Christmas Moss – Care, Propagation, & Issues

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Are you looking for the most attractive moss you can purchase for your planted tank? If so, Christmas Moss is a plant you should consider. Today, I’m going to do a full overview on the plant and discuss why it is such a staple in our aquarium hobby!

As you may have read in my Best Beginner Aquarium Plants round up article, Christmas Moss was featured as an excellent ground cover plant. It is a hardy plant that will survive a wide range of aquarium parameters. This moss has been used in award winning aquascapes and is easy to groom. It’s easy to shape it so it takes over the spots that you intend for it to grow over. Let’s look into this wonderful plant more shall we?

My overview will cover the following on this plant:

  • Difficulty and Care
  • Lighting Requirements
  • Growth Rate and Maintenance
  • Fertilization and CO2 Needs

In a hurry? I recommend purchasing Christmas Moss from BucePlant

Christmas Moss Difficulty

Aquarium moss in general is very hardy. This is what makes them great for beginners. Christmas moss is no exception. It is just as hardy as Java moss and Flame moss. Personally, I find it the most attractive of all the mosses you can purchase. The plant comes from Asia, India, and Japan. In the wild, you will usually it find it growing outside of water of all things. However, it grows well in an aquatic environment.

As long as your parameters stay stable, this is a easy plant to care for. If your parameters are out of wack a common issue with Christmas Moss is the moss will “melt” away. This will also happen if the tank gets too cold or too warm. As always, test your aquarium parameters to ensure you have the proper levels using an aquarium test kit.

Christmas Moss Care

Difficulty: EasypH: 5.0 – 7.5
Size: 3″ tallHardness: 5 – 15 dKH
Propagation: Creeping and clippingsPlacement: Foreground
Fertilizer: LiquidOrigin: Southeast Asia
Grow: ModerateTemperature: 72 – 82F

Christmas Moss is an overall easy plant to care for. You can see the stats above for quick reference. Let’s talk about how to place this moss in your aquairum.

How To Attach Moss

The best way to attach Moss is using Superglue. There is an excellent video on this technique posted by Jurijs Jutjajevs on YouTube. I posted the video below so you can view it easily. Jurijs is an Aquascaping expert in our aquarium hobby and someone I would highly recommend you subscribe to if you are looking for advanced aquascaping content. He walks you through the process below.

Another method of attaching moss is by using thread. Personally, I am not a fan of this method as it is messy and mostly will work best on driftwood. The superglue method is superior in my mind because it is easy to do and the gel will cure as soon as you place it in water. Other people will try fishing line. This is a similar technique and another one I’m not a fan of. The main issue with using fishing line is that it will stay permanently in your tank. Thread will deteriorate over time while fishing line will not. The base of the super glue will not be seen over time as the moss grows over.

In my mind, if superglue is the preferred method for attaching corals, why can’t it be the go to for aquarium plants? It’s super simple and easy to do.

Christmas Moss Light Conditions

Christmas Moss is a moderately demanding plant when it comes to lighting requirements. I wouldn’t consider it a low-tech moss like Java Moss. You will need a specialty planted tank light to grow it. You will want to place the plant in an area where it is not going to get shadowed by other aquatic plants. If you grow it under high light, it will grow more horizontally then vertically. If it grows up, then you know that you lighting is not that strong. You can adjust your lighting intensity or move the moss up in order to get it to grow horizontally. Horizontal grow is considered more appealing when it comes to mosses.

Twinstar LED Craftsmanship

For planted tank lights I would consider two. Either a TwinStar LED or a Fluval Plant 3.0 light. You can see the full review of the Twinstar LED here.

Christmas Moss Growth Rate

Christmas moss is a moderate grower. It does not grow at fast as Java Moss. This is helpful for a busier hobbyist who does not want to be pruning all the time. You can slow down the grow of the moss by not using CO2 injection at the cost of a less thick moss. Pruning is very easy to do. You just trim with pruning scissors and can even shape the moss if you chose to. If you have a piece of moss that is overgrowing in an area, you can slice a piece of the carpet and remove it from the aquarium.

Trimming techniques for moss are best shown through a video and Jurijs delivers again with an excellent video on how the pros do it.

Christmas Moss Fertilizer and CO2 Needs

Christmas Moss can grow with or without an active substrate. It’s completely optional. However, for it to thrive you will want to use liquid fertilizer to get it going. For liquid fertilizers, I highly recommended APT Complete sold on Amazon. This is the most comprehensive fertilizer you can purchase online and is designed by a professional aquascaper.

Christmas moss will grow without CO2 injection. However, if you want to bring out the full potential of its growth and have a thicker moss CO2 will help with this greatly. For CO2 systems, I would highly recommend CO2 Art regulators. You can see a full review here.

CO2 Art CO2 Regulator Reviews

Common Issues

Below are a few issues that come up with keeping aquarium mosses. Moss plants in general are easy to care for and the issues described below are typically easy to address.

Melting

Moss Melting

This is one of the most common issues with aquatic plants upon introduction. Even more so if the plants were grown above water in lab like conditions. Most plants grown like this will shed the old growth in order to establish foliage that is more suited for being submerged in water. When this happens, pull out the melted or brow pats before they rot away and give it some time for the new growth to replace it. If this is an established plant, check your water parameters with your test kits to see if something is out of wack.

Algae

Algae on is a major problem on all aquatic plants. Once algae grows on a moss, it is very difficult to remove. Usually this is a sign of imbalance in your ecosystem. There should be excessive nutrients in the water or too much light with not enough CO2 to support plant growth. The fast step is to test your water parameters and see what is our of wack then evaluate your CO2 injection, lighting, and fertilization dosage and frequency.

Debris

Debris is another common issue with moss plants as they can accumulate a lot with their makeup. If you have a shrimp tank, snails, or dealing with fry, the issue isn’t as pronounced as both will happily feed off it. However, if you have none of those or just can’t tolerate the look of the debris, you may want to look at it further. This is usually a water flow and filtration issue

Filtration

It is common with lots of plants to accumulate lots of debris in your aquarium filters. It is best to equip your aquarium with a high quality canister filter if you are going to go for a planted tank. These filters do a much better job of cleaning and providing circulation then power filters and are also more silence. I would highly recommend the OASE BioMaster canister filters for any planted tank setup.

OASE BioThermo

Conclusion

Christmas the best looking and more appealing moss available in the hobby. It isn’t as easy to care for as Java Moss, but it’s requirements are basic enough for it to be beginner friendly. I would recommend it for any beginner or advanced aquascaper looking to have a striking moss in their tanks. As always, I recommend you purchase the moss as a reputable fish store. If you do not have one available near you, I would highly recommend purchasing from BucePlant. They are the premier seller if live plants in the industry. Excellent customer service and I have had great experience with them. I left a ratings at the bottom of this point for easy reference. If you have any experience with this plant, feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about it. Thanks for reading!

by Mark

Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping - both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.

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