Christmas Moss is a great choice if you are deciding or exploring the option of keeping moss in your aquarium, for 2 primary reasons

  • Beautiful looks
  • Easy to grow and upkeep

When compared to java moss (the most used moss) it is very less in maintenance. In many ways, the Christmas moss could be used in the aquascape. Above all, the below list would open up your creativity in using them in your aquarium

  • Lawns
  • Bonsai tree
  • Like a wall in a terrarium setup

Now that we have a fair idea and use of Christmas moss, pretty sure you now have the curiosity to know them better, so you can enjoy keeping Christmas moss in your aquarium. In this post, we have detailed out every possible information you would need to know about this stunningly looking moss.

Overview

Christmas moss is scientifically known as “vesicularia montageni” and they are commonly found in rivers and lakes of Southeast Asia. Christmas moss leaves resemble fir trees and hence the common name “Christmas moss or X-mas moss”. Similarly, in japan Christmas moss is also called Brazilian willow moss

CategoryDescription
Scientific nameVesicularia montagnei
OriginSoutheast Asia – India, Indonesia, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Sudan, and
Vietnam
ComplexityEasy
Planting or FloatingSemi planted
Price Range5 USD to 7 USD

The Christmas moss belongs to the family Hynaceae and genus vesicularia. The growth rate is slow when compared with other aquarium moss plants. Christmas moss grows emerged and submerged which is a very unique feature of this moss. This unique feature opens a window of opportunity for a hobbyist to use the moss during the aquascape and it is very simple to use Christmas Moss, it could be easily glued to hardscape materials like lava rocks, elephant rocks, dragon ricks, and all kinds of aquarium driftwoods. Additionally, they will fit perfectly in a 10-gallon tank to a 300-gallon tank.

Appearance

The leaf of Christmas moss looks like a fir tree and it has very short leaves which are bright green in color. The leaves grow about 2mm long and have very thin and small branched stems. The leaves are oval-shaped and grow out at a 90° angle from the stem. The fully grown plant will about 4 inches or 10 cm in height.

When the moss is fully grown it would look like a green carpet in your aquarium. The color is bright green. The branches are irregular in size the plant is smaller in size like grass on the ground surface. The Christmas moss does not have any roots the root-like structure rhizoid is only useful for attachment on the stones, plants, or any things for support.

This Moss plant will keep on getting sideways as long as it is unhindered or not trimmed properly. The plant can be trimmed and maintain in any beautiful shape.

This moss plant can be kept in the back, base, or side of the tank to make a rug or divider impact, which makes an extraordinary concealing spot for fry and other little fishes and shrimps

Christmas moss care

Christmas moss is not a complicated plant to maintain but it cannot sustain dirty water as it naturally grows in freshwater. It may melt and decay in dirty water.
To take good care of this moss use liquid fertilizer and CO2 for better growth and lush green-looking moss.

The Christmas moss is an algae magnet, so it is important to avoid algae to take over the beautiful moss. The simple tip to control or avoid algae growth is to perform regular water changes and maintain proper temperature.
Christmas moss does not need any special substrate, rhizoids, the stem, and leaves are responsible for the absorption of minerals and nutrients from the water and the atmosphere.

You should not bury the roots, because they will rot if fully buried.

Requirement

The Christmas moss would adapt to any lighting conditions but not very bright light as it would decay the moss. This can be maintained in low to medium lights. The growth of the plant may vary due to more exposure to lights. As it is a freshwater plant it cannot withstand more saline water.

Listed are some of the most important requirements

CategoryDescription
LightingLow to Moderate
Water condition65°F -77°F, pH 5-7.5, 3-8 KH
Minimum tank size10 Gallons
Fertilizer DosingMinimum
SubstrateAttached to driftwood or rocks
Co2Mandatory

Now that, there is a fair understanding lets deep dive into how to plant them in your aquarium

How to plant Christmas moss

The special feature of the plant is it can be planted in different ways, such as walls of the aquarium or on some decorative plants, rocks, or on the sand, gravels. Attach the Christmas moss in mesh material with a fishing line or thread and kept on the ground level of the aquarium until it begins its growth. In case you’re hoping to make a greenery divider or rug, your best is to sandwich the plant between bits of mesh and set up it. The cross-section will be apparent from the start, yet it’ll rapidly be taken over by the plant and look more regular.

Time needed: 2 hours.

