Floating Java Moss – How To

I want my java moss to float, how do I do it? It’s a question that has been popping up on aquarium forums for as long as I’ve been in the hobby. But, the frustrating truth is that while java moss might float around your tank for a while, eventually it’ll sink a little bit and grab onto something.

After all, that’s what java moss does, it clings to things and grows on them.

Why Would You Want To Float Java Moss Anyway?

Floating plants have a certain aesthetic that some fishkeepers (myself inluced) really like.

But, it’s more than just an appearance thing. Floating plants are great for some fish for a number of reasons.

Primary among those reasons is providing a feeling of security, because lots of fish can be nervous, and the cover of plant growth near the surface calms them down. Also, some fish fry like to be near the top of the water column, and floating plants can help them avoid being lunch to their own parents.

However, going back to the introduction—java moss isn’t the best natural floater out there. Actually, there are tons and tons of naturally floating aquarium plants to choose from! And, honestly, they’re all just fine. I like a lot of them.

Here are links to some of my favorites you can buy directly from Amazon (with affiliate links).

Amazon Frogbit
Amazon frogbit

Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)

Water Lettuce
Water lettuce

Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)

Water Hyacinth
water hyacinth

Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)


Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)

Elodea floating aquarium plant

Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)


Grab it from Amazon here! (affiliate link)

Read the full article on the best floating plants for your aquarium here.

So You Really Really Want To Float Your Java Moss?

Okay, so let’s say that you’ve considered the floating plant alternatives and you just really want to float your java moss. What can are you options?

Attaching Java Moss To Cork Bark

Cork bark has been used in aquascapes over the years. Some have used it to create walls and barriers in their aquascapes. But, the challenge with it has always been preventing it from floating. Because cork bark floats, and it floats like a champion!

However, in this endeavor, floating is a plus. So, one option would be to attach your java moss to cork bark as a sort of floating anchor.

There are some issues with this, though.

First of all, your java moss needs light to grow. So, keep in mind that if you attach it to the underside of a piece of cork bark it won’t grow. Therefore, your only option is to attach your java moss around the edge of your floating cork bark. As such, you might want to consider cutting a larger piece of cork bark into smaller pieces. That way you can attach more java moss to several smaller pieces, thereby giving your moss more access to light.

You must be careful where you source from your cork bark from, though. Because, I have been told in the past that some cork bark meant for reptiles is treated with a pesticide. However, I have not confirmed that myself. So, be sure to check with the manufacturer before you use cork bark in your aquarium.

This tank uses ZooMed’s cork tiles. Grab them on Amazon here. (affiliate link)

Also, be aware that cork bark—like any wood you put in your aquarium—will deteriorate over time.


Styrofoam is another potential floating anchor for your java moss. This type of plastic is known as expanded polystyrene in other parts of the world.

Like cork bark, styrofoam floats! And so, you can use it as an anchor in a similar manner to cork bark. However, there are some differences. The rough texture of cork bark is an ideal surface for java moss to grip. However, styrofoam is very smooth and isn’t ideal.

Furthermore, until the moss grows enough to conceal the styrofoam it could be a temporary eyesore in your aquarium.

Here’s a perfect example of the “styrofoam raft” technique for floating your java moss.

Despite the cons above, I still prefer styrofoam as an anchor as I don’t need to worry about it breaking down or carrying pesticides. For example, you can grab styrofoam coffee cups knowing they’re aquarium safe.

Where To Buy Java Moss
java moss

Grab it here on Amazon! (affiliate link)

Where To Buy Cork Tiles
ZooMed cork bark can be used to float java moss.
ZooMed cork bark can be used to float java moss.

Grab it on Amazon here. (affiliate link)

Check out this article on cork bark in the aquarium.

Where To Buy Styrofoam

You can grab styrofoam coffee cups just about anywhere!

Other Plants!

If you have an interest in plants in general. Check out this list of some of my favorite plants for your aquascape. Or, if you wanna know more floating plants in particular, then read this piece of the best floating plants for your aquarium here.

Header Image
By Buchling, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1265454