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lljdma06's 8g nano 2009! Final tank shots

lljdma06

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While I really enjoy my low-maintenance scapes, there are times when I like experimenting with multiple plant species and having a scape that is more involving. I have always been a huge fan of the Dutch style of aquascaping. It is so colorful and the idea of keeping many species appeals to me. I also like applying the basic principles of this style on a much, much smaller scale.

Over three years ago, I purchased a Finnex brand 8g aquarium (no longer made in this size :( ). After about 2 years of scaping, including experimenting with some Dutch ideas, I dismantled it in December, 2008. It's been patiently waiting for me to set it up again. Over the past few weeks, I've been gathering the equipment needed to setup this tank.

Before I get started, I'd like to thank SuperColey1 for being a sounding board for some of my ideas. He has introduced me to some literature recently that has been helping me understand the "why it works" aspect of how I've been doing things. Some of these concepts are going to be implemented with this tank. :)

Tank: Finnex Seamless front 8g - 16.5"x11.5"x10"

Lighting: Finnex 24W CF fixture, 6500k bulb, 3WPG, but...The CF isn't very efficient, so I've always considered this tank at best, moderately lit. It hasn't failed me, though.

Filtration: Either 2 Aquaclear 20 or 1 Aquaclear 50. Haven't decided yet and I have both types either new or in use. I am leaning towards the 1 Aquaclear 50, because I want less tubage in the back. Either way, I'll have more than the 10x turnover needed, and I can control the flow in these filters quite well.

Substrate: Kind of a mix of what I have lying around. It will be a layered substrate.
--Bottom layer: a mix of coarse sand, fine-grained gravel, and laterite. Yep, good old laterite. I had an extra box from a good sale way back. Plus, I'll add some squeezes from my filter media from my other tanks. This will help establish a nice mulm layer.

IMG_2817.jpg


--Top layer: A cap of very fine sand to help more delicate species root better.

IMG_2813.jpg


Not too thick in the front, though, I've got to observe...

"Happy Dutch Principle" #1 - You shouldn't see much, if any, of the substrate above the tank seam in the front. It is unsightly. Of course, you've still got to be able to plant. :lol:

Hardscape: Only a few piece of mopani wood to help create a small path in the tank (leading to the focal point, or acting as the focal point) and act as an anchor to some species. Others will be covered possibility in plants. Because...

"Happy Dutch Principle" #2 - The hardscape should only be of one type. Some of the possible wood choices below.

IMG_2812.jpg


CO2: Yes

Wait, what do you mean yes? Llj's adding CO2? She never adds CO2. :woot:

Yes, I am adding CO2 to this tank. It is a small tank and only moderately lit, so I'm not going pressurized. I'll be able to get good enough levels using Yeast fermentation. No ugly ladder this time, however, I purchased myself a nice little Rhinox 1000.

Rhinox1000.jpg


Well, actually, I purchased two of them. They were on sale and the shipping was free. Got them off eBay and they are making their way to Miami, as I type. I don't know if I'll use both of them to get more even distribution or just stick with one. They are small, but I wanted to make sure they would work with Fermentation CO2. My goal is pretty stable CO2, not vast amounts. I will be alternating mixes and experimenting with how many canisters I'll need. I think two will be alright, but I have more than that. I'll also be working with mixes to see which gets the best levels.

So, how am I going to measure the CO2?

I have ordered a dropchecker too. :D I will be making my own 4dkh. Wait! Llj's DIYing? Yep. :clap: Got myself a little digital scale too.

Fertilisation: Right now, to get things started, I've ordered some TPN+ and I have extra Seachem Flourish and Seachem rootabs lying around. Eventually, I will make my own ferts too. I completely forgot that I made excellent marks in chemistry classes in college and the labs were my forte. If I can distill pure Ethanol from popsicle sticks, I can certainly mix my own ferts down the road. 8) The TPN+ is for convenience until I acquire all the equipment.

Goals: As far as livestock and plant lists are concerned, things are still in the planning stages. I really want to create the illusion of larger size, yet maintain the Dutch style. I'd like to follow...

Happy Dutch Principle #3 -
Fish play a very important part in this style as well. The bottom, middle, and top zones of a tank should be filled with fish to make each area interesting to the viewer. All fish species should be different in shape, color, and size, but the least number of species possible should be used to fill all niches in the tank (so no blue rams in a tank with kribensis, or silver hatchetfish with marbled hatchetfish, etc). Schools must be as large as possible.
No easy task in an 8g, but possible with the new nano species.

