Life in the Bowl: Willow Moss

Willow Moss , common name for Fontinalis Antipyretica , another hardy plant which makes few demands on the water or light. Like it's cousin Java Moss it is ideal for decorating stones and plant roots in your bowl. It can be tied into position using fishing line or just left free floating. Like other types of mosses its an excellent hiding place for smaller fish and shrimp.

There are however a few things to note about this plant that sets it apart from Java Moss. One of the biggest differences is the leaf size which are at least twice the size of java moss.

Willow moss, while very easy to care for and extremely tolerant regarding water conditions is structurally more delicate than java moss, having an almost feathery quality to it's stalks. As near as I have been able to observe there is nothing marginal about this plant, it is a true aquatic. I have never seen it poke part of stem out of the water as I have seen java moss do presumably to get more light.

Another difference I have experienced with Willow Moss as opposed to Java Moss is it's ability to thrive in even lower lighting conditions then any aquatic plant I have run across including Java moss. I'm far from being an expert but if you are looking for a low light alternative, willow moss maybe one of your best choices.

Willow Moss fact Sheet

  • Scientific Name: Fontinalis Antipyretica
  • Substrate required: none
  • Light requirements Low to Medium
  • Temperature 10 - 28C
  • Hardness tolerance soft - hard
  • pH tolerance: wide range from acid to alkaline
  • Easiness of Care: very easy to average
  • Placement: free floating or anchored to wood or rocks.
  • Growth characteristics: slow creeping growth
  • Propagation: cuttings, any cutting will grow into a new plant
  • Typical Uses: nutrient sponge, decoration, spawning substrate

There are a number of other types of moss similar to Willow Moss beside Java Moss. You may have heard of "Taiwan Moss" or "Christmas Moss".

These two names have been used interchangeably to to refer to the same moss while others claim them to be two different plant types entirely.

What ever the case maybe, both tend to have a more organized but even slower growth than java moss, tending to grow in a kind of triangular "christmas tree" type pattern. However, it maybe important to note that this growth characteristic depends on environment such as water temperature, lighting and so on. Many times Christmas moss will grow in a more stringy, chaotic fashion, greatly resembling it's cousin java moss.

Possible sources for Willow Moss