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. Can you share your tips and tricks for making successful moss walls in your aquariums? Moss-only walls are not a good option. 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 die. Although moss can be a wonderful and useful plant, it is difficult to attach it with something.
How can we create a better version of ourselves?
Plant Types and Background Materials
One, we are going to start with other plants than moss. You should choose plants that are tolerant of low light and can attach to solid surfaces. They will also thrive when placed on these surfaces. Anubias and Java Ferns are excellent choices, as is Hygrophila pinnatifida and other similar varieties. Because they are small, the petite Anubias are great. Java Fern and Anubias both take time to grow.
The second thing we want to use is a suitable background material. 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 is only recommended for smaller quantities.
So, what is a better background material that is so highly recommended? We love Matala Mat. This is a filter mat material. You can buy it at a koi fish pond supplier such as Drs. Foster and Smith. You can also find it on Amazon. It comes in different colors, like blue, black, or green. For aquarium backgrounds, the best choice is green. You should aim for a thickness of 1.5″. This tough plastic material is woven into mesh. It will not bend or fold like a spongy product. It should have a smaller mesh and not as many holes. You can use a serrated knife to cut it to size for your background. A thick sheet comes in at around 39.5″ x 24″ in size.
For our background, we need plain, uncolored yarn. Yes, we’re not crazy! Yarn is better than fishing line, because fishing line can hurt your fingers and cut into the plants. Yarn can be used easily and is inexpensive. You should choose one that is 100% Acrylic for your aquariums. It won’t be damaged by water in aquariums. You should not use cotton or wool, as they can rot. We chose to use green as it matches the mat. But, you can use any color.
You should also purchase large plastic needles to thread the acrylic yarn. These needles will easily fit through Matala Mat mat mesh, so you can’sew’ your plants!
Placing 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 nano petite is our preferred choice, as the small leaves won’t allow it to grow very large. However, it does take a very long time to grow. It might take up to a year and a half to fully cover the mat. Anubias petite is cheaper than Java Fern, but Java Fern grows more quickly and gets leafier. Anything that roots and creates a water ‘groundcover” will work.
Take all your plants out of their pots. Clean off any root wool. You won’t need very long roots. With scissors, cut the roots to approximately half an inch. That way, they will grow into the mat as they get longer.
Unroll the yarn until it measures approximately one-foot in length. Once you have cut a portion, roll the yarn again. Attach the yarn to your needle eye and leave a long tail. Click on these video captures to take you to that particular step.
Pick a place in the middle Matala Mat. Pull the yarn through the back of the needle by threading the needle through the middle. Move the needle to the back about one inch and then sew it to the front. There will be two lengths of yarn that are longer than the one-inch gap.
It’s time for the Anubias to be attached within that inch space. It is important to position it in the right direction for it to grow. Tie the yarn tightly around it. Cinch it down so it will stay, and double knot. The yarn should be cut to a length of about one-half inch.
So, that’s it! To attach more plants to the’sew’, you can do this again.
Direction of Growth
With your plants, make sure to attach them in the direction you want them to grow. The plants on the sides may grow diagonally. Others will grow up diagonally. Spend some time thinking about the orientation.
A beautiful Matala Mat background wall can be created with just a few plants. For a large Matala Mat background, seven bunches would be great!