Can I have elevations using dirt substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: earth
Posts: 23
Can I have elevations using dirt substrate?

Calling all dirt users! I posed a question to a group on facebook and so far the only response was that I would have problems trying to create an aquascape that had hills ( think 4-6 inches high) with a dirt substrate capped with sand.

It was suggested that I watch the Green Machine video on you tube: Altitude. I mainly use dirt as a substrate and I am not interested in using AquaSoil or any other expensive product.

Do any of you have dirted tanks that have differences in elevation in the tank or hill or mountain views?

My main concern was about getting anerobic conditions building the dirt up higher than 2 inches. I also have small gravel and I intend to use natural pond rocks in the scape also. What do you think?
mekia02 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 08:04 PM
Wannabe Guru
lksdrinker's Avatar
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NY; LETS GO METS
Posts: 1,916
probably not a great idea. As you mentioned, anaerobic conditions are a high likelihood with that much dirt. I'd also be concerned about a pile of dirt remaining where you intended as time goes on. Just doing a water change could easily start to knock it down, and will kick most of the substrate up into the water column.

I've never done it, but I think the best way to get hills and undulations is to physically have something under the substrate to get the raised effect. I know I've seen egg crate used for this; but that would still allow the substrate to flow through it and to the bottom of the tank. I suppose others likely use spray insulation to create the hills and then cover that with the substrate; but I'm not entire sure of the right way to accomplish this.

Rich's Fishes
Curator of an ever growing fishroom that currently houses 30 different tanks. Most full of at least water....some even have fish!
lksdrinker is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 09:00 PM
Algae Grower
Achromious's Avatar
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 47
Check out this thread. I dont see why you couldnt add a layer of dirt to it. Just be careful not to go to thick on any of the layers.
Achromious is offline  
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 09:21 PM
Wannabe Guru
PTrader: (12/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 1,224
You can have deeper dirt than most people think. The issue of anaerobic conditions still exist. The key is to utilize plants with developed root systems, swords, Cryptocoryne, Valisneria, Sagitaria and for stem options Hygrophila sp have very hardy root systems. Plants transfer oxygen from leaves down into roots and into the substrate oxygenating substrates. So, you could use an object like wood or, rocks to create a barrier to hold back the substrate and then plant the mentioned genuses to keep it healthy.

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
HDBenson is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 01:36 AM
Planted Tank Guru
GraphicGr8s's Avatar
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
Posts: 4,328
I started using terra cotta pots filled with dirt then buried in the gravel. I've got dirt that's 6" in some. I've not had any adverse effects after 3 years. The one fully dirt tank I have left is 4" and still running.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
GraphicGr8s is offline  

dirt, elevation, hills, mountains

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome