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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so it is happening. I pondered the idea of keeping PDFs, and after reading this forum for months, I am now on the "action" stage.

I dismantled my saltwater tank and I will be refinishing the acrylic and stand in April/May.

I need to start planning the design. I want a tank similar to Energy's. Pretty ambitious, right? :D

The difference is that my tank is MUCH smaller.


Like Energy, I want water to touch the sides and front of the tank. I just don't like the idea of black dirt touching the visible areas. I want to have as much water as possible under the land (caves/tunnels). The water does not have to be too deep... just about 20 gallons so I can add a few cardinal tetras and a couple of corydoras for cleaning.

I would also like a waterfall/river to go from the left to the right. This will also be how I filter the water. I have a canister filter that will suck water on the right, filter it, then throw it back in through the left (waterfall).

My concern is with clumsy PDFs that may fall in the water. How can I overcome this design challenge? How to create tunnels under the land and yet, have escape routes back to land?
 

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The PDF's aren't that clumsy. In fact they are very nimble and sure footed. Make sure there are plenty of exit points and they will be fine. If you have been on here for months you have seen the pictures of the frogs stuck to the glass? Yep even PDF's can do it -so they can pretty much climb out of anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The tank is not too tall. The false bottom will be only about 6 inches tall.
 

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Oh my bad, I think I misunderstood. I thought you were looking for ways to maximize water volume under the land portion. That's the best solution I could come up with when I was planning mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am having a hard time deciding between GS, Styrofoam (polystyrene), or pink insulation foam for the water feature and background.

The water feature would be finished with cement, while the background would be finished with silicone and moss.

Suggestions? Thoughts?
 

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I tend to use styrofoam more and more -> easier to make shapes and correct mistakes.
No experience whatsoever with the pink foam.

Then there is always the option of covering it with GS to change the look of everything...

Working with cement is new to me -it usually looks great.
(though the curing takes a long time/ the soaking afterwards to make it PH-okay as well). Just the combination GS - cement might get you into trouble, becuase the GS changes for a logish time en cement is rather inflexible.

Just take your time ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for bring up that aspect of GS, Noort. I did not think about the expansion and contraction of GS and the rigidness of concrete. I probably will not cover GS with concrete.

And yes, the curing of the concrete takes a long time until pH normalizes. I made fake rocks for the saltwater tank before, and it took two months until I was able to put them in the tank.

@ anyone - Any insight on advantages and disadvantages in using Styrofoam vs. Pink foam, then covering it with concrete?
 

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Thanks for bring up that aspect of GS, Noort. I did not think about the expansion and contraction of GS and the rigidness of concrete. I probably will not cover GS with concrete.

And yes, the curing of the concrete takes a long time until pH normalizes. I made fake rocks for the saltwater tank before, and it took two months until I was able to put them in the tank.

@ anyone - Any insight on advantages and disadvantages in using Styrofoam vs. Pink foam, then covering it with concrete?
I've been on a stint of telling people about this whenever it comes up just so people are informed...

Another member (Melas I think?) found some information that polystyrene (pink insulation foam, styrofoam, etc.) can leach into the water and disrupt some endocrine pathways so I decided not to use it.

That being said, a lot of people have used it with no ill effects noticed. Just spreading the work!

I've used grout over GS and did get some cracking. I think it was multifactorial though... not waiting long enough for the GS to settle, and using thinned grout which weakens it. I just filled in some cracks yesterday so we'll see how it holds up.

Hopefully I didn't confuse you too much!

Max
 

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Another member (Melas I think?) found some information that polystyrene (pink insulation foam, styrofoam, etc.) can leach into the water and disrupt some endocrine pathways so I decided not to use it.
Do you happen to have a link to this? I'd like to learn more about it.

I've used pink and blue extruded polystyrene in a a couple of tanks with no noticeable problems. That being said, it's mostly been coated with drylok, and I've only tried it with fish not frogs. I found that it's easier to sculpt than regular styrofoam.
 

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i have all 3 of the products you mentioned making up my rock/waterfall feature. i liked using both styro and the blue foam because they have a different surface texture when carving making the layers look more like different layers in a sedimentary bed to my eye. the great stuff was used to glue the layers together and for accents. keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got my tank back today (being polished to remove scratches). It looks like new! :cool:

I also got some manzanita. What do you think? How should I arrange the pieces inside? All suggestions are welcome.

First, the main piece. It will need to be cut somewhere to fit inside the tank.










Second piece:






Piece that I got for free. I am thinking about using this one as a piece of decaying wood, on the floor.










