02 January 2017

flame moss

I am trying one more approach to using flame moss. This 'cushion' of it that is tied with mesh on an upturned plant basket, was grown twice as high and I cut it back to use the trimmings. Pleased with the ease of trimming- I just lifted the basket out, put it in a small container of water, and used the scissors. Also trimmed some strands that are glued onto the driftwood in the tenner.
Flame moss is a lot more wiry than the fissidens and java moss I've had. The strands are very small, but they feel tough for their size.
I have finally got a method down for attachment, and it wasn't nearly as messy or wasteful with the glue as when I made those plastic grid 'sandwiches'. Which are just starting to grow out through the mesh- but I am not at all satisfied with their appearance yet.
I used superglue again, and found it easiest to apply with toothpicks. I set the stone on a small box so it was raised up closer to eye level, and had the moss spread out in individual pieces on a plastic lid in some drops of water. Put a drop of glue onto the box, then dipped the toothpick in it and used it to lay a line of glue across the stone. Carefully laid a strand of moss down on the glue with tweezers- and used another clean toothpick to press it on. The wetness of the moss makes the glue set immediately, and if I'm quick enough can dab off excess glue w/a bit of paper towel. But it wasn't nearly so neat all the time. It dries white, but should get obscured by algae and the moss growing, over time.
I did manage to use every single moss strand of the trimmings, and get them neatly laid out parallel to each other- so hopefully when this grows out it will look nice.
I'm satisfied that I was able to be so conservative with the glue- this just took half a dozen big drops of it- but the trick is to go through lots of toothpicks! Switch to a new one when the end gets gummy. And it is very painstaking work.
It doesn't look like much in the tank yet.
But I am pleased that even when the kuhlis enthusiastically swam all over it inspecting, they did not dislodge a single strand.
I can just picture how this would look to have a nice scattering of flat stones grown with flame moss in the appearance of grass clumps, kuhlis winding in and out of them. Every time I trim could start some new stones. It will take an awfully long time to get that look created, though....

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