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Terracing made easy!!
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harshal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:25 pm Post subject: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 For  a  long  time  now  I  have  wanted  to  aquascape  the  tank  in  a  very  different  way.  The  idea  was  to  use  maximum  amount  of  low  growing  plants  and  not  to  scape  it  at  the  same  level.  The  problem  I  had  was  on  a  longer  run  the  gravel  when  put  on  different  levels  slowly  becomes  uniform  if  not  supported,  over  11  months  now  that’s  exactly  what’s  happened  in  my  big  tank,  that’s  when  I  decided  to  use  some  material  to  support  the  terraces  made  and  keep  the  gravel  in  place.  
   Â   Â The  Idea  was  to  use  a  material  which  would  
   Â   1.Have  no  effect  on  the  water  quality  of  the  aquarium.
   Â   2.No  harmful  effects  on  the  fish  and  the  plants.
   Â   3.Cheaply  and  easily  available.
   Â   4.Easy  to  work  with,  since  I  wanted  curves,  bends  and  different  lengths.
   Â   5.Had  to  be  strong  enough  to  support  the  pressure  exerted  by  the  water  and  the  gravel.
   Â   6.The  material  should  not  be  visible  once  the  terracing  is  complete.
   Â   7.Should  not  occupy  too  much  space.
 
   Â   This  is  when  I  decided  to  use  Acrylic  sheets  (2mm  width).  The  great  part  of  using  these  sheets  is  they  are  very  easy  to  work  with  they  can  be  easily  cut  and  bent  into  what  ever  shape  you  desire  with  very  little  effort,  you  have  to  just  do  it  the  right  way.  Â Things  you  require  to  use  Acrylic  this  way  are
   Â   1.Any  sharp  blade,  i.e.  Â paper  cutter,  knife,  shaving  blade  etc
   Â   2.A  candle.
   Â   3.Dry  cloth  that  you  can  throw  away  later.
   Â   4.A  scale  and  pencil.
   Â   5.Most  Important,  Imagination!!!  Smile
 
   Â   Now  the  best  way  to  approach  it  is  to  have  a  definite  plan  for  the  way  you  want  to  build  these  terraces.  Once  you  have  this  figured  out  the  rest  is  fairly  simple.  
   Â 
   Â CUTTING  ACRYLIC  SHEETS  Â   Â   
   Â   Â   
   Â   Â   Start  by  making  out  the  dimensions  of  the  supports  on  the  acrylic  sheet.  Once  you  do  that  using  a  sharp  blade  and  a  scale  to  support  run  the  blade  on  these  lines.  This  is  basically  done  to  make  a  fracture  on  the  acrylic  sheet  and  not  to  cut  it.  Now  using  an  elevated  area  place  the  sheet  along  these  lines  and  hit  them  with  a  hammer  or  your  hands  and  they  will  break  exactly  along  these  lines.  Remember  here  to  hit  it  close  to  these  lines  so  they  break  neatly  leaving  the  other  piece  intact.  Of  course  life  can  be  made  very  simple  if  you  can  get  an  acrylic  sheet  cutter  but  its  not  a  must.  I  did  it  using  a  paper  cutter.  This  is  shown  in  pictures  1  and  2.
 
     BENDING  ACRYLIC  SHEETS    Â   
   Â   
   Â   Â   Â This  is  a  very  simple  thing  to  do  acrylic  can  be  bent  very  easily  by  heating  the  sheet  and  applying  pressure  with  your  hands.  A  candle  works  very  well  as  a  heat  source  for  this  purpose.  Now  for  example  you  want  to  make  a  â€œL”  bend  with  the  arms  at  x  and  y  lengths  and  the  height  at  z  inches,  first  cut  out  a  piece  which  is  z  inches  high  and  x+y  inches  long.  Now  just  draw  a  line  on  this  sheet  so  that  you  have  divided  it  at  x  and  y  inches  and  use  a  blade  to  mark  lightly,  this  is  done  so  that  you  have  a  guide  as  to  where  the  bend  needs  to  be  made.  Now  use  the  candle  to  heat  along  the  complete  height  of  the  line  dividing  the  2  lengths.  Apply  heat  for  about  a  minute  all  along  this  line  while  you  are  doing  this  use  pressure  to  start  bending  the  sheet.  In  a  minute  or  so  you  will  have  your  â€œL”  bend  ready  now  keep  it  under  pressure  till  it  cools.  Here  you  can  put  it  under  running  water  to  cool  it  faster.  The  candle  might  leave  black  soot  this  can  be  easily  removed  by  whipping  it  with  a  dry  cloth.  The  same  method  can  be  applied  for  making  a  curve.  This  is  depicted  in  picture  3.
 
