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Can I have elevations using dirt substrate?

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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?
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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.
 

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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.
 

· Pixel Prestidigitator
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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.
 
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