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Hey guys,

I'm looking to set up my first vivarium this summer. I've read every website I could possibly find about false bottoms but I still have some questions.

If I understand right, you have water on the bottom, egg crate suspended above that, a screen laying on that, and then finally your substrate.

1. Now, if the pump is underneath all of this, how is it that you clean it? Wouldn't some of the soil, even just sand size particles, eventually get through and damage the pump? What if the pump or heater broke and you needed to replace it?

2. If you cut some of the egg crate to let the land slope down below the water level to make a pond, how do you stop the soil from getting into the water (look at 2)? Perhaps some sort of silicone and then fill the remaining area with soil, like I have it drawn?

3. What about water changes? I assume you can't just leave the same water in it all the time, and would at least have to clean it once in a while. Is there any easy way to clean it?

4. Any suggestions on how to hide everything so that you can't see the egg crate pushed right up to the glass and see under everything? Would something like in the last picture work if I did that around the rest of the front and sides? A problem I can think of with this, is that I'd never be able to see where my water level is. If it got too low, below the heater, the heater would prolly break.



 

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First of all, very very nice drawings, what prog?

Now to the questions.

1. If the pump is underneath the falsebottom then you might want to place a PVC pipe big enough to fit the pump through in the corner of the viv. This would serve as the access to the pump if you ever needed to clean/replace it. You would just pull up the pump by the cable and lower it back down the PVC pipe. You can cover the pipe in cork panels, or whatever else your background would be to make it look nice.

The second option you have, is to use a sump. Depending on the size of the tank (if it is pretty big) you might want to do that. You would have to fit a drain into the bottom of the viv and the water would drain down to a sump, which would contain the pump, heater etc.

It's a good idea to use a pump that has a prefilter or even filter to keep it from getting damaged from sand/silt/dirt.

2. You can use main things to create the barrier (fill) between the water and eggcrate. Some people use eggcrate attached sideways, some use cork panels, driftwood, rocks, slate, gravle. Whatever you like the look of.
You can also use pond liner to make a pond. Lots of people prefer to use gravel sized stones; they are easy to work with, will not be washed away easily, and look nice.

3. After a month or two, your viv should create an ecosystem of bacteria capable of cleaning the water fairly well, but you are right, the water should be replaced at least once in a while. People change there water at different times, but I would say to change it maybe once every few months.
The easiest way to drain the water would be to put some tubing at the lowest point in the falsebottom and to just siphon it all out (the PVC pipe for your pipe doubles as a water change access).
If using a sump, this is much easier, as you can just empty the sump and replace the water.

4. The idea of filling the area against the glass with substrate is what many people do. It looks nice and hides the falsebottom. You can always leave a small section hidden from view uncovered so that you can see the water level.
The other option is to smear black silicone on the glass up to where your substrate would be. This will hide everything underneath the substrate level.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Luke
 
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Another pump access option is to place your pump in the pool are of your feature, if its large enough... you simply cover with rock to conceal. It is nice if you ever have to clean or even replace the pump, its possible with minimal disturbance to the tank. Sumps work great also and can provide excellent filtration for the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responces guys you answered a lot of questions.

Darkside, the drawing were done in Adobe Illustrator 10.

Ok so the plan is to use the false bottom, but fill substrate along the glass all the way around so you can't see under the egg crate. As for the pump, perhaps it would be easier to have it on land tucked in a corner hidden by plants. I won't be as worried about it clogging, as well as easier access. This depends on the size of the pump though, and I really have no idea how big or small they are - it's only gonna be a 29gal. Also, I'd have to make sure to buy a plant that will grow enough foilage to hide it well. Anybody have any criticism about this? Or perhaps a suggestion of a type of plant? Some sort of fern or creeping fig maybe?

http://www.blackjungle.com/Merchant2/me ... ry_Code=FM
 

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This is how I set up my 29 gallon tank. Sorry for the quick hand drawing.
I put black silicon 2" up from the bottom to hide the false bottom and placed screen over the egg crate, then in the shallow area I put nice riverstones, but everywhere else is hydroton.

rob


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