Happy Dutch Principle #4 - Create the two tank focal points using the rule of thirds. Another hard concept on such a small tank. I will settle with one as long as it is 2/3 the length of the tank. I already have an idea of how this will be accomplished.

Happy Dutch Principle #5 - Use contrasting colors and leaf shapes. I'll be a bit limited, since I cannot use species with especially large leaves, but I think I'll be able to come up with quite a few. I plan on dividing the tank into 3 main sections and use between 3-5 plant species per section. The usual rule is 3 species per foot, but I don't really have that luxury.

Happy Dutch Principle #6 - The back should never catch the eye. Okay, so no A. reineckii backgrounds for me. :lol: I plan on constructing a moss wall using a method that I think will probably fail, but it's worth trying anyways. I like Christmas moss as it is quite bushy.

Some Rules I'm going to break - The tank is seamless, therefore it is impossible to obscure the sides effectively, so I will leave them alone. My tank is way smaller than the average Dutch. It will not be the main focal point of a room. It's an 8g tank in a family room with a 52" HDTV. Impossible to be the focal point when you're competing with that. :lol: I won't be using some of the traditional "Dutch" species because their leaves are too large or broad for this tank. I'm thinking I'll be able to grow most of what's commonly offered online.

Two plants that are heavily considered are HC and Christmas moss. Christmas moss for the wall and HC to make the little path. The HC will establish the scale very well and a path of it will make the tank look very large. I've also thought about the following species.

Fissidens frontalis - covering a few small pieces of wood with this
Anubia petite nana - for wood work and round leaf shape
Pogostemon helferi - for foreground contrast
Hydrocotyle verticillata or Marsilea minuta - for a little toadstool look.
Small reddish crypts - for the very shaded areas of the tank, probably a small Wendtii red or bronze. The growth will be slow in the shade.
Rotala macrandra - a red plant
Myriophylum pinnatum - "green" fine-leaved
Didiplis diandra - contrast
Hemianthus micranthemoides - green plant
Lysamachia - gold plant
Ludwigia arcuata - another red possibility
Rotala wallichii - accent
Rotala sp. green - green plant, towards the back.
Vallis nana or Crytocoryne balansae or Eleocharis - As a very slender stalk plant. Not going to be planted in a large group. An accent plant.
Christmas moss - moss wall background. Small bolbitis or java fern may be attached to the wall too.

Star moss - still not quite convinced it's an aquatic, though it is absolutely adorable. Possibly also Subwassertang or Pellia

I have to make sure that the bunches of stemplants are small to keep the scale correct, and I also cannot overcrowd. I will not include all of the above species, that is too many, IMO. I'm hoping they'll grow. I'm going full force on the principle that CO2 is ultimately more important to determine whether a plant will do well rather than lighting. I've grown some of these without CO2 in the same lighting. Oooo, I also picked up this to help me trim and take care of my new tank.

IMG_2822.jpg


I am up for the challenge and look forward to setup like this. It is very different from what I normally do. Thank you for reading this very long thread. I'll update it as things come in. The tank isn't setup yet, and this is going to be slow going. You can already see that I've done a lot of advanced planning (now you know why I thanked SuperColey1, these ramblings would drive anyone crazy :crazy:). I will make detailed posts when I get to some of the technical aspects of the setup.

Again, thanks for looking. Comments and suggestions, if you are not too tired from reading, are always welcome.

llj :D

PS: I'm excited.
 

SKP1995

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

CO2?? :woot: :woot:

Sorry, just kidding! :lol:
 

Mark Evans

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

lljdma06 said:
She never adds CO2.

she?..... :wideyed: I thought you was a man. all this time I thought i was speaking with a man, and your actually a lady. Now this explains a million and one things with your posts :wave:

BTW, there's an awful lot of rules to follow in what your doing....a little constricting don't you think? and if your breaking one or 2, why follow any at all? :angelic:

similar to what you said tome once, I'd like to see a Llj tank not a Dutch one ;)

ooooo, and think of all that maintenance....i really cant believe your doing this.
 

George Farmer

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

What a wonderfully thorough post. I recommend folk read it properly.

