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How do you keep moss under control?

Jellopuddinpop

Active Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2023
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Location
CT, USA
Hi everyone,

In my new build, I’m planning on using a lot of epiphytes and mosses. I’m looking for some tips and tricks to controlling moss, or any other feedback you might have that would help.

For some background, some plants I got from a different hobbyist must have had some Christmas Moss on it (maybe Peacock?), and it managed to take root on my tank. I had originally thought that it was some kind of cladophora, so I physically tore out as much as I could, spot treated with Excel, and moved on. Within a couple of months, it had popped up EVERYWHERE. I went so far as to pull every plant from the tank, clean them all off, scrub every rock with a toothbrush, and replant, and it came back stronger than ever. This is one of the primary reasons for the full teardown and re-scape I’m doing. The only culprits that could carry this moss to the new build would be the filters, and I’m replumbing all of my hoses and pipes to try to reduce that exposure as well. This is all out war!!

With all of that said, I would really like to have moss on a few of these branches in strategic places. I came up with a plan for trimming, where I will run a small canister filter and attach the inlet to a pair of scissors. The filter will suck up any pieces of moss as they’re cut, so that should help prevent it from spreading. Other than that, how do you stop moss from slowly invading the rest of the tank? It feels like once it’s worked its way into some little crack or crevice, it’s in there for good.

Here’s the question… to those of you who keep moss in your tanks, is this just a fact of life that you have to deal with? How do you keep moss from overrunning the tank?

20230208_162933.jpg
 
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Hahaha, I have the opposite problem … I want my moss to spread uncontrollably!
I am using weeping moss and would like it to be, literally, dripping off all the wood, and I wouldn’t mind if it even formed mats on the substrate for a carpet effect.
I have tried attaching it with thin cotton twine, which rotted away within 2 weeks, moss fell off.
Switched to fishing line, moss became algae ridden, pulled it all off.
Reattached fresh moss with CA glue, seems to be ok, but gouramis and mollies keep pulling at it, so a lot falls off … sigh.
77C194B9-DC85-4EE0-8A79-79577EAA98BC.jpeg

Maybe It just needs more time than I thought. The wood in my tank is all Mopani, with lot‘s of crevices for the moss to catch and get established in.
I also have two ceramic logs that I covered with moss trapped under bathroom scrubbie netting (not weeping, but can’t remember what) and it is doing fabulous:

8EB6CB08-0FF4-4B69-A1E7-6CFC38C210E3.jpegSo, I will be watching this thread and possibly doing exactly the opposite of anyone’s advice on how to control moss, lol!
BTW your wood pieces look amazing, and the tank is going to be fantasic!
 
Hahaha, I have the opposite problem … I want my moss to spread uncontrollably!
I am using weeping moss and would like it to be, literally, dripping off all the wood, and I wouldn’t mind if it even formed mats on the substrate for a carpet effect.
I have tried attaching it with thin cotton twine, which rotted away within 2 weeks, moss fell off.
Switched to fishing line, moss became algae ridden, pulled it all off.
Reattached fresh moss with CA glue, seems to be ok, but gouramis and mollies keep pulling at it, so a lot falls off … sigh.
View attachment 1612

Maybe It just needs more time than I thought. The wood in my tank is all Mopani, with lot‘s of crevices for the moss to catch and get established in.
I also have two ceramic logs that I covered with moss trapped under bathroom scrubbie netting (not weeping, but can’t remember what) and it is doing fabulous:

View attachment 1613So, I will be watching this thread and possibly doing exactly the opposite of anyone’s advice on how to control moss, lol!
BTW your wood pieces look amazing, and the tank is going to be fantasic!
Well, when I tear this tank down and start over, I'll probably have about a basketball sized ball of moss I could send your way.
 
This is where the "10 Minute Tidy" comes in handy. With 1/2" hose in hand you look around the tank and suck out any strays. This will keep it pretty clean of any moss that might have ideas of setting up shop where it wants to. I usually do this maybe once a day when I'm able. I hear complaints about moss getting everywhere a,lot, but it's not really that fast growing so if you do this in addition to weekly maintenance you should be fine. I have moss in almost every tank and I honestly have never got to a point where the stray moss was ruining anything.

When you "moss the wood, put a very, very thin layer on. This will allow it to grow in better and attach to the wood quicker. Mini Pellia is easier to control, but it woun't cascade like some of the mosses.
 
This is where the "10 Minute Tidy" comes in handy. With 1/2" hose in hand you look around the tank and suck out any strays. This will keep it pretty clean of any moss that might have ideas of setting up shop where it wants to. I usually do this maybe once a day when I'm able. I hear complaints about moss getting everywhere a,lot, but it's not really that fast growing so if you do this in addition to weekly maintenance you should be fine. I have moss in almost every tank and I honestly have never got to a point where the stray moss was ruining anything.

When you "moss the wood, put a very, very thin layer on. This will allow it to grow in better and attach to the wood quicker. Mini Pellia is easier to control, but it woun't cascade like some of the mosses.

This goes back to one of the fundamental issues with the way this tank is set up, in that I don't have access to the front of the tank while I'm working in there. It's super easy to scan for pieces of moss while looking from the front, but much more difficult when looking from the top. I agree that should be the way to do it, but it might not work for me.

From the way you described your method of keeping the moss in check, it might not be for me. I'm going to have to sit on this one...

Edit: I could also use it as a way to get my wife more involved in the tank. I should be able to convince her to sit in front of the tank with a cosmo and find bits of moss for me :ROFLMAO:
 
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This goes back to one of the fundamental issues with the way this tank is set up, in that I don't have access to the front of the tank while I'm working in there. It's super easy to scan for pieces of moss while looking from the front, but much more difficult when looking from the top. I agree that should be the way to do it, but it might not work for me.

From the way you described your method of keeping the moss in check, it might not be for me. I'm going to have to sit on this one...

Edit: I could also use it as a way to get my wife more involved in the tank. I should be able to convince her to sit in front of the tank with a cosmo and find bits of moss for me :ROFLMAO:

I'm not saying it's a must, I'm always removing debris in the tank with a small filter house so it's really no big deal, in all likelihood once a week is fine. If you don't have access that's another matter. It also helps (when possible) to trim moss out of the tank. So if you have a piece of wood that can lift out, take it out trim, rinse to remove loose pieces and put back. Rocks are easy to take out and trim.

The absolute best method for covering rocks with moss are hairnets. Get a bunch of black/brown hairnets and use them to cover rocks. They stretch over the rocks and you have to look hard to see that they're even there. Maybe your wife could help with the hairnet thing while sipping her cosmo. :)
 
Didn't even know it was a show.. @Ultum_Hiep had a much cooler name for it.

Haha ok then no, there was an early 90’s kids show called Big Comfy Couch and the main character would call her cleanup time the “10 Second Tidy.” My kids are now watching it so that’s why I was like hmmm.
 
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