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To me, vivarium construction is half the hobby. So I'm now at that point when I want to gut and rebuild one of my older vivs. I'll be using my standard design, with some new modifications I have not yet tried. My ususal display setup is a 20 gal tall false bottom, with waterfall, draining to external sump and pumped back to waterfall. Lights are the standard aquarium strip converted to 2x13W compact fluorescents from AHSupply. Here some of my key decisions I could use some advice on:

False bottom: egg crate or LECA/Aliflor only, or both. Can water flow continuously through the LECA pellets without long term damage?

Background (I have yet to make a full background): Great stuff (black can) with peat/coco-fiber coating. I know many of you use a silicone to stick the substrate on the Great stuff. Does that work pretty well? Have any of you used the Concrite primer (water and acitate copolymer), as used by David Taylor? Any other ideas?

Water pump: I need one that can pump up to 3-4 feet. I have used Rio 600s in the past. They worked ok. I hear they're not that great. What I really want is a pump that can work QUIETLY!. My tanks are in my office and I do not want to hear them.

Advice is appreciated. All I can offer in return is some pictures and descriptions of my work. Thanks in advance.
vet_boy77
 
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Setting up naturalistic vivariums is definitely part of the hobby. There are so many ways you can do it. Just have to let your imagination run wild. LOL!


I would go with Just LECA if you are doing an external sump setup for the waterfall. The LECA will allow great air/water circulation with damage. I use coco matting (coir) to divide the LECA from the soil. By the way, I sell the LECA (clay balls). Selfless promotion there. LOL!

I use Weldbond glue for my backgrounds. The silicone stinks for way to long. The Weldbond smells like Elmers glue and is non toxic. You can find it at small hardware stores, not Home Depot or Lowe's. If you can not find it, I would be willing to ship you some. I tried a concrete copolymer that I got from Home Depot and it never setup. I might have mixed it wrong or something though.

I am not to good as far as the pumps go. It's tough figuring out the right size to use. I mostly use the mini fountain pumps.
 
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