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A friend of mine gave me a 120 gallon aquarium (I know... awesome friend). He had used the aquarium up until this point for a saltwater reef set-up. I think I want to make it into a vivarium. I was wondering if anyone has thought of any extremely useful applications for corner overflows in a vivarium? I would hate to cut the overflow boxes out and then learn I could have used them. Any suggestions or recommendations would be great!
 

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Depending on their configuration, you might be able to pipe them backwards and use them as the top of a water feature or the outlet for a humidifier-powered fogger. I would be careful about frogs getting into them, though.
 

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Fill them with leaf litter or other loose substrate. Dump in Isopods and/or springtails. Make sure it is accessible so you can feed it toss some water in now and then.
Walla!...instant "in viv" refugium. (bugs will escape to be eaten, through the slots for water flow).
 

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What I have done in the past and have really liked how they've turned out is to use them as a water feature. I've drilled a 3/4 to 1'' hole in the bottom, put the pump in the overflow and siliconed chips of rock down the overflow. Makes for an awesome waterfall.

Another idea would be to drill several holes up and down the overflow, silicone on some bark and or other organic material, fill the inside with leaves and soil and use the holes in the overflow as planters.

Have fun... show us pics
 

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Fill them with leaf litter or other loose substrate. Dump in Isopods and/or springtails. Make sure it is accessible so you can feed it toss some water in now and then.
Walla!...instant "in viv" refugium. (bugs will escape to be eaten, through the slots for water flow).
Genious! I've got a 60 gallon acrylic that used to be a reef with an overflow and was wondering what to do about the overflow chamber. A water feature naturally crossed my mind, but an in tank refugium is even better. Probably not going to use this particular tank as I plan to sell it before I move, but will definately try something like this in the future.
 

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Fill them with leaf litter or other loose substrate. Dump in Isopods and/or springtails. Make sure it is accessible so you can feed it toss some water in now and then.
Walla!...instant "in viv" refugium. (bugs will escape to be eaten, through the slots for water flow).
Doug,

GTFO out of my head!
 

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Doug,

GTFO out of my head!
Sorry man, I just...I'll go now. (slinking away)

To the non-reefers, a refugium is a protected area where small bug-beasties, or food items, can live, grow, and reproduce, with no predators around. When they slip outside of their protected area, their status is officially changed to LUNCH!
 

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Two Dougs on one thread!? LOL! I agree though, water feature/waterfall is the best way to make use of it.
 

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Sorry man, I just...I'll go now. (slinking away)

To the non-reefers, a refugium is a protected area where small bug-beasties, or food items, can live, grow, and reproduce, with no predators around. When they slip outside of their protected area, their status is officially changed to LUNCH!
I started reading the thread and that was my first thought.

I've actually been thinking of ways to incorporate refugia to a viv. In many cases I think plenty of leaf litter acts this way but if you could set up a shoebox with a way for critters to filter out into the main viv and into it Via a bulkhead that would be awsome.

Doug you'ld love the way I did refugia on reef tanks. I put the refugium above the tanks to let the critters feed by gravity down into the main display. This way you the various critters would not be killed/shredded by return pumps. I found I was able to keep alive various anthias previously thought almost impossible to maintain long term. A bonus was trimming algae from the refugium weekly and feeding it to the herbivores in other tanks.
 

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Two Dougs on one thread!? LOL! I agree though, water feature/waterfall is the best way to make use of it.
this was my other thought. My only concern is that this is a big volume of water. You're talking and 18-24 inch deep column of water. You'll need a pump with a decent amount of head pressure to keep it full and spilling over. This may require too big a pump to reasonably hide or one that creates a lot of heat.

This large amount of water is also going to be a drowning hazard.
 

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Two Dougs on one thread!? LOL! I agree though, water feature/waterfall is the best way to make use of it.
Yeah, we gotta get RainFrog in here and just call it the Doug thread!

I started reading the thread and that was my first thought.

I've actually been thinking of ways to incorporate refugia to a viv. In many cases I think plenty of leaf litter acts this way but if you could set up a shoebox with a way for critters to filter out into the main viv and into it Via a bulkhead that would be awsome.

Doug you'ld love the way I did refugia on reef tanks. I put the refugium above the tanks to let the critters feed by gravity down into the main display. This way you the various critters would not be killed/shredded by return pumps. I found I was able to keep alive various anthias previously thought almost impossible to maintain long term. A bonus was trimming algae from the refugium weekly and feeding it to the herbivores in other tanks.
Definitely the best way to do a Reef refugium. Not too many bother with one that thought out though. Usually just under the tank.
Thick layers of leaf litter definitely function as a refugium. You need to go thick though to really get that benefit. Like 2 inches plus.
Another thought I had would be to use a hollow cork bark tube. Put 1/4" mesh over each end (something big enough for bugs to get out, but too big for frogs to get in. Some holes drilled in the top would allow for moisture to get in. Problem would be in trying to feed your "fallen tree refugium".
Sorry, guess we're getting a little off subject.
 

