thoughts on a decorative mountain for filter, aerator

I've been planning to make my 5 ' altum tank into a nice thing to look at, whilst improving the tank filtration and aeration, and reducing water changes. I've been reduced to just the one tank with 4 altums and 25 corys, as I make a move to new digs. I gave away two adults that were remaining in one tank, but aging and not doing that great.

The "keeper" tank was decorated only with bogwood, but I've now thrown in my first selection of quarantined plants and a hanging light fixture. The plants are doing OK with no additives under the T8 2 tube shoplight fixture.

Now I want to make a "mountain" that takes water from the bottom of tank through mechanical filters (within the mountain, bio filter w/ media ) and pumps it up to above the water line. I had been planning to use an Aquaclear powerhead to drive it. I'm thinking of only using my Medo linear air pump instead.

Watching this vid, gave me the idea to use both styro and real rocks, over eggcrate, to create something that is almost buoyancy neutral, just heavy enough to stay put. ... =fvwp&NR=1

The mountain will be along the center line of the tank, essentially splitting the view and the water circulation. The mountain would be about 3' long at base. Since the tank will be installed as a space divider, it will be viewable from both long sides.

I want the water to have mostly laminar flow, taking dirt to the mountain inlet on the bottom. The prefilter will be accessible from the inlet end, and a hollow in the structure should provide a space for the detritus to accumulate for easy vacuuming.

re: thoughts on a decorative mountain for filter, aerator

Hi Chiligum,

Yes, I've been building schemes in the mind for a while - first was to find out if I could grow plants with extreme cheapo low tech equipment, then to figure out how to make the tank with filters heaters intakes outlets, no lines or tubes or wires showing - all has to be done using only a single small pvc tube in the corner taking wires or tubes down to the bottom and from there into the mountain.

I want the "rock" to rise almost straight up.

Here is where I spent some time considering aquascaping contest winners.

They have created some strange fantasy landscapes that are intriguing - but the thing I took away ( apart from appreciation of that art) is that a conceptual approach needs to keep the storyline straight.

For instance, the incongruous approach to scaling, where tiny things look huge...little shards becoming mountains...there are some fantastic scenes in the contests. But it doesn't look right if the fish are half as big as a supposed mountain. OR an incongruity such as a forest scene, and there are fish floating in the "sky"... that kind 0f thing.

So ... my "mountain' is really supposed to look like a rock, not a mountain. It will look to be be to actual size if I can manage that. Bigger plants will look liker bigger plants... same size as the fish. Moss or ferns will look like moss or fern to scale, and not like a forest of trees on the slope.

That's what I'm shooting for. Some of these stone veneers
from Robinson looks like it could make some good fake rock > I figure that I could get away with covering as little as 1/4 of the rock surface with rock, if there are mosses and other plants growing on it and out of the rock seams and cracks. The trick is to align the various veneer pieces of rock to look like a continuous flat surface or different layers or blocks within the rock.
"Aquablue Boulder" is are some of the others..would need to check what type of rock it is though...this stuff costs about $120
for 10 sq. ft. I'd like to get some smaller shavings though, these are a bit thick at over 1/2"