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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys here is my 36G bow front tank.. I want to do 2 cliffs on each side kind of like this aquascape by James findley called Altitude



I watched the videos on it

My question is, How do i build the layers of dirt on each side with out having issues with gas pockets?? I will be using MGOPM for my substrate and was thinking about just picking up some black gravel rocks from petsmart as a cap and to help out with my budget on the new tank. Any help or ideas would be great..

Here is a picture of the 36g bow front

 

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Well as I understand (watched the video more than my share great video) he adds those various powders to the bottom before adding the substrate to promote beneficial bacteria in those deep areas. I'm not that far along to really understand or apply that, but It looks expensive. I would rather try building some kind of sealed base that I could thow 2-3 inch's of substrate over to give the same effect and not worry about the anaerobic condition's
 

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Well as I understand (watched the video more than my share great video) he adds those various powders to the bottom before adding the substrate to promote beneficial bacteria in those deep areas. I'm not that far along to really understand or apply that, but It looks expensive. I would rather try building some kind of sealed base that I could thow 2-3 inch's of substrate over to give the same effect and not worry about the anaerobic condition's
The powders amount to snake oil.

I think the important aspect is have a very large particle size to build up the height.

If anything though, using a mixture of sized granules increases the rate of compaction! Think of it this way: When you have a bunch of basketballs all of the same size and mix in tennis balls, the tennisballs fill in the gaps between the basketballs and make the combination more dense. Same with gravel...

Additionally they wrongly state that having more BB helps prevent anaerobic conditions when infact it is this very aerobic bacteria that consume the oxygen and cause anaerobic spots in the first place.
 

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The powders amount to snake oil.

I think the important aspect is have a very large particle size to build up the height.

If anything though, using a mixture of sized granules increases the rate of compaction! Think of it this way: When you have a bunch of basketballs all of the same size and mix in tennis balls, the tennisballs fill in the gaps between the basketballs and make the combination more dense. Same with gravel...

Additionally they wrongly state that having more BB helps prevent anaerobic conditions when infact it is this very aerobic bacteria that consume the oxygen and cause anaerobic spots in the first place.
Using larger sized gravel makes sense to help but would it not still trap small anaerobic pockets. Excuse my ignorance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well as I understand (watched the video more than my share great video) he adds those various powders to the bottom before adding the substrate to promote beneficial bacteria in those deep areas. I'm not that far along to really understand or apply that, but It looks expensive. I would rather try building some kind of sealed base that I could thow 2-3 inch's of substrate over to give the same effect and not worry about the anaerobic condition's
I wasn't sure what he added either and was hoping for a easier route. I was thinking about building some type of platform so I can lay the rocks on and glue them to it and ass the substrate. But I have no clue where to start on that. Maybe I can find something at Home Depot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If anything though, using a mixture of sized granules increases the rate of compaction! Think of it this way: When you have a bunch of basketballs all of the same size and mix in tennis balls, the tennisballs fill in the gaps between the basketballs and make the combination more dense. Same with gravel.
But if I'm using gravel as a cap. Wouldn't it be fine? Like you said. It would be like having a bunch of tennis balls on the bottom and adding basketballs on top. Basketballs won't sink pass the tennis balls.

Mgopm is very fine isn't It?? I haven't open the bag I bought yet but I was assuming it has small grains due to being dirt. I just wanted to double check if gravel would work as a cap sense I don't wana spend $30 a bag for Eco complete
 

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You could just stack up lava rock. It looks like Java Fern was used so you really don't need any substrate but you could fill in little patches for other plants if you needed to.

In the video he plants stems into the substrate.

The issue with MGOPS is that there is no way to prevent anaerobic spots really. The particle size is much too small. In the video they show a few shots of the back of the tank and it shows that the particles they use are relatively large although it has a large number of smaller particles interspersed amongst them..


It could work I think with using some large particle substrate like hydroton to build up the majority of it and then covering that subsequently with aquasoil. I would worry about mgops just falling through the cracks over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
You could just stack up lava rock. It looks like Java Fern was used so you really don't need any substrate but you could fill in little patches for other plants if you needed to.
I don't wana spend money on the Lava rock.. its about $2 dollars a lb here at my local shop and it wont fit my budget. I was thinking about taking some rocks from the yard and trying to achieve the scape.. I wasn't sure how this would work since my substrate is MGOPM. I was thinking about using foam as another user I saw did to fill it the gaps and then just add substrate to area's I want to plant.. but I am unsure if i can handle that type of challenge with this being my first scape tank.

