Christmas Moss Care, Propagation, Issues And More

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A planted aquarium is always a beautiful sight to see. It not only makes the aquarium look nice, but it also provides oxygen and helps to clean up the tank. Christmas moss is an easy-to-work-with aquascaping plant that is pretty popular in the fishkeeping world.

Christmas moss is a plant majorly found in tropical or semi-tropical locations. It is easy to aquascape plant perfect for beginners that can hold up to various water parameters. The Christmas moss found in three types can be a good tank mate for both fish and invertebrates.

Without further delay, let us get into more details about Christmas Moss!

Overview Of Christmas Moss

Name: Christmas moss, Xmas moss, Vesicularia montagnei
Size: 3 inches (4 cm) tall
Care level: Moderate
The temperature of water: 72° F to 82° F (22° C to 28° C)
the pH of water: Highly adaptable (5.0 to 7.5)
The hardness of water: 5  to 15 dKH
Position in the aquarium: Accent plant or Foreground
Propagation:  Creeping and clippings
Fertilizer: Liquid
Growth of plant: Moderate
Origin and natural habitat: Southeast Asia

Distribution and Natural Habitat

Christmas moss is a plant from South East Asia. It is majorly found in countries like India, Japan, and a few other tropical or semi-tropical locations. It is not a plant that grows in water typically, but it does require moisture to grow.

So, you might find it around rivers and lakes on rocks. This is not the only place you will find Christmas Moss, though. It also grows in forests near trees and on rocks. Especially, it grows where there are moisture and something to attach itself to.

What Are The Types Of Christmas Moss?/ How Does Christmas Moss Look In Your Aquarium?

You can find three types of Christmas Moss in the market. They are also called Christmas tree moss most of the time. These plants occur to be from the Vesicularia family. However, do not confuse them with the Java moss and anubias!

Christmas Moss (Vesicularia Montagnei)

Vesicularia montagnei is a plant that has fern-like leaf structures, mostly like those on Christmas tree branches. The name comes from there too. These plants can be from 3 inches to 4 inches tall.

Speaking about its structure, it can look different due to your tank conditions and nutrients you provide to it.  They are usually very dense and compact once they reach maturity.

Brazilian Christmas Moss (Vesicularia Dubyana)

The shape of Dubyana is similar to that of Vesicularia montagnei. However, you can expect differences between the size and density of these two.

Vesicularia dubyana has a compact structure. Its leaves are usually shorter and narrower with the same inner nodules. You can easily be confused with the peacock moss due to the way it appears!

Mini Christmas Moss (Vesicularia Sp. Var. “Mini”)

The compactness goes on decreasing in this species. Mini Christmas Moss is a more dense and compact version with closer inner nodules.

The leaves are closer to each other. However, the height can be more or less the same as Vesicularia Dubyana. This plant’s appearance is the closest to Java Moss.

Buy 2 GET 1 Free Christmas Moss Aquarium Moss Aquatic Moss is the best deal you can get online!

Why To Plant Christmass Moss In Your Aquarium?

Christmas moss has many advantages that make it essential for every aquarium to have it. Here are some of the reasons why you should plant Christmas moss in your aquarium:

Thick Appearance

The Christmas moss appears to be quite thick and luscious. They create a coral vibe to your aquarium, making it look more grandeur. These plants have fern-like leaves, which make it best for the aquarium’s beauty!

Readily Available

Christmas moss is quite easy to get hands-on. These plants are pretty common in aquariums obviously, because of the benefits. So, it will not be much of a hassle to get it for your aquarium.

Hardy Plant

It is quite hard to find a hardy plant for an aquarium, especially when they grow out of water. But, Christmas moss grows in moisture itself. So, it can bear a lot of water parameters.

The plant is hardy. It does have problems like most plants do, but they are fixable. You will be getting the details in the subheading below.

Easily Attachable

You can easily attach Christmas moss to any kind of object to create new and creative designs for your aquarium. Therefore, if you are up for some experimenting, you can create your own one of a kind aquarium!

