How to properly make a mound/hill??
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Old 05-31-2004, 05:13 PM   #1
chrisl
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How to properly make a mound/hill??


Ok, I give up. I tried making my back left corner a mound/elevated area. I stacked palmsize rocks first, then covered w/ eco complete

**(I'm starting to not like this stuff! WAY to light. As soon as I get a stemmed plant put in it's back out again. Heck just withdrawing the tweezers after replanting causes them to come back out. Now I understand why peeps are adding black moon sand to this substrate!)**

. Anyway, the eco just settles or falls off the edges. Which leaves me a remaining mound, but w/ very little eco to cover the darn roots..or worse, I hit the rocks and there's no place to put the roots. This is esp. for swords and cryptos w/ these larger root masses!!

Really teeing me off! I need a mound, that'll keep the substrate in place as well as keep a good 3-4"s of substrate so I can bury my rootballs.

What's the way you guys are getting these huge 'valleys' and mounds out of substrate?

Please help w. some ideas??

Thanks!!!
Chris
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
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You could buy some slate and break it up and form a little retaining wall out of it. If seen it done in tanks and I think it looks pretty cool.
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:29 PM   #3
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I have never been able to get mounds and valleys out of "any" substrate without using slate to build a wall to retain it...

The only way I have been able to really getr a lot of depth is by using "filler" substrate of very course gravel or pebbles as a base layer.. And then covering that in a finer substrate.. some will filter down through the course material, however the large pebble sizes can't shift too much
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:30 PM   #4
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Here is a guide to building a slate wall I drafted a while ago...

http://aquafiend.plantedtank.net/slatewall.html
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:13 PM   #5
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The rock-work is the key to building a mound, in my experience. And, the rocks should come before most other things in setting up the tank. Changing substrate geography after water and plants are growing is hard, especially if slopes are to be put in (personal experience speaking here).

Think of terrestrial landforms always. Take a look at a hill and you will see that it is higher than the surroudning countryside because the rocks of which it is formed are harder and less prone to erosion. Thinking along those lines, build the hill first out of rocks which go all the way to the tank floor, if possible. The peak of the hill or mound can form a sort of nest structure in which to capture or hold enough substrate for plants to grown in. Let the subtrate settle/sediment around it and you will gain a natural looking topology.

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Old 05-31-2004, 08:31 PM   #6
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Guess I should've realized my setup wasn't gonna hold well. Esp. w/ light subst.s like eco complete.

Good idea on the slate wall. i was originally wanting to stay w. the same rock material if possible...a trip back to landscape store needed for a check of finding the right stuff.

Do you think I should just stick w/ using eco or try filling in bottom w/ sand and topping w/ eco? Not sure it matters.

Thx again for help!
Chris
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:42 PM   #7
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If you are trying to build height the last thing you want as filler is sand. Sand will simply settle out... probably faster then your Eco Complete...
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:30 AM   #8
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Really? I read somewhere today of 'terracing' in a dutch garden and they used sand as base. I have enough eco to do w/out sand though so i'll hold off. Going to make a 'preformed' ledge from stone and silicon then slide in place and fill. should work pretty well.

And nice web page btw Gareth. all those tanks in one room..makes for convient maintenance lol I'll add a few houseplants to my room to help w/ humidity..good idea!

Chris
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisl
What's the way you guys are getting these huge 'valleys' and mounds out of substrate?

Please help w. some ideas??

Thanks!!!
Chris
The best solution I've read about is to create larger mounds/valleys than you want (taking settling into consideration), plant your substrate cover (something that roots well, so no Riccia), let it embed, them re-form the valleys & mounds (with plants & all) after the plant has established well. The roots will help retain the shape much as they
fight erosion on land.
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:41 PM   #10
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I just wanna toss in that I have NO problems keeping plants rooted in eco complete...even when planting individual stems of hair grass. Do you not have a deep enough substrate or something? You'll need 2" or more, and I do suggest after planting that you pack down the eco just a little bit.
Honestly I only have problems in my tank with flourite...it doesn't seem to hold plants, particularly glosso and baby tears, worth a darn.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:33 AM   #11
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Could you use some sort of clay to mold a wall and form the hill?Might dissolve though I suppose.


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Old 06-02-2004, 04:04 AM   #12
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Yeah, clay I'd think would dissolve. And i have 8 bags of Eco in my 75...so i have plenty of substrate. It's just not as solid as to the old gravel I had in there. I'll try the tapping down a bit, haven't done that. But once down, they're staying down unless there's too much water agitation. I got some more rock today so I'll see what I can come up with.
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Old 07-14-2005, 08:09 PM   #13
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Default some more suggestions but want a 2nd opinion on...

1) Matthew Christian in his book on aquarium desing published by Barrons talks of using polymer clay and polystyrene (is that styrofoam?) as OK decorations in a tank. Certainly if you do not heat your substrate, perhaps these could be used to create the retaining wall or the mound foundation much like the use of rocks. Can they be used if you do heat your substrate? Anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using these? Is floral styrofoam (used to hold stems in place much like a "frog") safe to use? I could see the also allowing one to easily embed smaller flat rocks to help keep the eco-complete from settling too flat.

2) I've found 2 citations of shaping wire mesh and covering it with cork or other wood scraps. Anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using wire mesh? And, what kind did you use? I could see using wire mesh for light weight, and for steep gradations.

3) I've found several references to using fiberglass strips, acrylic strips, or even cut glass strips set up in the verticle. Again, anyone have any experience and/or an opinion on using these? Wood, rocks, etc can be glued (vis silicone) to hide the ckear wall, however, one source says their transparentcy and dark substrate means they are not very visible even when they are exposed. Anyone have any experience? ...or advice?

4) My local Home Depot has a flexible, brown plastic and even some flexible 3/16 inch wood gardern edging that could be cut to form strips for hill and valley/terracing hidden "retainer walls." Has anyone ever used edging? The plastic kind seems to be some kind of recycled plastic, like the park bench boards. Up front I am concerned how the plastic may affect the eggs of the fish (NOTE: Plastics are being reported as generally affecting the viability of the eggs of Gulf Coast crocodiles, genetics of human embryoes, etc.) and the fish themselves. Anyone have any experience? ...or advice?

5) Finally, I read in an article that Amano uses cardboard strips to vertically separate his substrates when he is layering, but removes the cardboard just before or when he fills the tank. What would happen if one were to leave the the cardboard in the tank as a hidden retaining wall and allow it to degrade over time? Anyone ever tried this? ...Any advice?

TIA,
--TommyBoy
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Old 07-16-2005, 01:48 AM   #14
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You can use rocks slate or even driftwood. I use the driftwood method because I feel that gives a more natural look. If you go down to the local river you will see that where there is wood laying on the riverbed it will most likely have one side with more riverbed material on one side than the other.

All you need to do is to find some small pieces of driftwood and place them where you want to make your raised bed. Similar to the pictures of the Slate wall method, instead you are using wood.

You can then add some moss or anubias to the wood. Ferns will do great on wood too.
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Old 07-16-2005, 06:24 PM   #15
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Default sounds like we might be talking about a BERM...

Main Entry: berm
Pronunciation: 'b&rm
Function: noun
Etymology: French berme, from Dutch berm strip of ground along a dike; akin to Middle English brimme brim
: a narrow shelf, path, or ledge typically at the top or bottom of a slope; also : a mound or wall of earth <a landscaped berm>
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