"vivarium moss"

FBH/RTH blu at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 20 06:06:42 EST 1997


Hello everyone,

I wonder if any of you can answer this question for me.  

I raise several different species of "poison arrow frogs" aka "dart
frogs" and two species of "tree frogs." Since the variety of anurans I
have come from the rainforests of Mexico, South America, Madagascar and
Africa I have set up their habitats as close to their natural
environment as possible - high humidity with a myriad of tropical
plants, such as bromiliads, ferns, vines and various other plants.

I also have as ground cover, a short bright green moss that I just
adore. Problem is, I am trying to find out the scientific name of this
moss and no one is able to tell me the name.  People have called it
"velvet moss," "terrarium moss,"  "vivarium moss," or "carpet moss" but
that doesn't help me at all.  I bought this moss from a supplier which
no longer carries it and in my search for a new supplier, am asked the
scientific name in which I have no idea.

Let me try to discribe it for you here.  As I mentioned above, it's
carpet-like, short - about a quarter inch high - bright green and it's
velvety to the touch.  It loves light ( I have one 2.0 UVB tube per
tank) and will turn brown and die in the shaded areas.  It loves high
humidity, does not need soil to grow (I have it directly on "pea
gravel"), takes about 6 months to establish itself but when it does it
starts to spread even over rocks or logs. When it spores, it sends
upward, dark brown/maroon "feelers" about an inch long.

Expanding a little more here, this moss is *not* - Irish moss, Scottish
moss, or any of the mosses found at your local nursery for planting
outside in your garden.  See, temperate mosses of the kind you might
collect throughout most of the country do not do well on any tropical
vivaria.  They need cooler temperatures and most require either a dry or
cold dormancy period.  Most also need to grow on mud, heavy soils or
sand, all unsuitable media for a tropical vivarium.  These type of
mosses usually hang on for a little while, turn brown, rot and die.

This is also not Sphagnum Moss.  Neither is it "Green Tree Moss"
commonly sold at nurseries, pet shops and home improvement stores. 
Green tree moss can pose a health risk to my animals because of the
dust, when inhaled have been known to cause repiratory problems.  Also,
this Green tree moss, when wet, releases toxic elements and allows the
growth of harmful bacteria and molds which obviously would not be
beneficial to my frogs.

So, there you have it in a nutshell...if any of you can please name this
beautiful green mystery for me, I would truly appreciate it.

Thanking you all in advance,
Ms. Frankie Hayduk



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