Build Journal - Moss Wall (Large) *Updated 2016-10-20* - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Build Journal - Moss Wall (Large) *Updated 2016-10-20*

Intro

Hello everyone.
Thought it was about time to start a new project since my vacation is soon here. This time I am going to explore the wonderful realm of moss-walls.
Nothing new here you think, just slap up some plastic mesh on the back and be done with it, but nooooo. Way to easy and under-complicated for my taste!



Why?

Currently I have a Juwel 3D background installed. There is nothing wrong with it, looks rather good actually. But I have grown bored of the sand-brown color and I think it makes the tank look very narrow or rather the perception of depth is negatively affected.
It is also rather flat and feels lifeless. I have tried to remedy this by attaching moss to it but not liking how it looks and the moss does not really seem to like it. Sure the moss wall will look flat as well but I am hoping one can cut it into a more natural looking form and that it will feel more living and something fish and shrimp can interact more with. And since I have ordered 7 bags of Aqua-Soil and planing a re-scape this feel like the perfect time!



Initial plans and vision

My first thought was just to attach some plastic mesh-net to the background and that was that. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to remove my current background and do something more living and interesting.
So my plan as it stand now is to build a frame and cover this with netting all over.



What I want

1. Be able to attach moss and other plants easily to it.
2. Be black or dark so it will not attract attention from the viewer
3. House my filter intake,outblow,heater, surface skimmer and PH/Temp probe.
4. The gadget housing should be placed in the center of the tank and not look to "squareish"

My first thought was to use an aluminum frame and use plastic 90 degree thingies to attach it. Luckily I did some research and came to the conclusion that metals in the tank would best be avoided with the exception for titanium. But since I want to make this as cheap as I possible can titanium is out of the question.

Many hours looking for plastic frames later I gave up and just surfed around the net for random aquarium gadgets. Came across a Swedish reef store by mistake and saw their permanent plumbing section and my frame was secured.



Startup phase

The frame will be built from aquarium plumbing pipes and accessories. The dimension will be 20mm pipes since it is somewhat hard to find accessories to smaller dimensions and I also do not want it to be to flimsy.
The following part has been ordered/bought and I will have them in week 30.

This will be the main part of the frame, Pipe 20mm (dark grey)
http://www.mrfisse.com/akvarium/Mosswall/1.jpg

Different assortment of accessories to be able to connect it and also build the protruding gadget housing. Inner diameter 20mm, outer 26,5mm (dark grey)


Mosquito Net, bought two types. One is flexible and have a mesh size from 1,5-2,5mm. Not sure if it is fabric or synthetic. If it is fabric it would be a poor choice and I am not sure about its elastic properties either.
The other one is a plastic mesh, it is firm and won't stretch. Mesh size is 1,4x1,6mm and should not be able to pass fry, shrimp and small fish. The firm one will probably be the easiest to work with.


That is about how far I have gotten so far.
I have some concerns and possible solutions to those concerns. And I will have to make some decisions on the fly later on as the build goes on.



Here are some thoughts and concerns etc that I would like some input and thoughts on.

1 .I am planing to only use one layer of mesh and partially push in parts of the moss into the mesh holes for them to attach and hope for them to attach better as they grow.

2. Have not yet decided on a moss type but will probably not only go with one but mix a couple of them in different "zones".

3.The corners from the pipe frame when covered with net will not have an air gap underneath and thus making it impossible to push in moss there. I have some different thoughts on this.
I either dress these in cut of small/long pieces of moorwood/red moorwood (the rest of the tank will be rescaped with this wood type as well) in a eye-pleasing way.
Or attach moss here as well but using superglue instead.
Or installing some kind of thin plastic bar underneath to create a water gap between the net and the pipe.

4.Thinking if I should try to create some kind of depth difference in the netting to make it less flat or if one just should keep it flat and instead cut the mosses into form later instead.

5.Maybe would be nice to install some smaller pieces into the netting as well to plant other species on like anubias etc to make it look more alive?



Will keep this thread updated as I progress in the project.
And lets hope it does not come to a screeching halt due to me not being able to remove the current background since I used more silicone than I needed :P


Thanks for reading!
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Last edited by Fissure; 10-20-2016 at 02:12 AM. Reason: Typos
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 04:48 AM
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Interesting project. I like the idea of using the wall for equipment housing. Looking forward to seeing this take shape!
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 06:54 AM
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I've see it done nicely with thin poret foam covering the back window. Small amounts of moss is stitched on in rows about 3/4 inch apart.
Then it is all left to grow in. Looks a lot better than seeing pieces of mesh stick out.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 07:06 AM
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Interesting project, look forward to seeing it progress

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fissure View Post


Probably a dumb question, but is this a side view or top view or what exactly?


