Flame Moss: Care Guide for a Super Fire Aquarium Moss


Common Name(s)Flame Moss
Scientific NameTaxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’
OriginSouth Asia and South-East Asia
Ease of GrowingEasy
AquacapeForeground plant
Height4 to 6 inches
pH6 to 7.5
Temperature68-83°F (20-28°C)
Growth RateModerate to slow growth
PropagationDivision of plants by cutting
Light RequirementLow to medium lighting
CO2 RequirementCO2 is not required, but it may help increase growth rate.
Flame Moss
Flame Moss. Blikss, CC BY 2.0.

The flame moss, also known by its scientific name, the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’, is a unique species of creeping moss, whose prominence amongst hobbyists is heightening. Naturally found in South Asia and South-East Asia, it thrives mainly in different bushes of cold river water with a gradual flow. The flame moss is known for the extraordinary way it grows.  It has the ability to augment any aquarium tank with a strong green glimmer of vegetation. Its remarkable image, low maintenance, and lighting requirements make it one of the most popular mosses used as an ornamental plant in any freshwater aquarium. 

In this article, we will be talking about the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’. To kick-off, we will be looking at some captivating facts about the flame moss. Strap on.

Growing Flame Moss

When it comes to the Flame Moss, there is more than meets the eye. There are multiple facts about the Flame Moss that makes it so intriguing. Let’s take a look at a couple of these fascinating facts.

The appearance of the flame moss is dazzling. With a brilliant green glimmer of vegetation, flame mosses have the ability to amplify the beauty of any aquarium tank.

A distinctive feature that sets these factions of aquatic emerald green apart is its pattern of growth. 

Flame mosses grow in a specific upward twisting pattern, especially when fastened to a rock or driftwood. When kept in an aquarium tank, the flame moss can grow to about 3 to 4 inches in a vertical spiral. The plant’s swirling thick shoots grow upwards and produce an optical image of a burning flame when its bunches are formed. Hence the name ‘Flame Moss’. 

The Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ has an undeveloped root system. The flame moss gets nutrients from soil and water due to its several rhizoids – incredibly tiny filamentary outgrowths used by the flame moss to stick to a substrate. Tough water flow rips the flame moss bunches from the river bed or other substrate effortlessly due to its shallow root system. 

Are you conversant with eco-graffiti also known as guerrilla gardening? Flame mosses can be used by some artists as a better eco-savvy option to permanent inking. The next transition of street art, so to say.

The flame moss can be a perfect source of shelter and coverage for the fishes, shrimps, and other organisms in the aquarium. Flame Mosses can also develop dietary sources such as infusoria and biofilm.

Flame Moss Care

As a general rule, the flame moss requires proper care, mainly in the aquarium tank, to thrive. The flame moss is ideal for any aquarist because it can be kept in a range of aquarium climates effortlessly. Nonetheless, as with many other elements kept in the aquarium, there are essential details one has to keep in mind when considering having the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ in the aquarium. Let’s look at some of them.

Flame Moss Light Requirement

Flame mosses do not need a lot of lighting systems installed in the aquarium to be able to photosynthesize and grow. This makes the flame moss an ideal plant for low-tech aquariums that do not have a crazy lighting system installed. Exposing the flame moss to direct sunshine for a lengthy period of time will burn or dry out the moss. When putting up a lighting system in an aquarium tank, the tank shouldn’t be in the line of direct sunshine, and rather far from any kind of synthetic light that produces UV rays. Preferably, aim for cooler light colors that imitate a cloudy day. It 

Flame Moss Temperature

The temperature of the flame moss in their natural habitat is generally between 68-83°F (20-28°C). When housing the flame moss, it is advisable to bear in mind that a tough water current will rip the flame moss from the ground or surface that it has attached itself effortlessly. Flame mosses prefer chill water with a type of gradual flow/circulation. It is recommended to have a filter with slow circulation. 

Flame Moss Water pH

Though Flame mosses are freshwater plants, they can still prevail in mildly black waters. The flame moss also tends to prefer waters with a lower hardness and PH level. With flame mosses, the pH of the aquarium water should be between 6 to 7.5 at best. However, the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ will also flourish better in a slightly more acidic water rather than a basic one.

Flame Moss Growth Rate

Aquarium moss are known to grow slowly. Like many other species of aquarium moss, the growth rate of Flame Moss is generally slow. However, sufficient light, nutrients, and CO2 injection may increase its growth rate.   

They can grow in all directions horizontally and wrap up a surface it has attached to with its bushes. In a large number of cases though, the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ will wander from its natural pattern of growth and grow in an unusual spiraling manner vertically upwards to about 6 inches tall.

Flame Moss Height

The swirling thick shoots of the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ can grow to about 4 to 6 inches in length. However, when kept fully submerged in a tank, flame mosses usually will not grow above 3 inches in length. As earlier mentioned, flame mosses possess a twirling shoot that intertwines with one another and produces an optical image of a burning flame. These flames are mostly thick and dark green in color.

