Moss Tree: Glue Vs Fishing Line

KirkyTurkey

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Hey guys, I wanted to share a project that I did last night that I am super proud of, I think the final result looks a lot better than the original. It's a long post, so be warned. There are a good bit of pictures though if you wanna just scroll through the project! I do have a question at the end I would love to have answered though.

BACKGROUND:
I had a cool manzanita branch that I've always wanted to look like a moss tree. Originally, I glued patches of moss around the tree, and it didn't come out how I was expecting, so now I am trying fishing line. My heavily planted tank (20g) started getting bad algae issues when the co2 system stopped working. Yesterday I got the co2 running again, giving me a wave of inspiration to bring this tank back to its former glory!

Flora:
Java Moss
Christmas Moss
Java Fern
Rotala Indica
Pennywort (I think?)
Amazon Sword
Chain Sword
Dwarf Hair Grass
Monte Carlo
Glossostigma (I think? or Dwarf baby tears maybe?)
Banana Plant
Lucky Bamboo
Night blooming jasmine (in HOB)
Pothos (in HOB)
Broccoli (in HOB)

Fauna:
Florida Flag Fish
3x Cory Cat
Ghost shrimp
nerites
mts

PROJECT:
I had very poor flow (~35gph), high light, and no co2, so I was taken over by blue green algae and green hair algae. Here is a picture of my moss tree before fixing it up:
IMG_1035.jpg


So I wanted to trim back some of the heavy growth, make the tree look better, and get more flow.
I took the whole HOB filter off, and replaced it with an Aqueon 75, which I think may be a bit heavy on the flow, but the few fish don't seem to mind too much. I took the whole tree out, and put all of the moss into a tupperware container that I sprayed down with Flourish Excel. I figured the excel may kill off the moss a little, but there was so much moss that I knew it would recover eventually. Then I wrapped the moss around the tree and used fishing line to hold it in place:

IMG_1047.jpg


I wanted to leave one branch naked just because, so here is a pic before I submerged it again:

IMG_1048.jpg


Then I trimmed back my carpet plants, and brought my rotala down to about an inch tall, and put the tree back in. Then I reconfigured the new HOB to accommodate my aquaponics plants, restarted the flow, and here is a pic from this morning now that all the dust has settled:

IMG_1052.jpg


I probably could still use some more trimming, but I still like it slightly out of control. I hope you like the new setup, I would love some feedback or comments on it!

Question:
This tank has never had any filter media in it before, the nutrients stay at 0/0/0 due to the heavy plant load and large root mass in the aquaponics setup. Now that my HOB has doubled in size at least, I put some ceramic media/kitchen scrubbies in with the roots. Will I go through a cycling phase? I would guess that the bacteria would pick up the ammonia before the plants do, so should I be worried either about that or bacteria "outcompeting" my plants for the nutrients? I guess the plants would still get nitrates, but I'm just wondering if anyone had thoughts on this issue?
 

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Cool! I love the mossy tree!
That should look pretty neat with fish swimming through it!
 
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KirkyTurkey

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Thanks! The fish in there are only temporary inhabitants, I am still working on a final stocking plan for that tank, I'm open to suggestions too!
 
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