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Hi All
I can still change things on my tank build so do you think a drain hole in the bottom or the turkey baster method ?
Thank you.
 

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Drain hole all the way, whenever you can. Turkey baster is not the only option, though. Some folks put a PVC "stove pipe" that goes through the substrate and the substrate barrier down to the drainage layer. That allows siphoning with a tube. A bulkhead, though, is just so much easier as long as you are ok with drilling the hole. I don't usually do them in the bottom, though. I do low on the back like @jp1618 said.

Mark
 

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+1 on drill & drain. It's easy to do, and easy to reverse if you ever want to (just silicone a small piece of glass over the hole).

Besides being easy to do and undo, it has the benefit of passivity. It works while you're awake. It works while you're sleeping. At work. On vacation. Hell, dead. Whatever, whenever - it's there doing its job. Which is nice, because shit happens. Just remember to look in your drain bucket from time to time, to see if you need to dump it yet.

Good luck, have fun!
 

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Personally I prefer to make a pond in all my vivariums. Gives the frogs a place to deposit and makes it way easier to empty the bottom by siphoning if I need to. I would also highly recommend a drain no matter what. It is very nice to have a drain to make sure your water never overflows. Then put a waste bucket below
 

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Drain hole all the way if you can. There are a couple of ways to have it set up. Others have previously mentioned without explicitly stating that they have an "overflow tube" that always dumps water once it reaches a certain height. I cap my drain holes and drain them manually which is another way to go. I plan to replace my twist caps with ball valves of some sort to make less mess.

For people who have multiple tanks, do you have a dedicated drain tube from each tank or are you plumbing them into a communal line? If you have dedicated lines for each tank, I'd imagine it gets pretty ugly with hoses going everywhere.
 

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Personally I prefer to make a pond in all my vivariums. Gives the frogs a place to deposit and makes it way easier to empty the bottom by siphoning if I need to.
I made the mistake of a small pond in a viv, and among other issues I found siphoning from the pond to be much more difficult than from a tube -- the siphon clogs with debris, and the siphon hose doesn't stay in place while draining, so I have to hold it the whole time. It is a YMMV situation, for sure. :)
 
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I made the mistake of a small pond in a viv, and among other issues I found siphoning from the pond to be much more difficult than from a tube -- the siphon clogs with debris, and the siphon hose doesn't stay in place while draining, so I have to hold it the whole time. It is a YMMV situation, for sure. :)
What other problems did you have? I do hold the siphon in the whole time but that's because I very very rarely empty it, usually just when I am going to move.If I actually did it more often I would just make a little hook to hold it in place. You can just use any stiff wire
 

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What other problems did you have?
With the pond itself? Thumbs deposited tads in the water, which then went under the Matala somehow, and one died under there after morphing, and one I got out after spending way too much time and stress and digging up substrate. Then the usual issues of crap in the water, and the waste of usable space.

My general MO is to mist more and vent more, so I get a fair amount of drainage water.
 

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With the pond itself? Thumbs deposited tads in the water, which then went under the Matala somehow, and one died under there after morphing, and one I got out after spending way too much time and stress and digging up substrate. Then the usual issues of crap in the water, and the waste of usable space.

My general MO is to mist more and vent more, so I get a fair amount of drainage water.
I see well you do have to carefully plan your ponds but I have been able to make all of mine tadpole proof. It's something you do have to design from the start. I usually use screen then cover it with whatever material I want for a look. I do have one pond where I like to keep gravel in it for aesthetics but I just drop a glass cup in there and whenever the tadpoles go in the cup I scoop it out.
 

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I usually use screen then cover it with whatever material I want for a look
Yes, substrate barrier extended all the way to the glass, held down with gravel.

Personally, I think that any feature of a viv that has no husbandry benefits while at the same time has both detriments (space issues, mostly) and risks that even a fairly experienced caretaker can fail to address (somehow; I still don't know where they got under but thumb tads are smaller than I am smart, I guess) is a pretty clear nope in my book. I simply can't make the math work on the cost/benefit analysis. :)

Also, I think ponds (and waterfalls, ceramic skulls, fairy castles, and plastic flowers) look really out of place in a dart viv, which is of course beside the point, but still figures into my failure to see the attraction.
 

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Ya, usually I have something like a false bottom, you have matala, I tend to use egg crate as its more sturdy. Then I decide where my pond will be and cut out screen to separate the pond from the rest of the false bottom. Then I use silicone to fix the screen to the glass. Sometimes on the sides that are showing I get a little more creative to keep it looking good but making sure that it still doesnt have any spaces big enough for tadpoles.

I have been using them for a long time and find that ponds that have access to the false bottom something I really like and prefer. This of course goes against the dendroboard dogma. The main thing is that all that access to the false bottom is also access to a larger volume of water that will be more stable, and it has access to the plant roots and tons of surfaces for bacteria to grow on and naturally balance the water parameters. Fundamentally the only thing wrong with water features is that you dont know how good or bad any random person is at designing a water feature to be foolproof and there are so many methods. So its easiest to tell all newer keepers no if for no other reason becasue you would have to answer a million questions for every different pond design, but that tends to spread into the hobby as just sort of a blanket no without any context. In your case something just messed up and there must have been a little hole or spot the tadpole could get through. But even then I bet if you could find it you could plug it up with a little extra foam.

