Java Moss Helps

Do you want to have an aquarium with healthy fish and clean water? There are several things you can do to prevent your fish and the aquarium from becoming a stinky, ugly mess.

Memory from 1967

There is nothing quite as disgusting as smelly fish. In 1967, when I was a teen, the alewives in Lake Michigan were dying by the hundreds-of-thousands. I could smell them from the freeway bridge near New Berlin. That was about twelve miles.

Dead Alwives 1967

It reminds me of something God did to free the Israelites from the clutches of Egypt in Exodus chapter 17: “And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed. Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”’” Exodus 7:16-18 (ESV)

Java Moss or Plastic Plants?

While you cannot completely eliminate algae from your aquarium, there is a plant that can help maintain the delicate balance. Java Moss is a wonderful freshwater aquarium plant. One of the benefits, often missed by beginners, is that live plants have a positive impact in reducing algae growth. Plastic plants add little to no value and actually become ugly as algae overtakes them as well.

Slowing Algae Growth

“The growth of obnoxious algae in an aquarium can have a negative impact on the overall look and crowd out the open spaces in your tank, whereas Java moss takes the nutrients the undesirable algae needs. Both algae and java moss rely on nutrients such as iron and potassium to survive. When you use Java moss in your aquarium, it competes with the algae for the nutrients available. With time, the moss will starve the algae since it has a faster growth rate than algae. It’s important to note that not all aquatic plants can eliminate algae in an aquarium, but it will definitely slow their growth down.” From:

Protecting the Little Guys

Protecting smaller fish is another distinct advantage of a planted aquarium. Java moss is very hardy and it is a wonderful protection for baby fish. My black molly babies (Poecilia sphenops) find protection in the dense plant. The black molly is also a wonderful algae-eating machine. Mollies and from Mexico and they inhabit freshwater streams and coastal brackish and marine waters. Although I don’t add non-iodized salt to my freshwater aquariums, mollies can benefit from salty water. A brackish water aquarium is an aquarium where the water is semi-salty.

Five Generations in a Healthy Aquarium

Here is a closer look at the java moss growing in my home office aquarium. There are at least 50 black mollies in this aquarium. All of them were born in this tank. These fish represent about five generations, so the older ones are great, great grandmothers and fathers. This is a sign of a healthy aquarium. You can see some of the black babies in the moss. They stay close to it at all times.

Black Mollies and Java Moss – several generations

Watch Out! Mom eats her babies.

When mom is hungry you should hide.

Baby fish face several dangers. One of them is a lack of food. Like most youngsters, baby fish need more frequent feeding than the parents do. But the food is scarce if the parents gobble it all up before they get their share. Food that drifts into the java moss becomes a longer banquet for the small fish. Another big danger is the parent fish. Most livebearers love to eat their young. Providing some protection increases the survival rate of the small newborns.

Java Moss also adds to the aquascape beauty.