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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering the false bottom method for my 230g viv project, but have been cautioned against it by someone who has had quite a few failures with it. He said he was having trouble with his substrate always being saturated with water.

Is there anyone here who can vouch for the false bottom's effectiveness? Would it be any more effective than say, a slope of lava rock? I'm looking for a permanent solution, I'd hate to have to buy all the supplies for something this large and then have to tear it all out when it doesn't work.
 

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Depends on what you are going for. I have a 135 gallon tank that I just tore down to install a false bottom because my substrate was staying water logged with a perlite dranige layer.

I have a suggestion for you. I have had my tank setup for over three years now and have had to move it 5 times (twice into an up stairs apartment). With a set up that large consider what it will take to move it with every thing you decide to put in it. They can be very freak'n heavy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Perhaps he had to much water in the false bottom?

Mine works wonderfully.

moss
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coco bedding
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hydroponnic gravel
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window screen
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egg crate
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water
 

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I've heard that lava rock can leach out heavy metals over time. I have also heard that it is totally safe, but when in question, i tend to err on the side of caution.

In the last three setups i've built i have drilled holes in the bottom and installed drains, or i have made an area where i can siphon out water (PITA, i'll be using drains only from now on) and used a 2-3 inch layer of clay pellets.

I think in my next setup i might try drilling a drain in the front, easier to get to.
 

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Myself I would go witht the false bottom because it is going to be much lighter than the lava rock and much cheaper as well. Also if you need to work on a pump or anything of this nature it will be much easier to set up an access to it. Just a little insght from a texan ;)

TonyT
 

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false bottoms

i have 5-65 gallon tanks and they all have false bottoms. I perfer this becasue you can use a piece of PVC pipe to stick up through the gravel, soil, bark what ever you might use to suck the water out when it gets to high. I have had good luck with the false bottoms. also if using live plants the roots will go through the false bottom and filter water from the bottom helping them grow better.

just my opinion
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If someone is telling you that a false bottom is causing saturated substrate , they are doing something wrong. either the substrate is the wrong mix, the water level is too high, or they used incorrect materials. In my 20 gallon, i spray daily and remove about a gallon of water once a week from under the false bottom, and my substrate is sometimes too dry!

The false bottom is the best known way to propagate drainage in a sealed bottom tank. The best way would be the way mindcrash describes with a layer of clay pellets and a drain in the bottom, but most of us are unable (or unwilling) to drill holes in glass or buy more expensive acrylic tanks.

the only thing i would caution you in would be the weight. Depending on the dimensions of the tank and how much weight the bottom needs to support. make sure that your PVC supports are under any rocks, logs, etc. that may be heavier than the plastic eggcrate can hold.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
nice, thanks for the replies guys, especially Moe's observation :?:


Yeah jhupp, I can identify with that. I've been moving my 55 and 80 gallon fish tanks the past couple years, I can only imagine how much of a hassle a 135 would be. I'm thinking moving a 3'tall by 4' wide hex tank is going to be a huge PIT(B), especially since I have to take the door jam off the front door just to get it in the house, nevermind that it still has to be turned sideways.

I think I'll wait til I buy my house.... which means I have to look at an empty 230 gallon beauty in my garage every time I do laundry for the next year :x
 

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Clay pellets vs (smallish) lava rocks

I nearly have everything to start the build of my first vivarium. I have decided to use my old 40 gallon reef tank that has been sitting collecting dust in the garage.
I have a bag of red lava rocks, I bought for a different project, at a local DIY store (Lowe's). So, my question is; can I use the lava rock in substitution for clay pellets under the egg crate or is it even necessary to use anything at all?
 
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