 PLACING  THE  SHEETS  IN  THE  TANK  Â     Â   Â 
   Â   Â   
   Â   Â To  place  these  sheets  you  first  need  to  build  the  bottom  1  inch  of  your  substrate  it  could  be  laterite  or  red  mud  or  gravel  what  ever  the  media.  Using  this  1inch  of  substrate  push  the  sheets  in  places  where  you  desire  and  the  start  to  put  in  the  gravel  accordingly.  This  way  the  sheets  will  remain  where  you  want  them  to  be.  Â 
 
     POINTS  TO  REMEMBER
   
   Â   1.If  you  plan  on  a  high  gradient  for  the  slopes  then  put  some  supports  at  regular  intervals  so  that  the  slope  is  maintained.  As  can  be  seen  in  4th  picture.
   Â   2.Keep  the  acrylic  sheet  about  quarter  of  an  inch  higher  than  the  gravel  this  will  anyways  be  covered  by  the  plants  once  they  start  to  grow.  This  also  helps  in  maintaining  plants  in  one  particular  area  so  they  don’t  inter  mingle  with  each  other.  This  really  helps  in  cases  where  the  plants  propagate  by  runners.  And  since  one  has  a  visual  boundary  just  in  case  any  plants  goes  beyond  this  you  can  trim  it  away.  This  way  an  aquascape  can  be  maintained  better,  and  remains  crisp.  Also  I  have  noticed  that  some  times  I  end  up  losing  a  plant  because  it  has  got  covered  by  a  faster  growing  plant,  this  way  all  these  points  can  be  taken  care  off  making  maintenance  much  easier!!
   Â   3.You  do  get  acrylic  sheet  cutters  in  the  market  using  these  to  cut  the  acrylic  sheet  will  make  things  much  easier.
   Â   4.Use  clear  acrylic  always;  this  will  not  be  visible  in  the  tank.
   Â   5.As  the  thickness  of  acrylic  increases  so  does  the  difficulty  in  cutting  and  bending  it.  I  would  recommend  2mm  thickness  since  this  is  sturdy  enough  for  this  purpose.
   Â   6.Keep  the  paper  that  covers  these  sheets  on  them  till  you  cut  the  sheets  to  the  required  sizes  its  easier  to  mark  the  size  on  the  paper  than  on  the  sheet  itself.  Remove  the  paper  before  heating.
   Â   7.The  cost  of  2mm  clear  acrylic  sheet  is  Rs.38  /sq  foot  in  Bangalore  and  is  easily  available  on  BVK  Iyenger  road.
 
   Â   The  Idea  of  doing  this  write  up  was  since  I  found  this  to  be  very  easy  and  effective  method  of  making  terraces  thought  I  should  share  it  with  everybody.  On  top  of  this,  as  I  have  said  it  earlier,  it  is  also  a  good  way  of  defining  spaces  for  different  plants  and  makes  maintenance  much  easier.  
   Â   
   Â   Â   Happy  Aquascaping!!!!  
 
   Â Regards
   Â   Â Harshal.


Last edited by harshal on Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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harshal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:29 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi
      
    Wasnt  able  to  attach  these  earlier.  These  pics  are  of  the  intial  nad  final  build  up  of  the  terraces.
 
