Has anyone tried Spanish Moss on emerging driftwood? If it touches the water does anyone know of toxicity levels?
Good question. Very little literature about the toxicity of Tillandsia usneoides
(Spanish Moss) exists, and I have never seen it on any toxic plant lists. The plant is used a lot in Latin America as a contemporary herbal medicine. Research studies have shown T. useneoides
has antiviral, anti-inflamatory, and analgesic properties. Oral extracts from the plant produce a compound (3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaric Acid) that has shown to reduce blood glucose in laboratory study animals. Some people make a tea out of this plant for what 'ails em' (whether or not it does any good or not...). Several Native American tribes have used 'Spanish Moss' for livestock feed. One thing for sure ~ people and animals don't die from ingesting it.
From personal experience... I've used Spanish Moss hanging from emerging driftwood for many years (in aquariums housing shrimp, snails, and/or sensitive fish). Occasionally I would get lazy with trimming long strands touching the water... never encountered problems by 'Spanish Moss' touching the water with aquarium fauna/flora. T. usneoides
does have a tendency to wick water - I don't like to keep Tillandsia constantly wet, so that is why I would trim strands growing down into the water.
I continue to grow several clumps indoors (no longer have driftwood extending out of my tanks and/or growing 'Spanish Moss' over my aquariums). They do very well under artificial lighting. I also grow several clumps outdoors in full sun that do well (even with staying constantly wet for several weeks during our "jungle-like" rainy season). An easy Tillandsia to work with.
Although not hanging over an aquarium, this is a pretty good picture of T. usneoides
touching water in a natural environment. If touching water while hanging over an aquarium, there is always the possibility of "rot" due to being constantly wet.