Dendroboard banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am a new member and I am building my first vivarium. I will construct this vivarium using a 36x18x18 Exoterra terrarium. I am presently debating which poison dart frog morph the vivarium will house. I have many questions, but I really want to know if water circulation is better for a vivarium? I researched this topic thoroughly and cannot find any specific evidence to answer this question.

My original plan considered a waterfall and stream for an aesthetically pleasing and naturalistic look that would also provide a pseudo-naturalistic water cycle for the vivarium. After countless hours of research, I am close to scrapping this idea because of the failure rate, added maintenance, and that I only have eighteen square inches of floor space; however, I still feel that water circulation is better for the long-term success of the ecosystem. From my research, the best options involve a slow-flow waterfall or background drip system.

My main concern with a slow-flow waterfall is that it can break down the background over time. Another issue that forum users commonly express involves substrate saturation. Recharge water should not saturate a properly draining substrate unless the water table contacts the substrate. I will install a bulkhead that will serve as an overflow for the drainage layer's water regardless of adding a water feature.

The best option for water circulation for a vivarium of this size is probably a drip system, but it serves no other use in a vivarium with an automated misting system. One could theoretically design a larger system that creates its own rain, which would be the perfect setup.

Another concern, which involves any water circulation method, is filtration. Theoretically, a proper system will not require extra filtration because the interplay between the plants, substrate, microfauna, and good microbes acts as a natural filter. However, this is in theory, so back to my original question, is water circulation better for the long-term success of the ecosystem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
810 Posts
I am a new member and I am building my first vivarium.
Based on the above, I would recommend NOT doing any sort of waterfall or moving water within the tank. Full stop.

Every first time builder wants a waterfall or other water feature, myself 100% included. 99.9% of those builders who actually attempt it fail, either in the build process or later on down the road when everything fails. Myself still 100% included.

I will install a bulkhead that will serve as an overflow for the drainage layer's water regardless of adding a water feature.
This is a wise choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks MrBiggs. If I do circulate water, I will do a drip system and allow my overflow to drain into a sump, which will filter the water and house the pump. I will route the drip lines through plastic conduit that will enter the top of the vivarium through another bulkhead. Any drip lines built into the background will be routed through pvc pipe for easy removal in case of an issue. I plan to acclimate my vivarium for at least two months before placing frogs, so I will identify any problems during that time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
The principles that are true for an aquarium can, in many ways, be transferred over to a vivarium. You mentioned the fact that water that filters through a bio-active substrate kind of filters itself is one such principle. Another method of filtering the system water would be to use a canister filter. In my setup I will have a waterfall/stream type of scenario but the floor of my enclosure is 48" x 24" so there is plenty of room for it. If I determine that I need an external filter for the water, I will probably use a HOB type small filter since it will work very well with my particular setup. I would think that water circulation in any scenario would ultimately be best just to avoid any areas getting stagnant. That could happen to a drainage layer that gets neglected over time.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top