DIY Planted Background Wall
Have you been wanting to change up your aquarium background to something unique? Perhaps it’s time to try a planted wall! A wall of plants is a great way to add extra foliage and shelter for your tank while giving your tank an incredible and unique look.
When most people think of planted walls in aquariums, they think of moss walls. For those of you who have made successful moss walls for your aquariums, can you share your secrets? Moss-only walls have not been a huge success. In the past, we found that the moss on the top grows faster. The moss on top creates more shade and shades the bottom. The moss at the bottom begins to fade. Although moss is a beautiful plant, it can be difficult to attach to anything.
How can we create a better version of ourselves?
The Types of Plants and the Background Materials
We’re going with plants other than moss. Plants that thrive in low light conditions and love solid surfaces are best. Excellent plant choices include Anubias, Java Ferns, Hygrophila pinnatifida, and similar types. Because they are small, the petite Anubias are great. Both Java Fern and Anubias take a while to grow.
A suitable background material is the second thing that we need. While a spongy filter type of material can be used, it’s not sturdy enough to stretch the entire side wall of a larger tank. It’s not ideal for small quantities.
So, what is a better background material that is so highly recommended? We love Matala Mat. This filter pad material is available at Drs. Foster and Smith. You can also buy it on Amazon. You can choose from a variety of colors like green, black, and blue. The green is best for aquarium backgrounds, and you want a thickness of around 1.5″. This strong plastic material is weaved into a mesh. This material won’t bend, fold or fold like a spongey material. You want one that has a smaller mesh without as many large holes. You can use a serrated knife to cut it to size for your background. The size of a thick sheet is approximately 39.5″ x 24,”.
Our background requires a third supply: plain, green yarn. We’re not crazy. Yarn is better than fishing line, because fishing line can hurt your fingers and cut into the plants. Yarn is simple to use and affordable. Buy one that is 100% acrylic for aquariums. That way, it won’t break down in aquariums. It is not recommended to use wool or cotton as they will rot. It was chosen to match the mat’s green color, but you can choose any other color.
The fourth thing to purchase are large plastic needles that have large eyes to thread the acrylic yarn through. These needles are easy to fit through Matala Mat mesh so you can’sew’ your plants to it.
Place your Plants on the Mat
How you place your plants on the background mat is important, because you don’t want the ones on top to shade the lower ones. Anubias Nana Petite is the best choice because its leaves are small so it won’t get very big. However, it takes a long time for the plant to mature. It may take up to one year and a quarter to completely cover the mat. Although Java Fern is more expensive than Anubias petites, it grows quicker and becomes leafier. Anything that roots in water and forms a ‘ground cover’ is good.
Take all your plants out of their pots. Clean off any root wool. It is not necessary to have very long roots. Use scissors to trim roots to about a half inch in length. They will eventually grow into the mat by doing this.
Now roll your yarn to about a foot in length. Cut a small piece. The yarn should be threaded through your needle eye with a long tail. By the way if you click on these video captures it will take you to that step in the video.
Pick a spot in middle of Matala Mat. Thread the needle up through the middle and pull the yarn through to the back. Turn the needle around on the back and pull the yarn through the middle. Sew the needle up to the front once more. On either side, you will now have two longer lengths yarn.
Attach the Anubias plant within that inch space. Orientate it in the direction that you want it to grow. Wrap the yarn around it carefully and tie a simple knot. You can also double knot it to keep it in place. Cut the yarn ends about half an inch.
So, that’s it! You can repeat this process to attach more plants and ‘sew’ them on.
With your plants, make sure to attach them in the direction you want them to grow. The ones on the sides might grow down diagonally, while other ones will grow up diagonally. Take some time to think about the orientation.
To have a stunning living Matala Mat background wall, you don’t need to plant many plants. For a large Matala Mat background, seven bunches would be great!