When exploring our Mother Earth, we often find that it is possible to find locations with a great sense of age. Usually, this age comes about by the flora that resides in that location. Take a moment to see how nature grows around the bones of the Earth, for example, trees growing around rocks and moss covering boulders. We can recreate this in our aquariums with a careful choice of plants and mosses.
I find that an aquarium without some kind of aged plant can look too young and immature, this is not always the case of course, but using moss can do so much for the aquarist.
When choosing your wood or rocks for your aquascape, take a little time to picture where some moss might reside, perhaps in a recess in the rock, or perhaps, all over the branch – like in my current display ( Bones of the Earth, 1800l ).
There are various ways of positioning the moss. Here at TGM we have used ADA moss cotton to attach mosses such as Vesicularia ferriei ( Weeping Moss ), Taxiphyllum sp ( Spiky Moss ), Christmas Moss ( Vesicularia dubyana ) and Java moss ( Taxiphylum barbieri ) to name a few that feature in our new 1800l aquascape.
When attaching the moss to wood, it is best to spread the moss thinly across the surface. By doing this, you are giving all the moss space to breathe and grow. It will also spread far more quickly and easily across the whole surface of the wood rather than growing together in one tight clump.
Wind the cotton several times around the hardscape so that it forms a tight binding along the chosen surface. Pruning can start after a couple of weeks, depending on growth rates. I personally trim approximately every two weeks. Do not be too shy with your scissors, moss will look far more natural and compact if trimmed regularly, the more often you trim, the more natural it will look.
The same applies when choosing moss for rocks, even within Iwagumi designs. I find it best to choose a hand full of Tropica lava rock to attach my moss’s to, with the view to place them around my finished hardscape design. Tropica lava rock can be broken up to many pieces, this is ideal well using moss to add further texture and age within your hardscape. There are also ADA moss balls, which are ideal for adding small accents of moss along sand and plant devisions or amongst rock formations. These can also be used with Riccia fluitans and ADA Riccia line to the same effect.