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Thanks for the input Joe. Ya I'm not trying to rush the jump. I want a nice gradual climb. I've always kept my water at 8.4. This switch was just a little hic-up. I'm sure I'll get it back up there. It's just a matter of time.
Here are few updated photos of my tank as it is now. Please note that it will change. I still have to finish the island. It is tanking longer than expected due to the amount of rock and sand needed to construct it, and the cost of those materials.
No. I try not to glue or drill or anything. I purely use the weight and shape of the rocks combined with gravity to press the rocks together. Glad you like the design. I should have the island finished this weekend.
I don't know if it's what you're looking for, but FWIW I have seen a couple of large tank setups where the owner has used lava rock bolders from a landscape store to replace some of the liverock. The lava rock costs much less, and serves essentially the same purpose as long as you have some liverock to seed it. The only real issue is that some worry about trace metals in lava rock. I've also seen milkcrates used to create structures, then you only need to cover the crate and you have the height you are looking for. Sort of a liverock veneer. Worth considering if you are looking for a large amount.
Ya know all about modeling structures. I chose to use just rock and sand because I wanted a solid structure. I wouldn't recomend lava rock due to it's coarse texture. I would be worried about animals damaging thrmselves against it. What is FWIW?