Fissidens fontanus caring for the feathery moss bushFissidens Fontanus plant is a feathery, delicate aquatic moss that grows on stable surfaces. It uses its brown rhizoids to anchor on rocks and wood while submerged in water, but the plant can appear unattractive due to algae overgrowth and blackened old foliage in the wild.

Yet, with proper care in a highly protected indoor aquarium, they look stunning. Keep reading to discover how to grow and care for Fissidens Fontanus plants effectively, let’s get started!

What is Fissidens Fontanus?

The Fissidens Fontanus is an aquatic Moss growing on surfaces. They do not have a demanding care routine. Also, the moss’s slow growth rate is beneficial because you do not need frequent trimming the plant.


Common Name US Fissidens, water pocket moss, palm moss, or phoenix moss.
Water Temperature 15-25C
Tank size 10 gallon
pH 5.0 -7.0
Growth rate Slow to moderate
Propagation Spore or Asexual reproduction
Lighting Low to moderate
Co2 injection/Fertilizer Recommended but optional
Care easy
Lighting Low to medium
CO2 optional
Placement Attached to driftwood and rock
Propagation Cut and Pull apart
Growth Rate Slow

Classification Table

Below are quick pieces of information about the Fissidens Splachnobryoides

Kingdom Plantae
Division Bryophyta
Class Bryopsida
Subclass Dicranidae
Order Dicranales
Family Fissidentaceae
Genus Fissidens

Fissidens Fontanus Care

Fissidens Fontanus care is pretty straightforward. This plant looks dull in the wild but in a controlled environment, they appear vibrant. Hence, here’s how to successfully care for and grow the Fissidens Fontanus.

– Temperature

The Fissidens Fontanus prefers shaded cool areas because of their high sensitivity to temperature and light. They flourish in the winter but turn brown due to warmth in the summer. Undoubtedly, they can tolerate a temperature range of 39 78 F (4-26 C), but they prefer environments with temperatures between 59 77 F (15-25 C).

At an optimal temperature of 77 F (25 C), the Fissidens Fontanus leaves would be bright green. Any higher temperature would cause the Fissidens Fontanus to produce deep green leaves and small fronds.

– Lighting  And Tank Size

Fissidens Fontanus can survive in nano or a standard ten-gallon aquarium and requires low to moderate lighting.  It can tolerate bright aquarium lights but for lights that mimic a cloudy day. In addition, do not put the Fissidens Fontanus in intense, direct sunlight or artificial UV light as they would likely dry them out.

– Substrate

Due to the unique way the Fissidens Fontanus adheres to surfaces, they can grow with little or no substrate.

– Location

Since the Fissidens Fontanus grows as a partially or submerged plant, some aquascape plant them as the former. Although the plant can tolerate it, it prefers being entirely in water. Nonetheless, these aquascape foci are directed towards achieving aesthetically-pleasing enclosures.

Additionally, the Fissidens Fontanus will look best in an indoor paludarium, riparium, or aquarium. Nonetheless, you can effectively propagate this moss into an existing enclosure by tying it onto the spot you want. Similarly, to attract observers’ attention to its unique shape and color, put them in front of the tank.

– Co2 And pH

Co2 injections in a Fissidens Fontanus tank are not compulsory since the plant would grow with or without. However, a little Co2 would not hurt the plant; instead, it would make it thrive. Also, the ideal pH for the Fissidens Fontanus ranges between five and seven. However, if the tank pH is high, a mix of alkaline and like the lime solution will lower it.

– Trimming

You may trim the Fissidens Fontanus plant when it overgrows, nevertheless, if you intend to change its default round shape, it is inconceivable. This is because Fissidens Fontanus grows from its center.

– Filtration

The Fissidens Fontanus require clean flowing water to flourish. Hence, gather the trimmed Fissidens Fontanus, hence the organic wastes do not pollute the aquarium. In Addition, using airline tubing to clean dirt.

Furthermore, filtration is crucial as it creates the water current that the moss bush needs. It also prevents the plant from absorbing decaying organic waste and dying slowly. Hence, the flow from the filter should be set at moderate to prevent the formation of quiescent areas.

– Watering

If your Fissidens Fontanus plant is submerged, you do not have to bother watering. However, make sure the aquarium water is not stagnant as it could encourage algae growth.


– Origin

The Fissidens Fontanus plant is native to the United States, and it is still relatively new in the aquarium hobby. It has speedily gained momentum throughout various locations in Europe and Illinois.

Furthermore, Fissidens Fontanus is commonly known as US Fissidens, water pocket moss, palm moss, or phoenix moss. It gets its Latin name Fissidens Fontanus because it grows from its center and resembles a streaming frozen fountain.

– Description

Fissidens Fontanus is a dark green aquatic plant comprising of stems and leaves. Under a microscope, the structure of its small leaves cells is different from other plants. The plants are soft, smooth, and hairless with toothless margins. In addition, the Fissidens Fontanus linear-lanceolate or linear-oblong leaves are arranged in a zigzag pattern.

This palm moss leaves midribs run from the base almost to the tip. They are a light green color, but as the leaves age, they transition to olive green and eventually black. Furthermore, one side of the leaves also has a dark sleeve which causes one-third of it to appear darker than all the other surfaces.

