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Re: Aquascaping question

> From: "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill at rt66_com>

> No doubt some of them were terraced.  I've never succeeded in keeping
> anything terraced for any length of time, so maybe someone who is
> successful with it can explain how they did it.

Me too. I did hear off-list from someone who said "...clay
flowerpots, small cinderblock and large chunks of lava rock.
Even bricks and large pieces of stone are suitable..." He said
the key is to conceal the object. He also pointed out that
putting heavy objects like bricks and stones is not that bad,
since "water weighs around 8-1/2 lbs per gallon" and the
stones are just a few pounds more.

I started thinking more about the details and that's when my
head started to hurt. :-)

My head really started reeling when I walked into the office
this afternoon and found a copy of Amano's Nature Aquarium
World Book 2 that a friend at work (and APD subscriber) had
left for me. Ow!

As Roger said, keeping terraces in place can be really tricky.
One idea I had for deep background terracing is to use 4-sided
plexiglass compartments, to rest the compartment on a thin
layer of substrate so roots could spread out, but use the walls
to maintain the structure of the terrace. And since the
plexiglass would be transparent, I could get away with exposing
some of it. The compartments could be constructed to
various shapes, heights, and sizes to give the tank a natural look.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to work with plexiglass.
I'm not terribly handy .... :-)

What about creating gentle slopes? That's trickier, I think,
and I'd love to hear how others have done it. Perhaps it could
be accomplished by using some kind of plastic mesh?

> > - - Does a very thick substrate cause anaerobic conditions
> >     that could be unhealthy?
> In my experience most plants seek out and thrive with an anaerobic
> substrate.  Just the same, there are limits.  I wouldn't want all of the
> substrate to be anaerobic.

Thanks, I didn't realize that.

> I seem to recall that one of the large tanks in the
> 2000 AGA contest had a construction on the back and sides that appears
> to be of styrofoam or something similar.

Yes, that's why I wondered if there was widespread
use of styrofoam. But I would be hesitant to use it too.

> > For someone who does not use CO2 and fertilizes sparingly,
> > I'm fairly happy with the plant growth rate. ...
> I'm glad you're happy with your tank.  Lack of CO2 and sparing
> fertilizer may be why the lower leaves of your stem plants look a little
> ratty.  Those factors (taken together) keep the lower leaves on stem
> plants looking better than they would otherwise.

> A common practice is to stagger the height of plants from high in back
> to low in front so that plants at the front obscure the lower leaves on
> the background plants.  That way the lower leaves on the background
> plants can get pretty ratty and no one notices.

Yes,  I suspected that not using CO2 was part of the reason
why my lower stems looked so pathetic. But by elevating the
height of the substrate at the back of the tank, I could possibly
alleviate some of that problem.

I have done what you suggested, staggering the height of
plants, but it becomes a problem when I have to trim them.
All the good stuff at the top is cut off. What I ended up doing
was pulling out the lower parts, roots and lower stems, and
replanting cuttings of the higher parts. That resulted in
losing some very nice root growth.

Well, major aquascaping will take a lot of planning-out.
I don't want to dive into it immediately because my fish (who
rule at home) will just get upset with me. If I am able to achieve
any decent results, I'll be sure to let y'all know. And I'm interested,
very interested, in hearing about more tips from the gurus
on this list.

BTW, does anyone know how Mr. Amano manages to grow
M. micranthemoides on rocks???


Shireen Gonzaga
Baltimore, MD
whimbrel at home_com