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How To Grow Java Moss Emersed!

The popularity of aquascapes are sky rocketing right now due to a number of popular social media accounts showcasing their aquascapes and their photographs going viral.

There are a range of common plants, usually used in aquariums that can thrive when emersed and we have noticed an increase in the number of people reaching out and asking various questions about growing java moss emersed recently.

Java moss can grow emersed with minimal issues provided a few steps are taken to ensure that the plant is free to thrive.

The more common problems that we see time and time again when trying to grow java moss emersed are based around having too much light and too low humidity, provided that both factors are optimal, your java moss should thrive when growing emersed.

Although java moss is an excellent option for emersed aquascapes, there are some similar price point plants that can look better than java moss when growing emerced as a part of a wider aquascape.

We feel that rotala, ludwigia, and micranthemum are the most common emerced alternative or additions to an aquascape using java moss with all three often going well in a number of setups instead of or along with java moss.

Can Java Moss Grow Emersed?

Java moss can grow emerced but it will require very high humidity, often much higher than most people initially realize.

Emerced java moss also only requires low to medium light as too much light can cause a number of problems and potentially prevent the java moss from growing with the heat tolerance of the plant not being as much of an issue as most people think provided its humidity is optimal.

In some setups, the java moss can work with its roots out of the water but for the vast majority of setups where you plan to grow your java moss emerced, you really should still try to keep the roots of the java moss submerged in water if possible.

This is not essential but most of the people who we see reaching out and asking questions about growing their java moss emerced are new to aquascaping and it can be difficult to grow java moss with its roots fully out of the water.

As the vast majority of people use java moss as a submerged plant, there are a number of people who sell weaker ranges of java moss that may not take well to growing emerced.

Although this will not usually be an issue for the majority of people who purchase java moss for their tank, if you do want to grow your java moss emerced then you have to make sure that you are going with a strong range of java moss that will be able to take to life outside of the water.

How To Grow Java Moss Out Of Water!

Most people who grow java moss out of water will seat the plant on floating driftwood or a partially submerged rock to allow the roots easy and constant access to water.

The java moss should easily take to these surfaces without issue and quickly start to thrive provided the humidity levels are high enough and you maintain a consistent low to medium light intensity in the tank.

Once the java moss is established and thriving, you are able to try new things with the humidity, temperature, and light intensity but you should give your java moss a couple of weeks if not months to get used to growing emerced before you make even slight changes to its environment.

It is very common for beginners to try and copy what they see on social media and YouTube when it comes to aquascaping and have their efforts wasted due to moving too fast.

As we touched on earlier in the article, the most common problem that we see by far is people failing to provided the correct level of humidity for their emersed java moss.

Although you can pick up a cheap humidifier for their tanks, there is usually no need and spraying the java moss down with a simply sprayer two to three times per day may be enough depending on the temperature you are using.

Are There Better Emersed Aquarium Plants Than Java Moss?

Java moss can be a great option to use as an emersed or partially emersed plant for an aquascape but there are alternatives that are often better both in appearance and terms of care.

The most common alternatives are rotala, ludwigia, and micranthemum but there are a number of other plants that you are able to integrate into your aquascape that can thrive both above and below the water level.

If you are looking for that signature moss carpet look that java moss is famous for then we feel that java moss is the clear winner though.

Just keep in mind that it may take a couple of tries before you are able to get your java moss to grow emerced as it can be tricky for first timers but the majority of people learn by doing and will often get progressively better results with each new attempt at growing emerced java moss.

One thing that can help you get your java moss to take on the first try is to plan out your setup from the very start.

We have lost count of the number of people saying that they are having problems getting their emersed java moss to take only to discover that they have changed their setup multiple times within a matter of months having to move their java moss each time and seat it on a fresh surface.

This will hold your java moss’ growth back and can cause a number of problems causing the plant to fail when a little planning could have prevented the issue.

Why Is My Java Moss Not Growing Emersed?

The most common reason by far that your java moss will not grow emersed is due to humidity problems.

Even people who have been told that emersed java moss requires very high humidity levels can still have far too little humidity in their tanks causing the plant not to grow but thankfully this is a very easy fix and increasing the frequency you spray the plant or activate your tank humidifier will usually fix the issue.

The second most common problem that we see people have problems with when trying to grow their emersed java moss is that they will have far too much light on their java moss.

You have to remember that the water reduces how much light actually gets to submerged java moss so emersed java moss in the same lighting that submerged java moss thrives at can commonly be too much lighting.

You will usually find that emersed java moss can thrive on much less light than you initially thought but this can be difficult to balance with the other plants that you are wanting to grow in your aquascape.

This is why the planning phase of the aquascape that we mentioned earlier is so important as different plants in the same aquascape may require different light intensity levels for grow at a healthy rate.

My Emersed Java Moss Is A Different Color!

The color of your emersed java moss can give you a great indication of how the plant is performing.

As you can probably guess, the regular green color is usually a good indicator of a healthy plant but java moss can change color in some situations.

A yellow but flexible java moss will usually indicate that the problem is with light intensity but a brown and brittle java moss usually indicates issues with humidity or temperature.

There are a number of less common things that can cause your java moss to be a different color too but those are the main ones to look out for.

If your java moss is turning a copper red then it is usually due to being placed on an unsuitable surface that has a high concentration of various minerals that are slowly poisoning the plant so trying to move the plant to a different surface as soon as possible is probably a good idea.

Provided you catch problems with your java moss early enough due to the color changes being an obvious early warning of a potential problem, you should be able to fix the problem quickly and without any long term problems with your plant.

Thankfully, if you follow our advice throughout our article then you should easily be able to get your emerced java moss to thrive in most aquascape setups.


That brings our article going over growing your java moss emersed to an end and we hope that we have been able to help any of our readers who are looking to try and grow their java moss emersed in their tanks. Although java moss can be a little tricky, it is still one of the easier plants that are usually thought of as being aquatic to grow emerced and can be a great way to build up your initial skillset for future, more difficult aquascapes too.