The T. McC. Moss Wall - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-28-2005, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Cool The T. McC. Moss Wall

Hi, I'm Troy McClure! You may remember from such films as "The Greatest Story Ever Hula-ed" and "They Came To Burgle Carnegy Hall." Today I'm going to start a tutorial/experiment on moss walls. The other night in the chat room, Momotaro, Oqsy, and I were discussing the best way to improve on Oqsy's moss wall. A nice thick moss wall is something I've always wanted to do for one of my tanks, but I was never satisfied with any of the designs people were offering. Some of them used bulky suction cups, other had rigid meshes with holes that seemed far to large. So, I put all the power of my brain to work...sorta....

My goal is to create a lush wall of java moss on either side of my 10gal. This was inspired partly by Shalu's 10gal tank. I'll leave the back alone since it'll be hidden by other plants. I may try other mosses in the future, but since I have about a metric ton of java moss in my 85gal, I figured I should put it to good use.

The first step was to get the materials from a local crafts store. I picked up a few dark green, rigid plastic meshes used for cross-stiching. They're only ~$0.39 each, so grab a few extra for future projects. Next was the magnets. My original idea was to find some plastic-coated magnetic strips that were strong enough to hold through both the plastic mesh and the glass. The only magnetic strips I found were $0.99, but they were also weak and had an adhesive on the back. I would guess these would be great for making things to attach to your refrigerator, but in any case, they wouldn't do. At the bottom of the aisle shelf was a small package of of "Power Magnets." Power Magnets? I picked up the front package and noticed behind it was an already opened one, so I took the magnets out for closer inspection. All I can say is, watch your fingers! They may only be 5/8" in diameter, but these little buggers are extra strong and will snap together instantly. To boot, they had a warning label on the back and a website (www.craftsetc.com). That sealed it for me. I picked up a package of 10 tiny super magnets for $3.00. Next on the list was a squeeze tube of 100% silicone and super glue. I ended up with DAP 100% silicone rubber sealant, clear, the stuff in the blue tube made for windows and doors. I also picked up a tube of Krazy Glue. We already had plenty of nylon window screening in the garage, so I'm not sure how much this costs, though it can't be much.

Here is an overview of my design:

The bottom of the unit is actually on the left side of the picture, as noted above. These will be set down into the gravel by about an inch and I have adhered the nylon window screening to the ridig mesh with 100% silicone so they don't pull apart. This should also help with placing the moss between the screens.

Here is a close-up of the nylon window screening that I've chosen:

After talking to Shalu and a few others about the moss wall design, I decided this was the best material for the front screen. Keep in mind that new growth on the moss starts out very very small, so getting through the holes in the screen is no problem.

A close-up of the power magnet encased in silicone:

I wasn't sure how the metal in the magnets or the Krazy Glue would react with the water, so I took the safe rount and coated them in silicone.

Assembly is really easy:
Cut the rigid plastic mesh to the size you want then cut out an equally sized piece of the nylon window screening. Next, figure out where you want to put the magnets. I chose to put them on the inside (the side facing into the tank) of the rigid mesh so that it would hold the wall flush up against the glass. This will prevent anything from getting behind the wall and becoming trapped. I attached the magnets to the four corners (at the bottom I placed them so they'll be above the substrate line) with Krazy Glue. Be careful with this stuff and DO NOT USE ANYTHING METAL around the magnets. They'll pull right off and then you'll have a super glue mess. Let the super glue dry for a while, then encapsulate the magnets in silicone. This is a little tricky, so I would suggest doing the inside (top) of the magnets first, letting is cure for a couple hours, then doing the backside. Once these are cured enough to handle, attach the nylon screening to the bottom of the plastic mesh with the silicone. You don't have to use a ton of it, just a thin even layer worked fine.

That's about it for now. The silicone is not completely cured yet, so over the weekend or early next week I'll place the moss inside, close it up, and install it into my tank!

