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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I'm about to build my first vivarium for dart frogs (Azureus) -- I've build smaller terrariums before, but nothing on this scale. I'm using an Exo Terra 36x18x18, and I'm not entirely sure how to do the water feature. I know that one isn't even necessary for dart frogs, but I want to make one anyway.

Now, my big question is, does the area of water absolutely have to be separated from the drainage layer? In other words, can they be one in the same? My idea was to use an extra thick layer of gravel for drainage (maybe as much as 3 or 4 inches), then have about an inch or so of water on the bottom of the tank. Then, in the area I want the water feature (towards the front of the tank, so the substrate can be deeper further towards the back), I'd taper the substrate off to nothing, and taper the gravel off to maybe a half inch, thereby exposing an inch or so of water. Obviously I'd need to filter the water, and I figure I can get an external filter and discretely fit the two tubes down in there.

But mainly, I need to know if there are any fundamental problems with this idea? I'm reading about all these elaborate setups with false bottoms and such, but I really don't want to have to do that. I want to make this as simple as possible. So, would my idea work? If the substrate was on top of a thick layer of gravel, would the plants be okay with an inch or two of water on the very bottom of the tank? And of course, would this water be safe for the frogs as long as it was filtered?
 

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You could put a weedblock screen in between the substrate and gravel. It would be the same as using LECA just heavier. What your describing is the method alot of people use. False bottom is for folks who don't want that layer. But yea making a beach area like your saying shouldn't have any real problems. You might just want that screen in there to help the substrate from mixing with the gravel too much. The water will be fine as long as your using the right kind in the first place.

I don't know everything but im always up late so just trying to help since you bumped.

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Discussion Starter #4
Would regular fiberglass screen work, too? Also, you mentioned the right kind of water -- you just mean something like distilled water, right? And thanks, I do appreciate your reply. :)
 

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Ya fiberglass works. Some natural spring water or reverse osmosis water is preferred. Make sure to post pics!

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