Flame Moss vs Java Moss (which one is more beneficial?)

A little confused between flame moss vs java moss for your aquarium? The “trick” is to select the one that suits your setup the most, depending on different factors. 

This is the approach that helped me to decorate my tank with the perfect aquarium moss. And don’t worry, I will obviously explain each and every factor that you should consider before making the final decision. 

For you to get a quick idea, Java Moss could be the best option for you if you have only one tank to maintain.

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Now without further due, we will explore the differences between these two aquatic mosses and find out which one is the ultimate winner.

Valuable Factors to Consider

At the end of this article, we will finalize our moss based on these valuable factors.

Java moss4.3

Java MossRapid Growing
Best for Carpeting
Best for Aquascaping

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Flame moss4.0

Flame MossSlow Speed
Less Maintenance
Easy to Care

Check Price on Amazon

Disclaimer: The images used for products are fetched from Amazon. All rights reserved to Amazon

1. Shape And Color of Aquarium Moss

Both of these moss species have origins in Southeast Asia. Both are habituated in Freshwater. As both mosses are bryophytes, they do not have true roots; instead, they absorb nutrients from the surrounding water. And they have rhizoids that help to attach moss to the hardscape. 

Java moss has the scientific name of Taxiphyllum Barbieri, while scientifically flame moss is known as Taxiphyllum sp.

Flame moss, indeed, has a reason for this name. It’s called Flame moss because its unique shape looks like a flame like a Christmas tree when moss grows. 

Flame moss has a deeper green color with thick shoots, while java moss has thin shoots with a leafy structure, and it will show a bright light green color under intense lighting. 

Shape and color of flame moss vs java moss
Shape and color of flame moss vs java moss

However, their color may vary under different conditions, like altering the amount of supplements and supply of light may affect moss color.

In color and shape run, it’s entirely one’s personal choice and taste.

2. Growth

Coming to the growth of these two mosses, two significant factors are popping into my mind. The first one is the Speed of Growth and the second one is the Style of Growth.

I. Speed of Growth

One of the most popular features of Java moss Taxiphyllum Barbieri is its Growth speed. This plant has a rapid growth pace. On the other hand, in the same surrounding conditions, flame moss has a slow growth rate, but flame moss grows steadily. It takes enough time for this moss to cover the entire aquarium floor.

However, plant growth can be affected by many various tank conditions. Some of them are

  • Fertilizers like Root Tabs
  • Supply Of CO2
  • Tank Conditions (temperature, lighting, placement of moss, and water quality)

It will become inconvenient to wait for the growth of your aquatic moss if you have one aquarium to maintain.

So if you are a guy who wants fast results, you should probably go for Java Moss as this moss tends to grow faster.

Flame moss and java moss growth rate
Flame moss and java moss growth comparison after 1 week

II. Style of Growth

Both the mosses, Java and Flame, have their very own style of growth.

Flame moss grows vertically upwards and continues to grow upward at a steady growth rate. It hesitates to spread in its surroundings. While on the other hand, java moss not only grows vertically but also spreads sideways. It means if you attach this plant to a rock in your aquarium, then it will soon spread around it and cover it. Java moss can be adhered to any surface even you can grow a lush green java moss carpet on a sand bottom aquarium.

So it totally depends upon your aquarium setup, whether you want a vertical decoration of green tiny leaves at a specific place in your aquarium or you want to beautify your aquarium with lush green branched shoots of java moss.

And Yes, both mosses can be attached in the same aquarium. In fact, it would be an excellent idea for planted aquariums. These mosses can coexist in the same tank without any issues. So now the choice is yours.

3. Environment for Flame Moss VS Java Moss

Both these mosses have very minor changes in aquarium requirements for their healthy growth. Both can survive in almost the same temperature, pH value, light hours, and water parameters.

I. Temperature

Flame moss Taxiphyllum sp. requires temperatures ranging from 68°F to 83°F (20°C to 28°C), while on the other hand, java moss requires temperature ranges of 70°F to 75°F(21°C to 24°C)

This shows that flame moss has more tolerance in temperature ranges as compared to java moss.

But you shouldn’t perform sudden changes in temperature as it could harm your aquarium mosses and fish in your tank. For both mosses to thrive in your tank, the temperature should be consistent.

