Guppy Grass vs Java Moss – Which is Best For Guppies?

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Setting up the ideal tank for your guppies should consider a variety of aspects. These include water temperature, oxygenation, a potent and fitting filtering system, illumination, etc. All these will contribute to creating the perfect aquatic environment.

Aquarium plants will also contribute to this effect and, today, we will discuss the 2 most common options: java moss and guppy grass. Which of these should you get, and what benefits does each provide?

Is Guppy Grass The Same As Java Moss?

No, they are not the same. Guppy grass is part of the Hydrocharitaceae family, while java moss belongs to the Hypnaceae family, and these are not the only differences.

They are also different in the visual impact and how they fit the tank’s environment. Let’s check the various differences between the 2 species to help you understand their pluses and minuses.

Guppy Grass

Guppy Grass

Guppy grass thrives at temperatures between 50 to 86 degrees F. The wide temperature range makes it the ideal choice for a variety of fish species. The ideal water pH should be between 6 to 7, but it can easily handle higher pH. You shouldn’t go lower than 6 since it will affect your guppies anyway. Water hardness should be somewhere around 2 to 25 dKH.

Guppy grass grows fast but requires relatively high maintenance. And it’s precisely the fact that it has an accelerated rate of growth that causes all the problems. Guppy grass can grow thick fast and overtake the aquarium. It can also block the outside light and take up valuable water volume that your guppies could’ve used instead.

Regular, careful trimming can solve this problem.

It also doesn’t hurt that guppy grass maintains its composition very well, fragmenting less than other species. This will keep your tank cleaner for longer and provide guppies with a varied and rich environment.

Guppy grass also requires some lighting to grow, but not much. It can adapt to darker environments if necessary. I still recommend providing your tank with steady lighting during the day since this will boost the plant’s green coloring.

Java Moss

Java Moss

Java Moss is probably the most popular plant for prosperous and stable aquarium environments, preferred by most fish owners. The ideal water requirements include temperatures between 60 to 86 degrees F, a pH between 5 and 8, and water hardness between 60 to 240 ppm.

Java Moss has a slower growth rate, but it’s easier to maintain in the long run. It’s also the plant of choice for tank owners for Aquascaping. Just like the name suggests, Aquascaping is nothing more than landscaping underwater. Tank owners use Java Moss to create exhilarating underwater environments, providing the fish with diverse and beautiful habitats.

You can place Java Moss either on the substrate or allow it to flow through the tank freely. It’s also worth noting that forming a dense substrate of Java Moss will provide cover for substrate-dwelling creatures like snails and shrimp.

Guppy Grass of Java Moss – Which to Choose?

I would say it depends on your preferences. Both Java Moss and Guppy Grass will provide your tank with a lot of diversity and several benefits along the way.

To help you decide what you need, here are the pros and cons for each plant species.

Java Moss Benefits

  • Easy to care for and maintain in the long run
  • Provides excellent hiding for fish, shrimp, and other aquatic species that are uncomfortable in the open
  • It doesn’t require a substrate to thrive
  • A hardy plant species that don’t require special tank conditions
  • The plant’s structure will lower the TDS levels in the water (Total Dissolved Solids)

Java Moss Cons

  • It has a slow growth rate (which can be a benefit since it minimizes the need for regular trimming)

Guppy Grass Benefits

  • It has a fast growth rate, capable of filling up the tank rapidly
  • Withstands even the harshest environmental conditions
  • Also doesn’t need a substrate to thrive
  • Excellent at producing oxygen and cleansing the tank of nitrates and ammonia
  • Inhibits algae growth, keeping the tank cleaner for longer

Guppy Grass Cons

  • It has a sensitive structure that breaks easily and causes a mess in the tank
  • It’s high maintenance since it requires regular trimming due to its accelerated growth rate
  • It can invade the tank fast, blocking vital sunlight for other tank plants

As you can see, each plant type comes with specific plus and minuses. What you choose for your tank should depend on your goals, the tank’s population, and your personality. Because, in the end, the aesthetic aspect also matters.

Do Guppies Eat Java Moss?

Yes, guppies will eat Java Moss, but not in large quantities. You will see your guppies nibble on it here and there, but nothing serious. Guppies will get their necessary nutrients from the food you provide and only occasionally play with the tank plants.

Java Moss benefits guppies more through its sheer presence. It can shelter guppy fry, lowering the risk of other fish attacking and killing them. Java Moss is also appealing to bottom-dwelling tank species like shrimps.

Is Guppy Grass Good For Guppy Fry?

Guppy Grass is probably the best option for your guppy fry. The plant’s leaves will provide the fry with the ideal hiding spots while preventing adult fish from following them. Guppy Grass grows fast and will create a dense and rich environment for the fry to grow in the same tank with the adults.

The fact that you can anchor it in the substrate or let it float freely is another key asset. This provides you with the ability to diversify your tank’s appearance dramatically.


Whether you prefer Guppy Grass of Java Moss, the important thing is adding some plants to your tank. These can keep the water clean, oxygenate the environment, eliminate harmful nitrates and ammonia, and provide guppies with a home-life habitat to enjoy.

A plant-rich environment will also allow you to keep a mixed tank with several aquatic creatures that would otherwise become antagonistic. The plants will provide plenty of hiding spots for the smaller species to hide and thrive without fearing bullying or attacks.

Just keep in mind that a plant-rich aquarium will also require special maintenance occasionally to prevent the plants from suffocating the environment.

Updated: December 9, 2021
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