Maintaining a Sloped Substrate?

MDP91

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Good evening all,

I'm planning on setting up a Scapers 55L Nano this week, I have a whole heap of Tropica substrate along with quite bit of Seiryu stone and some lovely wood I've picked up.

I'd really like to bank the rear of the tank, or perhaps to one corner. Using the rocks alone to support the substrate, will that be enough to prevent it from flattering out eventually or do people use of techniques to support it? It won't be a huge slope, just a moderate one to add perspective as often seen.

Many thanks,
Mark
 

alto

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Because I’m a great Filipe Oliveira fan :D


he answers the slope question in this video (maybe near the end )
 

Tim Harrison

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It really depends on how you position your rocks. I've managed it successfully with just rocks and a few well placed slate substrate supports. Once plants are established and have sent down roots they will act as slope stabilisers as well ...

 
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In this Green Aqua vid they talk about using rocks as terraces. I be used lava rock for this purpose before now (then mini landscape for the visible rocks).

 

Conort2

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I used rocks and bags of gravel underneath as supports. Failed miserably as I have a large shoal of corydoras. I pretty much have a level substrate now with exposed bags of gravel! Rescape is definitely in order.

So this method is normally fine with the usual aqua scaping stock of small shoalers but might need a bit of a rethink with certain bottom dwellers.

Cheers

Conor
 
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I use small pieces of correx (corrugated plastic board) to act as baffles in the substrate. TGM used to sell this as 'substrate supports' but correx works the same.
ed736208d5ca75892e67d914ad6ca7ca.jpg


I also use lava stones beneath the substrate to give some height.

Oscar :)
 

Simon Cole

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I cap any soil/substrate with crushed basalt. The capping is so platy and interlocking that you can sit huge rocks on top and the slope is maintained. It all comes down to soil mechanics. Once I tried this I never looked back.
 

Simon Cole

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@alto - Why don't you order a bit. It looks wonderful under the microscope and has that wonderful mineral smell that you get when you are exploring an old mine. It seems to hold the plants down better and they grow about twice as big (probably because it's denser and well packed. (Grain size: 2 to 3 mm). They root right into it. My fish can never get down to it because the bottom is usually carpeted. Perhaps just put it under the rocks.

Warming! It can contribute towards Volvic mineral water syndrome. Water will filter through mineral rich layers of crushed volcanic rocks resulting in a constant and specific mineral composition. Both your fish and plants may feel revitalised and reinvigorated.

I'll get a few photographs done.
 

alto

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Volvic mineral water syndrome
:lol:

I used to buy this occasionally before going plastic water bottle “free”
Funny how straws got The Ban (though I can still buy some packs in the odd local shop) while plastic water etc bottles continue on their merry path of non-recycleation
 

Simon Cole

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Tell me about it. Every time that I order a McDonalds Mocha Frappé I can only get half way through before my cardboard straw completely bungs up. I am now going to have to bring my own straw - probably just some old siphon tubing. :D

So here are some pictures of black basalt supporting a large 4kg Cornish Slate slab at a depth of 6". I have happily gone up to 12" in the past. The slope behind the rock is about 1 in 3 - so it has an impressive hold and has not slipped down one bit, even with Hydrocotyle japonica planted into the slope. Don't mind the algae in the photograph - the tank is on it's last stage of cycling and has been bombarded with macro nutrients. You can put aquasoil underneath the crushed basalt and it will still knit together and hold heavy weights without slipping.
All of my plants go mental with it. For carpeting plants I actually put aquasoil beneath a thin layer of Tropica substrate, and then I add a 5mm layer of the crushed basalt on top. The small roots of Hemianthus Cuba immediately hit the substrate and go mental. The substrate is like a soft clay that falls down into the aquasoil, and boom, deep rooted plants also are in heaven. My corydoras fish tend to hover above the carpeting plants, but you could put something softer down on top of it if you keep things a bit bare. It seems to be just light enough to siphon out. It is quite sharp, so I tend to take my time when hardscaping or breaking down a tank. Plus the dust you get with it is probably a good thing. Like a sort of crushed volcanic dust the people sometimes use for orchids and as a soil improver.

