Coir (Coconut Husk) Mats
I have switched from using vinyl fencing to Coir mats. I can buy the coir by the foot at my local hydroponics store for about 3 dollars a foot. I poked holes in the coir and stuck the wisteria and creeping jenny stems through. The plants are beginning to root in the coir. I have to use rocks to hold down the coir, or it will float somewhat. Over a month or so, it starts to sink fairly well, but is still very light, and needs holding down. I am folding up the mats and taking them out of the fish tanks, and placing them in a fertilizer tank only with a hydroponic macro/micro solution for about one week. Then I switch them out every week. They go back in the fish tanks, and the ones in the fish tanks go in the fertilizer tank. This is working extremely well so far. April 18, 2016 – I’m using the coir as a ‘hillside’ , laying plant on top, not into, the coir by putting a marble in panty hose and tying it to the roots of plants.
Vinyl Fencing Mats
- Spend time weaving plants into fencing, trimming roots, trimming off weak growth, and rearranging fast growing plants.
- Make sure your fish can fit through the holes in the fencing.
- Cut or round off any sharp edges of fencing.
- Wait patiently while the plants fill in,
- Make sure plants are fertilized weekly. I have just started fertilizing weekly by folding up and pulling out the plant mats and laying in a solution of liquid fertilizer and seltzer water under the sun for at least 1 hour per week.
- Clean walls and floors of tanks of any algae weekly and change water. The plants that are used to being in substrate will suffer and weaken while they get used to the new situation. They will drop leaves, and melt to a brown goo in places along their stems and roots. This will foul (stinky) your tanks and you will have to do more water changes for the first few months as the plants acclimate and grow. I have just recieved a diatom filter and will be using that during water changes as needed. It should filter all of the algae and stinky bacteria, and keep me from replacing so much water weekly.
Here’s what you CAN do:
- Take the plant mats out, spray them off with a hose.
- Take the plant mats out, lay them in fertilized water for 1 hr or days on end, to soak up nutrients and/or treat for algae.
- Pull plants completely out of the mat, weave new ones in.
- Move the plant mat from one aquarium to another.
- Build new plant mats in unused aquariums experimenting with types of plants that work best woven in fencing.
- Use high light or low light plants
- Use semi-aquatic plants to plug into holes in the fencing to help fill in your aquascaping while the other plants grow into place.
- Pull plants from the woods and streams and test them in your mat, just because you can.
- Create enough different looking mats that you can move them to any tank, any time, and have instant change of scenery.
- Bend and curve the mat to make hills, valleys and ledges.
- Slide driftwood through holes and have it held horizontally or vertically.
- Try growing plants that usually need substrate (hairgrass, baby tears, etc.), by adhering them to other media, and weaving that through the fencing.
- Put some barbells in for the fish to do chest presses.
- Lay the mats over rocks.
- Lay it on the bottom and use as a ‘substrate’.
- Cut the fencing taller than the tank layout you want, and hang humidity loving epiphytes above the tank.