Attaching mosses to rock

I like the bright color of Riccia Fluitans. When I bought my shrimps first time, many many months ago, I received some small floating leaves, I couldn’t even recognized what plant was that.

Well, I decided to give a try and tied it to a small rock. Months later, I have so much Riccia Fluitans that I’ve been giving them away!

Here are my first “leaves” of Riccia:

Riccia Fluitans

It is incredible the amount of Riccia I grew up from this tiny portion since then! They become a mess when floating, but look awesome if tied to rocks!

I have found many videos showing how to tie them using strings, but this one with a mess is by far the best solution I have found. So, here it is for future reference:



Third Layout

Plants have grown a lot since my last picture! In this third layout (that is actually almost the same as the second layout + new plants) I decided to make a temporary wall of Java moss. The reason is that I wanted them to grow up for my brand new 54L aquarium!

I don’t like Java moss as a wall, however, because they overload the view, reduces the depth and make shadows as they grow. Also, it is almost impossible to hide the net where it is tied to.

I removed the Java moss cover of the ugly filter, because it makes the maintenance a lot more difficult. The orange-tail fish in this picture is a grown male Guppy from my first batch! =)


New fry!

Yesterday I watched my female guppy giving birth to many babies! I quickly arranged a new temporary “home” for them out of a 3-liters glass decorative jar.

Weeks ago I promised to leave any newborn in the main aquarium with adults. If some survive, good. If not, well… that’s the Nature. But I failed. I just wanted to make sure they have enough peace to grow up, without hiding all the time…

Well, I took my Java moss carpet from the main aquarium, some stones (which I boiled in water before) and some plants from my plants’ experiment. To complete, I used gravel also from my experiment and water from the main tank.

So, this is their new home…

My main concerns right now are about the water parameters. A small body of water (3 liters only) can change parameters much faster than my main tank. So, what should I care about?

  • Temperature decreases at night. Since I am not using a heater, I should at least be aware that the room’s temperature is always within their acceptable range. Too much oscillation may also cause diseases, specially Ick. Well, at least it is Summer already.
  • Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates may increase a lot if the “jar” begins the cycle period. So, I should exchange water with the main tank every while, to make sure their parameters are equally stable. Also, tiny fishes, even in the amount I got (around 20), may not make enough debris to contaminate the water. Finally, special care when feeding them, because the remaining food can impact a lot the water parameters.
  • Oxygen levels should be high enough. I am trying to ensure that by adding a lot of plants (heavy layer of Java moss).

pH, water hardness etc should not be a problem. They do not oscillate before some of those parameters above get out of control. In any case, the regular water exchange with the main tank should also prevent these issues.

Taxiphyllum barbieri (Java moss)


Java moss is definitely a very hardy plant! It grows under a large range of temperature, light and pH. It climbs up hardware or decor, growing even outside the water if enough humidity is provided. I have even heard of Java moss resurrecting after a long dry period!

Here are some info about Taxyphyllum barbieri (Source):

  • Temperature: 15°C to 28°C
  • pH: 5.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 6°d to 20°d

Some sources claim that Java moss has a slow growth. However, my experiences have shown that although it takes some time to acclimate to a new environment, it grows quite fast after that.

Depending on the water flow, Java moss accumulates a lot of debris between its leaves. Shrimps and fishes can take care of that for while. The plant itself is also consuming much of those debris after they decompose.

Java moss can be attached to a net to form a very nice carpet. See mine below…

Saved by JBL Ferropol


JBL Ferropol saved my Bacopas!

This is not a merchandising. I’m not trying to sell a product. This is just my experience. =)

So far, I’m using a “bare gravel”, without any nutrient-rich substrate. Gravel, of course, cannot provide nutrients, and whatever is feeding my plants, comes from fishes, their food etc.

I have installed a DIY CO2 days before, but I don’t really think it was effective, as it was still unstable when the plants showed a nice result.

I could notice some improvement after few weeks. The difference is clear in the picture below.



New wood from the wild

When I went for 40km bike ride weeks ago, my parallel goal was to find a new piece of wood for my fish tank.

I honestly expected it to be very easy around the Black Forest, south of Germany. However, the vegetation here is too much homogeneous when compared to my origins, South America.

In fact, Black Forest is composed mostly of pines, softwoods, not suitable for fish tanks. There is a lot of limewood (Tilia) around as well, which is not suitable either.

After hours of research, I found out that fruit trees (apple, grapes, pears), oaks, beeches and ashes are appropriate, in addition to the most used mopani, manzanita and some tai wood that I don’t even care to read about, simply because they can’t be found in this area.

Then, by studying their leaf shapes I was able to identify some of those tree in the nature. It is indeed a hard task to find suitable trees. But more difficult is to find a decayed and dry suitable tree. After a long search, however, I could get a piece of what seems to be an ash tree (see pictures below).

The first issue is to sink it. This process may take weeks or months. But for my surprise, it sank right away when I put it in a bucket with water! Anyway, I boiled it to make sure it is clean of bacteria etc. I also rounded the edges and shaped it to stand better on the gravel.

I baked it in the oven for some minutes as well, as a double-check. Unfortunately, it got so dry – with some cracks – that I needed a couple of days to make it sink again. Also, I realized that chopping out the innermost part of the wood resulted in floating it, because this part has much higher density than the outermost.

The wood has been kept submerged for some weeks (with a help of rocks!) to release tannin and check any abnormal issue, like mold. It will be in my new layout probably within one week from today.

Second Layout

DIY stand

After the stand got finished, I took the opportunity of emptying my tank (had to lift it from the floor to the new stand) to create a new layout.

Instead of having heater and filter located at opposite corners, I decided to place everything together on the left side and cover them with part of the decor wood. Reshaped the gravel, changed the inclination of the wood to make it looks bigger, and made a Java moss carpet for the foreground (see picture on the left).

A minor update came few days after, when I decided to tie some moss to the wood and also on the filter itself. My Anubias were growing really fast, so I cut a piece of it and tied to the wood as well.

Java moss and Anubias help a lot to hide my freak filter, but I still need more plants… and there comes my “plant experiment” (for next posts). It was also a desperate move to save my plants. Bacopas were dying, Egeria getting brownish an ugly. It was very weird, specially because my anubias nanalilaeopsis brasiliensis and cryptocoryne parva were doing well.

After some time, I removed the huge stone to clean all the algae. My moss carpet became a jungle, and my Bacopas finally recovered. The result is seen in the picture below.