Hiding Spots

The Christmas moss has fern-like leaves. These leaves create the best hideouts for the fish that live in your aquarium. This helps to decrease stress among fish, which automatically rules out many diseases.

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Best For Breeders

Christmas moss is even perfect for breeding fish as fish generally spawn in hiding spots. Besides, the leaf is a good place for your fish fry and eggs to be safe. For breeders, learn about:

How To Care For Christmas Moss In An Aquarium?

Caring for the plant in your aquarium is one of the common things that you will need to do to keep it alive. All the Christmas moss is an easy plant to care for, and you might need to do certain things to care for it properly. Here are some of it mentioned, which you will definitely find helpful!

Water Parameters

The biggest problem in an aquarium is the change in the water parameters swiftly. This may cause the moss to melt. Also, if you are not able to maintain the temperature, the process of melting starts. In contrast, if the tank is cold, its growth is affected.

Temperature Of Water

So you have to maintain a proper water temperature of 72° F to 82° F (22° C to 28° C). Similarly, you have to maintain a decent movement of water in your tank in such a way that it is attached but lets the airflow through.

Ph Of Water

You should also maintain the pH level of the tank water from 5 to 7.5. Although Christmas moss is a highly adaptable plant, you have to keep in mind not to push it to the limits.

Hardness Of Water

Likewise, the hardness of the water should also be maintained from 5  to 15 dKH.


You do not need substrate for Christmas moss. These mosses are to be anchored to any of the equipment you want in your aquarium and then let it grow.

Besides, Christmas Moss is not a carpeting plant. So, you will only need to plant in the bottom of your tank if you have high lighting conditions in your tank.

Can You Use Normal Garden Soil In The Aquarium? Find out here.


Liquid fertilizers are very helpful for the growth of Christmas moss. Christmas moss is generally combined with other plants to keep in your aquarium. So, fertilizers might help in this situation.

You might want to add the fertilizers when you fill the tank with water. This will maintain and re-establish the tank for the plant. The method is even more helpful if you are using the dry start method.

Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement – Aquatic Plant Stimulant 40 ct is a great root tab to grow Christmas moss.


It is not absolutely essential to keep CO2 in the aquarium for Christmas moss. But, you know that CO2 helps plants in the photosynthesis process.

So, if you add CO2 to your aquarium, your plant will grow much faster. For Co2 booster, you can use API Co2 Booster Freshwater Aquarium Plant Treatment 16 oz Bottle, which is quite cheap as well as effective.

Be careful with the use of it because excess CO2 means that your fish will lack oxygen in the tank. It may cost you your fish too.

Learn more information on How To Maintain The Oxygen Level In Aquarium?


Christmas moss needs sliding more than any other mosses in the planted aquarium. Although it is not that challenging either. Make sure that you keep Christmas moss somewhere where the light is easily accessible to it. The plant should not be overshadowed otherwise, growth will be minimal. Or, in the worst cases, it might even die.

In contrast, if you have bright lighting in the aquarium, it is better to keep Christmas moss at the bottom of the tank. This is because heavy lighting or overlighting can give you algae troubles.

Algae issues can be nerve-wracking as it is almost impossible to get rid of it completely. The algae will only grow with the high lighting system (horizontally if it is high and vertically if it is low).

Besides, choosing a light system is also dependent on how tall or wide you want your Christmas moss to be in your aquarium.

For mid-range affordable planted aquarium lights, NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED Fish Tank Light for Freshwater Plants (18 to 24 Inch, 15 Watts) is the best.

Similarly, durable aquarium lights for plants would be Plant Spectrum Fluval Bluetooth Freshwater Light LED (36 inches to 48 inches).

Placement/ Aquascaping

The success of placing the Christmas moss determines the success of the growth of the plant in your aquarium. You can place it in the foreground, but the real question is how to place it in the aquarium. There are various methods to do that. Let us find out more about them.

