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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at some of the ADA competition entries, I noticed that many of them have tall "hills" that are planted. Like this:

http://www.cau-aqua.net/index.php?option=com_zoom&Itemid=29&page=view&catid=170&PageNo=1&key=0&hit=1

I have mounded substrate up into small hills before and it doesn't take much for it to level out over time (whether due to gravity or the fish digging or some combination.) I've also tried stacking rocks and wood together but rarely does it work out that substrate can fill in the gaps and stay in there, plus it isn't usually possible to insert plants into it.

I have also tried planting the plants at ground level and growing them up through the hardscape, but that doesn't seem to work either as the lower parts of the plant get little or no light and rot.

So how is it done? Anyone know? Any ideas?

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
But if the plants are planted deeply between rocks and wood, the lower part of the plant gets no light and it doesn't last.

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Terracing has potential... I'll have to explore some ideas in that direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Generally, yes. But like in my 150g tank rescape I heaped the substrate and laid the wood along it. The three ECHINODORUS PARVIFLORUS 'TROPICA' are planted on that slope. I don't have a picture of it today, but after a month or so, much of that substrate has flattened out and there is now a large gap between the substrate bed and the wood. I'm sure it's a combination of fish action and water movement (though not vacuuming as that area isn't really reachable for that.) This is a fairly short, shallow slope and uses a substrate that seems to hold the topology better than what I used to use, but in the end, it's still not holding its shape really.

I know that the photos we see are a moment in time, and some of those layouts don't last more than a few months, but if it's possible, I'd like to know what the trick is. The terracing idea is good because it uses thin material to hold the substrate at eat level so it doesn't interfere with planting like buying rocks does. I've had some success doing that, but it always results in spots I can't plant in because the rock is just below the surface and nothing I do keeps substrate piled on top of it to any reasonable depth.

Michael
 
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