Aquatic Plant Forum banner

Taiwan moss vs. Java moss

35532 Views 20 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  ShaneSmith
I had a bit of Taiwan moss break free in the same tank with some Java moss. I thought it would be easy to determine which is which, but now I'm finding myself not wanting to toss any of the Java because I'm not sure which is which.

Is there an obvious thing to look for between the two?
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
taiwan moss will be smaller in width. it will also branch out in a dense triangle when happy. If you can't find it soon and need to toss out java moss, let me knwo and I can send you a little bit of taiwan
My Taiwan moss is considerably lighter than the Java moss. I have the same problem, my java and Taiwan are growing together, by accident of course. :)
Hee-hee! I was thinking ahead. When my friend said that he was going to send me some Taiwan moss, I cleaned out my old, neglected 2.5-gallon tank and set it up just for the Taiwan moss. I was glad I did because it looked very much like regular "Java" moss. I've been having enough trouble separating the Java moss from erect moss in one of my tanks, I wasn't about to aggravate the situation by tossing the Taiwan moss into that same tank.

I was considering asking my LFS to order some "weeping" moss (they've had it before) but decided I better not, since I *really* wouldn't have a place to put it, except maybe an old pickle jar or peanut butter jar :lol: . Next thing they have to invent is a "personal PCR" :lol: .

Disclaimer: The only way to positively ID mosses and liverworts, according to Professor Tan, is to observe them under the microscope.

Taiwan moss and Java moss (Taxiphyllum sp.) are VERY different from one another, especially under high light & CO2 supplementation. In such an environment, 99+% of all the Taiwan moss fronds take on the perfect triangular Christmas-tree shape. Unlike Java moss which grows in every directions, Taiwan moss grows strictly downward. As you get used to the two mosses, you will also notice that the Taiwan moss is thinner, taking on a delicate refined appearance. When in doubt, throw away (1) any frond that grows in any other direction besides down and (2) any frond that doesn't resemble a Christmas-tree.

Here is a picture of Taiwan moss from

The fronds of X-mas moss (Vesicularia montagnei) also resemble a Christmas tree and grow downward. However, the Taiwan moss frond forms an equilateral triangle whereas the X-mas frond form an isosceles triangle. X-mas moss is also much darker green, fatter, and is less reliable than the Taiwan moss to produce the triangular Christmas-tree shape.

And well, there really shouldn't be any confusion between the Taiwan moss and Erect moss. They are as different as day and night. :biggrin:

Weeping moss (Vesicularia ferriei) is simply divine. The tell-tale sign of this moss IMVHO is the distinct light-green "teardrop" at the end of each strand. Photo from

More reading on the mosses and the wo/men who love them:
See less See more
Wow, thanks for that info cS. :) Photos are always a big help.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has gotten it mixed up... :oops:

Thanks for your generous offer to send more Gomer, but I do still have what you sent me pent up in it's own tank (you'd think that would have made it easier for me to tell it apart)....

It was some from cS that went errant on me.... :p I'm just one who hates to toss something like that thinking it's *just* Java.
I dont mean to confuse anyone

CS the Taiwan moss you snet me grows vertical... DO you have any Weeping moss for trade? It is a great looking moss. the consensus is that my specimen is a mutant? Hehehe. Ok seriously, do you have a picture of the Taiwan moss growing upright Shane? I have neither read references of this behavior nor have I experienced such. :?

This is going to sound a bit belittling so my apologies: are you sure it isn't the strong current sweeping the fronds upward? :p If not, then I am stumped!
It is not current. I try to take picture but i just suck at it. All you see is color.... I'll figure things out one day.

The moss does gather a lot of bubbles, maybe the bubbles hold it upright. It is not really vertical as much as like a 70-80 degree angel Pretty straight up though.
Maybe I can clear things up a bit by showing pictures, as my taiwan grows a little bit upward as well. This is in the corner of the tank where there is pretty much no current.

Yep that looks like mine. I just have 2 clumps so i spread it across the top. Nothing is growing on the side of the wood. Maybe they would grow horizonatal on the side.

I am hopefully going to give the weeping moss a go. it is definantly what i am looking for as far as texture. It gives an older impression.
JanS said:
Wow, thanks for that info cS. :) Photos are always a big help.
Yup, yup yup I second that as well ... thanks for the pics and link :lol:
cS, isn't it supposed to grow in a triangle? Why does it seem odd that it's growing upward?
Looks a bit different from mine. I have both java and taiwan in my tank at the moment (on opposite sides of the tank to distinguish them). At first, they looked exactly alike (due to the fact that I received a very small potion of it; around a nickel size portion of it). After it has grown out a bit, it does take on a more triangular shape.
Mine grow irregular like that because I don't use co2. Currently I'm broke but I'm saving up for a pressurized system.


It's not unusual for Taiwan moss to grow with a slight upward curl. The "equilateral triangle" will still be quite obvious most of the time. All it really needs is medium-high light and cool water. Having CO2 will be a plus.
it sounds (and looks) like there are a ton of great mosses out there. i have some java moss in my tank that grows upward, but i'm pretty sure it is still java moss (unfortunately, no pics). this is the first time i've grown java attached to driftwood. the java that is freefloating still grows in all sorts of directions w/o any uniformity, but i know they are still from the same source. i managed to get some erect moss from naomi (gnome) and weighed it down with plants weights, but they look drastically diff't from the java. so no confusion for me. my problem is getting all the errant strands of java off the substrate, so they don't grow all over.

mosses are great!

I do aspire to have the beautiful Plants that you people do.
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.