Not all moss ball ‘kits’ are the same. Let’s look at products from two eBay retailers (both importing from China).
These plastic domes are filled with a fine layer of aquatic moss to create either a floating or floor ball. Only a table spoon of moss is needed for each ball (no room for much more).
First up – from ‘plantsforyourtank’ – £4.49 plus postage.
I ordered the floor version. It comes with filled with small balls of fertiliser. I removed these (the golden rule of don’t put it in the tank if you don’t know what exactly it is).
The ball comes in 3 parts. A plastic mesh cover which has a spike to push this basket outer layer onto a preformed dome shape (and the hollow dome has a base which un screws). I replaced the fertiliser with larva rock fragments. It felt pretty heavy but I still had to anchor it in my tank as it floated.
It was easy to use and held together well.
I ordered 2 more from ‘sseariver2009’ – in the floating version as I could get 2 for £4.99.
However, these were disappointing.
First of all, the picture showed the weights to be glass beads (inert and safe for tanks) [top of picture below]. They were actually metal engraved coins (bottom of the picture was my kit). I would never risk unknown metal of this nature in my tank). The plastic was poorly fitting and very difficult to put together. Overall, poor quality.
I will let you know how well they grow or if the moss just rots.
Glue is my best friend. The hours I spent with fishing line, aquarium/aquascaping nylon, hair nets, plastic grids etc, trying to get the darn plants and moss to stay where I wanted … ah ha…. not any longer. This time I glued them on and it was much less stressful, very quick and …. well a no brainer to do it any other way.
What I used: I used Duple Plant Fix Liquid. It’s basically a gel type of superglue and costs around £16-25 depending from where you get it from (It is generally imported from Europe and not usually stocked in shops where I live). It comes in a metal tube which is easy to squeeze and control with a fin tip nozzle. The glue lasts about 6 months from opening. It will glue your fingers together somewhat – but you can’t really use it for aquascaping without getting it on your fingers.
How I used it: First up, my Anubias (a plant with rhizomes that needs the main root to be above the soil) was glued onto a piece of stone – just a few dabs, hold in place, press, unglue fingers, and easy as that. Fixed.
Next up was the moss. I wanted to glue it onto a stone and the the ends of some twigs to make some trees. So I smeared the gel all over the top of the twig (pre soaked and gently patted dry with kitchen paper), grabbed a bunch of damp moss and pinched it onto the twig. Water oozed out, some bits broke off. It was a bit messy as some moss then got stuck to my fingers and they looked more like a tree than the twig. However, most of it stayed on – and I just kept adding it until it looked good. I then glued the tree onto a stone – holding it in the glue gel for about 10 seconds. Job done. I placed each item in a bowl of tank water to keep the moss wet.
Result: I am super pleased with how easy this was and I’m never trying to use thread again to hold down moss. At first the glue goes bright white when placed in the water – but as the moss grows, you can’t see it. I can’t see any glue on the Anubias root – it just look like it magically holds.
Other glue: The active ingredient in the gel is: Cyano Acrylate which hardens under water.
Instructions: Available in pdf from their web site and in the box.
Trying to create Moss Balls for my shrimp tank. These are practice plastic golf balls.
Using tweezers I grabbed some moss trimmings and stuffed the balls – not so tight as to get no light to them.
They float so need some tank friendly small stones to sink them (or tie a weight to them to embed into gravel.