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How to successfully re-tie moss


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Paging all moss experts!  I'd like to tap into others experiences to learn more about how to successfully re-tie moss.  To date, I've had mixed results re-doing moss, with about 1/2 of my efforts growing out fine, with the other half slowly fading to brown and dying off.  

 

In my unsuccessful attempts, I realize that my poor results most likely stem from the source moss not thriving in my tanks in the first place, but I'd still like to know some best-practices for when I'm trying to "save" a poorly-performing moss.  

 

Below are some pictures and notes related to some of my "wins" and "losses" in this arena:

 

Triangle Moss -

My triangle moss did OK for several months, never growing dense/compact......kind of loose/stringy.  After a few months portions would turn brown and die off, so I attempted to re-tie along with a change in tank-location and slight bump in nutrients (using SL Aqua shrimp-safe plant ferts).  The piece of SS mesh I used had previously held fissidens, but was still washed in hot water and allowed to air dry.  I used 8-lb fluorocarbon fishing line that was also rinsed/scrubbed under hot water, at the time I was trying to eliminate a theory that there might be lubricants/coatings on the fluoro that affected moss success.  The piece has been moved from lower-flow areas of the tank to higher-flow areas with no noted change in results.  As you can see below, the die-off continues and it's quickly headed for the loss column. 

 

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Flame Moss - 

I had brought in several mosses at same time when I initially set up my tank, and flame moss was the fastest-growing of the bunch.  In about six months the original SS mesh pieces had grown to 3-4 inches in length, and after time the undergrowth of the flame moss started to turn brown and die off, most likely from being shaded by the taller height of the tips.  I pulled the moss, trimmed off all of the dead matter, and set about my re-tie.  Same procedure as above, 1 piece tied with fluorocarbon and 2 others using Han's black rubber bands.  I'd call this one an immediate failure, there was absolutely no recovery on the mosses part, what was green slowly died off and turned brown over the course of a month, with no "shoots" forming for upward growth.

 

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Mini-fissidens - 

This one goes into the win column.  I purchased some loose mini-fissidens from a fine TSS forum member and set about tying it to SS mesh.  Same process as above, 8 lb fluorocarbon for both pieces.  Although mini-fissidens is a very slow grower, these pieces never went downhill, staying green over the last several months and now showing reasonable growth.  The picture below shows my re-tied mini-fiss on the right, with an original piece from Han on the left.  Mini-fissidens has done well in my tanks.  As a side note, you can see the mini-pellia to the far left of the picture and see just how well it has performed.  This picture is blurry because of a big patch of biofilm on the front-glass.

 

xgmknr.jpg

 

Fissidens Fontanus - 

This moss is my nemesis and has defeated me at every opportunity.  I don't feel like my attempts to re-tie Fontanus have failed, as there wasn't the immediate die-off and browning to speak of.  My first few pieces of FF were lost to BBA, most likely due to too much photoperiod.  After I decreased my lighting (both in duration and intensity), I brought in more Fontanus to give it another go.  These pieces were mulm-magnets like others have noted, and while they didn't grow BBA, they did form what I believe to be hair algae.  I've tried more/less light, more/less flow, more/less ferts......all with the same results.  My tank sits between 73.0 and 73.2F at all times.  Although this doesn't really fall under the post-topic of re-tying moss, I include this information in case someone with expertise can see a "comprehensive" problem with my moss and give guidance on how to turn things around.  The picture below is one of my re-tied FF, you can safely disregard the "shade-line" you see in the photo, as stated above these pieces have been in a variety of locations, this one just happens to be a "medium-flow" location that I experimented with over the last 1-2 weeks.  The second picture is FF on a lava rock (sitting in a different tank)......as you can see it has much less hair algae but is starting to yellow and is anything but thriving.

 

mlm5if.jpg

 

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Anyone that has any advice/tips/tricks or knows what I did right or wrong, I'd love to hear from you.  I'm hoping we can all share some information so that everyone can learn from each others mistakes and triumphs.  Thanks in advance for taking the time to read or respond.  SM

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Manticore for offering your expertise!

 

GH 6, KH 0-1, 137 TDS, 5.85 pH, 73.0 degrees F, ammonia 0, NO2 0, NO3 2-5ppm.

