maintaining substrate depths?


So how do you do it? I keep trying to keep the substrate 2-3 inches at the back of the tank and only 1 1/2 or so at the front. Partially because I put plants that need deeper substrate at the back, and partially for the look... but regardless, after a very short time it seems to try to 'level' itself again. Which means the plants at the back begin having their roots exposed.

Plus I'd like to try a 'real aquascape' at some point and most of them have varying depths, and the appearance of height towards the back (minI 'mountains' and all). How do people get this to work? Or is it just a constant battle to keep the tank's 'scape the way you want?


IME it is an ever changing battle. Between the fish digging and the water currents leveling out the substrate, one day it is very rippled and the next flat as a board. I too tried to keep the front gravel very low, but gave up on it. For me, it is more sane to not fight what wants to happen naturally in my tank.


It's just a constant battle. I've tried having the gravel higher in the back, lower in the front, but it just doesn't stay. I just set up a crab habitat and was so proud of the sloped substrate. As soon as I filled it, the whole thing changed. Still sloped like it needs to be, but nothing like it was. So I just let it do what it wants to do rather than spends hours trying to fix it.

I do have a friend who has a lovely tank kind of like you were describing, with gravel mountains in the back and varying depths throughout. I have no idea how they get it to stay like that. Underwater glue maybe? If you can figure out how to get it to stay, it is a beautiful set up.


I tried having different depths and little mountains in my substrate..... one day later flat as a pancake. But I console myself with the fact that when I am trying to create some variation I am giving the substrate a good old cleaning at the same time!
  • Thread Starter


Lots of those fancy aquascapes have rocks rising out of the back with gravel between them to create a much higher level then is at the front of the tank. Even though I know it would restrict swim-room and the amount of water in the tank, I love the look and want to try it... but maintaining that appearance *shrug* that could be the hard part

console myself with the fact that when I am trying to create some variation I am giving the substrate a good old cleaning at the same time!
lol--so true Brainlady!


I've done it w/ success. The key is using something too deflect the current in your tank. When you water change don't gravel vac and use a jar inside the tank when filling. Put your syphon inn the jar away from hills and fill slowly. For high mountain effects plastic egg crating is used. It is found inn hardware stores. The crating is filled in w/ sustrate to maintain the shape. Some people use panty hose filled w/ gravel to make hills.

Random Great Thread

Latest threads

Top Bottom