II. pH Value

Flame moss can survive in the pH range of 6 to 8, while java moss can survive from pH 5 to pH 8. But both will give their best results in the range of pH6 to pH7.5.

Just like temperature, it is advised to avoid sudden changes in pH.

III. Light

Both of these moss species can easily photosynthesize in low-light conditions. You can easily rely on a low lighting setup in your tank for these mosses. In fact, you should keep your flame moss away from direct sunlight or any source of UV radiation, as it can burn this plant.

Daily 8 hours of low lighting will prove to be sufficient light for your aquarium mosses. More than this can raise the issue of alga bloom, which is nearly impossible to fix.

IV. Tank Size

Flame moss or Java moss can survive in all kinds of tank sizes, from small to large aquariums, as long as there is enough light and water flow to support their growth. However, flame moss is slightly larger in size as compared to java moss, so medium to large tanks will be preferable for this plant.

Tank size actually depends upon other inhabitants of your aquarium.

V. Water Flow

The desirable water flow for flame moss is low water flow, while for java moss is med water flow. But high speed water flow is not suggested for any of these underwater plants because it may cause them to get separated from the base.

Environment comparison for flame moss and java moss
Environment comparison for flame moss and java moss

4. Maintenance of Java Moss

Maintenance of Java Moss and Flame moss involves trimming and cutting the moss, preventing algae growth, and proper supplying of CO2 and fertilizers to your aquatic mosses.

I. Trimming and Cutting of Java Moss

As I mentioned earlier in this article, java moss grows much faster than flame moss. Eventually, it means you have to trim it more frequently. On the other hand, flame moss requires less trimming as it grows slowly and steadily.

So if you want rapid results from your moss, this is the cost of it. You have to trim it regularly. 

If you are a guy who has to maintain a single aquarium, then it would not be very difficult for you to have java moss in your aquarium. But if you have to look after multiple aquariums together, then java moss proves to be your undemanding moss.

II. Algae Prevention

Algae is a common issue faced by most mosses. Flame moss and Java Moss can both be the target of algae growth. And it becomes nearly impossible to fix this issue if it starts to form, So maximum effort should be taken to prevent it rather than cure it.

Mostly the cause of its growth is too much light. Flame moss can resist it better in comparison to java moss because Flame Moss does not require high light as compared to java moss.

The best way to prevent it is to keep the light in your aquarium low and maintain the right water parameters.

III. CO2 Supply

Both of these underwater plants can survive without additional supplements of CO₂.

Java moss taxiphyllum barbieri is a hardy plant. It doesn’t require this extra aid. It can grow well without these supplements. However, adding a low amount of CO₂ will give a more greenish color to its leafy structure.

On the other hand, flame moss is less hardy than java moss and is more sensitive to the supply of CO₂. It can also survive without an extra supply of CO₂. But if you want to improve its growth to an ideal level and see its lush green thick shoots, then adding a moderate amount of CO₂ is recommended.

IV. Fertilizer

Just like CO₂ supply, flame moss and java moss can survive without fertilizers. But it’s better to supply them with the required nutrients to speed up their growth speed. Flame moss is slightly more sensitive to fertilizers than java moss, so you should not opt for strong fertilizers. The most commonly used fertilizer for aquarium plants is liquid iron fertilizer.

It should be used in low concentration and at regular intervals of time. As mentioned earlier, flame moss taxiphyllum grows at a slow growth pace, so it requires less fertilizer than java moss.

5. Tank Mates for Flame Moss vs Java Moss

Just like all other mosses flame moss and java moss are suitable for all types of tank mates. They grow well with other plants and provide a great shelter to small fish. But you must keep an eye on other inhabitants of the tank, as they may eat these plants or uproot them. Planted aquariums also supersuit these mosses.

Java moss provides a better shelter to small fish than flame moss, as flame moss has larger leaves, making it a bit difficult for them to hide in between the shoots.

Suitable tank mates for flame moss and java moss
Suitable tank mates for flame moss and java moss

6. Price

Price is the least important factor to consider for selecting these two aquarium mosses because they are very cheap compared to other decorations.

Usually, in comparison between these two species, Flame moss is found to be more affordable than java moss.

Also, the price of these mosses may differ depending on

  • In which quantity or quality do you buy
  • From where do you buy these mosses.

you can buy these products from Amazon from the following links.

