Aquatic Plants in my Killie Tanks

Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana)

Java Moss is easy to grow and a useful plant for raising killies as they are great for culturing infusoria. Fry like to hide among their leaves. They are undemanding plants and will grow under different lighting conditions. However, if the temperature is too high (above 28 C), the plant turns brown, then black and die.

Christmas Moss

The Christmas Moss is one of the most beautiful of all mosses. I grow them as moss walls in my tanks. Just like Java Moss, they are easy to grow but will die when the temperature rises above 28 degrees C.

The Christmas Moss, when grown well, have very distinct triangular fronds. This plant was formerly known as Triangular Moss before the Christmas name became more popular.

Taiwan Moss

Some fish shops in Singapore sell a moss, known as Taiwan moss (sometimes called Mini Moss) which looks very much like the Christmas Moss. The difference lies in the shape of the fronds. The fronds of the Christmas moss have very distinct triangular shapes whereas those of the Taiwan's are less so.

However, when grown poorly, the Christmas Moss loses its triangular shapes and will look exactly like the Taiwan Moss. It's all very confusing. Sometimes, I suspect the Christmas and Taiwan are actually one and the same moss and they look different only because they were grown under different conditions.

Erect Moss

A fish shop in Singapore sells a certain kind of moss which looks like the Christmas Moss except that unlike the fronds of the Christmas Moss which hangs down, this moss grows up.

It used to be known as Upward Growing Moss before the name Erect Moss became more popular.

Unknown Moss

To add to the confusion, there's also a moss growing somewhere around the Bukit Timah area. The person who gave me the moss calls it Bukit Timah Moss. The moss looks like a cross between Java and Christmas. They don't have triangular fronds but they are not stringy like the way the fronds of Java's are. They could be Willow Moss but I'm not sure.


Riccia fluitans

Riccia fluitans, an aquatic liverwort, is useful as they provide good hiding places for killifish fry which tends to swim on the surface. Riccia floats but can be grown submersed when tied to driftwood or rocks.

When grown submersed, Riccia will morph into a sinking plant that has dark green leaves if not given enough light. Some hobbyists think that the dark green version is actually another plant called Riccia rhenana but I very much doubt so.

Monoselenium tenerum

This plant used to be called Pellia endiviifolia until Tropica came up with the correct name. An aquatic liverwort, it is also known as "Giant riccia" in Mandarin. The plant does not have roots but hair-like structures known as rhizoids which it uses to grip on driftwoods and rocks.

Duckweed (Lemna minor)

I let duckweed grow on the surface of my killie tanks as they help prevent algae by cutting off the light. They also serve as a cover to prevent fish from jumping out from the tanks. Duckweed grows very rapidly and I have to remove them from the tanks constantly.

They can be very irritating though, when they stick to the sides of my arms when I'm doing maintenance work in the tank.


Salvinia natans

Salvinia natans is a floating fern plant which is useful for shading tanks that are under sunlight. By absorbing excess nutrients, they help prevent algae from taking hold in the tanks.

They have fine silky hairs on their leaves which make them soft to the touch. Another very fast growing plant.

Water Lettuce (Pista stratiotes)

A floating plant with rosettes of light green leaves. Their long feathery roots provide a good spawning medium for killies which are plant spawners. The plant grows poorly in low-light conditions.

Micranthemum micranthemoides

Micranthemum micranthemoides is a fast-growing stem plant that can be grown easily without CO2 injection. They are good starter-plants for newly setup tanks. When conditions are optimal, they grow so dense adult killies can get trapped within their stalks.

Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)

Hornwort is useful for breeding killies that are plant spawners. They are one of the easiest plants to grow but if you put them into new water or if you change too much water at one go, their leaves will melt.

Under low-light conditions, their leaves turn into a darker shade of green.


Frogbit has thick swollen leaves shaped like hearts. They are very bouyant and one of the more beautiful floating plants. Under optimal conditions, brown stripes appear on the leaves.


Utricularia, more commonly known as Bladderwort, is more like a weed than a plant. They often come with Java Moss and once they are in your tanks, there's practically no way you can be rid of them as they will propagate and multiply from the tiniest strands. If you can't grow Utricalaria, you better take up another hobby.

The plant is said to be carnivorous and use very small kidney-shaped sacs on their stems to trap small fish and insects.

Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus)

Java Ferns are undemanding plants. They can be grown in substrate or tied to driftwoods and rocks. When grown in rich substrate, leaves can achieve lengths of 2 feet and more.

Narrow Leaf Java Fern

The Narrow Leaf Java Ferns have leaves that are shaped like lances unlike the leaves of the normal Java Ferns which are shaped more like swords. They are undemanding plants too and look best when grown tied to the underside of overhanging driftwoods.


The Windelov ferns looks best when grown tied to driftwood or rocks. They grow better if the temperature is kept below 28 degrees C. Their leaves have finely branched tips.

The plant is named after Tropica's founder, Holger Windelov.

Hygrophila difformis

Hygrophila difformis is a good starter plant for new fish tanks. They can be propagated from small cuttings of the stems. Their leaves provide good hiding places for small killies.

Hygrophila polysperma

Another good starter plant for new tanks. They can be grown easily and do not need CO2 injection or high lighting.