Moss Tree

A moss tree is a way to create an aquarium jungle vibe. It works well for Christmas moss because they get the required water flow as well as stay in the foreground if you use longer woods. Just take some wood and attach the Christmas moss on top of it with any of the methods given below.

Spider woods and driftwoods help you create “The Look” for your aquarium. It will look a lot elegant. You can always throw in some creative touch to make it unique!

Moss Wall

A moss wall is very attractive and elegant, looking in an aquarium. Moreover, it just gives coral vibes to me personally. Although it can take a little time to grow if you are starting from scratch, I feel that the results are worth everything.

If you buy these walls, it will be expensive as the results are undeniably gorgeous. However, you can try making one yourself as mosses attach easily to anything, including foams.

You need some foam blocks and super glue. You just have to attach them together and let them grow. It will provide a lot of hiding spaces for your fish. Just look at how happy your fish will be!

If you really want fast results, then you can also super glue or sew moss into mesh crafts. It can be harder to pull through, and it may not look as attractive. That might just be my personal taste, though. Some people dig in for such looks.

You can get Craft Foam Blocks – 36-Piece Polystyrene Foam Blocks for Crafts and Modeling, 2 x 2 x 2 Inches Blank Craft Foam to create your own moss wall.

Anchoring With Super Glue

Anchoring with super glue is the easiest method among all of the methods that I have mentioned. This is also the least frustrating one as it saves much of your time.

All you need is the gel form of super glue and, of course, Christmas moss. If you are underage, please use the supervision of your parents. Besides, be careful with super glue. I would suggest using Gorilla 7700108 20 Gram 2-pack Super Glue Gel, Clear personally.

Starting with taking your favorite object, you want to set your plant on, gather all the equipment that you will use. Now, just let your creativity flow. Imagine how you want to place the plant in the objects.

Then, just put some superglue in the rhizome and paste it to the object. It is almost like a school project. Hold the object and the plant until it grips firmly. This might take a few seconds of your patience.

The easiest and quickest method that gives you the best results without having to think twice is this method alone. You might see the white color from the super glue for some time until it gets covered with mulm.

But, I just take it as a guideline of when to put the plant back in the water because until the glue gets white, the plant is not completely attached.

Anchoring With Thread

Anchoring with thread needs some amount of effort and a little bit of experience. You just need the thread to tie the Christmas moss around the object you want to attach it to.

I would suggest you use small pieces of driftwood as it works best with this method. The best driftwood I have ever purchased is PIVBY Natural Aquarium Driftwood Assorted Branches Reptile Ornament for Fish Tank Decoration, which comes in a pack of 3.

You have to be careful when you tie the Christmas moss around objects. Why? Because too tight and it will die whereas too loose and it will fall apart!

Sounds like a bit of a hassle? Well, do not worry. With two or three tries, you will get the hang of it!

This is the best option if you want a natural way to anchor your moss. The thread will deteriorate later, and you are left with a perfectly anchored moss. The only hard thing here is to anchor Christmas moss to rocks by this method as they try to slip away.

Anchoring With Fishing Line

This method is the same as the thread method. You just have to replace the thread with a fishing line. The fishing line is a little stronger than the thread. So, it will hold on longer. I would suggest Berkley Trilene Big Game, Clear, 8 Pound Test-1700 Yard as a fishing line to attach Christmas moss.

Attach the Christmas moss to any object and secure it with the fishing line. After wrapping it, you are good to go. Make sure not to wrap it too tight or too loose.

Once you feel like the Christmas moss has attached itself to the object, you can carefully cut the fishing line off and put it out of the aquarium.

This method works well if your Christmas moss takes time to grow as the fishing line stays for a long time.

Dry Start Method (DSM)

The dry start method is a method where you attach the Christmas moss to woods or rocks. This method is more applicable if you are trying to make a wall or a mat in your aquarium. Basically, you start by planting it outside the aquarium and then putting it in the aquarium afterwards.

