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How do you make a hill in dirted tank?

3663 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  cross7fu
I'm planning to build a dirted tank, and I've read about the dirt and sand that caps the dirt should be around 1 1/2 inches deep so the oxygen can go through them, but I want to make a hill at the corner, so can I put gravels under the dirt and sand? The gravels would have more space in between than dirt and sand so it shouldn't be a problem for oxygen to run through it, does it sound like a good idea?
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That won't work because the dirt and sand will eventually settle into the spaces you mentioned and the gravel will be on top or at least show through. I haven't tried it myself but maybe you could try to prevent this by covering the gravel with a fine mesh before you add the dirt and sand. Good luck.
Some people make Styrofoam cut outs or plastic shelf to set it on, ive never tried that. But i have used ceramic rings for a filter to make a hill on. Used them as the base and then put soil over the top. raised it maybe to 6"s or so.
How about something inert like slate tile for flooring to build up the area? Reasonably cheap and moderately easy to cut. Styrofoam has a mean way of coming unglued from the tank and shooting up. Sometimes it can take out a glass top or light.
You can use eggcrate to make a base for the hill. Just zip tie the pieces together and cover it with the substrate.
You can use eggcrate to make a base for the hill. Just zip tie the pieces together and cover it with the substrate.
I have done that. Stack pieces of eggcrate and then cover the top with a fine mesh or screen. Makes good hills and terraces.
Actually it is possible & if you check my tank journal "Kahawai", you can see that your concept of hill building in the corner of your tank has been done. The only difference is I used AS Amazonia normal instead of dirt & AS powder instead of your dirt cap material. I used quartz gravel as the substrate base filler and most importantly, incorporated rockwork to maintain elevations. The groundcover's root network is also necessary to keep the slope intact long term. Good luck & post pics if you decide to pursue this idea in your scape. :bounce:
Almost all "hills" in an aquarium will slowly level themselves. The particles just naturally migrate down slope. This is also true for terrestrial hills, but the leveling takes a long time. Many of us rescape our tank every few months to a year anyway, so the leveling isn't always a problem. If you were to put a rock in the tank, and put the substrate on top of it, to form the hill, eventually the rock would stick out of the nearly level substrate. That is just how nature works.
You guys gave me some great ideas, I like the eggcrate idea, I have a big piece at home, I could build some little boxes, put them together like stairs, and pour dirt on it to make the hill. I'm thinking either I use gravels or eggcrate I'll put a window screen on it to keep the dirt from going in between them.

But then that leaves me a new question: should I put anything inside the eggcrate? Maybe I should fill it with gravels, in case the window screen collapsed by the weight of the dirt?

I agree with the levelling, but it would stay longer if it is a gradual slope right? BTW I'm not sure how long the dirt's nutrition can last, 2 years tops I guess, so I think it won't be a big problem.

I like your tank BeastMaster, actually I've seen Amano did a concave aquascape before, he barricaded the two corners with rocks, pour gravels into them before the soil to reach the height, that's how I got the idea, but I'm not sure if dirt would work the same way, I guess there only one way to find out.
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