Nano Dutch? Now that's pretty ground-breaking for a UKAPS member! Do I remember you threatening to do one of these a few years ago on TFF, Lissette?

It's nice to step out of our comfort zones - best way to learn.
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

saintly said:
I'd like to see a Llj tank not a Dutch one ;)

Yeah, you are very funny and I new you would say this. :lol: But...You are wrong. You will be seeing an LLj tank. The Dutch style is simply that, a style. It is not a set scape. You can have many possibilities within that set style. When I criticized you, it wasn't because you were following the ideas of the Nature aquarium, it was because you were using another's scape as a model and I wanted you to come up with your own scape based on the princples of the Nature style. I hope that is clear and my criticism was never an attack on the Nature style or you. I happen to like the Nature style quite a bit. The few Dutch rules that I am not following, and they really are few, are mainly because of the word "nano". It automatically negates those rules because most Dutch scapes are usually between 55-300 gallons. I've always thought that many of the basic principles can be affectively utilized in smaller tanks, with potentially very pleasing results.

ooooo, and think of all that maintenance....i really cant believe your doing this.

Why not? I'm not a lazy person. I don't just throw the plants in there. :lol: If you look closely at my scapes, nothing is random, there is clear structure and designs are followed. My other tanks are now down to less than an hour of total maintenance a week. They are very stable, long-term scapes and I wanted to try something different.

aaronnorth said:
some great ideas, i am waiting to see with what you come up with, another plant i would reccomend is cryptocoryne parva. :thumbup:

C. parva had come up as one of the shade plants. It doesn't get particularly purplish, but it is small. I will consider it further, as it is a good plant to stick under the shaded areas of the stems.

George Farmer said:
What a wonderfully thorough post. I recommend folk read it properly.

Nano Dutch? Now that's pretty ground-breaking for a UKAPS member! Do I remember you threatening to do one of these a few years ago on TFF, Lissette?

It's nice to step out of our comfort zones - best way to learn.

Thanks George. I guess you can tell I've been reading up on this. The Happy Dutch Principles are out of order from their original context, but I was addressing them as I covered various aspects of my tank.

Yes, I had threatened a while back, but work was getting in the way. I have always loved color. :) I also felt bad. I've been keeping fish for 20+ years I have not had a tank in the family room of my own home since Hurricane Katrina. The tanks have been slapped in my bedroom or in a back Florida room; tanks of much finer quality than the one that was on display. Doll collectors are proud of their dolls and display them for all to see, so why have I been hiding my tanks? I got mad at myself. This is a beautiful hobby, people should see the fruits of it. Most don't even know that I do this. This little guy is going right on an end table in the family room! About time. :D

Sorry, another long thread, but it is good to address these issues, no?

Keep the comments and suggestions coming, though, this is a complicated undertaking and I will need some support. :crazy:

llj
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The Moss wall; planning

Okay, not mowing the lawn today, it's too hot outside. I'll do it Monday, which means I can play with my tank more!

Setting up the Moss wall: The Beginnings

The moss wall is typical in Dutch layouts. It creates the natural-looking, darkish, and unobtrusive background that is highly desired. Many use corkbark to achieve this effect and attach plants to that, or make a moss wall. I am chosing a moss wall, as I think the cork will be too bulky for this little nano. I read the posts in this Moss Wall Thread (from TFF) 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

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 I'm going to solve this problem and my attempt could very well fail, but this is what I plan on trying. I purchased this 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. I'll explain why. There are two sides to the divider, a smooth side and a rough side. The moss always grew on the rough side by attaching their roots on the minute grooves in the plastic. A pain to pull actually, when I was dismantling some of my old breeding tanks.

IMG_2833.jpg


Another feature that makes this idea interesting. The stainless steel clips, which are harmless.

IMG_2832.jpg


Unlike suction cups, which leave gaps between the glass and the mesh, these inert clips which came with the divider 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, finely distributed holes. The plan is to gently "sew" the moss onto the wall by using a needle and safe thread (probably a dull brown to mimic the appearence roots, or a plant safe option) until the moss can naturally attach themselves to the rough side. Possible 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. You can see below a tank shot in its eventual location. You can barely see the clips. Great for photography and eventually, the moss should hide the clips inside the water.

