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Moss wall


19 Feb 2011
Can anyone give me a stop by step guide to putting a moss wall together, including what materials would be needed. I've had a couple of goes in the past but they were disastrous! I've got a tonne of Christmas moss growing in a mass in one of my tanks looking unsightly. Hubs says to throw it out but I'd rather use it. I've seen photos of some really gorgeous moss walls and would love to be successful for once at growing one!

Hi Viv
I find it very practical to be able to lift the whole wall out of the tank, sometimes (trimming fx), so I use a very stiff metal-net. Stainless ofcourse. If a small tank one piece does it - larger tanks may need several "panels" side by side. This usually will stand without sucktion-cubs, fx being squeezed inbetween gravel and back-glass.
Moss is spread out, covering the net. Longer "threads" are easier to work with, than very short ones, since I then roll thin fishing-line all around the net. Both left/right and up/down. On large pieces of net, it's needed to tie some of the cross-sections of fishing-line on middle-part to the net. This is done simply by short pieces of fishing-line put through the net, catching tbe fishline-cross, put back and tied (modern fishing-line can be tied, yes ).
- BUT Viv.......... what usually ruins a moss-wall is the lack of suffucient light in upper, lower and side-parts of the wall. I only do moss-walls in tanks, where I know, I have this light available. Very few "standard tanks" have that. It's worth to mention, that you must trim the wall, same way you do your hedge......lower part must be broader than upper, so upper don't shade lower ( - or you just let the panel lean backwards!!! )
This is not the cheapest method, I know :)...........but it makes a nice moss-wall, that's easy to maintain.
Thanks for the replies guys, I'll be having another go soon! Thanks for the info' about lighting/trimming Mick. I hadn't really given it a thought and my previous attempts didn't get that far. I can't have secured the moss down enough as bits kept coming free - very messy :(

An alternative to steel and netting is the rigid plastic mesh they sell in hobby craft stores.

I used butterfly netting as it's a lot cheaper than steel or rigid plastic mesh but it does sag in places (which does give a more natural look) but netting is a pain to insert without draining the tank first.

I can vouch for Mick on the issues with lighting, if you do get areas without enough light you can get creative and use other plants like pelia, anubias or java fern to fill these areas and create a patch work effect.

If I was going to redo my walls I would split the net into sections to make it easier to install and maintain.
I do like the idea of being able to 'melt' mesh together (as mentioned in the above link). Sounds like it would be less hassle. I'll see where the nearest craft shop is to me and see what they've got :)

Viv, I have lots of butterfly netting left over, if you want to give it a try pm me the sizes that you need.
Thanks Ian that's really good of you :thumbup: I'll measure up and send you a pm.

I tried one before but I didn't work because of the light problem that Mick describes. I'm thinking of building one again, since the lights I have now are not built-in and I can easily adjust them towards the wall. The only thing that concerns me, and this has happened before - what if my shrimp or godforbid, fish get stuck between the mesh and the glass. There's always a little gap somewhere, especially when using suction cups. So I would be careful to somehow bend the sides and fill any holes with substrate or rocks to prevent that from happening.
Well I used plastic canvas as the back and the netting given to me by IanD to hold the moss in place - worked a treat! After I'd finished I wished I'd used more moss as I could see it was a bit patchy, but I suppose it will fill in? Anyway, here's a photo of the lower part

You can see it's got new growth so my next question is when should I start trimming? Should it be now to encourage the moss to spread or should I wait until it's got longer? I've always been terrible at pruning moss so it ends up long and straggly. I don't want that to happen this time!


PS I'm going to go and have a look at that journal now LondonDragon :)
Hi Viv
Looking good, isn't it :)
Personally, I wouldn't trim it, untill absolutely necessary. The more strength the moss can gather, the more new growth it'll develop. There comes a time, though, where the "inner" parts of the moss is dying, from lack of light, watermovement and "whatever". If this happens..........well you sur-passed the time of "absolutely necessary";)
lol okay, I will leave it and see how it grows :D

I never really managed to get a nice moss wall. Was always a bit patchy and never really looked great. Will be interesting to see how this fares. Cheers.
It's mostly Christmas moss I think as I had large amounts of this when I added some java to the tank, so there could be some of that in there too. As it grows I'll get a better idea hopefully :)

I think, there's both, then - explains, my confusion ;)
It could create a nice effect, actually.........Good luck with it.
Trim it often, it will grow more dense.
Don't need to trim it hard though just take a teeny bit off each time.

Fish always find a way to get behind it. I intentionally leave a gap behind so they can get out again easily.

(I don't have a moss wall anymore, I have an algae wall instead!)
So far only one of the baby kribs (about an inch long) has got behind it once, on the first day - managed to get out again too:) I think it helps that it's as wide as the tank and the plastic canvas is quite stiff so the fish would have quite a tough time getting around the edges. It's been in there now for about two weeks without trappees at any rate :D


PS Thanks for the pruning tip!