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On 7/27/2021 at 9:52 PM, Kyowl said:

What I had in mind was the short light green algae on the trees in my yard.  I guess that isn't really moss.  I have a really new tank and I'm just setting it up.  I have boiled coconut huts and planted a couple of plants. That is it so far.  I hoped to be ready for addition of wood eating fish such as plecos.

Lichen will rot under water just like terrestrial moss, I would advise against it. Just get yourself some aquarium moss and super glue it to either your coconut huts, or some driftwood but with terrestrial moss and lichen you can introduce all kinds of things to your tank besides the fact that they will rot. Plecos will rasp along the wood without the moss, no need to entice them they know what they like.

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@Streetwise at, or above waterline is not as much of a risk as below the surface, also it depends on whether the moss is used with a layer of soil that it grew on, or not. In my younger years before the widespread introduction  of aquatic mosses I was experimenting with terrestrial mosses and lichen in my tanks. I wanted the kind of emergent look from the water to a terrestrial portion. paludaria weren't that common yet at the time either, and those who kept turtles, or axolotls usually didn't add plants, or fish. My tanks were doing fine until I tried to attach some moss to wood and a portion of it was just slightly below the surface. In other tanks I flat out tried to submerge the moss. Don't know if it was just the rotting, or the organisms that came from the remnants of soil but I lost  the barbs, loaches, and danios in those tanks, and did not return to using moss until the intro of Java moss. So my recommendation was just based on past personal bad experience.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with @Jungle Fan, growing terrestrial mosses underwater requires using the substrate that the moss was originally growing on, whether it be soil or bark, but I would not use tree moss because the bark will probably make the water brown. Terrestrial moss is really hit and miss - sometimes you get a nice aquascape, sometimes a disaster. I have only recently started experimenting with mosses so can't advise much more.

IMO the biggest mistake is to wash moss clean of its substrate - the substrate is its nutrient source, above or below water. Unless you have decades experience in growing mosses and know what substrate they like (a particular species, there are thousands of moss species), I doubt you could replicate this nutrient supply in an aquarium.

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So without much experience I tried growing terrestrial moss in my tank. I started with a patch (still in some rich dark soil) stuck in a crack on a floating stick. It began growing after a week or two. So I decided to grab a couple more patches (also still in their soil) and put them straight in the bottom of the tank. They began growing tall and bushy, and I have since added a couple more patches, both on rocks and the substrate.

I guess I got lucky but I think part of the key as mentioned by others was treating the moss like sod and laying down patches with some of its rich native soil still attached. 

The background moss pictured here is from the backyard (in a naturally wet area) about a month in the tank. It started at barely a quarter inch tall. The foreground moss is newer from a lfs. 

There's more pics of my tank in my signature link. Just my two cents if anyone wants to try (knowing it might fail and ruin everything as others have noted).

20210812_144459~2.jpg

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@Solstice_Lacer, yes I have a small tank full of a hairy like moss, just like yours, which has been my best success with moss. It looks like a Java Moss but is a terrestrial native. I can't send a photo unfortunately as I tried to move it yesterday and created a muddy mess. The tank will take a few days to clear. I discovered that trying to move a moss with its soil when wet doesn't work. Mosses need to be moved when dry, like the first day you used it. The problem is the soil becomes a mess. I always put a new moss in a tank, dry, and then very carefully and slowly fill the tank with water so that the soil stays undisturbed under the moss. If done right the tank will be crystal clear when first filled.

I will send some photos of some small moss tanks I have (not the disasters - I have a few of those). My other tanks are only a month old and I find if there is a problem it starts in month two. They always look fantastic when first submerged but the danger with a terrestrial plant is that if it dies it will cause alot of problems in the tank when it starts to decompose. You are wise to use only a small patch at a time as a test. I have had tanks full of terrestrial moss go bad and it is a real mess. Left uncorrected a tank like that would become a smelly cesspit of decomposing plant matter and algae.

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Just a word of caution to any young person reading this post. The use of terrestrial plants under water is fraught with danger and may kill any fish you have in a tank and is to be approached with great caution. All my terrestrial moss tanks have no fish in them, are highly experimental, and are easy for me to throw out if they go bad, which they probably will - it is a terrestrial plant after all. The effects of a decomposing plant in a tank on water parameters can be very bad. I recently mistook a terrestrial plant for an aquatic one (it was growing in a marshy spot out of the water) and put it under water as an experiment only to find out that I had created a cesspool of rotting vegetation a few weeks later.

I would not consider putting a fish in a tank with terrestrial moss, or any other living creature, unless I had observed it for at least a year to see it was actually growing under water. But a small piece in a tank may not be fatal. 

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Below is a terrestrial moss, 1 month under water. May need to decrease the lighting position as its pretty intense right now, might encourage algae. Looking good so far but could still go bad. Should know in the next month or so if its viable.

6717F817-091D-4C5B-A6D8-FDB450EB03AF.jpeg.28514d4546175c36e8b94dd0954f5eab.jpeg

 

Second tank below is an attempt to have a clean sandy section and dirted section with the moss hopefully stopping the dirt from mixing with the sand. Its the same moss type. Have always struggled with sand in tanks with plants - the different substrates usually mix and its pretty unattractive. If this works I will scale it up as a Corydoras tank. Probably have to include some sort of cave or wood for shade as its pretty exposed. This tank is only 1 week old. Both tanks are moss on a bed of their original soil.

64327CBE-5D75-4EBF-90DA-9C674E92EC00.jpeg.d01faebef8b99e3237545ba4bbeb03fb.jpeg

 

The other hairy moss tank which is a bit of a muddy mess right now after I tried to relocate the moss to a larger tank yesterday is 4 months old. There is a bit of stringy algae in amongst the moss but it looks like a healthy tank. The moss looks just like the one shown in Solstice_Lacer's photo. Looks alot like java moss but anchored to the soil base.

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702BA65D-974A-4074-9FF8-EDDA13F0CF02.jpeg.7a0228348d8ef62dcbfc51bf3d0d2c6e.jpeg

Here is my hairy moss tank, a terrestrial moss under water now 4 months and looking very healthy. Looked like combed hair until I messed it up a bit. A bit like a shaggy carpet now. I know it is aquatic now as it has grown considerably like hair. It didn't look anything like this outside where I found it. Outside the moss was very short about 1mm long. Water is clean and I would put a fish in it if the tank was larger. It looks like a natural biotope more than an aquarium, which was exactly the dirty natural look I was hoping for.

This tank is my greatest success with terrestrial moss. Have tried to reproduce it with the same moss from the same location but only this tank worked. I take it back - doesn't look like any moss I have seen before under water.

The low resolution of the image makes it look like a mass of green stringy algae but it is moss. You can't see the individual strands.

449E2EA5-6CB7-4584-BF9C-AB8CC21B2E3E.jpeg.4ef81827df3081432d9bab24e52fba18.jpeg

 

 

 

Edited by Water Box Dreams
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