Emersed Java Moss… and more!

Java on Lava

Java on Lava

Lately I’ve been thinking about trying to grow some java moss emersed, and today I got around to setting up a couple of containers and a lamp for just that purpose.

View the full post to read how I set it up and to see some minor updates to my other projects.


  • 4 lumps of lava rock from Walmart (I bought a big bag of it from the garden section a while back)
  • 2 plastic containers (we bought lunch meat in them)
  • plastic wrap
  • 4 plastic water bottle lids
  • java moss (obviously )
  • scissors
  • desk lamp with daylight-spectrum CFL bulb
  • cheap timer to control the lamp

What I did:

I flipped the water bottle lids upside down and used them as little stands to hold the lava rock steady.  I don’t have a dedicated work area for things like this and might need to move the experiment around before it’s done.

I used scissors to shred the moss into tiny bits.  In the gallery below you can get an idea of how finely I chopped it.

I scattered/smeared the bits onto the lava rock and set the rocks into the bottle lids.  The containers were covered with plastic wrap to hold in the humidity.

In one container, there’s a shallow puddle of plain, dechlorinated tap water.

In the other, I made the water deeper and used tank water for extra nutrients.

I centered the containers under the lamp and set it on a timer.

That’s about it. Now for the photos:

Emersed Java Moss after several weeksUpdate:

I’ve posted updates to this experiment a few times, but now that the experiment is over, I wanted to add the final emersed java moss photo to this post.  The moss did really, really well until I neglected to refill the water in the growout containers. Oh, well.

In other news:

gammarus tank setupI’ve finally gotten my gammarus tank completely set up — there’s even a plant in there! I dropped in a stem of anacharis on the illuminated side of the tank.  I think it’ll grow well once it gets some roots in — there’s plenty of light on that end of the tank.  Once I’m satisfied that the tank is safe for inhabitants (read: no ammonia from the decaying potting mix), I’ll place an order for some gammarus shrimp (a.k.a. "scuds").

Loach caves

I also built some new hiding places for my loaches. They’re basically just pebbles siliconed together — nothing fancy.  I’m debating whether I want them in the existing loach tank or whether I’ll wait and just put them in the 55-gallon tank when I get it up and running.