It could work I think with using some large particle substrate like hydroton to build up the majority of it and then covering that subsequently with aquasoil. I would worry about mgops just falling through the cracks over time.
thats what I am worried about too.. I am aim for the foam solution..

--So I wasn't sure if anyone answered or not but can I use gravel as a cap for the MGOPM???

--Does anyone know the plants that he is using in the video and if it is a high light plant is there another alternative to a low light easy growing plant that will look the same or close to it?? I don't want to copy the tank completely just using the layout of the scape and subing it with different items.
 

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Figured I'd throw this out ...I,too ,have spent far too much time watching that video . My thought is to use Findley's concept in a 45 gal. I've got . Even though I won't be getting it set up until the Fall after some construction on my place is done , I haven't been able to keep from playing with some conceptual design work . One of my thoughts was to build the cliffs from some local sandstone that I picked up a few miles from my place . Went out and picked some up , and tried stacking it into cliffs on top of some egg crate light diffuser to distribute the weight of the stone . Scratched that idea as the stonework was IMHO just getting too heavy . Looking at the rocks in your pix , maybe you have the same problem . The tank Findley's using is a rimless , the bottom sits flush with the top of the stand so rock loads can be transferred through the glass to the top of the stand , assuming there's no high spots in the stand and no serious point loads from the stone . The problem with framed tanks is that the bottom glass is supported by the lower frame about 1/4" or so off the stand's top . I just don't know how much weight it can take . I considered filling the void below the tank bottom with foam but am somewhat hesitant . Ends up I'm just going with red lava rock picked up from a landscaping supply/stone yard .
Probably I'm going to fill up the void behind the rock walls with a mesh bag filled with lava chunks or pvc pipe cutoffs ,and just use about 1-1 1/2 " of substrate above them. Maybe I'll stick some drilled PVC pipe underneath the bags and connect it to a small powerhead and use the powerhead to pull water through the substrate to prevent stagnation . Maybe run it an hour or so a day . Anyway .... now there's 2 of us agonizing over this thing .
 

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Dirt will not maintain its form over time so take some large stones from the garden to build a plateau and foundation for your targeted height. fill the MGOPM on top and inbetween the crevices and allow the plant roots to anchor and reinforce the scape.
 

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I don't wana spend money on the Lava rock.. its about $2 dollars a lb here at my local shop and it wont fit my budget. I was thinking about taking some rocks from the yard and trying to achieve the scape.. I wasn't sure how this would work since my substrate is MGOPM. I was thinking about using foam as another user I saw did to fill it the gaps and then just add substrate to area's I want to plant.. but I am unsure if i can handle that type of challenge with this being my first scape tank.
Lava rock is dirt cheap. The fish store may sell it for $2/lb but the landscaping place my sell it for less than 10 cents/lb. You don't necessarily need large pieces, you can stack a bunch of small ones up too, then you can use the stuff for fire pits and BBQ's from the hardware store.

Go any direction you want, I am just saying that Lava rock is not expensive, some places just mark it up. I have seen even more intense slopes done with crush up Aquasoil that was dried for long periods of time, then dry started.
 

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I am experimenting with a 90 degree cliff using clay bricks wrapped in needle point canvas growing moss on the cliff. It has been sect up just over 4 weeks now the CLAY (not concrete) bricks have not affected the water parameters. My moss died (must have gotten frozen in shipping) so replanting that otherwise it is looking good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You don't necessarily need large pieces, you can stack a bunch of small ones up too, then you can use the stuff for fire pits and BBQ's from the hardware store.
What are stuff for Firepits ans bbq's??


I am experimenting with a 90 degree cliff using clay bricks wrapped in needle point canvas growing moss on the cliff. It has been sect up just over 4 weeks now the CLAY (not concrete) bricks have not affected the water parameters. My moss died (must have gotten frozen in shipping) so replanting that otherwise it is looking good.
Sounds sweet. Got any photos?

Yea go to lowes or home depot to buy rocks and stones, they are dirt cheap. This is probably where the fish store got them, they washed them then slapped $2 a lb on them and said have fun.
I've been to Home Depot. All they have is bricks and stepping stones. No rocks. I'll maybe try lowes?? Or google a landscaping business
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Okie so My goal would be to find the lava rocks. And then I was thinking about the foam filler for the bottom and build the foam up to a good height.(still need to research this foam. The person I saw did it used appoxy and covered it with sand) Then use a layer of the small lava rocks. Top it with MGOPM and then cap that with gravel (unless you guys think I should spend the extra cash on Eco complete but If gravel works I'd rather use gravel for the cheapness of it.) is there a better (cheap) alternative to gravel that would work better??
 
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