IMG_2839.jpg


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. The moss might not attach effectively to the wall. Entirely possible the rough side might not be rough enough, though since I've seen moss grow on it before, I'm not anticipating that this wil be a problem, especially since this is going to be a nutrient-rich tank with CO2 injection and decent light for moss. At any rate, if it is still secured by the thread, it will simply be anchored. Maybe not a bad thing.

I'm open to using various suggestions for thread. Obviously something that can tolerate being underwater and something that is not harmful.

I'm also aware that this will be an extremely tedious task, but that it could have some very fine rewards and produce a fine wall in less overall time. Something to do with a 6-pack of good beer handy! :lol:

Two possible considerations for moss. Photos are from Aquaticmagic, reproduced here with much appreciation.

Christmas moss - It is a bushy, dark-colored moss and is featured in this moss wall below.

Christmasmosswall.jpg


Willow moss - Less bushy, more drapey. Might take up less space in a nano wall.

weepingmoss5ru.jpg


Again, thanks for bearing with me and these long posts. I'm not usually one to do this, but I'm exploring a lot of new ideas with this little tank and I want to explain the techniques in detail, incase they work. Or if they don't, I can quickly analyze what I did wrong and fix it.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are always welcome. Please hold my hand and tell me it will be okay. :lol:

llj
 

LondonDragon

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

I have used a mesh for the wall with great effect in the past, this on a 60cm tank:

pict0002oq3.jpg


Here out it looked when setup:

pict1125sh9.jpg


pict1129hg2.jpg


I used weeping moss for the wall ;)


Also created one for my Rio 125 (80cm) in the past:

pict0014cf7.jpg


pict0063gv5.jpg


pict0065vy9.jpg



They are not the easiest of things to maintain and trap a lot of dirt in them, you also need to keep on top of the moss and trim it often, it it starts to get to thick then the moss attached to the mesh itself starts breaking up and them eventually the entire wall just falls off. ;)

Lots more photos in my journals :p
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

Thanks for posting photos of completed walls, Londondragon. That you've had such success is encouraging for me. Other people have suggested weeping moss as well, so I think I'll be using it.

I forgot about the eventual dissolving of the mesh. With the tank divider serving as the foundation for the wall, I may not run into that problem, as it is much more durable. There is also much less space for dirt accumulation.

We'll see. At least I know the mesh is successful if my idea goes down the tube. :lol:

I have a question for you. How much moss do you think I'll need for a 16.0" x 9.5" wall?

EDIT: The above is a very stupid question on my part. Hello! I took Calculus in college, I can certainly calculate area. About 144 sq inches of moss. I doubt I'll get that much. Thin coverage is better than none and I'm sure moss portions can be stretched.

Thanks.
 

Dave Spencer

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

saintly said:
she?..... :wideyed: I thought you was a man.

Llj is actually a gorgeous, bodice wearing thespian :twisted: . There is photographic evidence somewhere on the internet. :wideyed:

Dave.
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! Loooong 1st post, sorry. :)

Dave Spencer said:
saintly said:
she?..... :wideyed: I thought you was a man.

Llj is actually a gorgeous, bodice wearing thespian :twisted: . There is photographic evidence somewhere on the internet. :wideyed:

Dave.

Well, just for your viewing pleasure, Dave. :)

IMG_2094.jpg


Nope, definitely not a man. :lol:

EDIT: Sorry Dave, some people couldn't handle the previous photo of me as a bodiced strumpet, so I have replaced it with a still from a recent production of Bellini's I Puritani. I am planning a solo recital of all German repertoire in the Fall.

Now, can we get back to discussing my moss wall. :lol:
 

Simon D

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

I'm not convinced that's not a man! Just take a second look at those arms....... :lol:
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

Simon D said:
I'm not convinced that's not a man! Just take a second look at those arms....... :lol:

I'm not laughing. Why don't you show a little more maturity? If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Now I'm self-conscious and have replaced the photo. It's obvious you've never been made fun of as a child with regard to your appearence. Or, if you have, it's been forgotten. It hurt when I was five, and though I am not especially upset, I'm not pleased with your comment.