Moreover, you might want to combine this method with the others I have mentioned above, like the super glue for the thread.

Besides, there are a number of videos on YouTube if you are a beginner. Watching someone do it in person will help a lot to avoid any mistakes.

What Are The Common Problems Of Planting A Christmas Moss In Your Aquarium?

Although Christmas Moss is a perfectly easy plant to care for in an aquarium, there are still some problems that may give you a tough time. But you do not have to worry. These are easily fixable. It depends on how much you are willing to try. Let us find out what these problems are:


Melting is one of the normal problems regarding the aquatic plants that are grown above the water. It is the combination of both water and heat inside the aquarium that causes the melting.

If any of such melting occurs in your aquarium, pluck off the parts that are dying. Make sure you do this before they start to rot. In this way, new growth will start as soon as possible, which shall solve your problem.

Algae Growth

The growth of algae will suffocate your fish as well as your plants in the aquarium. The algae will eat up all the nutrients that other components in the aquarium require.

There are many types of algae, and it may occur because of various causes. One of them is an unbalanced ecosystem. So make sure that you are giving sufficient light and only required nutrients in the water. You can Get Rid Of Algae In Fish Tank Naturally.

You may also try keeping algae eaters in your aquarium to solve the problem. Here are the 30 Best Algae Eaters For Freshwater Aquarium.

Plant Debris

Plant debris is also a major problem when you think of planting your aquarium. So, to solve this problem, all you need to do is add these to your breeding tank. Your shrimplets and fry will surely love to eat it as infusoria. You do not have to worry about the decomposing plant matters either.

Likewise, you may also try keeping freshwater snails in the tank. If you are a cleanliness freak, there is no use in even telling you to clean your tank as you might do it anyway.

If not, don’t worry. We have written articles on how to clean and maintain tanks here:

You have to clean the tank to maintain water quality for your fish.

Debris Collection

Christmas Moss is a fine leafed plant. This is why it attracts debris from the aquarium and collects it in its leaf. It can give you a tainted vibe and a dirty look to your aquarium.

Plants are rather easy to clean up outside the water. However, the difficulty adds up when you have to clean it in your aquarium.

What you can do is you can add snails, shrimp, or corydoras to your tank. These tankmates eat up the debris in your aquarium and help you keep your tank clean.

If you fail to do so, the debris will end up blocking the light. In worst cases, the growth of the plant stops, or the plant can even die!

Clogging Your Aquarium Filter

The major problem with having plants in your aquarium is the clogging of your aquarium filter. There are various types of aquarium filters that you can use, but it will end up being clogged by the plant debris.

Plants shed, multiply as well as decompose in the presence of water and CO2. Cleaning the aquarium is not only the way to go. You will have to clean your filter from time to time as well.

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How To Maintain Christmas Moss In Your Aquarium?

Here are some ways to maintain your Christmas moss in your aquarium:

  • Trim the Christmas moss routinely to let it grow.
  • Shortening the Christmas moss will help it remain attached to the objects.
  • Get a pair of aquarium scissors to avoid infections in fish.
  • Maintain proper water parameters, lighting, and fertilizers doses.
  • Change Aquarium water frequently. You can get an idea of how frequently to do it from here.

Propagating Christmas Moss

To propagate Christmas moss, you shall take a chunk of established Christmas Moss and just transplant it. Make sure it is of a decent amount.

You can trim and create various mays out of your Christmas moss to let them grow.  You just need some patience and give the plant some care.

I suggest you start with the dry start method, where you grow the plant outside the water. This way, you will be safe from the pieces of moss that float in the water, making it a complete waste.

Besides, these plants are terrestrial in nature, so it will help them grow faster and stronger.

What Are The Possible Tankmates For Christmas Moss?

Christmas moss does well in moderate flows. You may avoid fish that require no lights or the low light environment in their aquarium. Otherwise, you are good to go with any fish. In fact, I have also mentioned some invertebrates that might do well with the plant in the aquarium!


