DIY Planted Background Wall


DIY Planted Background wall

Have you been wanting to change up your aquarium background to something unique? Maybe it’s time for a planted wall. A wall of plants is an excellent way to provide extra shade and cover for your tank, while also giving it a 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? We haven’t had huge success with moss-only walls. The moss on top grows much faster in the past. Because it creates shade, it shades out the bottom moss. The moss on the bottom starts dying. It’s a beautiful and useful plant but it’s difficult to attach it to anything.

How can we create a better version of ourselves?

The Types of Plants and the Background Materials

For one, we’re going to start with different plants than moss. Plants that thrive in low light conditions and love solid surfaces are best. Anubias as well as Java Ferns, Hygrophila Pinnatifida, Hygrophila pinnatifida are all great choices. The petite version of Anubias are ideal because they stay small. Both Java Fern and Anubias take a while 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’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 find 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. It won’t bend or fold over like a spongy material. You want one that has a smaller mesh without as many large holes. To cut it to the size of your background, you use a serrated blade. The size of a thick sheet is approximately 39.5″ x 24,”.

For our background, we need plain, uncolored 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. Avoid wool and cotton as these will rot. We picked green because it matched the mat, but you can have any color you like.

Fourth, you should purchase large plastic needles with large eyes that can thread acrylic yarn through. These needles are easy to fit through Matala Mat mesh so you can’sew’ your plants to it.

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 Nana Petite is the best choice because its leaves are small so it won’t get very big. However, it does take a very long time to grow. It can take up to a year to cover the entire 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.

With all your plants, take them out of the pots and clean off the root wool to expose the roots. You won’t need very long roots. Use scissors to trim roots to about a half inch in length. That way, they will grow into the mat as they get longer.

So, unroll your yarn out to about one foot in length, and cut off a 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 place in the middle Matala Mat. Then thread the needle through the middle of the Matala Mat and pull the yarn through to its back. Turn the needle around on the back and pull the yarn through the middle. Sew the needle up to the front once more. You now have two longer lengths of yarn coming up on either side of a one-inch gap.

Within that inch space, it’s time to attach the Anubias plant. Orientate it in the direction that you want it to grow. Carefully wrap the yarn around it and tie with a simple knot. Double knot the yarn to ensure it stays down. Trim the yarn about half an inch from the ends.

So, that’s it! You can repeat this process to attach more plants and ‘sew’ them on.

Growth Direction

Make sure you attach your plants in the right direction. Some plants will grow diagonally while others will grow diagonally. Spend some time thinking 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!