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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic View Post
I've see it done nicely with thin poret foam covering the back window. Small amounts of moss is stitched on in rows about 3/4 inch apart.
Then it is all left to grow in. Looks a lot better than seeing pieces of mesh stick out.
Have not seen one like that myself but actually sounds like a pretty good idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Interesting project, look forward to seeing it progress


Probably a dumb question, but is this a side view or top view or what exactly?
Not dumb at all, probably should have mentioned that. It is a view from the side. Just showing how I was thinking about eventually making it at an angle instead.


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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So made a change to the plumping that will be used for the frame. Canceled the orders on the 20mm pipes and fittings. Found 10mm ones in a german aquarium shop and will be using that instead. Was a bit cheaper as well

Been thinking about what moss types to use. Currently I plan to mix in different zones
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Taxiphyllum 'Spiky'
Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping'

Also been looking at
Taxiphyllum 'Flame'
Vesicularia dubyana 'Christmas'

But not sure the two latter would look good on a vertical surface?
Anyone else got any ideas about nice looking moss types to use?
Also not really to fond of the Java moss since I find it rather plain looking and a pain to keep trimmed.


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Last edited by Fissure; 07-26-2016 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Added stuff
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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So I was hoping to be able to start building today but my stuff is on a truck and could not be delivered. Mainly because they don't know how to use the telephone at the appartment entrance...
Anyways will hopefully be able to pick it up myself tomorrow and start building the frame.

Spent yesterday tearing down the Juwel background. Nearly cut my finger off :'(
Luckily my gf could patch me up and I could painfully continue.
It was hell getting it down. First tried to press a small carpet knife (thin variant) behind and saw through the silicone. 10 broken blades later I gave up that idea had only partially cut maybe 30 cm of the top.

So I grabbed a flat screwdriver and hacked it down the middle (depth) of the background pealing breaking of the front "shell/coating" of the background aprox where the silicone was applied. When only the softer foam part of the back ground was left I could jam the screwdriver down behind the silicone and it would break apart. Many hours later it was gone

Did a full cleaning of the tank and scraped every inch of all the glass with a window scraper (razor). There was some serious white buildup of something on the glass that became apparent when I started to scrape.

Right now I placed some plastic one time food containers with aquasoil and a few shots of some of the plants I will keep for the next scape.

Kept some Tiger Lotus bulbs with some new shots.
Some staurogyne repens shots.
Some Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo'. The stuff floating will be tossed though.
Also kept my Myriophyllum sp. "Roraima" which I got recently and just has started to take of.
And finally I kept the Eriocaulon breviscapum, not looking to healty though.

The darker roots at the bottom will not be used later on, will be user a lighter wood type for the rescape. Soaking three of them currently, they are some serious floaters.

Finally some pics from yesterday and today






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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Damn it, still no package. Promised me tomorrow, let's see how that works out.
Atleast got my final bags of Aquasoil Amazonia.

Drained the tank again today and dragged it out from the wall so I could glue on the black background. Some small bubbles but managed to get most of them. Won't bother with it more since it will not be visible later on anyways.
Next update I hopefully will have made some progress on the actual moss-wall



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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fissure View Post
Damn it, still no package. Promised me tomorrow, let's see how that works out.
Atleast got my final bags of Aquasoil Amazonia.

Drained the tank again today and dragged it out from the wall so I could glue on the black background. Some small bubbles but managed to get most of them. Won't bother with it more since it will not be visible later on anyways.
Next update I hopefully will have made some progress on the actual moss-wall


Any more updates on the project??
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 11:57 AM
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update?
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, wall is finished. Will update the thread as soon as I have some time over !!


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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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So finally an update on the Moss-Wall ! Sorry for the long delay, it has been finished and in use for some time now but just haven't had the time to sit down and write this post.

Went ahead with some 10mm pipe for aquarium plumbing use and decided to use the firm mosquito netting, the stretchy one was not firm enough, slacked and when I tried to attach it the mesh holes stretched and became to big for my taste.
Had a couple of hickups on the way and will point them out further down. So will take you through the build using the pics I took during it, more fun than reading a wall of text!


So this is how I started out, built a simple rectangle just to test the sturdiness of the piping. No noticeable sagging when stood up and felt more sturdy then I expected.



Some of the parts I ordered, the gray pipes was a much brighter grey then expected but I though that after I put the mesh over and infront of them it would maybe not be so notable.




Measured out the rectangle to the aquarium size also added a tech area in the middle where pipes, heaters, surface skimmer etc could be hidden from sight.




Added some vertical pipes to the left and right for further stability and easier attachment of the net.




Started measuring out the netting and ways to attach it. Superglue on the backside of the frame was the easiest solution. Also added a small "handlebar" on one of the vertical bars. Thought with this was to have an attaching point for driftwood. Looked ugly and was removed later on as I worked on the wall.




