Moss Milkshakes - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-30-2003, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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In the past, I've had difficulties maintaining moss clumps in terrariums/vivariums--they tend to mold underneath and grow brown, even if kept moist (just my personal experiences with local mosses).

After reading a few tips online, I've begun experimenting with moss milkshakes. Yummy, eh?

Basically, you stick a handful of moss (with some dirt attached) and some buttermilk/yogurt into a blender and blend it until the moss looks fairly well masticated.

Then, you spread a thin layer of the moss goop onto soil (I used a peat/top soil/coco-fiber mix) and keep it fairly moist. At first, you'll think you're just wasting your time--the stuff looks like mud for about a week and then begins to grow fluffy white mold. Mmm! But, on the second week the moss should begin to show itself as the mold dies away. By the end of the second week the moss will be growing in quite nicely (small, green bits and pieces rising from the muck).

I've found that this method works great--the moss is easier to maintain, grows in thickly, and retains moisture better.

This method also works on stone, supposedly...I have yet to try it out. Someone suggested enhancing the mixture with pottery clay (or probably any appropriate clay) in order to help the moss grow on stone surfaces. If you want to try the stone thing out, I suggest looking for some moss that is already growing well on stone--you might want to try that moss out rather than some moss that is growing on the ground.

NOTE: Do not try this in a terrarium that houses amphibians. From what I've read online, mold/fungi and amphibians do not mix--due to the nature of their skin, they are very susceptible to fungal infections. If you do use this method, I'd wait a good month or so before putting any amphibians in the tank.

^iMp^

References:

http://www.rebeccasgarden.com/tips/items/98ismm11.htm

http://www.bonsaisite.com/forumgen/messages/1635.html

http://www.webspace4me.net/~mikehill...e/rogaine.html[/url]
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2003, 02:11 AM
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I always want to try a test with this to see if the buttermilk actually does anything.... nobody seems to know.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2003, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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I tried it without the dairy products (I used yogurt) and it didn't work nearly as well. Perhaps it supplies nutrients and acts as an acidifier? All the mold grows...then dies off. Perhaps that process makes some nutrients readily usable by the moss.

When I started the whole thing I was skeptical, so I excluded the dairy. I thought it would stink up my house.

Anyway...all that I know is that it *does* work with the dairy added. I'm sure there is a better way out there, but I'm no plant expert.

^iMp^
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2003, 06:18 PM
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You're the first person I've heard from that actually tried both, and your ideas why it might help seem reasonable. I hereby suspend my skepticism!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-03-2003, 04:30 AM
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Wierd, What kind of lighting do you have. I pick my moss from the wild and never have trouble with it. It will start growing on any wet wood near it also.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2003, 07:56 AM
 
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You said this works with rocks... I am going to throw a couple in my blender to see if I can get them to grow like the moss. All my rocks are small and seem to grow real slowly!

Milk and rocks in blender... got it!

:shock:

Just kidding, I knew that you were saying that the moss growing should work on the rocks, as it does on land/wood. Not that I should try to throw the rocks in the blender and spread them to make them grow.

Quote:
"Basically, you stick a handful of moss (with some dirt attached) and some buttermilk/yogurt into a blender and blend it until the moss looks fairly well masticated."
. . .
"This method also works on stone, supposedly..."
Made me look twice!

Do you have to use a blender, or can you just manually break the moss apart? You see, I make milk-shakes all the time, and I don't want the moss and dirt taste or bacteria and parasites transfering into my drinks.

Is this the same method as "CORKING" or is it more of a "CLIPPING" method? Or is this really just an overdone seed planting.

I ask this because the mushrooms I was growing, before I really knew how to grow them, were being planted in a similar fashion. Pulp, nutrient dope them, then spread. When all I had to do was tap the mushroom lid a couple of times to drop the reproduction spores from the mushroom caps.

I have four types of low growing plants that I keep calling mosses. One is a northern treestump swamp clump moss, one is variatin of the spanish moss that they sell in bags (also from up north, it actually grows inside the clumps of treestump swamp clump moss and NEEDS constant moisture), another is the normal stone/tree clump moss that you see all over the "Poison dart frog" websites, and the last one I don't think is a moss, it looks like an underwater plant that you always see in every fishtank, but it grows on shady wet land only.

And one last cool plant that I found, it cuddles up its thin needle like leaves to its stalk when my tanks humidity is low, and puffs out like a mad cats tail when humidity rises back to normal. Sort of like those ivy plants that retract when you touch them, except these expand when you breath on them (Hot moist air).

I should sacrafice half of each to try this method, now that I have an extra 20G Long tank, but I am hesitant, because now that winter is here, I can't collect any more of these cool plants.

I will post pictures as soon as I thaw out my camera, it is frozen outside in my car... (Figuratively speaking)
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-22-2003, 06:39 PM
 
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I broke down and used the blender... Ew, what a nasty odor, I hate the thick smell of buttermilk... (The moss wasn't bad!)

I am on day five, misting twice a day. I covered my whole tank, everywhere there wasn't a plant. On day two, I had a nice white shag carpet. I think the buttermilk and newt pellets activate the mold that is in the coconut fiber bedding and the log, because the container which I used to apply this doesn't have one white fuzz on it. The white shag carpet started to fade by day five, and the buttermilk odor is gone now.

