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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody, i'm new to the viv scene, but Iown lots of freshwater and saltwater tanks, including reef tanks and C02 injected high tech FW setups, so i'm not completely lost. I am in the very primal stages of planning my first viv, and I have been reading a lot. So far I have a few questions that I would like to get cleared up.

Heres the Plan: An 18x18x18 or 18x18x24 exo terra setup. I will be replacing the scene top with glass, and silicone the bottom to make it suitable for a viv. I want to plant with live plants, and I want to create some sort of moving wter feature. I want the water feature to consist of a small waterfall, followed by a very small pond or river. I know there are conflicting opinions about moving wter features, but I really like the aesthetics of it.

So here are my quesitons:

1. I am planning on using a submersible pump under the false floor to feed the waterfall, but what do I make the waterfall itself out of? Would great stuff work for it, or should I use some other type of foam?

2. How would I create the pond? I assume the same thing used to create the waterfall, just carved out where I want the water to stay, and then gravel that allows the water to spill over into the false floor where I want it to drain?

3. What type of lighting is suitable?

4. Is a mister necessary? If so, which one would you recommend?

5. Would a river being fed by the waterfall be possible? Would it be a detriment to the frogs?

These are just a few of the questions I have. Any input or advice is appreciated! TIA

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63 Posts
You can make the waterfall out of almost anything. I have done volcanic rock, pumice rock, cork bark, loose rocks, a piece of drift or root wood. I have not done an expanding foam/silicon waterfall yet but I have seen them done with Tetras' waterfall foam sealant.

As far as the pond... you can try to do it that way. Keep in mind though that the water level needs to be high enough for the pump to move it and I know the water level on exoterras can only be about 3"
so that doesn't leave much room for a pre-formed pond...if you will.

The lighting all depends on the plants but any 6700k bulb would be my recommendation for covering the spectrum range of most tropical plants.

I would definitely recommend at least using a hand mister. Automated misters are also nice.

Rivers are going to be a little harder. I wouldn't recommend trying a river for you first viv. particularly in a small tank like an exoterra. As far as hurting the my opinion it depends on the species.

Good Luck!!
Jesse Taylor

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725 Posts
to be honest, for your first viv skip the water feature completely. yes it looks nice, but its a pain in the arse to upkeep and just detracts from the usable space for the frogs. Wait until your second or third viv to tackle that aspect. As for lighting, read my guide to viv lighting here

I just use a little pressurized hand pump mister. no need for a misting system for only one tank.

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91 Posts
I second the "skip the water feature".

It seems that when people make their first viv, they always aim for the stars (myself included!).

But all the waterfalls and ponds, rivers and what not are really only for you, the frogs dont care and would prefer to have as much area to live on as possible rather than a bunch of fancy gimmicks.

While you can certainly build these things and make them look cool, it is difficult, costly and more often than not will leave you with a major headache.
I suggest for your first viv, go with something simple, it will still look great and your frogs will be happy.
And you will not be banging your head wondering how you are ever gonna get that clogged waterpump out of the viv ;)

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