Perforated metal Riccia weights - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Perforated metal Riccia weights

I recently came upon an ebay auction selling perforated stainless steel sheets and I though that this might be an interesting material to make Riccia weights out of. The holes are 3/16" on 1/4" centers so the sheets look like very large speaker grill material.

Anyway, I won the auction and received the sheets in the mail today. In total I got a little over 3 sqft of it.

After washing it thoroughly to get the oil off it, I snipped off a small square to see how it performed. As you can see it holds the Riccia down nicely.

In the second pic what you see in the background was an attempt to heat form some plastic cross-stitch screen over a small rock. I was nonly successful once as the propane torch I was using had too small a jet and concentrated the heat in too small an area. I'll need to try it again using the oven, or maybe a heat gun next time.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 10:07 PM
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Thats cool, looks like it will work well. For the rock with the plastic wraped around it, did you form the plastic around the rock then put the Riccia under the plastic grid and tie the grid at the bottom?


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by toofazt
Thats cool, looks like it will work well. For the rock with the plastic wraped around it, did you form the plastic around the rock then put the Riccia under the plastic grid and tie the grid at the bottom?
I was trying to form the plastic screen so that it wrapped over and around the rock so that it would snap over the rock with no other means needed to hold it down. This was the only one that I got to work.

The plastic screen has a very fast trasnition from solid to liquid state so if you don't have the whole piece evenly heated it won't form nicely. And when it gets too hot it just loses its shape and melts into a blob.

Here's a couple of pics of it out of the tank...
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 10:26 PM
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That sounds like a great idea! I actually have a 3-4 sq inch glob of riccia and have been reading that a lot of folks have used hairnet or nylons to attach these to rocks. I'm going to pick up some hairnet after work and attempt to enclose the riccia in betwen that and the rock by tying it off and putting the knot underneath the rock. I like the fact that yours is weighted, which would eliminate the need to tie it off, however, I don't know if I would try it personally since its less readily available(sorry, I'm more into instant gratification) and its looks less malleable. But, hey, if it works, all power to you. The patch of riccia looks great btw!
-Ryan

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 12:49 AM
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Instead of melting the plastic grid w/ a blow torch to form the shape of the rock, I wonder if you could use boiling water to form the plastic grid over the rock. I'm going to try that...


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Don't bother, I already tried. Melting point seems to be in the 350-400° range. Biggest problem is that it goes from solid to liquid with no workable putty-like state.

I was moderately successful at laying the plastic on a piece of aluminum foil in a 500° toaster oven, then once it completely melted placed the rock in the center and folded the foil up around it. Unfortunatley at that point everything is very hot so I had to form it using a pot holder so I didn't get it tight around the rock.

I'll keep trying and see if I can perfect a method for this madness.

—Bill

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 04:48 AM
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You could use laundry bags to hold your riccia to the rocks. They're basically meshed bags to hold your delicates when you do your laundry.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Essentially, what the steel plate, as well as Buck and Momotaro's stainless steel wire weights serve to do is eliminate the need to tie Riccia at all. I've done the fishing line and hairnets around rocks and it's just a messy process. The tying process inevitably breaks off little pieces of Riccia that need to be netted out of the tank. The hairnets trap all the dying particles of Riccia and need to be discarded or cleaned for reuse...just a lot of added steps to maintain the "lawn".

Even the snap-on crossstitch rock cap is an effort to eliminate the need any external fastening. This would be the least expensive and most available option, but I've yet to figure out the method that will yield a high rate of successful moldings.

—Bill

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, and my brother in Hawaii told me of an LFS guy that is really into Riccia lawns, but his method is to place the Riccia and weigh it down with gravel. This is the lowest tech method to use, but he also tears the tank down frequently in order to re-lay the Riccia down.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 05:18 AM
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Bill,
What about heating the rock and pressing the plastic mesh around it?

Otherwise, I would think the heat gun would be a good bet.

--Mike

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-22-2005, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbomkt
Bill,
What about heating the rock and pressing the plastic mesh around it?

Otherwise, I would think the heat gun would be a good bet.

--Mike
Heating rocks to over 300° is fine for roasting a luau pig, but not something I'm willing to do in my kitchen.

Actually, melting the screen in the toaster was almost there, but the space is too small so it isn't an even heat. My first attempt at laying the screen on top of the rock resulted in the center melting and the the edges collapsing off the rock, leaving a big hole in the middle. This is actually the biggest problem as the screen turns very liquid when it melts so the molding has to be done carefully and quickly, before the holes collapse.

Then again, I'm not planning on starting a business doing this. The plastic screens are cheap so even if only one try in ten produces a working cap it's still enough to line the bottom of my 40g tank with.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2006, 05:37 AM
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Some patience with a Blow Dryer on High at close range might help.....


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2006, 08:37 PM
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You let us know when you work that out! Snap on custom ricca covers? Too good to be true!
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2006, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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After I bought a new nozzel for my propane torch forming the screens was a piece of cake. My old one must've been plugged or leaky as the flame was always small and flickery.

Of course, it's been all academic for me since I've pretty much stopped using Riccia.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-14-2006, 09:19 PM
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Green meshing from Aqua Forest works really well too. No need to modify; just wrap it around whatever you want.

Eric


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