Already I can see little green needles starting to penetrate the olive green sheet of moss sludge that covers 75% of my tank.

I will report back with photos when my sister gives me back my camera. As soon as it thawed, she came by and stole it. That little brat!

After this settles in, I may do this again on some lizard matting carpet, so that I can make movable moss. Those things hold moisture well! I also used a sunny moss that grows on the South/East side of our house, since my tank has a lot of light. By the way, check your "Life-Glow" lights to make sure the bulbs are in correctly... They don't mention it, but they have an internal reflector that aims light down. Wouldn't you know it, I had mine upside down. Now my tank is super bright! These even made my frogs look greener than my fern!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-26-2003, 01:55 AM
 
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Whew, the odor is all gone, and no more white fuzz can be seen. Now if I could just stop my millipede from eating the moss milkshake. She stripped almost all the moss that I sprayed down on one of my cypress logs.

I should have just taken your advice and moved all the animals out of the tank until this had established a little more. I hope enough is left for it to propagate without spraying it again. She only seems to like the big globs. I had to get a big bug that eats decaying plants! Arg...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 04:23 PM
 
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I found some more extensive info on mosses. This individual, who recently passed away, studied mosses extensively. His works are praised among the moss loving community... Is there such a thing?

I guess so, I have grown attached to the different species of moss plants around here! (No pun intended... "Grown attached")

His recipe was a little like my first one, mixed with the ingredients from this milk-shake.

How to grow moss...
1 ). Find a suitable moss for a starter. (Planting)
2 ). Dry the moss entirely.
3 ). Remove any stray soil from the moss.
4 ). Crumble the dried moss with your fingers.
5 ). Prepare a box for planting your moss starter.
- I ). Punch small drain holes in the box.
- II ). Place paper-towels in the bottom to stop substrate from getting out.
- III ). Fill with high draining substrate, such as sand and peat mixture. This should hold moisture, but allow excess water to drain. EG, don't use clay and compost.
6 ). Place a sheet of cheesecloth over the soil.
7 ). Sprinkle dried moss evenly over the cheesecloth.
8 ). Cover the moss again with another layer of cheesecloth.
9 ). Make a mixture of high acid soil preparation water. The mixture should be 1 part buttermilk to 7 parts water. Ratio 1:7. Spray this mixture evenly over the covered moss. Feel free to saturate the moss with the acid-water mixture.


After eight weeks you should see thick growth protruding through the rotting cheesecloth. Another month later you will have a nice moss blanket that you can spread over your garden areas, (Terrariums).

I would prefer this method more, because it won't get my blender dirty! However, I would consider these few things on this, and possibly all methods.

Moss usually has spores, if you have a strong issue personally with pollens and spores... then you will sneeze and feel mildly sick when handling the dry moss.

If you separate the soil from the moss, that originally came with the moss. Try to use that in the soil mixture, or leave it with the moss. This already has the PH (Acid) that the moss wants. This may also contain the reproducing rhizomes from the moss.

This method only works well with dry-mosses, (Mosses that grow in yards and moist forest floors.) If you want to grow soft-wet mosses, the kind that border rivers and streams, you may want to use a "Bog" box, instead of a zen-garden box. For example, I grow mosses that thrive on decaying moss patches that are rotting due to boggy conditions. These mosses are bright green and have tall sprouts with watery leaves, and they are usually found growing inside/among rotting dry-mosses. Their rhizomes must have acid, boggy water all the time.

Hope that you can find more info on what you are looking for here.
http://wmuma.com/index.html
Look for the moss section... This is a great link, even if you are not into moss...
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2004, 02:31 AM
 
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Yes, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong... I am so blind...

I can now see that my rushing has got the better of me! Almost every article says the same thing... I couldn't get my moss to grow fast because there was too much light. How could I overlook such a stupid thing. I unplugged my lights from the day timers and now turn them on manually for six hours a day. This seems to be working better.

The moisture stays longer, and growth has almost doubled. I also noticed that my moss corks that I put in there are also now sprouting new growth. They have been there for months with no new growth. Moss is strange, less light promotes growth, more light stops it. Well, at least that is how this moss works.

I guess you can have too much lighting in a planted tank. I just hope that my medium light plants don't start to wilt.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2004, 09:14 AM
 
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Thanks again IMP, for that push into the right direction.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-07-2004, 08:24 AM
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ever hear of moss gel? it's great to add to teh slurry but if your working iwth frogs, let the viv set up for a few months after adding the slurry mix as it's molding won't be too good for frogs. might just want to buy some good moss and transplant it instead.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-07-2004, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous
ever hear of moss gel? it's great to add to teh slurry but if your working iwth frogs, let the viv set up for a few months after adding the slurry mix as it's molding won't be too good for frogs. might just want to buy some good moss and transplant it instead.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2004, 11:34 PM
 
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Beer is also said to work better, but not exactly newt safe...

I am using a sphagnum mix now, with better and faster results.
(Thinking about the beer thing, but not for growing moss.)
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