Flame moss CO2 requirement

Generally, CO2 is not totally a necessity for the growth of a flame moss, but injecting CO2 into the aquarium tank will result in the best development and a more colorful appearance of the Flame Moss. Flame mosses do not demand a steady supply of CO2 or nutrient supplements for a fast and healthy growth. Without additional CO2 or extra nutrients, by simply keeping a properly maintained aquarium tank, you are set for success.

How to Grow Flame Moss in an Aquarium

Regardless of the fact that the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ is an aquatic plant, they can still survive without being fully immersed in water. The Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ can be kept anywhere within the aquarium tank either by leaving them to float on the surface of the tank or by attaching them to the substrate, depending on your choice. But just in case you prefer to keep the plant out of the water, always remember that they often need water for nutritional purposes, so from time to time, you have to make sure they come in contact with water. Although it is pretty easy to grow flame moss, it still requires patience due to the fact that they have a slow growth rate. For one to properly keep the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’, there are a couple of stages to growing a flame moss that one should have knowledge of. Let’s consider them one after the other.

Flame Moss Propagation

 As soon as flame moss starts to grow, you can cut them into smaller pieces with a knife or pair of scissors. After cutting them into the fragments you want, you can then plant the smaller pieces wherever you are within the aquarium tank and watch as they grow just like their parents.

Flame Moss Care and information

How to Plant Flame Moss in an Aquascape

The Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ like most other mosses is very adaptable. Hence, they can be used to decorate the aquarium in diverse ways. One may decide to use them to form a carpet in your aquarium by attaching them to every layer of the substrate. You may also use them to layer the walls of the aquarium by attaching them to the interior sides of the tank. Whichever way you choose to grow your Flame moss, the plant will grow because they are very adaptable in nature. Although the flame moss does not add much chemical value to the aquarium, it can pretty much serve as a source of nutrients and shelter for the small animals in the aquarium. For aquascaping, it is important to know that although most other mosses grow horizontally in all directions and can completely cover the surface of the aquarium tank, the flame moss breaks the conventional pattern by growing vertically upwards. The shoots of the flame moss may grow up to 4 to 6 inches long but when kept in the aquarium, they don’t usually exceed 3 inches that is about 8 centimeters. You can decide to create a flame moss carpet or a flame moss tree within the aquarium tank depending on your preference.

Grow a Flame Moss Carpet

The flame moss prefers to grow upwards instead of shooting out sideways so to make a flame moss carpet may not be so easy. Like most other mosses, the flame moss is a slow grower. To make a flame moss carpet can be tricky because you will have one heck of a time trying to keep it down. So you may use the weight of rocks or any other means possible to keep it down until the roots take to the substrate then you can carefully take the weight off. This process may take several months but it’s actually worth it. You can also add some nutrients.  Although CO2 is not really necessary it can make the flame moss grow faster and flourish.

Grow a Flame Moss Tree

Flame mosses are perfect for aquascaping. This is mostly because they have a high decorative effect and therefore add more beauty to the aquarium. To create a flame moss tree, you can plant them on a wooden element. You can create the image of a bright green flame moss tree by putting a couple of flame moss bushes on a piece of wood in such a way that it gives an illusion of a tree. So first, you need to find a mini Bonsai tree. Afterward, lay or attach the flame moss to the mini Bonsai tree until you get the desired flame moss tree. You can use a glue to attach the flame moss firmly to the Bonsai tree in order to get a more realistic tree. As the moss grows, you can trim it down to give it the shape you desired. 

Growing Flame Moss Emersed

The Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ can be grown either totally submersed or emersed, when the Flame Moss is emersed, it grows very slowly but when you submerse it, it tends to grow a little bit faster and looks greener and healthier. Therefore, as much as the flame Moss can be emersed, it is recommended that you have it submersed in order to see its full potential.

Growing Flame Moss on Driftwood

One may be curious as to whether or not the Flame Moss can be grown on driftwood. Well, the answer is yes, but you need to make it stick to the driftwood using a cotton thread. You can also make use of strings, a thin rope, or a fine fishing line to attach the Flame moss to the driftwood. Make sure that the thread is secure enough to hold the Flame moss on the driftwood but not too tight. Using a super glue can firmly hold the flame moss on the driftwood but the problem with using super glue is you need to remove the piece of driftwood from your tank in order to glue on the Moss. You can also weigh it down using pebbles but whichever method you wish to use, make sure it has a natural look. Note that if you have a strong water flow, snails, or larger fish, it is better to tie it down using threads 

The flame moss is a bright and beautifully colored addition to any aquarium. The information provided in this article will be richly effective to you if you decide to house this beautiful piece of attraction. If you already house the Taxiphyllum sp. ‘Flame’ in your home aquarium, let us know of your experience with this glamorous plant in the comments below.

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With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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