    Regards
       Harshal.
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shivg
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:54 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 wow,  very  imaginative.
 
 thanks  a  lot,  Harshal.
 
 i  wanted  to  do  something  like  this  with  glass  but  i  think  acrylic  sheets  is  a  better  choice.
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trevor
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:20 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Great  post  Harshal.  I  know  at  least  two  guys  who  have  got  bitten  by  the  terracing  bug  after  reading  your  article.  Smile
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:24 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Clapping  
 Nice  but  why  don't  you  make  it  an  article  and  post?
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suuresh1
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:02 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi  Harshal,
 I  confess  to  being  one  of  the  bitten  ones....great  post  dude!!!  Thumbs Up   Clapping
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brojo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:42 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 very  neat  and  cool.  now  we  will  all  wait  to  see  how  it  looks  after  you  plant  it.  what  is  the  planting  plan  if  you  could  share  it  with  us.
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rgg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:04 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi  Harshal,
   Saw  this  idea  by  Raghu  V  in  his  tank  a  couple  of  moths  back,  And  then  got  into  this  bug.
 
 Raghu
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harshal
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:58 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi  all!!
   
 @aquascapes
 
      Donot  know  how  to  make  it  into  an  article  on  the  site.....  Confused   Will  try  and  fig  it  out.
 
   @  brojo
 
      Well  the  plants  being  used  for  this  tank  are  EChinodorus  Red  Diamond,  Windelow  fern,  anubias  nana,  Blyxa  japonica,  Riccia,  willow  moss,  glossostigma  and  Potamogeton  perfoliatus.  Will  post  the  pics  soon.
 
    @trevor
 
       Thanks!!  Thats  really  good  to  know,  i  guess  it  was  a  good  decision  to  put  it  up  then   Smile   
 
   @  shivg  and  suuresh
 
      Thanks  guys!!!  Suuresh  all  the  best  with  that,  let  me  know  if  u  need  anything!  
 
    Sorry  for  the  late  reply  din't  have  acess  to  the  comp.
    
      Regards
          Harshal.
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harshal
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:06 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi  all
 
    I  am  attaching  the  pic  of  the  tank  just  1  week  after  planting.  All  the  plants  were  from  the  previous  setup.  The  empty  space  in  the  front  is  for  glooso  and  is  still  empty  Sad  so  hopfully  this  week  end  i'll  get  that  organised.  the  stones  on  the  left  is  where  i  am  planning  to  put  Eriocaulin  ans  in  between  the  moss  there  is  gonna  be  HC.
 
    Do  let  me  know  what  you  guys  think  of  the  scaping.
 
   Regards
       Harshal.
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nikhilsood1
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:16 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hey  Harshal,  nice  looking  tank.  Has  good  potential  i  must  say.  By  the  way,  is  this  your  tank  or  you  have  set  it  up  somewhere?  Where  did  you  get  the  perfoliatus  from?  Its  a  nice  looking  plant.  What  about  the  willow  moss  and  the  Eriocaulin?  Not  seen  this  stuff  with  many  people  there.
 
 Nikhil
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:17 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hey  Harshal,  nice  looking  tank.  Has  good  potential  i  must  say.  By  the  way,  is  this  your  tank  or  you  have  set  it  up  somewhere?  Where  did  you  get  the  perfoliatus  from?  Its  a  nice  looking  plant.  What  about  the  willow  moss  and  the  Eriocaulin?  Not  seen  this  stuff  with  many  people  there.
 
 Nikhil
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apollyon
Regular Poster on IAH
Regular Poster on IAH



Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 281
Location: Pune

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:37 am Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 looks  beautiful   Thumb Up  
 will  look  awesome  after  some  more  days!
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harshal
Regular Poster on IAH
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Joined: Jan 12, 2006
Posts: 979
Location: Bangalore

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:38 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Hi  all
 
   @  Nikhil
 
      Yup  this  is  my  tank!  the  Ex  Discus  tank!!  The  moss  and  the  Eriocaulin  were  got  from  hobbyist.  Eriocaulin,  glosso  and  Hc  still  to  reach  me.  May  be  this  weekend!  Keeping  my  fingers  crossed.
 
   @  aditya
 
      Thanks!  Well  definately  hoping  that  it  will  turn  out  the  way  i  want  it  too!!  
 
   Regards
      Harshal.
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aquascapes
Committed Member of IAH
Committed Member of IAH



Joined: Dec 19, 2005
Posts: 2753
Location: Surat, Gujarat

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:58 pm Post subject: Re: Terracing made easy!! Reply with quote

 Well  Harshal  this  should  be  proof  enough  that  I  was  bitten  as  well!
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