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this was my other thought. My only concern is that this is a big volume of water. You're talking and 18-24 inch deep column of water. You'll need a pump with a decent amount of head pressure to keep it full and spilling over. This may require too big a pump to reasonably hide or one that creates a lot of heat.

This large amount of water is also going to be a drowning hazard.
a maxijet 1200 works great for projects like this. just run it up to a 5/8'' line siliconed along the edge of the overflow and drill/stab holes. You could also do a pvc spray bar.

I forgot to mention before that you can just stuff foam in the overflow to keep frogs and flies from crawling back there
 

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this was my other thought. My only concern is that this is a big volume of water. You're talking and 18-24 inch deep column of water. You'll need a pump with a decent amount of head pressure to keep it full and spilling over. This may require too big a pump to reasonably hide or one that creates a lot of heat.

This large amount of water is also going to be a drowning hazard.
The way I was thinking of it was, you wouldn't actually have the overflow fill up, or in that matter even use it for it's actual function. You could cut a hole on the bottom and put a cover over the top. So that way you could disguise the outside of it to look like a water fall, but if you reach in from the top you could access your pump for maintenance and add a drainage tube to siphon the water out if need be.

If that's not very clear, I could sketch a diagram.
 

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Completely gotya gootswa.. thats the idea I had too. To cut holes in the bottom (under the level of your false bottom) in the overflow. So wouldnt be any different than building an eggcrate or the pvc method. It is just built for you :) LOL

I think I like the idea of the refuge too.
 

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this was my other thought. My only concern is that this is a big volume of water. You're talking and 18-24 inch deep column of water. You'll need a pump with a decent amount of head pressure to keep it full and spilling over. This may require too big a pump to reasonably hide or one that creates a lot of heat.

This large amount of water is also going to be a drowning hazard.
Actually if I remember my old fluids class correctly, water pressure is directly related to depth. As long has the pump head height is greater then the max column height it will work fine. Water pressure doesnt change with volume, so it doesnt matter if it is just filling up a 24" high 1/4" tube, or a 24" high 12x12" column. Sorry for the nerd out session :p
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
WOW! I can't believe all the great replies. I really like the idea of a refugium. At the same time I have never done a tank with a water feature.... I have devised a plan to combine both (I have two overflows after all).

I was thinking I could run the system with sump. If I had a sump, I could hook a return pump up to the bulkhead (hole at the bottom of the overflow) which would cause the overflow box to fill with water and spill from the slits in the top (Would gauging back a mag drive pump rated at 700+ g/hr using a ball value ruin the pump?). I could then use the water to make whatever water feature I want (waterfall, river, slip'N'slide, etc.).

Next I think it would be best to cut some holes into the bottom of the other overflow box. This would hopefully cause the water to run into the corresponding bulkhead. I would then plumb the drain bulkhead back to the sump under the tank. I think this system would be pretty cool would have almost no risk of overflow as long as I don't add too much water to the system and have a large enough sump. This is where the remaining portion of the overflow used for the drain comes into play.

I think I could seal the bottom of the overflow about 3" from the bottom of the tank to create a long hollow box. I then could use that box as a refugium as mentioned. My only concerns would be...
Would having enough leaves to fill the overflow cause any gas build up from the composting leaves?
Would there be a significant amount of production / bug escapees?
Could I keep a variety of bugs in the same refugium?
Regardless the refugium has been my favorite idea so far.

I really appreciate all the ideas so far! Please keep them coming. Any other great ideas for the uses of overflow boxes would be greatly appreciated. Lastly I propose a new question, are there any useful applications for a working sump tank in a vivarium aside from just being a unit to hold water?

-Kyle
 

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Do your overflows have a single drilled hole or two? Are the overflow boxes square or those nice rounded ones?

Rounded or square, my idea would work for both. Albeit the rounded ones being a little trickier. If they have two holes you are set for a dual purpose overflow/water feature/refugium.

One hole would be used with a short standpipe as a drain to a sump. This standpipe should be shorter than your false bottom. Next would be a false bottom made to fit inside the overflow chamber. The other hole would be given a much taller standpipe that would be your water return, and would have to pass through the false bottom. This could be done in both overflow chambers, creating two refugiums/water features/overflows. Plumb your water features any way you like from the top of the overflow chamber, much like a reef tank. Waterfall, trickle wall, stream, a combination, anything you can imagine at this point. Fill each chamber with leaf litter, charcoal, whatever media you like. Drilling boatloads of small holes all through the overflow chamber boxes would allow microfauna to venture out and become food.

Hopefully that makes as much sense to you, as it does in my head.

A 700 gph pump might be overkill even with a couple feet of head. You can dial them back with a ball valve. My concern would be dialing it back to far and possibly overheating/overworking the pump. Using one pump T'd or Y'd to run both features and then dialed back might be the answer.

Cheers,
Scott

Cheers,
Scott.
 
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