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    How to fix mosses

    Vegetation made easy with ISTA planting helpers

    The manufacturer ISTA offers practical planting helpers for the introdution of especially mosses (but also other plant types) into a shrimp- or nano aquarium. ISTA moss pads are flat, grid constructs which keep a portion of moss in place under water. Ceramic bottoms or little compartments that can be filled with substrate make sure, that the whole construct doesn’t raise. With time, the plants will grow out of the grid and create beautiful, natural-looking moss paddings.

    One of the major benefits of those pads is, that they can easily be moved around or taken out of the aquarium for redecoration or cleaning purposes. Also for the removal of animals or shrimp selection the aquarium can be easily cleared out to be able to better catch its inhabitants with a fish net. Furthermore you won’t need to tediously tie down the moss and can scrap the superglue, too.

    In the following we’ll take a closer look at some ISTA products.

    Ceramic pads

    ISTA - Water Plant Cultivation Ceramic

    These products are called ISTA Water Plant Cultivation Ceramic. These are ceramic pads in different shapes and sizes (angular or round), which are equipped with an apt stainless steel grid. The grid is being held down by four metal pins in the corners of the angular pads and in regular intervals around the circumference of the round pads. To load the pad, you bend up the pins and remove the grid.

    liftin da grid

    Now you can load the pad with plants. Mosses, but also ground covers are very suitable here.

    loading da pad

    Now close the pad and fasten the pins by bending them down again.

    clamping da grid

    The moss pad is now ready to use. The individual shoots will grow through the grid over time.

    ceramic pad

    Multi-chambered plastic pads

    ISTA also offers multi-chambered polymer pads under the name Water Plants Cultivation that can be easily loaded. You can choose between two different sizes (M and L) with a retail unit being comprised of either 4 or 8 pads.The upper and bottom grids easily snap off of the middle element.

    multi-chambered plastic pads

    The upper compartment can be loaded with moss or any other aquatic plant with a flat habit such as Dwarf Baby Tears or any other ground cover.

    loading the pad

    The bottom compartment is filled with small stones or substrate to weigh the pad down and prevent it from raising to the surface. You should not choose a grain size too small. Gravel or soil are recommended here. Especially ground cover can be easily and effectively cultivated using the Water Plants Cultivation system. The protective grid prevents burrowing inhabitants such as shrimp or catfish from digging up the foreground plant again and having it getting uprooted and floating up. If the bottom chamber is loaded with a high-nutrition substrate (such as soil) or maybe even with an additional nutrient tab, the ground cover can be systematically fed through its roots because both chambers are connected via small holes.

    weighing down a plastic pad

    Close the pad.

    closing the plastic pad

    Now the pad is ready to use and the plants will sprout from the upper cage over time.

    plastic pad

    Shelter Home

    The Ceramic Shelter Home was designed specifically for use in an aquarium with shrimp, crabs or catfish. This hiding spot is made of ceramics and is comprised of multiple clay tubes and a planter on the top. Just as with a plant pad, the planter is equipped with a grid to easily fix mosses or other suitable aquatic plants. To stock the Shelter Home with plants, you bend up the fastening pins and remove the grid.

    Shelter Home

    Then a small portion of moss is placed in the designated spot.

    planting a Shelter Home

    Then the grid is put back into position and the pins are bend down again carefully.

    planting a Shelter Home

    Now the product is ready and can be put into the aquarium. The Ceramic Shelter Home is -as the name implies- made of ceramics and has enough dead weight to keep it in place underwater without further weighing it down.

    Shelter Home


    Even though the planting might initially look a bit spartanic at first, using ISTA planting helpers, with patience, the aquarist is richly awarded after a while. After a short time, plants will sprout through the grids.

    plant growth

    After a few months the plants have developed and you’ll have lushly covered pads, taking care of a more natural look inside your aquarium. They offer hiding spots and opportunities for grazing off biofilms.

    moss on a pad