Willow Moss, also often referred to as Common Water Moss is very easy to care for and can make a beautiful addition to any aquarium. It is a great plant to use in a freshwater aquarium and shares many similarities to Java Moss. Its latin name is Fontinalis Antipyretica, a member of the Fontinalaceae family.
This slow growing plant is normally found in North America, where it extends southward to Pennsylvania in the east and the Arizona to the west. It has also been found in African, Asian and European regions. The stem branches as it grows, maintaining a length between twenty to sixty millimeters at full length. The leaves are quite rigid, shard and grow between roughly four to nine millimeters. Due to its size it makes a great habitat for aquatic insects, larvae and microorganisms. Small fish species of fry are likely to benefit greatly from this kind of moss.
To care for this plant, it is recommended that your water is slightly acidic. At the very least the water pH must be below 8.4, or the moss will die. It is a very slow growing plant, so the opportunity to plan where it will grow and adjust accordingly is quite easy, which is suitable for a beginner. One downside to this kind of moss however, particularly when comparing to Java Moss is that it tends to do well with a lot of dissolved Co2. Although this is not necessary it is likely that growth will benefit hugely from these injections.
Keeping Willow Moss can be a lot of fun and offer all the benefits of a planted aquarium, from a safe haven for fish, to food to helping you keep on top of water chemistry. The slow growing nature of this plant means that you can manage it quite easily and it really contrasts red fish and plants due to a beautiful dark green colouring. Additionally it is quite easy to keep, as it only requires low levels of light and attaches itself to rocks and driftwood. This is beneficial because it means that it does not require planting and it can do well in poorly planted aquariums. If light levels are low, not only can it do well, but algae will be deprived of both light for photosynthesis and nutrients through competing with the Willow Moss for them.
If you have no experience with any kind of planting, you may be more successful keeping Java Moss, simply because both kinds are very durable but Java Moss will do better without a lot of dissolved Co2. However, they are both very durable and Willow Moss has the additional advantage of its darker colouring to contrast other plants and fish in the aquarium.