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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to setup a new vivarium with a waterfall into a small pool, then across a river bed into another small pool. This will be my first setup and it may sound difficult, but it has to be possible! I was looking for a way to seal the first pool and river bed from leaking into the false bottom. I was thinking about fiberglass resin mixed/topped with pea sized gravel. Does anyone know if this is safe? Or maybe take a piece of styrofoam and widdle away a nice river bed and glue in some rocks?
Any ideas? Questions? Thoughts?
Thank you,
Gareth
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I would personally opt for sillicone with rocks, eventually any part covered in water will probably get covered by a moss or algie anyway.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, a mixture of sillicone and pebbles? That would be a lot of sillicone. I need to seal it so water makes it to the end of the river, instead of just draining out into the false bottom. I think I might have found a way with plastic and plastic tubes around the whole thing. I'm in the testing stage.
Thank you,
Gareth
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
make your bed from pastic tubes for sure, im thinking about the corregated stuff you find on Tumble dryer extractors. But to get the pebbles to stick to the 'banks' id use sillicone to stick the pebbles, then maybee dust it with sand or CoCo's fiber
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't have any pictures, but in my first tank I took plastic trash bag and cut it into a long strip about 10" wide. I smeared silicone in a 4" swath and then sprinkled small rocks into it. Once it was dry I used this to line the stream bed. I got the idea of an old website. Worked like a charm.
It is the same method people use to line a garden pond or stream.
 

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I would try to find a small piece of fish safe pond liner. Most pond builder have a box of scrap that they will sell you for next to nothing. The best part about it is that it is fish/frog safe and most likely going to be cheaper then the silicon you were going to buy.

Doug
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am working on this same thing right now. What I did is build the catch ponds and the channels out of mesh wire from Home Depot. Then used fiberglass and resin from auto zone, the tighter the weave the best. Use the stuff that looks like cloth it is much easer to work into the corners and is much more water proof. After the fiberglass was hard I put a thick coat of silicone let that dry then did another layer (brown silocone) and stuck river rocks to that then used aquarium gravel to fill in around the rocks. I just filled the baskets and the channels with the gravel pressed it in and let it dry then dumped out the excess. After all of that I put a layer of great stuff around the edges coated that with brown silicone and coco bedding. I hope that will keep the soil from getting into the stream. I haven't put it in the tank yet, but it is a very natural cool looking stream system. If you want one channel to dump(water fall) into the next catch basket it looks best to let the rocks on the end of the channel hangoff of the end and cover the end of the visable wire and fiberglass. It was a lot of work.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wyoming,
Is the fiberglass toxic without being covered by silicone? That sounds just like what I was thinking of doing.

Bgreen,
How pliable was the "riverbed" when it dried? This sounds like an easier way to go.
Thank you,
Gareth

PS Any pics?
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I used Great Stuff to get the rough shape of my streambed, then carved it with a serrated knife when it had cured. After that, I applied silicone and rocks like everyone else.

A couple of suggestions: don't just buy a bag of pea gravel at Home Depot for this project. The similarity of size and texture will make your streams and pools look artificial (of course, they are, but why draw attention to it?). If possible, collect stones of varying sizes.

Secondly, I have found that no matter how well one seals the stream and/or pools, some splashing and leakage into your substrate is inevitable. I have found that the best way to deal with this is to use only orchid bark (fir bark) around my water feature. The water drains right through without anything becoming waterlogged, and you can grow epiphytic plants in it if you want. That or just stick some moss on top of it. The moss I collect around here (Tulsa) seems to do best with ridiculously good drainage, so it's a good match.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Niven said:
Bgreen,
How pliable was the "riverbed" when it dried? This sounds like an easier way to go. Thank you, Gareth
PS Any pics?
First Tsulio has very good advice on the different size rocks. Random is key. Not like what I have in the picture, but it was fun to play with. The plastic was still very flexible and I lost some rocks putting it in, but that was easy to fix with a few more dabs of silicone.



I had it pool in the corner, worked well, but didn't like the look for very long.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't know if the fiberglass is toxic. It is the same stuff we use to fix the plastic on race motorcycles. Just to be safe I didn't leave any exposed to the water.
It dries very hard and is not fexible at all. You need to do all of your design in the mesh wire and how ever the fiberglass dries that is where it is going to stay.
Sorry no pics of the construction I will try to get some this weekend of what I have now.
 

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I like wyoming's fiberglass idea, but it does sound somewhat labor intensive. I would love to see pics.

I have used the previously mentioned method of getting a pond liner to direct the flow, although I did not use any silicone--only stacked rocks where I thought they looked proper. The java moss quickly covered any small exposed areas. Below is a page showing how I put mine together, but there is not much of a stream--just waterfall and bog.

http://www.frognet.org/gallery/False-Bo ... l-Assembly
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I did it! I used Bgreen's idea with a few plastic fish bags cut open. I smeered some brown silicone on and pushed some pea gravel into it. I was able to have a pool at the top (hopefully I'll be able to add a water fall to this) that overflows down the stream to the other end of my tank. I'll try to post pics soon, but I think it looks really nice.
Thanks for the help,
Gareth
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·


Well, there it is! I haven't made a waterfall yet, but I think it looks good.
Thanks again for the help,
Gareth

 
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