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Discussion Starter #1
I've search this and many other sites and have found many intrstructions on how to build false bottoms...but not really as to their major benefits. I guess the water will be able to pass the substrate and keep it from getting water logged, and the water at the bottom would create a warm nutrient rich "pool" for plants. I have a few questions regarding false-bottoms however.

First, if all the plants recieve is a few mistings a day, not enough water would enter the substrate to get it very wet, and almost all of the water would be used by the plants right? So what would the need for a false bottom be?

Secondly, if a pump is installed underneath the false bottom, where is this water pumped too? And if it is pumped to a waterfall or pond etc, wouldn't it be quite dirty after going through several layers of substrate?

And lastly, i've drawn up a simple sketch of what i would like to do with my first tank.

Why couldn't i just create the bottom with great stuff foam, and cut out ditches used for planting substrate and then have the water from the waterfall run in a seperate ditch to the pond? The foam would be waterproof, the water would run where i want it to (of course assuming that none of the water would be lost on the way there), and i would have room for planting plants.

Thanks in advance, as you can see, i couldn't find anywhere that explained false-bottoms besides the building schematics...hope to getr some suggestions!

-Luke :D
 

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The problem with that setup is lack of drainage. What you could do if you wanted to use great foam to create a waterfall, run a large line of foam on top of a false bottom and then carve out the waterfall. I hope that makes sense I don't really know how to describe it.
 

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Drainage will be the issue. Your plants just can't use all of the water provided by mistings. It will end up in your pond and overflowing it in much less time that you think. The only want I see it as not being an issue if if you have significant evaporation, which obviously means you tank is drier than it should be.


You can elevated everything a couple of inches then extend the banks of the pond down almost to the tank bottom. This way you will still have the false bottom and the both. Then simply tape of this line and paint the false bottom are with spray paint. You will see the water level in the pond and not see whatever material is used to make the false bottom. I did this without a pond and you don't even notice it as it isn't really a distraction compared to white eggcrate...
HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, so i'll probably end up doing the false-bottom...what about the water quality after it goes through the substrate? Won't it get the water very dirty?
 

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Well, assuming you have soil in your substrate, yes, some of it will end up in the water supply. And any coco husk products you may have will tint the water brown. If you want crystal clear water, you will need to make a reservoir separated from the rest of the tank. I did something similar in my 29. Check out the pics in the "Member's frogs" forum. I separated the water feature with glass partitions, and it keeps the water relatively clear, and allows me to have a water depth almost as high as the substrate layer, without soaking the soil.
 

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Beleive it or not your water will become cleaner as time goes on. The substrate acts as a filter both mechnically (removing solid particles) and biologically (brakeing down waste ie. frog poo, and dead fruit flies).

As long as you have some sort of barrier between the substrate and the drainage layer the solid particles will settle and your water will become clearer. I used a sheet of material that you can find at garden centers that people use to prevent weeds from comming up in there landscaping, but fiberglass window screens will work as well. The fine particles in the substrate trap other larger particles and filter your water.

Having a very porus dranage layer like clay pellets used in hydroponics or gravel (with out the epoxy coating) will increase the surface area for bennefical bacteria to grow and flurish. These bacteria break down waste that would otherwise build up in your viv. The more surface area the more bacteria.

I just set up another viv and the water was cloudy for a day or two but is now crystal clear. I always have water moving even if it's just a simple pump circulating the water in the dranage layer.

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So if i had:

Leaf litter, moss
planting substrate

window screen or antiweed screen
LECA or something similar
window screen again
falsebottom (PVC + eggcrate)

...that would be a good bottom right? And then i could run a foam ditch through it to house the waterfall runoff. How does that sound?
 
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With all this talk of great stuff, I thougt I'd reiterate how it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to impossible to get off your skin if it gets in contact with it. I only say this because (like every time I open a can) I got a little on my hand again when taking off my gloves. You seriously need to wait until the nail grows out before it goes away. Anyway, just thought I'd spread the caution...
j
 
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Well this time I finally accomplished some buttressed roots that I can tolerate. It's worth a bit of spray foam on the fingers every now and again.
j
 

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I don't beleive in a false bottom if it is a closed system (no outside drainage). It provides nothing for the viv but a lighter weight. I use LECA which provides surface area for benifical bacteria.

I would use a false bottom if I had a drilled tank, because you can constantly be cycling through water changes.
 
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HEH Thats what i was going to do... :D
FIRST:
False bottom
screen
great stuff foam
(carve out waterfall and stuff)
(have foam on back also)
substrate of non-fertalized plant stuff (?!?)
Bromiliads and other various stuff
wood bridges and fixtures
(let settle for 1 week) (to be on the safe side)
add frogs
watch in amazement and unexplainable wander of such beautiful animals
And thats what my idea is. / was. ;-)
 
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x

You can also use the great stuff and carve a watercourse in it. Just make sure and leave enough room for all the water to travel and about an inch or so between the top of the water and the edge "river". This is for seepage, as if the moss is closer to the water, it will seep up the edge and soak the moss.
 
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