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Relief on the substrate surface is a very important part of the layout in
many of the tanks in Amano's books - or at least in the larger tanks.
Robert H. pointed out that terracing to get relief on the surface is an
important part of Dutch aquaria too, though I have to admit that I've
never actually noticed it in the few photos I've seen.

My problem is that I've never found a natural-looking way of building
terraced substrates so that the terraces don't flatten out after a while.
Every one of my attempts has gone completely flat; it usually takes only a
few months.

Can anyone here give me ideas on how to build terraces or other sorts of
relief into a substrate so that it both looks natural and stays in place?

Roger Miller