  1. Deciding the layout

    It is crucial to decide the layout as this would determine the quantity of Christmas moss required

  2. Buying the right Christmas moss

    When starting to plant the Christmas moss, make sure the moss is of the best quality, with no algae, no rotted leaves. Ensure, you buy the Christmas moss from a reputed seller or from a known source. It is advisable to buy 10% of more quantity than what you would need

  3. Tools required to plant Christmas moss

    To plant Christmas moss, you would need aquarium plant glue, strings, and sharp scissors and these tools would make the job of planting the moss easier

There are 2 popular methods to plant Christmas moss, planting on driftwood and the dry start method. We have detailed the popular methods for a quick read

Plant Christmas moss on driftwood

Planting Christmas moss can be done easily by using a clear fishing line, or fine cotton thread

  • Placement – Place the plant onto a piece of driftwood, or any other decoration you choose, and gently use the cotton to tie the plant in place.
  • How to plant – Use cotton thread or thin fishing line which would help tie the roots to decorations. This will keep them secure until the roots grow strong enough to hold them in place. After a few weeks, the plant’s roots will have attached to the surface and you can remove the cotton ties.

Dry start method to grow Christmas moss

Christmas moss is semi-aquatic and as there are no roots so it is a little bit difficult for the moss plant to penetrate into the soil or wood.

Tank requirements – Proper light setting is important in this method, the tank should be filled with highly nutritious soil than normal soil for 2 to 3 cm thick from the ground level.

Spray like the mist and maintain the humidity by covering the top of the tank with a plastic cover. Place them in soil and cover the tank under the light. The plastic cover should only be opened and closed once a day.

In 30 to 45 days more patience is needed as it has week roots.

Propagate

Christmas moss propagates via division
This simply means that as the Christmas moss stems break off and fall to the substrate, they grow into their own plant.

Using sterilized scissors, take cuttings from fully grown Christmas moss. Place these cuttings back into the substrate elsewhere and they’ll soon develop into their own plant. The newly planted moss in few days they would start producing roots.

Key points to remember when you propagate

  • Each cutting should have at least three leaves so that the new plant can photosynthesis
  • Don’t take a lot from the original plant as it will struggle to survive.
  • You don’t need to create any special conditions in your tank for propagation, but the plants will grow best when the water is clean and has the required amount of light, nutrients, and CO2.
  • You can use nutrients and CO2 supplements to optimize the new Christmas moss, just make sure to consider the effects they’ll have on any other life in your tank.

Where to buy Christmas moss

The most important step, when you decide to buy Christmas moss, please spend a minute reading the buying tips

  • These are very small plants mostly sold in plastic pouches or cups which are mostly produced through tissue culture
  • Check if there are some damaging algae and snails
  • Algae eater fishes like Siamese algae eaters, flying foxes, etc., may eat the Christmas moss where the other algae eaters like cherry shrimp eat algae will not damage them
  • Avoid yellow leaves or soft/mushy leaves.
If you experience very severe melting upon planting, while other plant species in the same tank are doing well, you may have picked up a batch that has been too long in transit or packaging. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the state of health of the Christmas moss visually as they are quite hardy plants and sometimes they do not show many external signs even though the plants have been sitting on the shelves for too long – this is the risk that every hobbyist will have to take

Tropica has been supplying great quality of plants across the world for more the last 2 decades and we trust their quality

FAQ

Does Christmas Moss need a substrate?

The substrate is not a must to grow Christmas Moss, they can absorb nutrients from clean water or plants which it crept on.

Does Christmas Moss need fertilizer?

Christmas Moss does not need fertilizer to grow, the nutrients from clean water are adequate for them to grow. If needed fast growth a liquid fertilizer and CO2 can be growth supplements.

How do you keep Christmas Moss healthy?

It is easier than you think to keep them healthy, all you need is to provide them the right lighting from low to medium. Inducing Co2 is like a growth supplement for them and they will thrive. Needed to be trimmed and maintained regularly otherwise it grows like a bush and often checks for attack by algae.

Conclusion

Christmas moss will thrive as long as your water parameters are within the suitable range, medium light, and a soft substrate, and it is easy to propagate so you can start with a small amount, take cuttings, and grow some more.

If you decide to keep or use Christmas moss you’re unlikely to regret it

What aquarium setup do you keep your Christmas Moss in? Let us know in the comments