Sideview of the netting. Was really easy to work with when attaching using small dabs of superglue. Was a little bit of hassle to get it straight though. Had a tendency to "wander" and be missaligned in the ends.




First mayor setback was when I was gonna place the above frame down for testing and I realized I had forgot all about my two tank braces.............. So there was no way in hell it was going down into the tank. Raged a bit and back to the drawing board. Decided to make two cuts on each side on the wall and insert a piece of a pen shell (!) into the pipe. This made it so I could fold the two cut off sides and then just push it together when in the tank, doing this vertically across the depth of the tank I could still keep the snug and exact fit to length of the tank. Had to tear off all the netting once again and cut a new piece to fit this design. No glues points near the fold points to give the two sides more "moveability". When I got it into the tank It worked but I realized that the grey color of the pipes would not be hidden enough so I took the hard decision to once again
tear of the netting and glue some layers of the netting on the parts of the frame that were to be submerged.
At this point I also decided to grab my dremel and cut the old filterbox for the Juwel tank, wanted the meshed part for the skimmer at the top and the netting would not hide the equipment enough for my liking. Ended up really well, some loctite there as well to keep it in place (not sure what one would to without loctite?)




Frame submersible parts "dressed" with netting, did not cover the top of the frame since it will be above the surface at all times.




Netted again and took out a hole after some precise measuring for the filter outlets.




After some serious gluing I finally got it down into the tank. Fit really well and stands really firm without attaching it to something.




Plants for attaching on the wall, took some various mosses to try out and plant in different areas on the net.
Decided against Java moss due to its invasive growing, it is forever banned from my tanks !
Moss interesting was the fontinalis and the coral moss. Some other rhizome plants in the bags as well for roots I plan to add to the wall. Can add all the plants I used if anyone is interested.




When I was to remove the wall for planting I realized I had to do something about the intakes and outflows from the filter so I cut out some square holes in the tank frame for them to slide in to. A big plus so I can actually close the back lid!




Wall removed and started to attach the moss to the wall, here I unfortunately got into "the zone" and forgot to take pics for extended periods. Here I already cut and fixed the driftwood and attached it to the wall using steel wire for outdoor use covered with green plastic.
Started attaching the fontinalis, my initial plan was to "thread" the moss through the net but I had been at it for 9 hours and my patience was exhausted. So I glued it with small amounts of superglue instead. Went much faster but I spent another 5(!) hours planting mosses on the net.




Attaching some moss to the wood.




Left side area for spiky moss (same on the right side) to its right fontinalis. Above and below that some weeping moss.




Unfortunately the planting was so time consuming I forgot to take any more pics of the progress. Did not realize this until I was finished and the wall was in the tank. Took a final pic of the wall installed. Here you can see the moss zones and various plants attached to the driftwood.


Plants list and status
Anubias 'Petite' - Growing with some algae issues
Azolla filiculoides - "Deadish"
Bolbitis heudelotii - Dead
Bucephalandra 'Wavy Green' - Growing with some algae issues
Fontinalis antipyretica - Dead apart for some stragglers
Hydrocotyle tripartita - Growing and healthy
Riccardia chamedryfolia - Covered with algae
Taxiphyllum 'Spiky' - Growing and looking healthy
Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping' - Almost all dead or overtake by algae


Today I did some cleaning of the wall and replanting planned on taking some pics but started measuring light levels instead. And the water was a bit hazy anyway after the maintenance so visibilty would not be the best. Will take some pics tomorrow after lights on before I go to work to give you and updated view.

There has been some issues with the wall. Most of the Weeping moss has died off, not sure why maybe it could not handle the glow. Same goes for the fontinalis, just some stragglers that took rest fell of or died. The riccardia is trying but covered in algae, most likely since I planted it on roots to close to the surface and light. The spiky moss has filled out really nice and covers the areas planned. Not sure what to do with the bare areas, if I should try the same species again and hope for the best or try something else. But all in all I am pleased and it is starting to look really nice.
I am starting to realize it will be a high maintenance thing though. Keeping the mosses trimmed, and trimming mosses is a pain since you end up with moss pieces everywhere.

I am planning a new scape in the tank so there is currently no substrate and just some plastic lunch boxes with some plants I am going to keep in them (my Pelvicachromis pulcher pair really likes placing their eggs and fry in the boxes )
Not sure if this is contributing with the growth issues on some of species. Maybe the tank balance is totally off from it, not sure... Irritating when plants die off so fast, some of them are kinda expensive.

Well that's it for now, will update with more pics as soon as I can and as usual thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions !


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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-03-2016, 11:37 PM
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This is a very cool project.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 03:44 AM
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Awesome project with the wood. I thought it was going to be a regular, flat one (which I still really want to try) but that looks really great. Please post pictures of how you let it grow out and maintain it.

-Matt

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 04:26 AM
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Will be awesome...



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