Comparison Table of Java Moss vs Flame Moss

Here is a detailed comparison table of all the aspects that I mentioned earlier

PropertyFlame MossJava Moss
Shape And ColorBryophytes
Without Roots
Deeper Green Color
Thick Shoots
Flame Like Shape
Without Roots
Bright Light Green Color
Thin Shoots
Leafy Structure
GrowthSlow Growth Rate
Grows Vertically Upward
Forms the Shape of
Christmas Tree
Fast Growth Pace
Grows in Every Direction
EnvironmentTemp: 68°F – 83°F
pH: 6 to 8
Low to Med Light
All Tank Sizes
Low Water Flow
Temp: 70°F – 75°F
pH: 5 to 8
Low to Med Light
All Tank Sizes
Med Water Flow
MaintenanceLess Trimming
Prone to Algae
if Kept in Low Light
No Extra CO2
No Extra Fertilizers
Frequent Trimming
Defending Algae Attack
No Extra CO2
No Extra Fertilizers
Comparison Table of Flame Moss vs Java Moss

Infographic on Comparison of Java Moss and Flame Moss

I have also designed a beautiful eye catching infographic for the comparison of Flame Moss and Java Moss

Flame moss vs java moss infographic
Infographic showing comparison of flame moss and java moss


So after reading the detailed comparison of flame moss vs java moss, we found both mosses can make beautiful additions to your aquarium. If you want an aquarium moss that is low maintenance but still provides a stunning flame shaped plant structure, then flame moss is the perfect option. But if you want to cover your tank surface with the lush green leafy structure of java moss, then you may have to pay extra heed to the maintenance of your aquarium moss. So finalizing which aquarium moss proves to be more beneficial for you ultimately depends upon you and your aquarium’s growth conditions.

Read Also: Weeping Moss Vs Java Moss: A Detailed Comparison [UPDATED]

Here is also a video of a comparison of Java Moss vs Flame Moss.

I chose both aquarium mosses for my aquarium. I covered the surface with java moss while attaching some flame moss to the rock in my tank to give it a more natural look.

Regardless of which type of moss you choose, be sure to do your research ahead of time, so you know what kind of environment it requires. Complete care guides for java moss and flame moss are available at FitAquarium.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions.

1. What is the fastest growing Aquatic moss?

Java moss is considered to be the fastest growing aquatic moss. It is well famous for its rapidly growing pace. It has the potential to grow at a pace of 4 inches per month. Its thick growing style could be utilized to filter the aquarium water.

2. What is the best moss to cover rocks in an aquarium?

In terms of aquascaping, Java moss is an excellent aquarium moss. It has an exceptional capacity to adhere to any surface. Nevertheless, selecting the best moss to cover rocks in your aquarium is entirely dependent on one’s aesthetic preferences and tank needs.

3. What is the visual difference between flame moss and Java Moss?

Regarding the appearance and growth patterns, both flame moss and java moss differ a lot.
Where Flame moss has a deeper green color, thick shoots and flame-like structure, there Java moss has a Bright light green color, thin shoots and leafy structure. Flame moss Grows vertically upward, while Java moss has irregular patterns to grow in each direction.

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Josh Wayne
Josh Wayne

I’m josh, an introvert but willing to discuss fish keeping. I am all the kids’ favorite guy in my family because of all the fish tanks I have in my house.

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  1. I read your whole article about the difference of moss. it really helped me alot about making my decision. i was little worried to have which of these mosses to my tank. But now i have decided to add both these mosses.

    Thanks a lot for this useful information.

  2. No doubt you have provides detailed information on the comparison of java moss and flame moss.
    I just wanna confirm whether it is the java moss or flame moss that has faster growth pace.

    • Bro, as I mentioned earlier, java moss has a rapid growth rate than flame moss in the same aquarium conditions. But in a different environment, it might be possible that flame moss may defeat java moss in growth rate

  3. Very detailed and well explained. This article helps me to understand different pros and cons of flame mosses as well as java mosses.

  4. Hello just wanted to giuve you a quick heads up.
    The words in your content seem to be running off thee screen in Internet explorer.

    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with
    web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The design look great though! Hope you get the problem sollved soon. Many thanks

    • Thanks for letting me know! I’ll investigate further. Try to clear your browser cache and check it again. I’m glad you like the design. Appreciate the heads up!

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