– Fissidens Fontanus Growth Rate

The Fissidens Fontanus growth rate is mostly between a slow to moderate range. It largely depends on the care and nutrients it receives. On average, its stem grows to five inches while the leaves grow between 0.118 to 0.276 inches in length and 0. 0197 inches in width.


There are two ways the Fissidens Fontanus breeds:

  • Via spores
  • Asexually

– Spore-bearing Capsules

The Fissidens Fontanus do not produce flowers or fruits but occasionally produce spore-bearing capsules called sporangia. These capsules grow out of the setae on the leaves’ axil and an axil can have between one to five capsules.

You see, while still green and immature, the sporangia detach from the mother plants and are distributed by water. After a short time, the capsule’s lids open up and release tiny spores from within.

– Asexual Reproduction

Alternatively, the Fissidens Fontanus secondary leafy stems detach from the parent leafy stems. They only become separated after they have developed their brownish rhizoids at the base. These secondary leafy stems rhizoids anchor to the substrate to form clonal plants. Then the dried-out plant’s foliage becomes dark and brittle.

How To Grow the Fissidens Fontanus in Your Aquarium

The fastest way to grow Fissidens Fontanus in your aquarium is to cut the plant into small pieces. Then choose locations you want them to grow in your tank. We recommend you would pick where water flows through or completely covers it. This is followed by tying the small cluster to the surface with a cotton thread. Finally, leave the plant to stabilize, anchor, and begin to regenerate.

Aquascaping Ideas

Here are some Fissidens Fontanus aquascaping ideas:

– Jungle Look

The Fissidens Fontanus moss can create an illusion of ush, bushy moss. Plant them at the base of an aquarium mini tree to give the tank a jungle or rainforest look. These mosses can give a natural finish and are beautiful.

– Rocky Mountain

The Fissidens Fontanus would grow on any rock (such as dragon stone, Seiryu, pagoda, Yingshi, and Texas hollow). Simple, place the plant in any crevices of the rock and wedge it with cotton or nylon. Alternatively, use aquarium glue to stick the plant where you prefer or all over the entire rock. However, pick a rock with a flat base and pointy peak to create a natural-looking mountain.

– Birds Nest

You can recreate the bird’s nest effect using driftwood. Place a Mopani, Malaysian, or Goldvine driftwood in the tank. Then attach the Fissidens Fontanus to the middle of the wood branches. This is a common sight in forests and would look completely natural.

– Foreground/Midground

If you do not want a themed aquarium, the Fissidens Fontanus would still look great in the foreground or midground area. In addition, for a standard Japanese Iwagumi position, the Fissidens Fontanus is randomly placed in the front of your tank. Lastly, put them as clumps and add some substrates to hold them in place.

Furthermore, You can add diversity to an enclosure by adding other plants similar to Fissidens Fontanus. Here are a few:

  • Crystalwort
  • Taiwan moss
  • Feather moss


– Root/Stone Binding

Fissidens Fontanus will easily bind to roots or stones and create a gorgeous aquarium display. The plants are attached to the surface you need it on, so use it to fill cavities in the tank. Note that, you would not need to tie it down frequently.

– Aquatic Animal Habitat

Small aquatic organisms stay in the Fissidens moss bush while in its submerged state. Snails and insect larvae eat and use the plant as a hiding location against predators.

Fissidens fontanusWhere to Find the Fissidens Fontanus

If you want to get the Fissidens Fontanus from the wild, you will find it in natural, high-quality wetlands. They are hardly ever in polluted regions. Also, some Fissidens Fontanus plants are found 60 feet deep in lakes. However, on rare occasions, you may see the Fissidens Fontanus above water in wet protected areas.

Mini Fissidens Fontanus

Mini Fissidens Fontanus is also known as Fissidens Splachnobryoides. It has similar feathery leaves as the  Fissidens Fontanus, but its foliage is smaller. Even though the Fissidens Splachnobryoides plants are also hardy, they are not as common as the Fissidens Fontanus. However, they are great for foreground setup and contrast nicely with shrimps and fish.

In addition, the Fissidens Splachnobryoides can tolerate a wide range of tank conditions. They are delicate aquatic plants that grow slowly like other Fissidens mosses and sturdily attach to driftwood and rocks. Nevertheless, the Fissidens Splachnobryoides is an attractive freshwater plant and looks great in any enclosure.

Similarity Between the Fissidens Fontanus and Other Fissidens Species

The Fissidens grandifrons and Fissidens taxifolius are other Fissidens species. They both have erect stems shorter than the Fissidens Fontanus and their leaves overlap. On another note, their leaves are also stiff and short. In contrast, the Fissidens Fontanus leaves as arranged in a zigzag manner along the stems of a single plane.


Here is the top reasons why the Fissidens Fontanus is a must-have:

  • They are easy to care for
  • They attach easily to most surfaces
  • They serve as hiding locations for small aquatic animals
  • They are a source of food to some fish spp.

So you see, the Fissidens Fontanus is perfect for an existing or new vivarium. Why not get some Fissidens Fontanus from your local aquarium store and plant them.

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