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Discussion Starter #1
I read about people having to drain water from the false bottom but I am having to add. I have about 1/2” of water in the false bottom and it is evaporating faster then it’s replenished. Does that mean I am not misting enough? The plants seem to be growing fine and I have condensation on top glass. The soil and background stay moist between misting.
 

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Is this a new tank? For the first couple of weeks my tank was doing the same, but after a while (presumably after the substrate etc had sucked up enough water) the level started rising


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I have a basic rule: If it works, I don't touch it.
In case the plants are growing happily and the humidity is good, don't worry, sure everything is ok, just enjoy your creation!;)(y)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tank has been up for month and a half.
Mistking 3x a day for total of 60 seconds a day.
 

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That seems like a lot of misting for the false bottom to be losing water that fast. What is your ventilation situation?

Unless you're in a dry climate with lots of ventilation, I'd be looking for a leak. Barring a hardware malfunction (leak), if temperature and humidity parameters are being met and frogs are behaving appropriately, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Some pics and details of the viv would help. If you're heating with an underviv pad, for example, that would explain what you're experiencing.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Not heating under tank , no frogs yet, house has 30% humidity at 20°c, no leaks. Tank is exo terra 18x18x24. The LED light seems to be giving off a lot of heat. Right now the light sits on the top of tank and inside temperature is reading 24.5°c , will try to raise the light somehow.
This pic is taken 40 minutes after misting. Humidity is always above 90%
Misting:
8am - 20 seconds
1pm - 20 seconds
6pm - 20 seconds
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How long has this been set up and running?

It looks pretty wet in there, and you have a corner "pond." If I had to guess, the water is climbing up the pond edges via capillary action and saturating your substrate. I'm guessing the water table is starting to fluctuate less as that saturation point is being reached?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Almost 2 months. I also have landscape fabric barrier that i think is not draining properly. The fabric is wicking up too much moisture from the Leca balls into the soil. Dug down with a fork to the fabric and everything is saturated. The rocks are siliconed together and dry between misting.
 

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Yeah... Landscape fabric is notorious for being weird with water.

I have some vivs that accumulate water, and others that lose it, based on the time of year and what I'm doing with misting and ventilation. But my vivs that lose water don't usually look as wet as yours.

I also notice a lot of exposed substrate with leaf litter kind of mixed in. I tend to cover the "soil" with a couple layers of leaves, so the top leaves dry out between mistings. That much exposed substrate is a lot of surface area for water to evaporate from- which would explain your constant water loss despite saturated conditions.

I do think it's a bit wet in there for dart frogs. It sucks, but you might have to replace that landscape fabric with screen mesh. And add more layers of leaf litter.
 

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Agreed - you're way too wet, and while you're misting quite a lot, that isn't nearly enough to explain the sogginess, nor the fogged glass so long after misting, given the pretty low temp differential between viv and house. Something needs to change - either the water transport mechanism (the wicker) or the water supply (the water stored in the false bottom + in the substrate + in the atmosphere, plus the constant new input by misting).

You could probably hack through the immediate problem by both stopping input and removing water: ceasing all misting, wiping off the glass, and completely opening up the viv lid and doors to allow the drier, thirstier house air to "eat" the viv stored water. Then close it back up and resume misting, perhaps at a lesser duration and/or frequency. And don't add any water to your corner pool thing - that thing is done, in this scenario. Just a low spot in the forest floor.

That "solution" might even see you through for quite a while. However, I recoil against the notion of avoiding the real issue, which I agree is the wicking. You generally want to have water underneath, as a buffer against drying. So I see removing that as only treating the yucky symptoms while ignoring the deadly (and treatable!) disease, which is bad for the patient.

So I also recommend replacing your substrate barrier fabric with something that will not wick, like window screen. Also, know that LECA wicks a bit over short heights; quite a bit over very short heights (e.g., 1-2 cm). If you keep the water level below maybe 5-6cm from the top of the LECA that'll really help keep the soil from getting soggy again from LECA wicking. I don't know what that'll do to your corner pool, but I think if you have screen there's at least a chance you can keep it.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
 

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That’s a solid tip from jgragg about the LECA wicking.

As long as you’re tearing out the substrate to get at the landscape fabric, it might be worth it to replace the LECA with an egg crate false bottom so you can the soil above the water level without sacrificing height in any of your layers. As the leaf litter and soil break down, it’s going to slowly wash through window screen anyway, and the distinction between soil and LECA will start to become foggy.

That said, you don’t need standing water in the bottom at all if the layers start to mix. You just lose the “water buffer” provided by the false bottom, so you have to be more mindful of the overall wetness. All my grow out containers are just leaf litter over half an inch of turface/clay- no water table or hard line between layers.

Also, new keepers often want to take advantage of their automated misting set ups to achieve “jungle like conditions” and end up creating anaerobic bog conditions. It doesn’t have to (nor should it) be that wet. Try going down to 1 morning misting. It’s easier to titrate moisture up than down.
 
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