Java Moss Carpet

Java Moss is a great addition to any aquarium. A Java Moss carpet isn’t for all fish tanks, but when done right, they look phenomenal.

In this article, we will discuss in detail how to set-up a Java Moss carpet in an aquarium. We will also discuss common difficulties and questions that arise when setting up a Java Moss carpet.

Fish Tank and Moss Ball

Java Moss Carpets: Is it hard?

Constructing a Java Moss carpet in your aquarium is not hard. It does however require time to be done properly, which in turn means patience.

The physical process of setting up a Java Moss carpet is not difficult and takes very minimal supplies.

What you will need:

  • Stainless Steel (Non-Galvanized &  non-coated) Mesh Sheets in 2×2 or 3×3 inch squares
  • Monofilament Fish Line
  • Java Moss Clump (or other moss of your choosing)
  • 3 Rocks or EcoBio-Blocks for every 2 sheets of mesh

First Steps

The first step to creating your Java Moss carpet in your aquarium is deciding how many mesh sheets you want.

Creating a carpet across the entire floor is possible, but not necessary. As little as two mesh sheets can be used to create a carpeted moss corner or feature.

If 3×3 mesh sheets are being used, two sheets (on top of each other, more on this later) will cover 9 square inches. This is about the size of a slice of bread.

How many mesh sheets?

In this chart, Empty Tank Squares represents the total number of required 9 square inch carpet squares for a completely empty tank. Empty Tank Panels is the amount of mesh 9-inch panels you will need, since every square requires two panels. Filled Tank Mesh Panels represents the number of estimated mesh tank panels required if your tank is already filled with live rock or corals (at 40% ground coverage)

Please note: This may look like a lot of panels, however a large sheet can be purchased at a local home-improvement store and cut into 3×3 pieces or larger to fit your tanks layout. Other types of mesh are suitable, if they are tank-safe.

Type of TankTotal Empty Tank Carpet AreaEmpty Tank SquaresEmpty Tank PanelsFilled Tank Mesh Panels
20 Gallon Tall288 sq. in.32 3×3-inch squares64 Mesh Panels39 Mesh Panels
20 Gallon Long360 sq. in.40 3×3-inch squares80 Mesh Panels48 Mesh Panels
30 Gallon Breeder648 sq. in.72 3×3-inch squares144 Mesh Panels87 Mesh Panels
125 Gallon 1296 sq. in.144 3×3-inch squares288 Mesh Panels173 Mesh Panels

Setting up the Moss Carpet

Dividing the Moss Clump(s)

In order to divide the moss clump you can break off pieces about a quarter in size or larger. Make sure these pieces are large enough to sustain themselves, but small enough to maximize how many you get from one clump.

Attaching the Java Moss to the Mesh

After you have broken up the Java Moss clump into several smaller pieces, it is time to attach these pieces to the first layer of mesh (half of total panels)

To do this, simply cut fishing string in pieces about the length of a pencil and tie the small moss pieces down to the mesh. Separate these pieces by about 1 inch (9 Pieces per Panel).

Attaching the Top Mesh Layer

Once the small Java Moss pieces have been tied to the bottom layer of mesh, it is time to tie the top layer on.

Take the empty pieces of mesh and set them on-top of the mesh pieces with moss.

Next, tie knots along the edges of the two sheets of mesh to tie them together and create an ‘envelope’ of mesh for the moss.

Placing the Java Moss Carpet in your Tank
Side Note for Established Tanks

In an established aquarium it is important to place the Java Moss carpet panels at least 1.5 inches from any live rock or corals. The Java Moss will attach on to these surfaces immediately and grow throughout the tank. Leaving a 1.5 inch gap will allow room for the Java Moss to grow and get thick, but not spread up the objects.

Rocks/EcoBio-blocks Take 3 of your rocks or EcoBio-Blocks and place them in a triangle formation in the desired location of your tank. These blocks will keep the moss separated form the substrate, allow healthy growth, provide shelter, and allow for circulation.

Next you can place the mesh ‘envelopes’ on top of these three blocks or rocks. The mesh will look fairly ugly and bare for the first few weeks. As time progresses, these chunks of moss will grow within the envelope and turn into a thick Java Moss carpet.

As the Java Moss grows, its hairs will begin to peek through the mesh and eventually hide the mesh entirely.

Maintaining the Java Moss Carpet

As the Java Moss grows maintenance may need to be done depending on several factors such as water temperature, tank nutrient levels, and lighting. All off these factors will contribute to the growth rate of your Java Moss.

If the Java Moss begins to grow longer strands or reaches out to rock or coral, a skewer or wooden chopstick can be used to tuck the extended moss back into the mesh. This will promote a thick and robust Java Moss carpet that doesn’t spread to the rest of your tank.

Water temperatures in the aquarium can be reduced to slow growth of the Java Moss. Make sure any other live species in your tank can handle the temperature decrease.

Benefits of a Moss Carpet

A Java Moss carpet can provide several benefits to your aquarium. Some of these benefits include:

  • Shelter and Egg Laying Area
  • Water Oxygenation
  • Protection for Fish in aquariums with other carnivorous fish
  • Very hardy Moss – Will survive in smaller tanks with larger water composition fluctuations
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