Taxiphyllum barbieri – Java Moss

Java Moss or Taxiphyllum barbieri is widely used to decorate wood, stones or even entire back walls. It is a strong plant that has few requirements for light or nutrition.

Taxiphyllum barbieri – Java Moss

Taxiphyllum barbieri or Java moss is a strong plant that makes few demands on water parameters or light. The moss grows willingly on any surface, so it is ideal for decorating stones and wood stumps or for hiding equipment in the aquarium.

Previously, the scientific name was Vesicularia dubyana, but that has been changed to Taxiphyllum barbieri. This change is still controversial. Some believe that Vesicularia dubyana is a different species of moss (Singapore Moss) and other scientists consider them to be one species.

Synoniems: Isopterygium barbieri, Vesicularia dubyana.


Java moss has delicate little stems covered with tiny overlapping oval leaves. The underwater (submerse) form has finer branches than the abovewater (emerse) form. Like other moss species, they do not really have a root system. Brown hairy rhizoids grow on the underside that anchor the moss to the substrate. With enough time, it can adhere well to wood, stone, but even to glass where algae has grown.

The stems of the Java moss can reach a length of about 3 to 10 centimeters, depending on the circumstances. The water parameters are not very important, at a temperature of 15 to 28 degrees Celsius, pH of 5.5 to 8 and little light the moss will already grow.

It is important to keep the moss clean. Because it is so fine, dirt can easily accumulate in it. Regularly run your fingers through the moss and shake off dirt. You don’t have to be too careful, Java moss is fine but relatively strong.

Origin and Distribution

Java moss originates from Southeast Asia and is found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. It grows frequently in damp places, often above water on rocks, fallen tree trunks and along the banks.

Java moss in the Aquarium

You can easily attach Java moss with a piece of fishing line until it has gained a grip on the substrate. After a while you can remove the fishing line, Java moss will adhere to the surface from where you attached it. You can even attach it to a fine grid or mesh to create a complete moss wall or carpet. To do this, place the moss between two layers of gauze, the moss will grow through it automatically.

Pruning and propagating Java moss

If it starts to grow too exuberantly, you can prune it with scissors. If you have some longer prunings, you can use them to tie them in another place. The Java moss will continue to grow naturally.

In breeding aquariums, Taxiphyllum barbieri – Java moss is an excellent hiding place for young fish. For example, it is frequently used in the breeding of Killifish.


Java moss is also ideal for use in the Paludarium. For example, you can use it for the back wall or bottom. Make sure that it is placed in a place that remains moist.


Author – John de Lange

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