow on rocks and driftwood, but can also be attached to the side of the aquarium with fishing lines or other materials. Java moss is an easy-to-care-for plant that thrives in freshwater aquariums with low levels of nitrates, strong water movement, and low carbon dioxide levels.

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If these conditions are not met, then the leaf edges will start to turn brown and curl up. If this happens remove some of the leaves to allow new ones to grow. A healthy java moss carpet is slow-growing at first but will eventually cover an entire substrate area as long as there’s enough light and space.