Substrate when building hills - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate when building hills

Hi all,

I starting a 540 litre (142g) planted tank and I'm planning to go low tech and use dirt. (Walstad or suchlike; http://lowlightlowtechplanted.blogspot.com/) But, when aquascaping the tank with hills, how do you build up height? Mud is a bit, well... muddy I guess. Bottom area is 150 cm*60 cm (about 5'*2').

Vision is this:
http://www.akvarieplanter.dk/iwagumi-aquascaping

I'll have to have more biomass, I know, and I'll supplement the aquascape with a 'forest'. (Promise to report back with reality later on )
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 10:41 PM
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You could use satchels pantyhose full of gravel on the bottom of the tank. Those will be hidden when you layer with your substrate. Another option is to use slate on the bottom as well.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 12:50 AM
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Pea gravel in a woman's nylon support hose. The rock is the base for a large mopane stump that I want to be able to remove to access a hidden power sponge. There's no need for MTS in that corner and my rock base is more firm in position.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I know that method (i.e. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/aq...illscapes.html). But my question really regards how to make the soil you put on top of these stay in place. Seems like a potential mudslide situation to me.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 05:41 PM
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Any substrate hills will always tend to level out under water, if there is any water movement at all. That is just an act of nature. If you plan to redo the aquascape every year or less, it might not matter, but there is no such thing as a permanent substrate hill in an aquarium. (Even terrestrial hills eventually level themselves out.)

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Any substrate hills will always tend to level out under water, if there is any water movement at all. That is just an act of nature. If you plan to redo the aquascape every year or less, it might not matter, but there is no such thing as a permanent substrate hill in an aquarium. (Even terrestrial hills eventually level themselves out.)
if plants have been established, don't you think the roots will help the hills to stay longer?

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2012, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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I've been thinking some more on this; what if I covered the pantyhoses with mosquito net and let moss grow in it? Basically the same technique as when making a moss wall, only horizontal. Would it be dense enough not to show the net/pantyhose?

(Moss wall construction: http://www.aquamoss.net/How%20to%20c...oss%20wall.htm)
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 03:43 AM
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I've been thinking some more on this; what if I covered the pantyhoses with mosquito net and let moss grow in it? Basically the same technique as when making a moss wall, only horizontal. Would it be dense enough not to show the net/pantyhose?

(Moss wall construction: http://www.aquamoss.net/How%20to%20c...oss%20wall.htm)
If you really want to make moss tiles/carpet, you shouldn't use pantyhose as that would just float back up. I would use stainless steel mesh, it is probably the best material in that it lets light through, and it can weigh itself down.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 06:14 AM
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if plants have been established, don't you think the roots will help the hills to stay longer?
The roots would help, but the hill will still level itself out of existence eventually, probably after less than a year. This happens with small terrestrial "hills" too. Erosion moves the dirt downhill over time, leaving tree roots above ground. It even happens in people's yards. When you have a hard pan layer under a couple of feet or less of loam/clay, the tree pushes itself up as it grows, and the soil gradually erodes away leaving lots of exposed roots. I have that just outside my place.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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If you really want to make moss tiles/carpet, you shouldn't use pantyhose as that would just float back up. I would use stainless steel mesh, it is probably the best material in that it lets light through, and it can weigh itself down.
Makes sense; thus I could probably use pantyhose filled with sand/gravel just to build height and fill the void under (to prevent this from becoming a fish trap) and then cover it with steel mesh.

Could you just let the plants grow through the nylon, i.e. not cover the hills with anything at all? Initially the plats would have to be kept in place with e.g. fishing line, but once they get stuck it could work out quite well.

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The roots would help, but the hill will still level itself out of existence eventually, probably after less than a year. This happens with small terrestrial "hills" too. Erosion moves the dirt downhill over time, leaving tree roots above ground. It even happens in people's yards. When you have a hard pan layer under a couple of feet or less of loam/clay, the tree pushes itself up as it grows, and the soil gradually erodes away leaving lots of exposed roots. I have that just outside my place.
Bleak opportunities, thus. Generally, do people 'rescape' their aquascapes that often?
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 03:09 PM
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Could you just let the plants grow through the nylon, i.e. not cover the hills with anything at all? Initially the plats would have to be kept in place with e.g. fishing line, but once they get stuck it could work out quite well.
Not quite sure what you mean? Do you mean cover the top of the hills with some nylon and then poke holes to allow the plants to grow through? Or do you mean if the plant roots will grow through the nylon. I know the answer to the 2nd is yes.

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Bleak opportunities, thus. Generally, do people 'rescape' their aquascapes that often?
If you grow a carpeting plant I can see that you wouldn't need to rescape often, if ever. Those seem to hold the hills quite well. Something like UG or HC. But you'll need to dry start of UG.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Not quite sure what you mean? Do you mean cover the top of the hills with some nylon and then poke holes to allow the plants to grow through? Or do you mean if the plant roots will grow through the nylon. I know the answer to the 2nd is yes.
The 2nd was what I was after, sorry for the ambiguity and thx for the answer


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If you grow a carpeting plant I can see that you wouldn't need to rescape often, if ever. Those seem to hold the hills quite well. Something like UG or HC. But you'll need to dry start of UG.
I feel a bit noob here: HC and UG? (I've seen Hemianthus callitrichoides abbreviated as HC; if that's what you mean, then it's actually my carpet plant of choice...)
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 07:30 PM
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Yea that's what HC is. UG = utricularia graminifolia and it carpets really really well too. If you google image search UG you'll see tons of great pictures with slopes that are held in place. But with UG you really need to drystart it or it won't stay rooted when you fill the tank.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Some really nice stuff there.

We'll see what I come up with. Will post pics later...
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