 

Lava rocks, SL Aqua Shrimp Safe Plant Ferts (at low dosing - probably ~1/4 recommended dose because the over plant volume is low), SL Aqua TM-1 and Mosura Old Sea Mud for trace elements.

 

Finnex Stingray lighting on an 8-hour photoperiod, with 2 sheets of window screening to reduce light (initially used 1 but the addition of 2 really slowed hair and BBA growth to zero).

 

Controsoil, cholla wood, IALs, and alder cones.

 

My journal is here:  http://www.shrimpspot.com/index.php?/topic/3440-shrimple-shrimping/?hl=%20shrimple%20%20shrimping

 

Not a current full-tank shot but here's an earlier one for reference (can provide an updated FTS later tonight).  At the time, the mosses (from right to left were mini-Christmas, Christmas, Flame, mini-pellia, mini-fissidens, Fissidens Fontanus, Triangle).  The two pieces on the left and back walls were Fontanus.

 

jb3hx5.jpg

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While I was writing the original post, I was treating 3 identical pieces of Fissidens Fontanus in a H2O2 soak (50% RO, 50% H2O2 3%) for about an hour, followed by a bit of manual removal of hair algae.  Post treatment pic is below.  I'm debating which of my tanks to return them to, I have a 12G planted tank upstairs that is ~7.2pH, 74 degrees F, and Neo parameters of GH 9, KH 0-1, TDS 180-200 that I'm thinking of trying.  They are currently sitting in RO water to rinse the H2O2 while I make my decision.

 

f4imau.jpg

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While I was writing the original post, I was treating 3 identical pieces of Fissidens Fontanus in a H2O2 soak (50% RO, 50% H2O2 3%) for about an hour, followed by a bit of manual removal of hair algae.  Post treatment pic is below.  I'm debating which of my tanks to return them to, I have a 12G planted tank upstairs that is ~7.2pH, 74 degrees F, and Neo parameters of GH 9, KH 0-1, TDS 180-200 that I'm thinking of trying.  They are currently sitting in RO water to rinse the H2O2 while I make my decision.

 

f4imau.jpg

Oh man...

Last time I put some H2O2 on my fissidens, it killed it!

I hope the same doesn't happen to yours :(

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I feel like they were nearing the point of no return anyhow.......desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

My previous H2O2 dips knocked back the hair algae and the fissidens was fine, but that may not be the case this time.  I'll be sure to update.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm starting to see some success with fissidens..........in my case I think that I was under-fertilizing (and perhaps some under-lighting).  The fissidens pieces I moved into my 12G RCS tank are doing well, I hope to be able to trim and re-tie some of them soon.  On a related note, I just crashed this tank with what I believe to be a poorly-recharged bag of purigen, and while pretty much all of my plants (java ferns, windelovs, crypts, anubias) are dying, the RCS and the fissidens are still going strong.  I would have thought a drastic event like what I just pulled would have affected the "delicate" moss and shrimp first, but it has been quite the opposite.

 

I'll have a better idea if I have fissidens mastered if I can successfully grow it in some new tanks I have set up (that are on more consistent fertilization regimen)........I'll try to update if so.

 

*** I still would like to know tips and tricks related to re-tying of moss as stated in the original topic.  

 

I'm wondering if different types of moss should be retied with different "orientation" or if certain types would regenerate best if being chopped into small pieces to create more "ends".......anyone with insight please share your ideas.  I'll be attempting to retie mini-pellia soon, more fissidens, and flame in the near future (planning on using rocks+plastic netting).

 

Oh, and I almost forgot........as advised above, don't go great-guns on peroxide dips like I did...........those three pieces were cooked and brown within about 3 days.  I do think H202 has a role to play, but at much lower doses and durations.  I'm now of the opinion, that even with some hair or other algae on fissidens, if you can get it in the right conditions and growing well, its new growth will quickly cover up any amount of algae.

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Here is a quick video on couple ways to attach Fissidens and the optimum parameters for growth:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvrGMXIRpGY

 

The video describes using soft acidic cool water for moss optimum growth.

I prefer peacock moss, but I think I'll try a bit of fissidens myself.

I'll probably get it from HAN Aquatics, he does a way better job of tying down moss than I do.

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