Here are the types of fish that are best suited for the aquarium with Christmas moss. You can even mix them up in your aquarium if they require similar water conditions!

Hillstream Loach (Sewellia Sp.)

hillstream loach

Swimming On structures
Temperament Peaceful

Active fish

Size 3 inch (8 cm)
Temperature of water 72 °F to 78 °F (22° C to 26°C)
Hardness of water 8 to 15 dKH
pH of water 5.5 to 7.0 dependant on species

For someone who likes a little bit of uniqueness in the aquarium, Hillstream loach is perfect. It is not easy to find, but it is just the best feeling to have it around in an aquarium. You can even keep a special order to buy them online. You can choose from among hundreds of species.

All of the Hillstream loaches have similar water parameter requirements as the Christmas moss making it the best tank mate for the plant.

Guppies (Poecilia Reticulata)

Guppy Fish Care

Swimming Everywhere
Temperament Peaceful

Community fish

Size 1.5 to 2.5 inch
Temperature of water 70 °F to 82 °F (22° C to 26°C)
Hardness of water 2 to 12 dKH
pH of water 6.5 to 7.5

Guppies are beautiful small fish, which increase the royalty of your aquarium. These fish do have some issues regarding their health like spinal issues and miscarriage, but these are not to worry about if you are able to maintain proper water parameters.

On the other hand, it is rewarding to have them in an aquarium with Christmas moss as they have a special place to hide and are colorful delights.

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Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Large fish

Swimming Everywhere
Temperament Different from one fish to another
Size 6 inches (15 cm)
Temperature of water 78 °F to 84 °F (25° C to 29°C)
Hardness of water 3 to 8 dKH
pH of water 6.8 to 7.8

Angelfish are territorial fish that can have different temperaments. These fish are aggressive towards their own kind and while spawning as well.

You shall not keep them with fin nippers or boisterous fish to avoid aggressive behavior in the tank. You can also get to know about Angelfish Diseases and Treatments from here.

Pea Puffer (Carinotetraodon Travancoricus)

pea puffer

Swimming Everywhere
Temperament Different from one fish to another
Size 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Temperature of water 72° F to 82°F (22° C to 28°C)
Hardness of water 5 to 25 dKH
pH of water 6.8 to 8.0

Pea puffer can be a bit of a challenge to raise in the aquarium. But its wonderful personality will definitely brighten up your day. The health benefits of keeping an aquarium truly come to light with this fish. These fish are smart, curious, and sassy.

Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus Sp.)

Albino Bristlenose

Swimming Everywhere
Temperament Peaceful yet solitary
Size 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm)
Temperature of water 73 °F to 85 °F (22° C to 29°C)
Hardness of water 2 to 12 dKH
pH of water 6.5 to 7.0

The Bristlenose pleco is a peaceful fish that loves to eat algae, green beans, zucchinis, and sinking algae wafers. These plecos will help you to clean the tank and keep it free from algae. These fish love alone time and are generally found roaming alone.

Otocinclus (Otocinclus Sp.)

otocinclus catfish

Swimming Near the surface
Temperament Peaceful

Social and shoaling fish

Size 0.6 to 1.7 inches (16.5 to 43.8 mm)
Temperature of water 79 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 degrees Celsius.)
Hardness of water 6 to 15 dKH
pH of water 6.0 to 7.5

Otocinclus are the small fishes that love to shoal in groups peacefully. You can put 4 to 6 of them in school. Like plecos, these fish also eat up algae and debris from your tank. And since cleaning plants is their first choice always, Otocinclus will prove to be the best tank mate for Christmas moss.

However, these fish are highly sensitive. So, you will need to be extra careful. Do not forget to feed them sinking algae wafers along with what they already eat in your tank.

