Constructing A Moss Wall: The Insta-Wall Approach!

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lljdma06

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While there is a fantastic pinned topic on moss walls already up, I thought I'd add my own contribution to this fun aspect of the planted tank hobby. As far as I know, I came up with it, but perhaps others have thought of this first. Moss walls are great for shrimp tanks, nanos, and low-techs.

Setting up a Moss wall: The Insta-Wall Approach!

The Moss wall is used in many types of layouts. It creates a dense, living background that is three-dimensional. Moss walls are appreciated by shrimp, other invertebrates, and small fish. There are other very effective ways to make a moss wall. I read the posts in this Moss Wall Thread and three things stuck out as being potential problems.

1. Fish get stuck and die behind the two pieces of mesh, or get stuck between the mesh and the glass because of the gap left by suction cups. Doesn't really happen much though.

2. The moss takes forever to grow between the mesh. For me, this is because the moss is overly shaded, especially if one uses dark mesh. Or...

3. Lack of circulation between the mesh, causing poor growth because the moss cannot access the same amount of nutrients because of the restricted flow between the mesh.

I'm not saying that I solved these issues, but I do notice that my wall took much less time to establish itself and the growth seems quite thick. This method is also probably more expensive. I used this dank divider that I purchased at my lfs.


IMG_2821-1.jpg


I've used this to divide tanks before (when I was breeding kribensis and keeping bettas) and in some cases, mosses actually naturally grew on the divide.

Another feature that makes this idea interesting. The stainless steel clips, which are harmless and come with the divider.


IMG_2832.jpg


Unlike suction cups, which leave gaps between the glass and the mesh, these inert clips hold the divider flush against the glass, with no gap. Fish cannot get through. Couple this with the substrate holding the divider in the bottom, you have a gap-free wall that is transparent. Below is a picture of the tank with bare "moss wall" secured in place.

IMG_2834.jpg


As you can see, there are numerous, evenly distributed holes. The method involves gently sewing the moss onto the wall by using a needle and fine-test, lead-free fishing line.

IMG_2847.jpg


It is particularly well-suited for making knots and twisting, which is precisely what I want it to do. It is also strong and won't degrade. It is transparent, so it will be hard to see, yet it has a green tinge, so it will blend with the moss once it grows in. Be sure to get lead-free test.

Advantages to this method include.
1. Most of the moss is actually exposed to the water column rather than wedged between two mesh pieces and can take advantage of full lighting, circulation, and nutrient distribution that the tank has to offer. This allows it to become established faster.

2. Because I'm using metal clips to attach the wall, there is no gap between it and the glass, and I significantly reduce the possibility of fish deaths or accidents.

3. The wall is less bulky and much more mobile. I can build the wall outside of the tank and then just slide the wall into place. I also don't have to worry about 2 pieces of mesh and the wall does not interfere with tank hardware.

4. The entire aquarium back wall can be covered, barring the space below where the wall inserts into the substrate. That is some thick coverage.

5. The equipment used is very small, and not invasive. No giant suction cups, no bulky mesh, no stand-out plastic.


Possible disadvantages.
1. DO NOT USE THIS WITH A HEATER!!! The divider is plastic and can melt if put in contact with a heater. My tank is unheated.

2. Your moss may not attach to the wall. If you have the moss on the rough side of the divider, then yes, portions will attach. If you attach on the smooth side, then probably not. The moss, however, does remain attached via the fishing line.


Adding the Moss to the Wall

For the construction of this wall, I had 21 portions of Weeping moss from Aquaticmagic. I had a lot leftover. A typical bag of Weeping moss.

IMG_2957.jpg


I'll tell you, putting up the wall took the better part of an afternoon and evening :jawdrop It was tedious work, but I was quite pleased with how it had turned out. It was difficult finding a needle with a small enough eye to pull line through the holes, yet with a large enough eye to actually fit the thread. I went through about 3 needles and just plain threading with my fingers before I finally found a needle that worked well. I placed a desired piece of moss on the divided and then sewed it in place using the fishing line. I would continue to lay moss and secure by sewing until I ran out of line. When I ran out of line, I would secure the line with a knot and refit the needle with more fishing line. To keep the moss fresh, I fitted a ceramic mister with tank water and spritzed the moss as I worked. When I needed a break, I submerged the wall into the tank. A progress shot.

IMG_2966.jpg


I didn't need very much to get good coverage, and you can see from above, that there are places where you can definitely see through the moss. The fishing line performed very well. It's almost an insta-wall, depending on how much you cover. A shot of the completed wall.

IMG_2999.jpg


Here's a photo of the wall from the back of the tank. You can see the gaps. I had purposely made it a little thin, especially in the bottom.

IMG_3019.jpg


The moss wall as of December of last year. You can see how thick it got.

