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RE: Terraced Substrates and Aquascaping

Hi Roger,
      I just finished an article on just such an idea! Anyway, here some of
the ideas:

By using a glass slats say 6x12 inches say 1/4-1/2 thick and gluing cork to
one side(the side facing out or the front of the step.......... so to speak)
and attaching Anubias,java fern etc to the cork which works very easily 
you'll get a beautiful terraced step that LIVES! Bolbtis is great but can
get ominously large. Trimmed down it can be trained somewhat...........but
it makes an ideal plant due to the dark contrasting color. 
      These cork backed slats can be made out of any sinking  material that
is suitable for aquarium The cork is very cheap and easy to use. There are
many other uses for cork to give a 3-D effect. The cork is the dark brown
stuff about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick sold in arts and crafts stores or hardware
stores. For attachment, I use bendable steel wire cut in an "U" shape nail
at any needed length, place the plant inside this "U" and insert into the
cork gently.  
       By gluing a rectangular box say 3x3x16H of cork and attaching
Anubias(or whatever grows well attached) to these "columns" of cork one can
achieve very dramatic effects growing say a low growing plant such as
Glossostigma on the ground and have these columns poking out like trees is a
Bonsai forest. Please do odd numbers of "Trees" for the true Bonsai effect
       My whole back wall on my own tanks have cork on them and are packed
with plants. No need for Amano's black backgrounds. I'm American and more is
better<g>!!! No , I do have a tank with a black back ground also. It's ALL
good IMHO. The sky's the limit with using the cork.

I have used and collected driftwood for well over 20 years now and the
cork/plant style makes everything dulpicatible. Often, I'd find a great
piece of driftwood but it was one of a kind. I needed something I didn't
mind covering with plants and also I didn't mind parting with if someone
wanted to buy it or do it themselves. But it has grown into a style of its
own. Caves, walls, terraces, topiary, glued to pipes, filter equipment,
heaters etc can be built cheap, beautifully, by anybody. Most of your
attached plants grow slow and don't need much light so they are ideal
candidates for the darker recesses of your tank and this cuts down on extra
trimming and maintenance 

Hope this gives some ideas for you folks to play with!
Tom Barr             AGA