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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So for those of you that have been answering my questions up till now, thank you. There was a lot of research needed to start this, and I am learning so much every day. I decided to go with a 40 gal breeder tank, only because it was small enough to have at my apartment, but cheap (petco 1 dollar a gallon sale) and large enough to have some fun. I have a few weeks left of break from school and work and plan on finishing everything up to planting.

Let me start by saying that I take no credit for any of the ideas used here. Some are my own but many are imitations or at least similar to many things I have seen here on the forums. I am just sharing everything I did in as much detail as possible because it is my first build and I want everyone to be able to see everything I do.

Here is the tank I started with. Just picked it up at petco last week...


I started by cutting out egg crate for my false bottom. I also put some pieces in the corner for my waterfall. This left enough space to put my pump and be able to access it.



I created a small area for a "pond" for the waterfall to drain into. The pond will be filled in with great stuff, then painted, and coated with epoxy. There is a drainage pipe that I sealed in place with silicone.



Where the water pump will go for the waterfall i used plexiglass and will seal in that area to keep the water feature completely separate from the rest of the tank


I will finish sealing it when it goes in the tank.

While these things were drying I painted some foam/greatstuff rocks that I started last night, with acrylic paint from AC Moore.



I havent completely figured out how this is going to work yet, but created a removable top where the water will be pumped up to poor down the waterfall. Here you can see that I completely sealed it so water will not go back into the pump area.





While everything was drying I also prepared some pots to put in the background. I had these laying around so i figured I would try to use them...



If you look at the pot on the left you can see that the plastic is kind of stretched around the pipe. I did this by simply using a 1/2" drill bit and pushing through the plastic. Then i pushed the pipe through it and it was a perfect fit. I sealed this with silicone as well.

I had some wood and rocks to sanitize so I boiled and baked the wood. Since the oven was on I decided to prepare some coco coir as well...

Now I will have it when i need it.

I placed the pvc pipe and tested my setup to make sure all the pieces fit well...still have to workout the background.


I then used two dabs of silicone on each piece of pvc to attach them to the bottom of the tank. This keeps them in place but leaves space for water to drain out. This way no water builds up in the pipes themselves as they are just for support.

Thats all I did for today. Plan on finishing up painting the rocks tomorrow. Then getting screen and starting to assemble everything in the next couple of days. Let me know what you think! Hope you will watch this build.
 

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Great start, I'm subscribing!
One question - why are you separating the water feature water from the rest of the false bottom?
 

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Since this is your first build, I'll try and give you some helpful advice.

Before you get to far, I would seriously rethink the water feature design. Water will creep everywhere you dont want it to, and that is a fact. This means that your seperated water feature and false bottom will not stay seperate for long. Within a few days, that small amount of water in the pump area will have crept into the false bottom. I think the easiest and most pain free option for you would be to let the water fall into the pond (filled with rocks/aquarium substrate) and then flow freely through the false bottom. Not only will this make your life easier, but a larger volume of water stays clean for longer, and the rocks will serve as a filter.

Also, the water feature size might need to be larger. Once filled with foam or rocks, it wont be much more then a tiny depression with a spoon full of water. Your false bottom only looks to be 2-3 "squares" high, and with this shallow of a fb, it is difficult to get any water above the aquarium gravel without having the water touch the land substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Before you get to far, I would seriously rethink the water feature design. Water will creep everywhere you dont want it to, and that is a fact. This means that your seperated water feature and false bottom will not stay seperate for long. Within a few days, that small amount of water in the pump area will have crept into the false bottom. I think the easiest and most pain free option for you would be to let the water fall into the pond (filled with rocks/aquarium substrate) and then flow freely through the false bottom. Not only will this make your life easier, but a larger volume of water stays clean for longer, and the rocks will serve as a filter.
Thank you, I may try to work this out a little differently. Unfortunately I already did all the work that I was planning on doing lol.

Also, the water feature size might need to be larger. Once filled with foam or rocks, it wont be much more then a tiny depression with a spoon full of water. Your false bottom only looks to be 2-3 "squares" high, and with this shallow of a fb, it is difficult to get any water above the aquarium gravel without having the water touch the land substrate.
This answers Shinosuke's question as well...I know that the false bottom is very short. Unfortunately petco would not sell the larger aquariums for $1/gal :/ so i bought this 40 which is not that tall (18"). Perhaps I will have to completely rethink this. You are right though, I already filled it in with foam and there is no room for water lol. I will figure something out and keep you updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK so I completely ripped up the pond area, but left the top part as it looked kind of nice...finished painting my water feature, and siliconed it into the tank.



Then I got my background materials....


dont forget the gloves! lol. Though I actually didn't need them. But if I wasn't wearing them I inevitably would have got the stuff all over my hands. Thats just how the world works.

I laid out my background first...



Then I foamed it and put the wood pieces in place. I also foamed under the rock as it didnt fit perfect. Dont want any frogs gettin stuck under there...



I had to make sure to get foam in behind the top and side of the background to make sure no frogs get back in there. As you can see though I didn't do this around the drainage pipes for the pots...

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nope, it was already siliconed in place. I am finishing the background tonight/tomorrow so will have pictures of it soon.
 

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I would have tried to silicone or adhere that egg crate in some way....
Hopefully it doesn't pull away.
I doubt it will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It is siliconed on the bottom, and when standing up it tends to press back towards the tank. In fact I had a hard time getting the tubes for the pots behind it, so I am thinking it will stay pretty well. If anything the pressure from the egg crate is pushing the foam towards the glass. But I guess we will find out for sure if the time comes :p Thanks for the tip though, I will have to remember that next time.

I just finished siliconing/coco coir'n the background. Just gonna let it sit over night, patch up any spots, finish some painting and take pics tomorrow.
 

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what kind of epoxy did you use for the water feature and pond?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Someone told me that was epoxy but after looking it up, it looks like polyester resin :/ this probably wont work, huh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Use marine epoxy
I looked everywhere for it! lol. Dont have any local stores that I can find it at.
It needs to be a liquid type so i can paint it on right?

Do you have any links to somewhere I can get it online, preferably sold by amazon??

BTW more pics coming in a couple hours
 

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I looked everywhere for it! lol. Dont have any local stores that I can find it at.
It needs to be a liquid type so i can paint it on right?

Do you have any links to somewhere I can get it online, preferably sold by amazon??

BTW more pics coming in a couple hours
Sorry man i have no idea.
Lowes or Home Depot should have it?
Shop LOCTITE .85 oz. Marine Clear Epoxy Syringe at Lowes.com
PC-11 64 oz. Paste Epoxy-640111 at The Home Depot
Maybe that is the stuff they meant?
I was just told to use marine epoxy...no specifics was giving.
Send Ed a PM he should be able to help you more.

I want to get this stuff Zoopoxies - POLYGEM, Inc.

Can't wait to see more updates :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OH that loctite stuff looks like the right stuff. Ill go get it tomorrow :) The other stuff you posted a link to is white. Probably not so good for my purposes lol. Anyway I am just heading home in a little then im gonna take the pictures and post the updates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I accidentally left my camera with all the pictures at my parents house :( So I will post the methods later, but for now is a pic of where I am at from my ipod.

 

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