I started working on the hardscape and the slope. The obsidian is a really cool stone material, but it is downright dangerously sharp at times. According to wikipedia they still chip scalpel blades out of the stuff
) Hopefully I got the placement right. The sloping of the substrate has always been difficult and with the narrow dimensions really require a serious slope to attain a sense of depth. Soemthing that was sorely lacking in my previous attempt with this tank. To prevent the inevitable slipping of the substrate I stole some concepts from the concrete guys, namely re-bar. I laid toothpicks parallel in the tank between the the hardscape pieces as a laid down one layer of aquasoil after another. As the depth got greater, I would insert toothpicks vertically and/ or angling backwards into the substrate to reinforce the slope as it got higher. I figure that if I can put them in my mouth, they should be safe in the aquarium, even though they will eventually rot. By then the root system should be providing additional support for the slope. I hopefully buried the vertical toothpicks deeply enough that the settling will not expose them, but the should be easy to remove if necessary. In this picture you can see a few toothpicks I laid into the AS.
(BTW, I apologize for the poor photo quality- I will borrow my friends DSLR when things progress).
This is where the obsidian went into the scape.
I hope you like the placement, the obvious downside to the toothpicks is that it would be challenging to move the hardscape pieces if I want to change it.