Taiwan Moss (Taxiphyllum Alternans): Ultimate Care Guide

Taiwan Moss (Taxiphyllum Alternans) is a type of freshwater moss. It is considered an easy freshwater aquarium plant to take care of for several reasons. It has low lighting requirements and can live in cold water and tropical tanks.

Taiwan Moss is similar to Java Moss and Weeping Moss. All of these plants look similar and have similar maintenance requirements. This plant originates from Eastern Asia and Southeastern USA.

This moss grows in a creeping fashion. In other words, it grows horizontally more than it grows vertically. It spreads into bushy green patches that are great for shrimp and fish fry to hide in. It is a great plant to use for a moss carpet.

Taiwan Moss Care

Taiwan Moss is naturally found in freshwater riverbanks. It thrives best when it is fully submerged in fast-moving water. It is a temperature-hardy plant, so a warm or cold water tank is suitable. It will do best if it is anchored into a substrate.

How to Grow Taiwan Moss in an Aquarium

This moss can grow on several different surfaces. It has a shallow root structure that can attach itself to a variety of substrates and surfaces. In the wild, Taiwan Moss can be found attached to rotting pieces of wood or on rocks. It does best with a firm surface that the moss can attach to quickly.

It is an aquatic-based plant, so it does best fully or partially submerged. It is most commonly used as a carpeting for the background of the tank, but it can be put anywhere in the tank. It is a bushy plant that can hide equipment or empty areas in the aquarium. This plant is great for protecting fish fry and shrimp.

Taiwan Moss (Taxiphyllum Alternans)
Taiwan Moss (Taxiphyllum Alternans). Carnat Joel, CC BY 2.0

Is Taiwan Moss easy to grow?

Taiwan Moss is a low-maintenance plant, but it is not commonly used in the aquarium world. It also helps keep the water in the tank clean and healthy. It will absorb ammonia, nitrates, and waste in the water. This is good for the health of the other inhabitants of the tank too.

Lighting Requirement

Taxiphyllum Alternans can survive with low amounts of light. It is not a very demanding plant, but poor lighting will not grow the best plants. Taiwan Moss may change in color and grow slower if it does not have proper lighting. This plant thrives best with moderate amounts of light, but it should not be put in direct sunlight for a long time. Too much light could dry out the moss.


Taiwan moss can thrive in cooler or tropical waters. Any temperature between 59° and 82° F will work.

Water pH

The pH level should be between 5.5 and 7.5.

Growth Rate

The growth rate for this moss is listed as moderate to fast. If the plant is kept in optimal conditions it will grow larger and at a faster rate.

Growth Height

Taiwan Moss grows up to 2 inches thick. It grows out more than it grows up.

Co2 Requirement

Co2 injections are not necessary if the Taiwan Moss is kept in low pH freshwater. Adding moderate amounts of Co2 can boost growth and health. Steady water flow is also important for Taiwan Moss’s growth. These conditions help with propagation and will lower the chances of algae growth in the tank.

Taiwan Moss Propagation

Propagating Taiwan Moss is a simple process. The easiest way is to take a parent plant and separate it into different pieces. The new sections can be planted in other areas of the tank. Taiwan Moss will naturally attach itself to surfaces and substrates in the tank, but they can be tied down with a cotton string to help them remain in place while they get established.

More acidic water, moderate light, and periodic trimmings will encourage the plant’s growth. If this plant is well-cared for, the moss will produce spores on the stems. These spores can be spread by the water current or small creatures in the tank. These spores can begin growing in new colonies. As long as the temperature does not go above 86 degrees, the plant should produce spores.

How to use Taiwan Moss in an Aquascape

Taiwan Moss can be used as a carpet moss. This plant is easy to propagate and will spread naturally on its own. It can be used to cover up equipment in the tank. Small fish, fish fry, and shrimps love this plant since it gives them a place to hide and explore.

How to grow a carpet with Taiwan Moss

Taiwan Moss will grow and spread on its own if the tank conditions are right. This plant can be placed evenly across the tank to create a carpet.

Does Taiwan Moss spread?

Taiwan Moss does spread naturally. This plant reproduces using spores. The water current or creatures in the tank will carry them to new locations in the tank. This moss also grows horizontally, so it spreads that way too.

Why is my Taiwan Moss turning brown?

Aquatic mosses generally start to turn brown if they do not have enough nutrients. Making sure tank requirements are optimal is one way to prevent this from happening. Having the right amount of carbon dioxide, proper water flow and making sure the plant gets enough light will reduce this problem.

Algae growth can also be a reason for moss turning brown. Algae can decay the plant and deprive it of proper nutrients. Excessive algae growth can be bad for other inhabitants of the tank as well.

Mosses absorb a lot of waste products from the tank. They are natural cleaners and filters, but over time they can be overwhelmed. Keeping a well-maintained and clean tank will help reduce this problem.

How to Trim Taiwan Moss

Taiwan Moss will do well with periodic trimming. Plant scissors can be used when the plant stems get too long. This will keep the plant from becoming unruly and wild-looking.

Where can I find Taiwan Moss for sale?

This plant is not as common as some other mosses. It can still be found online at a variety of stores. Taiwan Moss may also be found at stores that carry fish supplies. One plant usually costs around $11. The cost will increase depending on the size and if it comes pre-attached to a surface.

Taiwan Moss vs Christmas Moss

Compared to Taiwan Moss, Christmas Moss is a slow-growing moss. They grow leaves that look like Christmas trees and have a triangular shape to them when they are connected to rocks or driftwood. When they are unattached, they grow more haphazardly and look more like Java Moss. Christmas Moss is a common moss used to create moss walls or carpets in aquariums. The moss floors or carpets can attract algae, which is why they are more often used for walls.

This plant grows flat and does not need to be trimmed often. It grows slower than Java Moss. Christmas Moss takes some time to get established and settled into an aquarium setting. Co2 injections will help this moss grow fuller at a faster rate. The plant naturally grows in India, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Taiwan Moss has a faster growth rate than Christmas Moss. Taiwan moss also has differently shaped leaves. Their triangular-shaped leaves look more like a fir tree. Taiwan Moss will have more delicate shoots, but with the right tank requirements, the shoots will grow thicker like the Christmas Moss. Aquarists say this plant brings a good contrast to a planted aquarium.

Taiwan Moss does not need Co2 injections, but it can benefit the plant. Taiwan Moss will benefit from regular trimmings more than a Christmas Moss. Both of these plants will spread and can be used as a carpet.

Taiwan Moss vs Java Moss

Java Moss is a popular freshwater aquarium plant that is native to Southeast Asian countries. It is a very hardy moss plant. It can survive in a variety of environments. This moss has oval-shaped leaves that overlap and it absorbs nutrients from the water through its stems. It grows in a stringy pattern and makes a great filler moss. Java Moss can grow into a wild and unruly plant if it is not trimmed. It shares that in common with the Taiwan Moss. It does not need a lot of space and can add some dark green color to tight spaces in the tank. It can attach and grow where stem plants do not have enough space to root. This plant can be used in low-tech aquariums.

Taiwan Moss is commonly used as an alternative for Java Moss in planted aquariums. They are similar in terms of care, nutrition, and tank requirements. Neither plant requires much light, but they will both grow faster and larger if they have moderate lighting. Both mosses can attach themselves to rocks, driftwood, and other decorations. They are great for beginners or experts.