 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alright... I have not done anything with the manzanita yet. I am still going back and forth with designs on my mind. UGH! Once school is over in 3 weeks, I will just DO IT!

In the meantime, I am getting ready for bugs. I gathered some supplies and created my own culture cups (I enjoy DIY).

Let me know what you think:

I am using this type of snapware storage containers to keep all cultures together. The plan is to fill the bottom with water to prevent mite infestation. If water proves to be unpractical, I can still use mite paper.

The shorter cultures cups, which will be used for isopods, fit in each section.


For the taller cultures cups, which will be used for FFs, I cut off the bottom of one section.


Inside the snapware, everything is really close but nothing touches.


Here you can see the isopods cups on the bottom and the FFs cups on the top.


Finally, for the springtails culture container, I made a vent, covered it with no-see-um, added some filter media left over from my saltwater tank, then covered all of that with another layer of no-see-um.
 

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water in the bottom of the storage containers is unlikely to stop the mites since they are too small to break the surface film.
Housing fruit fly and isopod cultures in the same storage containers is asking for trouble....

I'm not entirely sure what you were intending with the springtail lids. Were you trying to keep the springtails in? Mites out? Reduce air flow? I doubt it will keep small springtails in or mites out but it will probably reduce air exchange which could be an issue depending on the type of springtails you are going to culture.

Ed
 

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Ed pretty much summed up my opinions on this.
I'm guessing that your intention with the filters is to add some ventilation, while keeping springtails in and mites out. Unfortunately, I don't think it will work. Springtails will still escape and mites will get in. Baby springtails and baby mites are like dust. They are sooo tiny! You are not going to be able to find anything more effective than the .3 micron filters. They are just ideal for this purpose. You can find them here by the 10 pack. Fungi Perfecti: micron air filters If you can use 10, that's the way to go. Depending on the size you get, they are about $12 to $15 shipped. If you only want one or two, I can help you with that. Mine are more expensive per filter, but cheaper if you only need a couple. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/plants-supplies-classifieds/81074-3-micron-filter-discs.html
I know you asked what I thought about this portion and I only commented on the discs because Ed covered the rest. Mite paper will work much better. I did an experiment where I floated a bunch of Pink Springtails, Temperate White Springtails, and Mites on the surface of some water. The mites floated and lived for days. Some of them eventually touched the edge and climbed out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
water in the bottom of the storage containers is unlikely to stop the mites since they are too small to break the surface film.
Housing fruit fly and isopod cultures in the same storage containers is asking for trouble....

I'm not entirely sure what you were intending with the springtail lids. Were you trying to keep the springtails in? Mites out? Reduce air flow? I doubt it will keep small springtails in or mites out but it will probably reduce air exchange which could be an issue depending on the type of springtails you are going to culture.

Ed
Ed pretty much summed up my opinions on this.
I'm guessing that your intention with the filters is to add some ventilation, while keeping springtails in and mites out. Unfortunately, I don't think it will work. Springtails will still escape and mites will get in. Baby springtails and baby mites are like dust. They are sooo tiny! You are not going to be able to find anything more effective than the .3 micron filters. They are just ideal for this purpose. You can find them here by the 10 pack. Fungi Perfecti: micron air filters If you can use 10, that's the way to go. Depending on the size you get, they are about $12 to $15 shipped. If you only want one or two, I can help you with that. Mine are more expensive per filter, but cheaper if you only need a couple. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/plants-supplies-classifieds/81074-3-micron-filter-discs.html
I know you asked what I thought about this portion and I only commented on the discs because Ed covered the rest. Mite paper will work much better. I did an experiment where I floated a bunch of Pink Springtails, Temperate White Springtails, and Mites on the surface of some water. The mites floated and lived for days. Some of them eventually touched the edge and climbed out.
Holy s**t, I had it all wrong! LOL
I seriously did not think mites and baby springs were THAT small (dust). :eek:
Back to the drawing board, and I will make sure to consider this modification to the springtails culturing method.

Thanks Ed and Doug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Following the advices above, I got the .3 micron filters. Would air be passively exchanged through those?!?!? I do not doubt your knowledge and the effectiveness of the filters, but I am baffled by how it would actually work. Air barely passes through it when placed over my mouth.

Here is a picture. Note that the filter is white... the yellow tint is a camera correction.



I also got supplies for the FFs cultures. I am almost ready for the actual FEEDERS!!! :)

 

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Yes, they do passively exchange air. Some of the isopods like the purples have early stages that are easily as small as springtails. They also can get through the fruit fly mesh (I often find them scattered on the top of the lid where they got through the fruit fly mesh and dessicated).

Ed
 
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