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Aquarium Invertebrates

You can also put in some invertebrates along with fish in the Christmas moss aquarium. I have mentioned two of them below. These tankmates help to clean the tank as well as increase the beauty of your tank!

Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis)

crystal red shrimp

Swimming Surfaces
Temperament Peaceful
Size 1.25 inches (3 cm)
Temperature of water 62° F to 76°F (16° C to 24°C)
Hardness of water 0 to 4 dKH
pH of water 5.8 to 7.4

Crystal red shrimp are also similar to the cherry shrimp. They come in a variety of colors other than red. However, they are a little more expensive as they are challenging in nature. These shrimps will just fit in your planted aquarium as it was always meant to be there in the first place. The invertebrates are quite peaceful as well!

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Red Cherry Shrimp

Swimming Anywhere near food, but generally in the bottom
Temperament Peaceful
Size 1.6 inches (4 cm)
Temperature of water 70° F to 79° F (21° C to 26° C)
Hardness of water 8 to 20 dKH
pH of water 6.5 to 8.0

Cherry shrimp are small shrimps that munch on decomposing plants and algae. They are the best tank mates for plants as they pick up debris from plants to keep them clean. Let us just say it is a natural way of cleaning the aquarium. Besides, they come in a variety of colors. You will be amazed at how much it fits in your tank!

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Availability Of Christmas Moss

Christmas Moss is easily available at most aquarist stores. It is a common plant to have in the aquarium as it is so easy to care for. A minimum of $5 will get you a medium-sized parcel of plants.

Moreover, one thing that you may find helpful is to clean your plant before you put it into your aquarium. And by cleaning, I mean checking if the moss is free from snails. If you fail to do so, snails might overpopulate in your tank, which you may not be looking for!

Similarly, it is always easier to buy products online. It will save you a lot of your time, and you can surf from a number of products, check reviews and get the best and affordable one.

Besides, these plants are good for shipping. They come in small cups which can be planted immediately. The only thing you need to think about here is it might come with a little shipping cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Christmas Moss Easy To Grow?

Yes, Christmas moss is easy to grow the plant in aquariums. However, you have to maintain the tank setup and make the aquarium clean. The water flow around the plant shall also be good for better growth.

Does Christmas Moss Need CO2?

CO2 is not a piece of must-have supplement for the growth of Christmas moss, but definitely, it will grow much faster if you supply CO2 in the tank. CO2 will boost the photosynthesis process and make it easier for the moss to propagate.

Is Christmas Moss And Java Moss The Same?

Well, No. As they sound similar and also look somewhat the same, most aquarists become confused about the species. However, Christmas Moss and Java Moss are different species.

Can Christmas Moss Grow Out Of Water?

Yes, Christmas Moss can grow out of water. However, you have to maintain a level of moistness or wetness to make them grow to the greatest extent. Being vascular, they are more comfortable around water, which makes it perfect for your aquarium.

Thus, most people will not keep the Christmas Moss out of water or choose them as a plant for gardening.

How To Attach Christmas Moss?

You can easily attach Christmas Moss to aquarium equipment like driftwoods, rocks, and other decorations. The way to attach them is through superglue, fishing line, or thread. Personally, I will suggest you use the thread. Just get this equipment and tie the Christmas Moss to it to get the desired outcome.

The magic shall happen as the Christmass Moss grows. The plant will attach itself to the equipment. On the other hand, planting it on a substrate is a bad idea as it will not grow at all!

Last Words

In conclusion, Christmas moss is the best aquarium plant that you can get. It is easy to aquascape plant perfect for beginners that can hold up to various water parameters.

There are a number of fish and invertebrates that are the best tank mates to these plants. You can also add other plants with Christmas moss without thinking twice.

Christmas moss does require some lighting measures. However, other things, like fertilizers and CO2, are just to be added if you want it to grow fast. Besides, you do not need a substrate.

So, what are you waiting for! Get the best experience with Christmas moss today. In addition, make sure you leave comments below about your experience with Christmas moss to inspire others too.

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