Really, I think that the best thing I could do is to send you a bit in the post @alto . I wish I had a camera that could show you the structure. It might just be your cup of tea - although I have to admit, you rarely see people planting in layers. the hold on plant cuttings as opposed to an aquasoil is immense.
 

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zozo

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Lately needed to make a rather high slope 22 cm all the way from the bottom going emersed.. And i found an old bag of filter lava dark color (not red) in the shed i used in a pond filter. Irregular shaped chunks of lava ranging from 15 to 40mm in size. You can stack it into a pyramid for example and it hooks firmly togehter, no glue needed. It stands on its own.. I used this to bank up what i needed and capped it with a 3 cm layer of fine gravel. Where the bigger plants should be planted that need to be planted deeper i left some pot hole in the lava base to be able to plant a tad deeper.

The plant roots will grow into the porous lava and hold it even firmer together. It will never ever slide. Maybe the top layer if you flood to soon before all carpeting is rooted properly.

imho using lava has some more intersting properties, a pile of stacked lava rocks provides a labirynth of nooks and cranies. I made cave structures with some decorative rocks and didn't cap the inside of the cave. To provide an antrance to the lava labyrinth for shrimp fry and other micro organsime.

I got this idea with monitoring micro orgasme behaivor in my garden tubs.. At times they looked empty, but looking realy close they where still full of live but all was where the food is close to the bottom grazing the detritus. The watercolumn didn't provide food, the detritus on the bottom does.

Now i threw a lot of that organsime into that scape (still fishless and starting up). And indeed 3 days later i saw non of it back as iff all were gone. Dropped in some more and again few days all gone again. But they aren't, they are in the lava labirynth where the food is. Occasinaly looking close i see some in the water column, but the number in there is far greater than what i see. The good thing is, once/if fish are added, they can not get to the micro organisme, only what dares to come out of the labirynth serves as food. The rest can go on do their thing and propagate undisrupted. :)

This eliminates the theory not creating open pockets in the substrate to prevent detritus accumulating and rot. Maybe true if you hermetically seal off the pockets with a capping. But if you make sure it aint hermetically sealed off so micro organisme can get in, it only adds to the biological diversity of your aquarium rendering the detritus in your substarte to something usefull.

That's the only way to for example keep Daphnia, Rotifers etc. population alive and breeding in a tank together with fish. :thumbup:

Sure, you can use other materials than lava to adchieve the same structure.. Lava has my personal prefernce because its easier on the plants rooting. :)
 
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Simon Cole

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@zozo I have noticed the exact same thing. For some reason these volcanic rocks seem to cause a massive boom in micro invertebrate populations. I'm sure that I have two different Copepod species and Ostracoda. They seem to get into every nook and cranny throughout the basalt. During the day they swarm allover algae on the side of the tank, and I reckon they have been eating most of the diatoms. I almost feel guilty adding livestock.
 

Tom Michael

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Interesting thread - does Lava rock have any impact on water i.e. does it release minerals/micro nutrients into the water column. presumably because it is porous there is more opportunity for micro life to develop in the aquarium rather than just in the filter? I have just flooded an aquarium where my only hardscape is black lava, added 15 amano shrimp and I only see 2-3 at a time. either I have killed them off or they are hiding in the various holes and caves!
 

zozo

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does Lava rock have any impact on water i.e. does it release minerals/micro nutrients into the water column.
No it's 100% inert.. :)

amano shrimp and I only see 2-3 at a time. either I have killed them off or they are hiding in the various holes and caves!
Could be the love the dwel in caves.. Or in case your aqaurium is open top they love to go for a walk outside and never return..

Over the years i believe i had about 45 Amano's, only 4 died of old age, the rest escaped. Since i only do open top i never buy Amano's again.. Cherries don't do this.. At least not so often and breed faster than they die..
 
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The nice thing about Lava Rock is it’s quite easy to chip out your own hollows into it for planting. I used a hammer and small chisel.
 

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