Techniques for retaining soil in island style aquascapes . . .

Wookii

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Hi guys,

I'm keen to discover any innovate techniques for retaining the soil in island style aquascapes that have a thin layer of surrounding cosmetic sand, like these:

1600429717545.png


Obviously I'm aware the outer boundry is essentially a wall of rocks, but how do people stop soil leaking through any tiny gaps?

I've seen some suggestions of plugging gaps with filter floss, but how do you stop that being visible in a smaller tank where you might not have the space to make the wall three layer deep? Another option I guess is using something like Oase Foamfix?

I'm wondering whether a holding layer of stainless or plastic mesh behind the front rocks might work, or even lining the back of the rock with stocking fabric to retain the soil.

This is obviously a well trodden path in aquascape design, but I can find precious little on the web in terms of construction design.
 

Jayefc1

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I've used the oase foam before that works pretty well but is hard to get off hard scape if you want to reuse filter floss works and is hardly visible once it gets dirty even in a smaller tank I used it in a 45p you could alway use the stocking ot tight method to contain as much as possible but your going to want a layer on top maybe a little of all 3 methods stocking to hold the soil in place foam to fill larger gaps and hold hardscape In place and floss for the smaller gaps dont think there is an alternative method
 

Tim Harrison

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I pretty much bond the rocks together or construct the hardscape in such a way that hopefully it won't move too much and then pack it out with filter floss from behind so that it's hidden as much as possible. I've also filled tights with substrate or fine gravel before and used that as an additional barrier.
 

Wookii

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I've seen a scaping guide where they stuffed substrate in tights, then used this like a barrier, behind the. Guess bonding the rock helps too.

Yep, I’ve seen Tim post before doing that method, but I think I’d need something thinner as a barrier to take up less space.

Top top, fishnet tights dont work ;)

Depends on who’s wearing ‘em! :p
 

Wookii

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I've used the oase foam before that works pretty well but is hard to get off hard scape if you want to reuse filter floss works and is hardly visible once it gets dirty even in a smaller tank I used it in a 45p you could alway use the stocking ot tight method to contain as much as possible but your going to want a layer on top maybe a little of all 3 methods stocking to hold the soil in place foam to fill larger gaps and hold hardscape In place and floss for the smaller gaps dont think there is an alternative method

That’s probably what I’ll end up doing Jay, a mixture of all three.

Whats it like getting the Foamfix off glass? Is it easy stuff to work with?
 

Wookii

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I pretty much bond the rocks together or construct the hardscape in such a way that hopefully it won't move too much and then pack it out with filter floss from behind so that it's hidden as much as possible. I've also filled tights with substrate or fine gravel before and used that as an additional barrier.

How do you deal with any floss that’s visible from the front Tim, just add extra stone until you can’t see it, or some other trick?
 

Jayefc1

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The foam comes off glass pretty easy ot was the rocks it made a bit of a mess of it was easy to work with once you get used to it
 

Wookii

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I've used the oase foam before that works pretty well but is hard to get off hard scape if you want to reuse filter floss works and is hardly visible once it gets dirty even in a smaller tank I used it in a 45p you could alway use the stocking ot tight method to contain as much as possible but your going to want a layer on top maybe a little of all 3 methods stocking to hold the soil in place foam to fill larger gaps and hold hardscape In place and floss for the smaller gaps dont think there is an alternative method

Jay, Can I ask you a few question on the FoamFix; is it a single use product? I.e. once you start using it, you’ve got a limited period of time to use the whole can, or can you use half, and then store it and use the other half a year later for example (I appreciate you’d need a new nozzle).

Also, does it bond well onto glass, for emails if you want to secure a rock partially to the glass?

Finally when you say it’s hard to get off hardscape when you later rescape, does it actually come off, or does it leave a bit of a mess that’s pretty much permanent?
 

Wookii

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Also another quick question to the group - is the foam matting that you typically place between the tank and stand, suitable for using inside the aquarium to protect the glass from the rocks?
 

alto

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foam matting that you typically place between the tank and stand, suitable for using inside the aquarium
That would entirely depend on foam quality and manufacture process
(I’d wonder about leaching, foam breakdown (especially via bacterial process))

Most professional aquascapes seem to either place rock directly on glass - what is your concern in not placing rock directly on glass? - or on substrate
 

Wookii

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That would entirely depend on foam quality and manufacture process
(I’d wonder about leaching, foam breakdown (especially via bacterial process))

Most professional aquascapes seem to either place rock directly on glass - what is your concern in not placing rock directly on glass? - or on substrate

Just to prevent damage to the glass I guess. I know it wouldn’t be seen anyway, but . . .
 

alto

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Unless you have a large rock sitting on a single thin sharp edge, I don’t see this a likely scenario ... but do as you see best (of course)
:)
 

Wookii

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Unless you have a large rock sitting on a single thin sharp edge, I don’t see this a likely scenario ... but do as you see best (of course)
:)

As you say, I don’t want to risk the leaching from a foam of unknown composition, so I’ll go straight onto the glass :thumbup:
 

alto

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Lots of water changes will help offset any leaching issues - mostly I’d avoid the possibility if keeping delicate shrimp species (and possibly more sensitive wild caught fish)


I don’t see much reason for not placing most rocks on glass (though admit I mostly place on substrate as my rocks are short ;) AND I don’t keep any serious substrate sifting/tunnelling fish) and I prefer to not introduce unknowns into my aquariums out of (excess) caution ... but then I’ve had incredibly “bad luck” more than once so now tend to the (ultra)conservative
 

Jayefc1

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it a single use product
I've used mine 2 times about 6 months apart so I guess its not a single use
Also, does it bond well onto glass,
It bonded well for me i used the osae pond foam and it was pretty secure
Finally when you say it’s hard to get off hardscape when you later rescape, does it actually come off, or does it leave a bit of a mess that’s pretty much permanent?
It is hard to get all the black marks off the rocks but it will come off with a wire brush and if it didn't I just chipped the little black bits off with a hammer and chisel
Hope this helps
 
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