Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Convict Cichlids Christmas Moss, Vesicutaria montagnei

Convict Cichlids Christmas Moss, Vesicutaria montagnei

Montagnei, Beautiful Moss. The Christmas moss is a wonderful moss originally seen in Japanese aquariums and known as ''Amazonia Willow Moss'' or ''Christmas moss'', because of its side branch structure which look like fir tree branches or Christmas trees this is a moss that will help your convict cichlids thrive.

Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Moss / Fern
Family: Hypnaceae
Genus: Vesicularia
Size: Infinite
Growth Rate: Slow

Vesicutaria montagnei-Xmas Moss

Christmas Moss education        November 2, 2011
Reviewer: Darlene Harrison from Avon, IN United States           
I myself haven't grown this moss yet. I'm considering buying it so I looked up some information. What I learned is below. Hope it's accurate. I'll let you know if not.

It can grow in different light levels. I grow my moss very well with a 11W PC light over the 30cm tank. As a general rule, the higher the light, the faster the moss grow.

With or without additional fertilizer, the moss will still grow.

With or without additional CO2, the moss will still grow.

Water Temperature
In general, most of the mosses grow better in a slightly cooler water temperature of less than 28C (82.4F).

The beauty of the moss is best presented when it is grown attached to something, example, rocks, driftwood, or as a background moss wall. Though it will still grow even if you just dump it into a container, you can't really see the beauty of it.

If you purchase you would be buying 1 portion which is 2" by 2"

Common Name: Christmas Moss, Xmas Moss
Scientific Name: Vesicularia montagnei
Geographic Location: Unknown
Temperature: 65F-77F
pH: 5.0-7.5
Light: Low (1.5WPG) to High (3WPG+)
Growth: Slow
Difficulty: Beginner

Christmas Moss is as mysterious as some of the other mosses in the aquarium hobby. There is no consensus on its geographic origins and even the scientific name has a tendency to change. Its growth habits and appearance are just as varied. When grown attached to a piece of driftwood or rock, it forms triangular fronds in the shape of Christmas trees (hence the common name).

If allowed to grow free floating, it tends to have a much less organized appearance and the triangular fronds are much less pronounced. In this form, it is often confused for the much more common Java Moss. In lower light, it grows much less densely, and again, is often much less organized in structure and only under higher light conditions, attached or anchored to an object, does Christmas Moss show its true structure. It will form a pillowy bush of triangular fronds that is very attractive and undemanding.

This moss is very easy to grow in the aquarium, as it will grow with almost any amount of light. Although not as hardy as the legendary Java Moss, it will survive with low light and no CO2. Growth will not be the ideal structure and will be considerably slower, but it will still live. Like other mosses, Christmas Moss prefers cooler temperatures, under 77F. Over this, it tends to suffer, growing more slowly.

As an aquascaping element, its uses are limited to covering hardscape (rocks, driftwood) or creating a moss wall. A moss wall is created by sandwiching the moss between two pieces of mesh and placing this in the back or sides of a tank. The moss eventually grows through the mesh and covers it up, creating a wall of attractive triangular fronds (as seen in the picture above). It can be used as a carpeting plant; however this is not recommended, as it easily gets choked with mulm and debris and becomes an algae magnet.

Christmas Moss is best bought from other hobbyists who have it growing under ideal conditions in their own aquariums (thus making identification easier). Getting it in a local pet store or online can be risky, as Java Moss can be passed off as Christmas Moss at less than reputable establishments.

Christmas Moss can be identified by its more regular branching pattern and slightly different leaf shape. In the picture below, the moss on the left is Java Moss and on the right is Christmas Moss.Shrimp and fish fry use it as cover and it is also an excellent source of food for both, harboring tiny infusoria (bugs). Overall, Christmas Moss is an excellent plant for covering hardscape, filling in gaps, and creating living backdrops in any aquarium.

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