- Erik
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-28-2005, 08:43 PM
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Looks good as far, Troy. The rigid back seems like a good idea, I used the screen mesh for both sides and did kill a neon tetra that got trapped there( Shrimps are usually not a problem, they have legs but fish can get trapped).

How are you going to close the two meshes on top? I suggest don't make the combination permanent, because once in a while you might want to take it apart and start over, for example, to try a different moss. Another reason, the moss in between does not get much light, it could separate from the moss outside, although it has not happened to me yet.

The magnet seems only slightly smaller than the suction cups I got from HD. With suction cups, I simply cut holes in the meshes slightly smaller than the cup and squeeze the suction cup in, so taking it apart is very easy. Those things are hidden once the moss grow in, so it makes little difference. ok, the drawback of suction cup is still the gap it leaves between the back mesh and the glass I mentioned initially.


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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-28-2005, 09:17 PM
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Looks great...cant wait to see it fill in. I might have to try this with my small 2.5g shrimp tank

Also just a FYI I used to use crazy glue all the time for my reef tank..its great when attaching frags to rocks to let them grow out.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 02:28 AM
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I am also inspired.

I may try it as well, Troy.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Haha...I love how everybody calls me Troy. I have a female friend that always calls me Hugh. Anyways....

Sha - I plan on holding the two pieces together with either cotton thread or fishing line, most likely the fishing line. I don't want it to be permanent by any means because I'm thinking about doing one side with java moss and one side with Christmas moss. Whichever I like best, I'll duplicate to the other side.

So Krazy Glue is ok to use by itself in the aquarium? It's not so much that I wanted to encapsulate the glue with silicone, but I wasn't sure how the metal magnets would react with the water.

- Erik
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 02:19 PM
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I have a bunch of screen left over from out screened in porch, do you think that will work? If so, i think im going to try this as soon as possible.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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As long as it's nylon and not metal, it will work. I'm using nylon window screening.

- Erik
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 02:58 PM
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That what i have

Now just need to find some xmas moss.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 06:40 PM
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Ah, the thread I've been waiting for.
/subcscribes

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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 08:05 PM
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The ridged back and magnets are good ideas. I just tied two pieces of craft mesh together with fishing string and suction cupped them to the glass. Btw you can get black craft mesh at Michael's.


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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-30-2005, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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I have black mesh, white, light green, grey, brown...They were cheap so I just grabbed a bunch. With the darkness of the window screening, it makes the green mesh look like a really dark green. I'm going to place one of these in the tank tomorrow...more pictures to come.

- Erik
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-30-2005, 05:27 AM
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How cool.

Being a girl, I'm not so good at this...um why do you need both the window mesh and the green grid? Why not just attach the rigid one to the wall?

Figs
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-30-2005, 05:33 AM
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I'm not sure if this belong here or in a new thread, if i'm overstepping anthing, let me know and I'll edit.

I do beleive this link adds to what is being discussed here.

Anyway, while looking for ways to attach moss, I found this spanish page. The pictures are very explanatory for the spanish challenged .

http://www.aquatika.acuariofilia.net/musgo.htm
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-30-2005, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figgy
How cool.

Being a girl, I'm not so good at this... Figs
Hey now. Thats a sick and old stereotype. Time to euthanize it. Dont blame yourself for not knowing something just because your a girl. Anyone could not know why. Its a valid question.
Sorry about this rant but it slightly offended me.... maybe offended isint the word to use. hmmm. anyway its you as an individual person that does not understand this. Many people might not. Your gender has nothing to do with understanding the reasons for rigid plastic vs nylon mesh.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-30-2005, 03:37 PM
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salamastre: nice link... taught me something about attaching moss to driftwood i always piled the moss on, and then wrapped with thread. never considered wrapping the thread with moss, and then winding it around the object... much better.

"troy": I've tucked a few of those wild pieces of moss from my wall back in, and trimmed it all within 3 mm of the mesh to let it grow out more evenly. with just a few days, I can tell this will be much fuller than my last attempt. Now I just need to up my lighting so the moss hangs down instead of reeeeaaching for the light.

Oqsy

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