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Hi, I will attempt to build my 2nd viv (18 x 18 x 24) soon. The first one was more of a test and to discover the dos ans don'ts... I have discovered the "My Top 10 Beginner Mistakes" tread today !

Anyway, I am still in the design phase (even after 3 weeks of research/reading). I haven't decide yet if I'll have a water feature (cascade, dripping or just a pond) based on warnings from other treads.

I would like to have a false bottom (with egg crate) for the best drainage. How high should the false bottom be ? From what I read, a bulkhead would be very useful. What is the optimial position; height from bottom; situated on the side/back or under ? I have ordered this one:

What size do I need for the diamond hole saw (still haven't received the bulkhead yet, so I cant measure) ?

Any thoughts?

Thanks
 

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There are many different options available to you. Where you decide to put the bulkhead (if you use one) is based on your shelving and personal preference. Just be sure that it is accessible for you. I personally put mine at a rear corner of the tank so that it is out of sight. How high you put your bulkhead depends on how much false bottom you need.

The amount of false bottom also depends. Since you are using egg crate and not hydration, growstone, etc., you can get away with a more shallow false bottom (because the hydration takes up more volume). Another variable is the water feature (please seriously consider doing this, but if you do, be sure that you have planned accordingly for all of the issues that come up). If you are going to have a water feature, you will likely need more of a false bottom. Another variable is how often you can and want to drain the tank. If you have a proper enclosure and are spraying appropriately, you may rarely need to drain the tank; however, the more shallow a false bottom, the more often you may need to drain.

As for the size of the hole, I am not sure I can comment on that with any certainty. I believe that with my 1/2" bulkheads I have used an 1 1/8" hole saw bit, but it is best to ask the manufacturer or measure once you get it. Remember that there are other options to the traditional bulkhead as well so that you do not have to drill that large of a hole (or any at all). Some people just make a small pond at one corner of the tank that they can drain from. Others use small rubber grommets (can't remember what they are called right now) that you can purchase from hydroponics stores. This requires a smaller hole. Others have placed pvc tubes along the back hidden in the background (or hidden is some other way) that allows access to the false bottom for draining.

There are just so many options and so much to learn. Try various methods out and figure out what works for you. That said, it costs money an time to finally figure it out :). Not to mention at least one cracked tank :(. In my case anyway.
 
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