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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I plan on building a tank to house from Azureus soon and had a couple of questions in regards to a false bottom setup. I want to use it on this tank to facilitate drainage, but do i need to drill a drain and fit a bulkhead in the bottom? I don't plan on having a water feature, so this would make sense if i need to remove water, but i'm not sure. Also, will i need a water pump in there to circulate the water so that it doesn't become stagnant?

Thanks!
 

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I just put 1/2" to 1" of gravel down then put landscaping fabric over it and then whatever substrate over that. Its much easier, cheaper, and takes up less vertical space and does virtually the same thing if you aren't making a water feature or moving water. The drainage issue depends on what you will be using using to water the tanks. If you just use a hand sprayer you will never have to worry about drainage. If your using misting system, you will most likely need drainage. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do plan on using a misting system, so on that note, would it be better to leave a small water feature, so that I can siphon off any excess, or would it be easier to drill a hole, install a bulkhead, and open that whenever i need it to drain?

Thanks for all the help today Kevin.
 

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Putting a water area would make it much easier to syphon when it starts getting too high. The only thing with this is the water may become stagnant. So you could either keep the water moving/filtered, put in drainage, or don't set up a water area and just slide the syphon tube down the corner of the tank to the bottom. You could also do this with the bottom layer you are talking about in the housing thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here's what i'm thinking. I'll drill the hole in the bottom and install a bulkhead. I'll simply connect to this to a sump so it will drain the water when it gets to a certain level, the only thing i will have to worry about is emptying the sump.

Does that sound like a solid plan to anyone else? Or am i over-complicating it? A siphon hose might be easier to setup, but would not work as automatically.

Thanks!
 

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I would just put tubing with a slightly larger OD as the diameter of the hole in the hole, and have that drip into a bucket. The only problem with this is that the tank would have to be above the bucket. I don't have much experience with drainage though, I usually siphon. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kevin, i like the way you think. A hose of slightly larger diameter would be much easier than a bulkhead.
 
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egg crate is better then gravel i think.

A false bottom vivarium is one that is built with a false bottom hence the name. It is normally designed with an area under the substrate that is going to be the return area where the water feature will end. This is normal built using egg crate louver or light panel. Egg crate is an inexpensive white or metalized plastic panel with square cell openings used fluorescent ceiling fixtures. The idea is to create a vivarium that offers drainage but with out the hassle and restrictions of gravel. By building a false bottom vivarium the tank will be able to offer more to the environmental needs of the animal that will be housed as well as more ideas with regards to the landscape and over all design.

Most of the vivariums that are built these days are easy to build, quick and lack anything technical. This page offers simple steps showing how to build a vivarium that will offer the functions of a false bottom even if you don’t plan on a water feature.

Locate and purchase the sheet of egg crate louver from a local plastic - acrylic supply store. An Internet or phonebook should help. It’s best to have them cut if for you and most will do this for free. Cutting egg crate is difficult with out the right tools as it’s a hard but brittle plastic. Ask the store clerk for advice on cutting it your self. You will also want to purchase PVC tubing from a plumbing or hardware store. Try to make sure the diameter of the tube is more then two inches. Cut the PVC in lengths at least 1 inch longer then the pump or more depending on the length of the water feature, if you plan on using a water feature. If you don’t plan on a waterfall or stream then you won’t need the PVC, just lay two layers of the egg crate on the bottom of the tank. Remember the egg crate is replacing the gravel and providing the benefits of drainage and a lighter weight vivarium.

Clean the egg crate and the PVC tubing good with regular dish soap and warm water just to prevent any chemicals or dusts entering the vivarium that may be harmful to the reptile or amphibians that will be housed in it. Clean the tank as good as possible, making sure that the inside is clean and free of any soap film or oils. You will also want to purchase a tube of GE2 Black silicone while at the hardware store. This will be used to coat the inside of the tank so that the plumbing and egg crate is not showing. No one wants to look at tannin colored water. You can make a location that won’t be so easily noticed if your concerned or personally interested in viewing the underwater action but it’s not needed. On the outside of the tank and with a crayon or washable marker, make a line that will be used as a guide when applying the black silicone to the inside of the vivarium. Measure about one or two inches above the egg crate to make sure that you’re hiding the false bottom area as much as possible.

With latex glove and a small plastic putty knife, smear the silicone evenly across the front and side and as much of the back as you want. Do your best to not make contact with the upper area of the glass but if you do, be sure to clean if off good. Nothing like a smear from across the room to take away from the beauty of you new naturalistic vivarium. Normally the thickness is about 1/8 inch. Sometimes it’s easier to use Duct tape to make a stencil around the inside of the vivarium before applying the silicone. Be sure to cut along the edge of the tape with a good razor before pulling it off. This way, you won’t risk pulling off any of the cover up.


Be sure that the PVC pipe or fittings you plan to use for the platforms are approved for drinking by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). The black kind is ABS, or acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene is a rigid plastic used for drain, waste and vent in mobile homes as well as in residential and commercial sanitary systems.

First, measure the height it will take to lift the egg crate about 1 inch above the water level. Most folks do not both with this but I believe it is best for the system to have some extra air under the substrate. Once you have the measurement, mark the PVC pipe or if using 1”-3” fittings like me, buy the right size for the project. When cutting the pipe, be sure to make them as close to the same size as possible. If using a band saw, it should be easy but with some PVC pipe saws or the hack saw and table approach; it is easy to cut a crooked or uneven piece.

Once you have cut enough of the pipe or have enough platforms to place one every 2-3 inches across the bottom, you will need to notch them. Notching them is important, as there might be a large amount of stagnant water build up inside the platform. To do this, simply use a plastic file, saw or dremel cut tool. The notches do not have to be large, just 1/2 “ or so. Two will be enough to allow water exchange to occur inside the platforms that hold up the false bottom. After that, wash the platforms good in warm water with dish soap and rinse well.

With the clean tank ready, lay down the platforms for the false bottom. Make sure the platforms are in the corners, not blocking any holes in the glass, and dry. With your silicone, squeeze a dab about ½ “ long on two sides of one end. Be sure that you do not cover the notches. Press them in place firmly so that there is a good contact between the glass and the PVC platforms. Give this about 40 minutes to set up properly. You can of course get more technical with the platforms, egg crate an over all contour but that is later. Keep it simple first.
 
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