Now to be specific I have not added waterfalls to any of my vivariums yet, but I will in the future. They are even more difficult to manage and must be carefully planned. I do have a couple of vivariums lacking a pond and in all of them its annoying when I have to move as I need to dig up the substrate, moss / screen to access it to drain them. That is not to say that a well placed and thought out bulkhead could not also drain. Ultimately whatever system you choose it comes down to a balance and the balance is almost always a straight forward trade-off. You invest more planning and care into the design and you can make something more carefree and easier to maintain. IME a pond is part of that design, yes it absolutely takes more work to design a pond into your drainage but the benefits have been worth it to me which are an always present perfect tadpole deposition site that needs little care and a convenient way to completely drain a vivarium if needed. I also generally build them where I can see into them from he side so I can see when tadpoles are there.
 

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I wouldn't argue about keeper preferences, since a person will prefer what they prefer. I think the established opinion is held because of the issue of zero benefit to frogs vs. non-zero risk to frogs, which to my knowledge has never been reconciled in favor of water features. It is a different husbandry paradigm, I think, than the appeal to keeper preferences, and as such they (the two paradigms, that is) talk at cross purposes.
 

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For the OP, "chiller" - as a newb you probably ought to stay away from ponds for a while. But if and when you want to go there, I'll just point out that the elevation of the drain hole you make (in the back or side, not the bottom) establishes the elevation of the water. Whether that water is completely hidden in a false bottom, or is partly exposed via a cut-out as has been described here. Put the hole way down low, or move it up a little - what you choose depends on what you want to have. (Mostly I just cut my hole so its bottom edge is about say 3-5 cm up off the bottom - exact details depend on ensuring your bulkhead hardware fits.)

Good luck. This hobby is just the best. So much fun, so much to learn and grow into. Also, some good folks.
 

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IME ponds are not zero benefit to the frog they are actually a reasonable benefit. Again it comes down to perfection vs resiliance. Ponds are more resilient and require less perfection in keeping. In order to keep other water sources and humidity in good shape in a vivarium you need the right setup and maintenance schedule. Since many people will have some tadpole deposition sites those need to be kept in reasonable shape, which means they have enough water, but that water doesnt become poor quality. This may require topping off cups / film canisters and periodically overflowing them to refresh the water. With a large water source built into the drainage layer water quality is a not an issue and it is nearly impossible to neglect it so long it would dry out. And in the event your misters broke down or you were messing up on the humidity the frogs can go down to that to soak in the water.
My experience has been that frogs do not ever drown in water, they get sick and go to the water, then people find them dead there and think the frog drowned. I believe people falsely say the water pond is the source of a problem when it is only correlated to the problem. As long as a pond doesn't have trap areas where a frog could have trouble finding its way out I dont see a problem I have many ponds and so far have never seen a frog that drowned in them or became sick because of them. However I have seen frogs soak in the water or use it as an escape point.
 

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Most of my tanks aren't drilled and I just use the siphon method. Over the last year or so I have been using the water level in the false bottom as a guide to misting. If it is drying up, I mist more, if it is accumulating, I mist less. In that regard, I haven't had to drain most of my tanks for 6+ months now.

As for ponds/water features...I don't bother. I like to try and replicate the natural environment of the frogs I keep as best as possible. I keep Ranitomeya only, and they have no use for a pond or water feature. In fact, they would be detrimental for tad deposition sites for ones I am actively breeding.
 

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Over the last year or so I have been using the water level in the false bottom as a guide
This works well, regardless of how you get your excess water out of there.

  • If you drilled, and the false bottom remains full or nearly so but your drain bucket hardly ever needs dumping - you're at water-cycle equilibrium. This is my situation in spring and fall.
  • In summer I up my misting and my other water inputs (hand-watering plants, pouring water on substrate to wet it through and through) and consequently have more bucket dumping.
  • In winter I dial way back on plant and substrate watering, and a little on misting. (For the most part I don't have much planted into my terrestrial substrate, and it's covered in leaf litter - it's really just a sponge to help regulate RH.)
My hand-watering of animals remains about constant year-round - a little on most days, and heavy 2x / week. These animals are snakes that come from a very green place with warm (80-ish DTH) humid summers and cooler, drier winters - much like, say, a Central American coffee farm might experience. Higher elevation than most but certainly not all dendrobatids, I believe. I basically keep them under conditions that I think many froggers would recognize as closely resembling their own - tall water-resistant enclosures with lots of plants, sculpted backgrounds, fairly bright lights, partially automated watering, care taken with ventilation / humidity balancing, etc.

Anyway - the point of all that is, hell yeah - you can tell a lot just by looking. Watch that waterline.

Good luck!
 
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