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I can't grow moss or ferns in my tank...

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by creighton, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    I have a 30 gallon with 2 x 55watt AH supply bright kit. I just switched to a Maxi Jet 400 with a needle wheel mod to chomp CO2. All my stem plants, b. Japonica, Downoi, Hairgrass, and even the crypt. are growing great in just pool filter sand mixed with flourite. I recently tied some Java Fern Windelov and Tiawain moss to some wood and its pretty much already dead. I think my nutrients and co2 (4KH Drop Checker) are okay (NPK=20:2:20, Fe=.5ppm, 15g MgSO3) added weekly, but I don't understand why I can't get mosses to take off. Perhaps more nutrients? I've heard that sometimes slow growers get outcompeted for nutrients and suffer, but I was under the impression that is why there slow growers. Because they adapt to low nutrient levels. I'll post some recent pics. tomorrow.

    thanks,
    Creighton
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Personally, I don't see how your nutrients could be the problem, especially if your other plants are doing well. Are the moss and java fern in direct light? I think the high light may be the problem, though I do not know for sure.

    My moss was growing a little in direct light, but because of the high light, algae would really get a strong foothold in it and seem to out-compete it -- the only place I had algae in my entire 50G tank is on the moss and my moss wasn't doing well. I have since moved both my Java Fern and Moss into indirectly lit or low light areas and they have both been doing very well. One of my little java ferns has produced about 25 new plants and my moss (Christmas) is growing like crazy.
     
  3. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I have the same problem. My moss in my 29 gallon with 2X65 watt CF started getting full of staghorn and thread, and maybe more algae. Moss also never grows well in my 55 full of 7 hungry SAE. They just mow that stuff down. Interestingly I took out a bunch of split leaf ferns and put them in a low light, no co2 tank and they now grow MUCH better than they ever did in my high light tanks.

    Maybe its just me, but I have not had any luck growing moss or ferns in high light. The moss at least will grow, but then is quickly covered in algae. Places say to get SAE, to combat the algae, but I find they eat more of the moss than the algae!

    I have started adding a double dose of excel in my 29 to see if it clears up the algae on my moss. Its been a week, some small hairs are turning brown. More time will tell.
     
  4. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Helgymatt,

    It is comforting to know that I am not the only one that this happens to!
     
  5. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the insight. I'll try making some moss stones and moving them to some shady spots. But shouldn't the moss be able to grow in the high light tanks just as well? I feel like I'm missing something.
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    My experience with Java Moss was very bad when I tried it on a moss wall in a 29 gallon tank with 110 watts of AH Supply light. My moss wall quickly became an algae wall, with algae of several varieties keeping house there. I solved the problem by not using Java Moss in that tank. Now I have some Java Moss in my 45 gallon tank, with the same lights, and it is doing very well. I think the answer is that if you have any algae problems you will have those problems to the nth power if you have a very high light tank. But, if you can avoid algae problems mosses do well in high light just as other plants do.

    Frankly, I don't like mosses that well anyway. I put the Java Moss in my tank because I got it as an extra in a baggie with a plant I picked up at our plant club, and I couldn't stand to just toss it in the garbage. Is this what is called an aquascaping decision?
     
  7. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    So really the mosses and ferns are more vulnerable to algae due to their slow growing nature, but if introduced to an algae free well growing stable tank they can still thrive?
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I believe that is a true statement.
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I just wanted to add that even if the algae isn't growing ON the fern, I think it may be competing for something. Reason being that a long time ago I had a java fern in a moderately lit tank with major algae problems, specifically bga. After the algae killed off all my other plants, I took the bulbs out and actually went with two INCANDESCENT bulbs as a last resort to get rid of the algae and figured the java fern would die. Well, it almost doubled in size in a month, I couldn't believe it. Now that I have java ferns in tanks without algae problems, but are moderate to low lighting, and I usually plant them in the shade, they grow great.
     
  10. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    Some of the moss is starting to grow green buds :) . I don't konw what I did but I think it is coming back!
     
  11. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    One problem with moss when you tie it to something is that you inevitably layer it over itself. Then the covered part starts to die off feeding the algae with ammonia. Then you get localised algae attacks.

    I find the trick is patience and not to layer it. Just tie it on thinly and let it grow then it seems to be OK.

    Needs pruning as well so it doesn't get the same effect.

    Andy
     
  12. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Andy,

    Well, if layering is a problem, then I definitely fell into that trap.

    I have one piece of driftwood in the middle of my tank and I put 2 little sprigs of Christmas moss on it, just as an experiment -- I wanted to see just how fast this stuff grows. It has been a couple of weeks since I started that experiment, and it looks like you are right, no algae yet. Thanks for the tip.
     
  13. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    I had a super thin layer for that very reason, but I may have over did it. Its starting to come back!!!
     
  14. chris81

    chris81 Prolific Poster

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    Hi Guys,

    I had a similar problem however i found out that the trick is temperature. Mosses and Java fern like cooler water temperature pref around 25 or lower. All s going well now that i decreased it, that could be one possible reason..

    Chris
     
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