Coral Moss (Riccardia Chamedryfolia): Ultimate Care Guide

Coral Moss (Riccardia Chamedryfolia), is naturally found in Southeast Asia. Its taxonomy indicates that these plants are a rare liverwort, and they are also known as Mini Pellia or Coral Pellia. Due to its appearance and growth patterns, they are often categorized as aquarium moss in the general sense.

This plant is a deep green color that is a perfect refuge for fish and shrimp in freshwater aquariums. Coral Moss is easily attached to surfaces like rocks and driftwood. It is a polymorphic plant, which means it changes its physical structure to adapt to the environment it is put in. If given the right environment, this plant can grow into a lush mat that covers the aquarium.

Coral Moss Care

Coral Moss is a great plant for beginners. It is a hardy plant. It is easy to grow and take care of as long as the tank environment is suitable. It can survive in a range of environments, but it will not do well with dramatic changes in the tank’s water parameters. This plant will even grow in a terrestrial environment if the humidity is high enough.

How to Grow Coral Moss in an Aquarium

Coral Moss can be grown on decorations with a hard surface such as driftwood or stones. This plant will spread across the aquarium if given the opportunity. It is best to attach small, thin layers of this plant to the decoration when starting the plant. This will keep the lower layers of the plant from dying off. This plant is great for providing shade and coverage for fish and shrimp when it is established.

It is a slow-growing plant which means it is at a higher risk for algae growth. This plant might be best added to a mature aquarium for this reason. Another way to reduce the chance of algae becoming a problem is to add an algae-eating shrimp. These shrimp are natural cleaners and will help keep the tank well-maintained. This plant does best in a tank with delicate fish and delicate clean-up crews.

Coral Moss (Riccardia Chamedryfolia)
Coral Moss (Riccardia Chamedryfolia). Edited. BerndH, CC BY-SA 3.0

How to use Coral Moss in an Aquascape?

Coral Moss can grow in an emersed environment. It can be attached to something or left free-floating. This moss can also be used to create a backdrop in an aquarium.

A simple way to create this look is to use a plastic mesh like the ones used on windows to prevent bugs from coming into the house. These can be found in plant nurseries, hardware stores, and large supermarkets. They come in different colors and sizes. It depends on how big the tank is and what look the aquarist is going for as to what mesh they should choose.

Cut the mesh to be about two times the length of the tank and fold it in half. Suction cups will usually do the trick when trying to keep the wall up on the side of the tank. Cut holes around the outside of the mesh for the suction cups. For really large displays, adding some suction cups in the center is not a bad idea either. This will prevent warping once the mesh and plants have been placed in the tank. If the tank is small, say 1 foot, then one suction cup should work fine.

Now it is time to place the moss in the mesh. Lay the mesh out flat and spread the moss out evenly across one half of it. The moss will grow out, but it should be placed around evenly to prevent any gaps when the wall is put into the tank. Depending on how big the mesh is for the tank, it could be a significant amount of moss.

Fold the other half of the mesh back to keep the moss in place and tie the two pieces together. Fishing line or nylon thread work well for this. Cotton thread will not last very long in the tank. Insert and secure the suction cups to the mesh too.

Finally, the moss mesh is ready to be placed in the back of the tank. The mesh should be flush against the back of the tank. This will prevent the fish and other animals in the tank from getting stuck between the glass and the mesh. Making the mesh long enough to stick into the substrate and tall enough to stick out of the waterline will prevent this problem as well. The length should be measured before starting to make sure the sides fit close to both sides of the tank.

Now it is time to enjoy the view and watch the moss wall continue to grow.

Coral Moss Lighting Requirement

Coral Moss prefers a tank with more light, but it will thrive in tanks that have low to moderate light. The better the light is in the tank, the greener, prettier, and more compact the plant will grow. If it is in a tank with less light, the plant will be smaller and paler. It can almost become translucent and will be less compact in lower-light environments.

Coral Moss Temperature

Coral Moss will thrive in temperatures between 65° and 77° F. The plant will not do well in higher temperatures. If the plant starts to wilt or melt, it might be because the water temperature is too warm.

Coral Moss pH

The pH level in the tank needs to be between 5.0 and 7.5.

Coral Moss Growth Rate

The growth rate of Coral Moss is listed as slow to moderate. It will grow faster if the tank conditions are optimal. It is important to keep the algae under control in the tank. This moss grows slowly and can easily be overrun by algae if not monitored.

Coral Moss Growth Height

Coral Moss is not a super fast-growing plant. They also do not get too tall. They will reach 3 to 5 cm tall when fully grown.

Coral Moss Co2 Requirement

Coral Moss can benefit from Co2 supplementation, but it is not required. A healthy amount of Co2 for this aquarium is 6 to 14 mg/L. It does not usually do well with chemical supplements. In fact, many aquarists say a well-maintained aquarium is the key to keeping Coral Moss. No supplementation is required.

Coral Moss Propagation

This plant can take over an aquarium if given the chance. Once it grows, usually the new pieces will fall off of the parent plant. The separate pieces can be placed in other areas around the tank or moved to a new location entirely. Plant scissors can be used to trim or move the plant. Some aquarists choose to use their hands to pull up the portion of the plant they want to be moved.

Coral Moss reproduces by spores. The water current and creatures in the tank can spread the spores around and help this plant grow in new sections of the tank. This is great because it means an aquarist can buy a small plant and usually it will grow into a large plant and start to spread quickly.

Where can I find Coral Moss for sale?

Compared to popular aquarium moss species such as Java Moss and Christmas Moss, Coral Moss may not be as readily available in stores. If Coral Moss is not locally available in stores, searching online is recommended. With that said, they are still a fairly popular plant for freshwater tanks and they are regularly available in some areas. In general, Coral Moss can be found for 10-15 USD. Since it is a slow-growing plant, it might take quite a few plants to get the desired look. This can add up to a lot of money quickly. Luckily, this plant does well in nano-tanks. Some sellers will also offer this moss attached to driftwood or rocks for a slightly higher price.