an other update, i was not able to do much because i had to wait for the cement color which finally arrived
but i did some water testing to see where i want the drip, and also had plenty of time to think about how i do the bottom part so i can access the pump.
heres a pic of the water test, theres some goo growing on the wood... not sure what to do about that, but since i will not have any animal in there for now i guess i can see how it develops (since its my first system im thinking about just to try how manage the whole thing and only think about animals when im knowing what im doing and its safe for them.
the different colors that i ordered
and some testing how much color is needed and also some different mixtures.
from left to right
black(1:2:1), black(1:4:0.1), brown1(1:6:0.1), mahagony(1:6:0.1), no color
i did not mix the teak brown but i get a good idea how it looks since the color is pretty much what it is in the bag. so far the mahagony brown looks most natural to represent soil but the plan is to do bit a mix of all also some brighter grey to get a nice rocky/soily looking background... but i will let the examples cure for a week or so to get an idea about the strength of the mixture and the final color (if that changes at all).