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First Vivarium 30gal, False Bottom & Rain System
#1
I turned my 30 gallon Amazon River aquarium into a vivarium for a pair of blue Azureus. It was important to me to have the system be a "true" water cycle, this means no outside water source. I also wanted a mini aquarium within the vivarium. Even with a lot of great information on the internet, I found that building my first vivarium was full of trial and error.

First I constructed the false bottom...
*note: it is important to use pipes or another central support for the base of the false bottom. I originally built a cube using egg crate on 4/5 sides of the cube (excluding front and bottom). A lot of my fish got caught between the wall and the egg crate causing them to die. Glad I found this out before I added my dirt and frogs.

My next obstacle was adding filtration for the water. This came from a store bought vivarium waterfall fixture:
http://www.tetra-fish.com/catalog/product.aspx?id=821
I had to raise it a few inches with a small egg crate cube to make it more visible.

The most challenging and expensive part of the vivarium is the rain system. Since I was using water from within the tank, I was unable to have a "misting" system which requires a great deal of pressure. I ended up using a power head pump and pvc pipe with holes to create the rain system.
*note: I cannot stress enough how powerful the power head pump has to be. The first pump I bought (the strongest they sold at a local fish store) pushed enough water through but wasn't strong enough to handle the intake pressure so it was VERY noisy. The final pump I used (which costs $80) was build for use in ponds, it works great! http://www.petco.com/Shop/petco_Product_..._4782.aspx
**note: I bought the model 3, 350 GPH

The following pictures were taken when the first of the plants and fish were added, and the last few are from the 3rd day after I added the frogs and a few more plants.

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#2
That is an interesting terrarium/paludarium. I love the filter. I use a normal whisper 10i, but would love to have a lid on it. I did not know they made that product. I have thought about building a lid over mine, but I have not done it yet. If you don't me asking, how much did it cost?

What are the dimensions of enclosure?
Is the false bottom open to the water? From the pictures it looks like it is, but sometimes pictures can be deceiving.

Have you thought about putting a coco hut in for a hiding place?

You might want to add some leave litter over the open spots between the mosses. This helps keep the soil off of the frogs, and provides some hiding spaces.

Do you have any pictures of while you were constructing it?

The frogs look great.
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#3
Quote:If you don't me asking, how much did it cost?

The filter only cost about $20.

Quote:What are the dimensions of enclosure?

The enclosure is about 20" all around, a perfect cube.

Quote:Is the false bottom open to the water?

Yes, the false bottom is open to the water (not touching the water), which is the most important feature besides the watering system. This allowes all the water and waste to fall into the water. This supplies nutrients to the plants as the fish and frog waste filters through the soil. I siphon the water about once a week to keep the nitrates from getting to high.

Quote:Have you thought about putting a coco hut in for a hiding place?

I did add a ceramic hut hiding space. I didn't add the coco hut because it is a dead organic. As you can see from the first few pictures, I had a stick w/ an orchid attaced. I had to remove the stick because fungus strands kept growing over it, even though i boiled and baked it multiple times. The orchid is now on a rock.

Quote:You might want to add some leave litter over the open spots between the mosses. This helps keep the soil off of the frogs, and provides some hiding spaces.

For the same reason, I do not want to add any dead organics (leaves). At first I was worried about the fungus strands, but thinking back to my Biology courses, strand fungus plays a very important roll for plant development and it controls bacterial outbreaks. As long as it stays in the dirt and does not sprout mushrooms, it should be ok. I was also very careful not to add any fertilizers (except the frog and fish waste) because I do not want any magic mushroom sprouting. :wink:

As far as dirt on the frogs go, it doesn't seem to pose a problem because the dirt is moist and sticks to itself for the most part. After I figure out which plants will thrive in my terrium, I will add live sheet moss to the open areas. I am already in the process of growing some.

Quote:Do you have any pictures of while you were constructing it?

Sorry, I don't. It had crossed my mind but I had made so many changes during construction that it is probably better if you don't know what really went on. :wink:

Quote:The frogs look great.

Thanks!
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#4
Just a thought, don't you think it's entirely possible that since your false bottom is open to the water that your frogs could get caught underneath and drown? I don't think that coco huts being a "dead organic" would affect your frogs. Neither would coco fiber which I have always used. I would also like to recommend leave litter as well. These dead organics shouldn't be hard on your frogs. Just some thoughts.
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#5
There is a gap between the water and the false bottom and a lot of high platforms in the water and ways to climb out. The frogs do have a hut, it is just ceramic. The top few pictures just show a few of the many plants I have in there now, they have ALOT of live plants to hide in.

The frogs are very active and friendly. They hunt for food all day until around 6pm when they go hide somewhere and sleep. They have gained body mass and their color is bright blue now.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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#6
I have java fern emersed... It's doing fine... I've also used anubias nana 'petite' emersed... keep them humid enough and they'll be fine.
liana
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