DSC00300.jpg


Moss Wall Maintenance

Moss walls can get too dense. Light and circulation is cut from the interior of the wall and yellowing and browning can occur. This can also happen towards the bottom of the wall as well. I found this out for myself when I finally got around to doing a serious trim yesterday. The great thing about this method is that the moss wall can be completely removed from the tank and you can then trim the moss out of the tank rather than bend down and try to trim the wall inside. By removing the wall from the tank, I was able to get a close, careful trim with my pruning shears without damaging any livestock or possibly miscutting and damaging the moss. When I take more photos, I'll post pictures of the trimmed wall. There were some dead spots, so I might have to invest in some more moss. I waited too long between trims. What can I say, I was extremely busy. This is easly fixed with a couple more portions of moss. :) It looks like the moss will also make a complete recovery.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this moss wall. I will definitely do more and I am considering another wall on the other side of the tank. The best thing was that the wall wass essentially done and photo-ready from the beginning rather than having to wait for a wall to peek through.

If you have any questions or comments, I'll leave this thread open. Sorry for the length, but I am thorough. Thanks for looking. :)

llj
 
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lljdma06

lljdma06

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I'm not usually a bumper, but this was getting buried and I still need to work on it some. It needs the pruning pictures. Yeah, I could subscribe to the topic, but it would still be buried.

Your imput is welcome.

llj :)
 

atuin

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method sounds better than 2net system but has one major flaw which forced me to use 2nets. No where to find 48"x22" tank dividers :sad:

As for mentioned by you disadvantage of moss not sticking to wall - maybe using a bit of sanding paper to rough surface of wall would do the trick or go full out and cover surface of wall with glue and spread some sand on it - it should cover surface with nice layer of sand giving moss good grip surface.
 

Theplayboy

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I wish i had seen this before making my moss wall! Excellent idea. Its making me want to take mine out and start again as mine is only just starting to peek through the mesh. :good:
 
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lljdma06

lljdma06

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method sounds better than 2net system but has one major flaw which forced me to use 2nets. No where to find 48"x22" tank dividers :sad:

As for mentioned by you disadvantage of moss not sticking to wall - maybe using a bit of sanding paper to rough surface of wall would do the trick or go full out and cover surface of wall with glue and spread some sand on it - it should cover surface with nice layer of sand giving moss good grip surface.

I guess you could use multiple tank dividers to get a similar effect? My tank divider was larger than the back of my 8g, so I was able to cut it to fit. With substrate, I guess you can get a wall, upwards to aboout 18 inches tall? There is a tall tank divider about 20 inches for taller tanks. I bet with time, multiple panels of wall would not be very noticable. I have a spare divider that I can measure.

When I initially setup the wall, I noticed that the divider had a rough side and a smooth side to the plastic. I attached the moss to the rough side and had the smooth side flush to the tank. I'm not sure if it attached. I didn't pay attention when I did the prune and removed the wall. I can always check when I do a waterchange. If it is attached to the rough side, I guess I can lay that disadvantage to rest. When I've tugged in the past, there is some resistance, so I don't know. Good point.

Thanks for commenting. :good:
 

stoneagedinosaur

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Probably a very stupid question but... where do you put your tank heater? I'd love a moss wall but I have my heater and CO[sup]2[/sup] on the back wall. Does it matter where they go really? Fed up of looking at my blank back wall and HATE the stick on tank backings with a vengeance - I think it would look great! How much CO[sup]2[/sup] does it need? My shrimp would love it!

Oh now look what you've done - I've gotten all excited about it :D
 

Curiosity101

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Cheaper alternative to the pennplax dividers would be plastic cross stitch canvas? It's what I'm using as a divider. Then all you'd need it to clip it onto the top...and there has to be plenty of things suitable for this....I mean you could always put a splodge of aquarium sealent on each corner and push it on nice and tight...that should keep it in place but it also wouldn't be too hard to remove.
 

Ryefish

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Good inspiration for newbies and more experienced tank keepers alike.

Is there anyway to get a frontal view of the tank to see the full effect?
 

Phage

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Very nice wall :eek: I can't wait until mine fills out the back as nicely as yours. I took your idea of using fishing line and tying it to the mesh :)
 

Julee

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I have got to do that for my new tank, I love it! Your tank looks very nice too. Free bump for you. :good:
 
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lljdma06

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Thank you. The tank is no longer running and sits empty waiting for a rescape. I'm going to the AGA convention this year and will bring plenty of cash for the auction. I'd like to do more work with moss. I used weeping moss in this scape, love to try a different species.

Llj
 

GrayScale

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Would thIs work for dividing a 10g tank in half and creating a wall on each side and still have adequate waterflow through it for filtration?
 
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lljdma06

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Would thIs work for dividing a 10g tank in half and creating a wall on each side and still have adequate waterflow through it for filtration?

If you saw how dense the moss grew you would have your answer. The moss grows way too thick with this method and the waterflow would not happen. Yes, it is totally feasible to construct a moss wall like this on the sides of the tank. You are essentially just decorating the tank divider. But, I would have separate filters on either side. Then, you're not impeding filtration. I will always favor more filtration.

It is a good use of the idea, though.
 

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