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Hills with DSM and soil\clay

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  • Hills with DSM and soil\clay

    I'm redoing my scape and need some advice on how to build a maintainable hillside.
    I have a large wood piece that i need anchor down to a piece of slate. This piece would look best if it was around 8" higher than the bottom so I want to build a terrace of sorts out of other wood pieces. My substrate will be soil\clay with a flourite black sand cap. I have seen examples on using egg crate and\or bags of inert material (old substrate) to build from. I'm looking for input or examples on what would be the best way to go on this.

    Also, since I'm doing DSM, I want to plant this hillside in HC. Since this will be above the water level, I was wondering which technique would be required to keep the HC from drying out. Daily misting? reptile humidifer?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Dutch; 03-06-2012, 01:10 AM.

  • #2
    Just DSM part of the tank, or moist and soak the soil first. Then mist daily, Capillary action will pull up maybe 3- inches. Not as much with large diameter sand grains though, the smaller, the better.


    • #3
      Thanks Tom

      I plan on mixing the soil and clay together wet before laying it down. I'll be misting daily as needed to keep the elevations wet down.

      I've been toying around with an idea to use a large candle wick that would extend down a little past the substrate top in the lowest elevation and hang it outside the tank. This would hopefully wick out the excess water (if any) and keep the water from pooling in the lower substrate areas?

      I'm also thinking of using my old substrate for the cap. I have a ton of the substrate that would have a much better CEC over the black diamond blasting compound. I've had to rethink my decision on getting the flourite black sand, rather spend that money on plants =)


      I've decide to go with that black diamond blasting compound and try it. I will place some nylon mesh over the soil before adding the cap to keep the dirt in place.
      Last edited by Dutch; 03-07-2012, 08:45 PM.


      • #4
        More questions:

        1. I noticed that some of my plants were turning a little yellow on the leaves, I'm thinking they are not being kept wet enough or is this a sign of them lacking something? i mist them 3 or 4 times a day with some EI water from another tank. Seems to be only on the plants on the hill sides, hence my thoughts on not keeping the soil wet enough?

        2. Since I am added a lot of water to keep the hills moist (about a quart a day in misting), I have rigged up some air line and an aqualifter to pull the excess water out. I drain just enough to keep the water from pooling on top of the sand. The water that comes out has a yellow tint to it and smells bad at times. Wondering if this will "flush" out the all the good stuff from the dirt with this constant soak and draining, and I was wondering about the smell, is this from the soil breaking down and mineralizing?



        • #5
          (moved to new thread)
          Last edited by Dutch; 04-09-2012, 06:29 PM.