Next time, just be a little more prudent with how you say things. This hobby doesn't only attract males.

llj
 

Mark Evans

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

well, well. what a rather gorgeous young lady we have visiting us :D

now Llj, you do know I go rather shy in front of lady's, always have always will do so thankfully I have my monitor and about 4300miles of cabling and, WWW interweb stuff hiding my embarrassed face. :oops: ....i shall now start treating you with even more respect :thumbup:

wow, it just goes to show you don't know who your talking too at times. I'm really homer, from the Simpson :wave:
 

TDI-line

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

Excellent journal and great photos Llj, the journal must off taken hours to compile. Nice work. :clap:
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

saintly said:
well, well. what a rather gorgeous young lady we have visiting us :D

:oops: Thanks .

i shall now start treating you with even more respect :thumbup:

I don't need special treatment. You were treating me fine before. :thumbup:

TDI-line said:
Excellent journal and great photos Llj, the journal must off taken hours to compile. Nice work. :clap:

At about 50 words a minute, no, it doesn't take hours, but I thank you for your compliment all the same. Best class I ever took in high school was typing.

I'm going to be washing the substrate soon and putting in the harscape today, so I'll probably have more pictures and update.

llj
 

LondonDragon

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

lljdma06 said:
I forgot about the eventual dissolving of the mesh. With the tank divider serving as the foundation for the wall, I may not run into that problem, as it is much more durable. There is also much less space for dirt accumulation.
The mesh does not disolve, I still have all the meshes for when I want to try it again, the moss starts breaking up if the layer becomes too thick and then detaches from the mesh and the wall falling over. The mesh also allow for great flow than the tank divider, but you could try it and see how it does. Good luck with it ;)
 

lljdma06

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

LondonDragon said:
lljdma06 said:
I forgot about the eventual dissolving of the mesh. With the tank divider serving as the foundation for the wall, I may not run into that problem, as it is much more durable. There is also much less space for dirt accumulation.
The mesh does not disolve, I still have all the meshes for when I want to try it again, the moss starts breaking up if the layer becomes too thick and then detaches from the mesh and the wall falling over. The mesh also allow for great flow than the tank divider, but you could try it and see how it does. Good luck with it ;)

:lol: I'm sorry, maybe I'm not being clear, and I apologize for that. It isn't you, it's me. :lol:

The moss will not be growing through the tank divider to reach the water column, as is the case with the mesh method of moss wall construction. You're absolutely right, for the moss to grow that way, the mesh is better. The tank divider will be used differently. The moss will simply be attached onto the rough side of the divider like one would attach moss to wood or rocks, except that it will be easier with the numerous holes. The entire moss will then be facing the water column already and the theory is that the moss will then anchor and spread along the rough surface of the divider. If it doesn't, it will still hang suspended in the water column by the thread or fishing line anchors. There is no need to even worry about circulation, since the moss will be completely exposed to the water column already and the smooth side of the divider will then be flush with the tank. Think of it as similar to the corkbark used in Dutch but much thinner and with holes. The metal clips should be able to handle the weight of the moss better than suction cups would. So as you can see, it really isn't the same idea.

It will be 1000 times easier to explain when the moss arrives. Right now, it even sounds confusing to me except when I picture it. :lol: More than likely, I will be using a fishing line of very fine test to secure the moss.

llj
 

a1Matt

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Re: lljdma06's New Nano Dutch! The moss wall plan is up!

I can picture your idea llj and it sounds like a really good one to me. Will be interesting to see how it works out for you.
I am currently cultivating a 34" by 20" wall. I sandwiched the moss between two layers of mesh and then used about 75 rubber suckers that hold the mesh together and onto the aquarium. It took about a month before I saw any moss peaking out, I am about 6 months in now and it is starting to look really good. So the downside is it is a very slow method. One advantage to my technique is no sewing involved, the suckers do the work there. Your idea seems better to me, much neater and more elegant. :thumbup:

Maintenance involves patting the wall once a week to keep it clean. Even the moss in the mesh is still alive on my wall and I think it is thanks to this.
I trim it whenever someone posts on the forum that they want some taiwan moss or when it starts to grow over my crypts :lol: This stops it getting too thick, which as LD pointed out is a common cause of mosses dying off.

I tried half a dozen different mosses on little test moss walls and my favourite was by far taiwan moss. Nice frond shapes and it hangs down in neat layers so does not get unruly as it gets dense. I have not tried with Xmas moss, but I imagine that would have the same effect. Peacock moss is another one that I have not tried in a wall but judging by its growth pattern I think it would be a good candidate for a moss wall.

Of the other ones I did try in a moss wall weeping was best for speed of growth but looked very messy to me.

Good luck with your wall :D
 

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