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Old 04-12-2019, 04:04 PM
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Default A few questions on eggcrate false bottoms, and water feature setup

Disclaimer: I am still very much on the fence about actually having a water feature given the general feedback of they break, they leak, they are for humans not your frogs.

But I have a couple questions all the same..

When using an egg crate false bottom, is it typical to have the egg crate cover the entire surface area of the bottom of the tank? or is there a general rule that you leave it a bit shy and fill the gap with rock/clay balls etc.. ? does it matter as long as you aren't leaving gaps for your critters to fall down into?

Second question: When making a water feature, is this typically re-pumping the water from below the false bottom back up and through / down your waterfall / river whatever your feature is?

Or is there a consideration to have a somewhat segregated water well (perhaps w/ an overflow bulkhead to the false bottom reservoir) so that the water is not a general recycle of the water that has washed through the entire substrate?

Just looking for some guidance. If anyone found any online posts or materials that were particularly helpful I am eager to learn! My searches have been very helpful but not yet able to specifically answer these questions noted above.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:27 PM
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I’m relatively new to this as well but just went through a big build with a false bottom and pump and can give you my thoughts and the setup I ended up trying.

As others will tell you you’ll want to have the pump accessible to replace faults and do maintenance. There are a few ways to do this. I opted to completely wall of a corner of my viv to leave an arm-sized shaft that goes all the way to the bottom glass. I just cut some foam and siliconed it in place across the corner after I’d built the egg crate platform. This gives me access to the false bottom to replace equipment and do water changes without the pain of drilling glass and installing a drain. If you go this route you need to be really careful to make sure the top of the shaft meets the viv cover very securely. Otherwise you’ll have frogs falling in. I siliconed in a flap of screen material at the top of the shaft for extra safety.

The water is pumped up to a small waterfall which drops through a couple shallow pools (great stuff, pond liner, silicone and gravel) before dropping into a drainage area. The drainage area is a small section of gravel and rock in a “fence” of vertical egg crate pieces, covered in landscape fabric to separate it from the surrounding substrate. I surrounded the drain area with marginal (marshy) plants.

I liked this strategy because it gave me a small water feature without the potential dangers of a deeper pool and reliable access to the false bottom. I also put an aquarium heater in the false bottom and can access or adjust it from the same access point. Pretty handy.

On your question about egg crate coverage, I chose to install it with a 2 inch gap at the front of the tank. I then siliconed a vertical piece of egg crate to close the front of the false bottom off from the rest of the tank. I dropped river rocks in that space so that from the front you just see rocks below the false bottom. Seemed to work out ok and it looks much better than an ugly false bottom. You’re right that you’ll want to be really careful to silicon all the edges well so no frogs get down in there and drown.

One thing I wish I’d done differently was using landscaping fabric. Some folks use fine mesh to cover the eggcrate but I went with landscapers fabric. It really doesn’t drain water as quickly as I’d hoped, I punched a bunch of small holes in it where water was pooling, and had to use a deeper layer of clay balls/volcanic rock on top of it to keep the substrate out of the standing water. If I was to do it again I’d use a fine mesh screen instead.

I’ll try to upload some photos that should make these explanations a little clearer. 🙂 Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: A few questions on eggcrate false bottoms, and water feature setup

Hi Everyone,

Iím in exactly the same boat, Iím setting up a 36x18x36 Exo Terra that I was hoping to have a larger water section in to house a few shrimp but I have decided to scrap it because itís a nightmare (well it is for me on a first build anyway &#128521

I have now decided on what by the sounds of It you have done, a small waterfall into a very shallow mossy pond, marshy are area, do you have any actual build photos of your set up and how you have segregated the water/substrate/land?

I want to ensure the rest of the land area is totally separate so it does not absorb water from the pond and become waterlogged.

I just need to get my head around ways of doing it, but since I have literally only just decided to pull the cord on the whole ďmini paludariumĒ attempt I have only just started researching possibilities.

any and all advice on the no doubt numerous ways this can be done along with the no doubt even more numerous mistakes that can be done would be hugely appreciated

Thanks all
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:37 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to respond. Sounds like you have a pretty reasonable setup. Would love some photos.

I think with landscape fabric there are so many types, some drain better than others.

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for a fine mesh just in case.
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