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In the middle of my first viv with false bottom..
#1
I am having construction problems. Can I just ask - what's the point of a false-egg crate bottom, isn't it just as easy to cover the whole of the bottom of the tank with gravel then substrate on top ? You can still have a water feature by having the pump in the back rear corner and drawing water up through the gravel and sculpt a pond out of the gravel ? I just realised I havent seen any of these designs but feel they would be far easier thn messing around with egg crate and pvc tubing etc.............? Any advice would be appreciated.
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#2
Some people do just have a layer of gravel with substrate on top.

We have tried it this way, and we prefer to use the false bottom.

What kind of problems are you having?


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#3
Hi Cindy, I just cant get it to look right, im not a very artistic person and cannot get it to look like th eones Ive seen on here, part of the problem is that the tank is an 18" cube and I am trying to leave enough room in the water for some fish whilst also trying to leave plenty of land area for the frogs, the water is too deep and the false bottom is way up high so it looks un natural. What is the benefit of the false bottom over a layer of gravel? I also think I will struggle to hide the walls of the false bottom, again it wont look natural because the walls are about 4 " high. Thanks for your help, Dan
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#4
The advantage of a false bottom verses a drainage layer is with the false bottom you will not have the issue of 'wicking'.
With the false bottom, ideally you will have a small air gap between the bottom of the egg crate and the water surface.

As for disguising the false bottom, we usually apply a layer of silicone to the inside of the glass.

That size of tank would be difficult to work with, especially trying to work a water feature with fish.
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#5
In my opinion that is just too small to have a water feature large enough for fish. I have a cube that is about 18" X 20" X 24" tall, and I cannot see how that would be enough room to have a large pond area. Mine has a stream going to a very small pond, this still leaves quite a bit of room for the frogs.

I like the eggcrate design because it makes the tank lighter if you ever have to move it, and it allows more water to be in the whole system. The more water the better, as this allows better heat holding capability, and a more stable system.

Many people use gravel, or leca, and then put the substrate on top of that. It is definately faster to set up than eggcrate.

I hide my eggcrate by leaving a little gap between the aquarium wall and the eggcrate. I then fill this gap with gravel, so it looks like the whole thing is full of gravel. I also use great stuff on top of the eggcrate to hold the "soil" in place.
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#6
why not just lower the false bottom? 4" seems a bit excessive for such a small tank. theres no reason it couldn't be the same height that you would have made the gravel.
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#7
I am also trying to decide between using a false bottom or not. Weight is a factor for me, as the tank will have to be moved every summer (since it will be in my classroom). Are the leca balls lightweight? Also, I'm intrigued by using gravel to camouflage the false bottom. How does it stay in place? I'm having a hard time picturing how that works. Also, do you put the same foam on top of the eggcrate as you use in the background? I haven't heard of doing that, but it sounds like a good idea. Do you just put it around the edge or what?

Frances
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#8
It makes the tank a lot lighter. so if you put 4 inches of gravel on the bottom and try to lift it up it would be hard, but if you put 3 inches of eggcrate( which weighs, like nothing) then put 1 inch of gravel on top it would be lighter. ya know what im sayin'
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#9
fknighton, I am to lazy to read this thread to find out what you are talking about Big Grin but I will try to answer your questions. Usually people conceal the false bottoms with fancy cabinets or separate containers that go over the false bottom (on the outside). I have never heard of putting GreatStuff on the egg crate, I would guess that this would kill the purpose of a false bottom because it isn't porous enough for vast quantities of water to seep through. I am not sure if this is part of your question but the construction of false bottoms isn't very difficult, cut pvc and drill holes for water to seep through it and silicone it to the bottom then and egg crate wherever you want it to be over the pvc's and then put a mesh over it to stop substrate from seeping through. (I have recently heard that some substrates are very likely to cause mold from a professional doing PDF vivariums for around 30+ years(Instead he just puts lava rock on the bottom then sphagnum moss on top of that then all the moss the decorative moss on that and plants in the sphagnum moss))
http://dartsvivarium.webs.com/
I am trying to create a PDF website, don't expect it to contain any info till around New Years day.
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#10
Hi! I think the intention was to put a little lip of greatstuff around the edge to keep the substrate in. I ended up with some nice wood that served the purpose. Fran
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#11
You can try Hydroton instead of the other stuff
You are the story of mankind
-J. Krishnamurti
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#12
fknighton Wrote:I am also trying to decide between using a false bottom or not. Weight is a factor for me, as the tank will have to be moved every summer (since it will be in my classroom). Are the leca balls lightweight? Also, I'm intrigued by using gravel to camouflage the false bottom. How does it stay in place? I'm having a hard time picturing how that works. Also, do you put the same foam on top of the eggcrate as you use in the background? I haven't heard of doing that, but it sounds like a good idea. Do you just put it around the edge or what?

Frances

Yes, LECA balls are much lighter than gravel. I just set up my terrarium, I am a teacher and am planning on keeping it in my classroom so I had the exact same concerns when building. I have a 20 gal tank and a friend and I can move it without any problem (and I only need a friend because the tank is awkward, not because it's heavy). The false bottom is also an excellent weight-reducer.

Also, I actually love the way my tank looks with the false bottom. It obviously doesn't look quite as natural (I wouldn't expose it in a lobby where the tank's main purpose was decoration, for instance). I think it's better for a classroom, sparking more interest, curiosity and questions (especially if you're a science teacher). I don't know, maybe I'm nuts. I just like it.
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#13
I love having the dart frog tank in my classroom. It is great for Science and just plain making our class a very special place! Fran
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#14
False bottoms are pretty important and useful. The alternative of gravel and sopping wet substrate is much worse.

False Bottom construction may seem hard to do at first, but with a little research.....not hard to do at all.
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