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Vivarium Photo Journal
Almost finished with this 20"Wx20"Dx16"H acrylic viv. I'll post pics from the ground up, including some of the water feature construction.

The "sub-flooring" (not merely a false bottomWink and the water feature were definitely the most difficult aspects in this design. The water feature was doubly so, as I wanted to make all the pieces removable for pump servicing and water changes. In addition, the water feature is self-contained(has it's own reservoir), so the water quality at the surface is easily controlled. These custom creations made me wish for some kind of insert available at your nearest Walgreens... hehe But, you can never have things the way you want em unless you DIY. =)

more to come... Mike
In these shots, things are starting to resemble something.... In retrospect, I may have put a little too much detail into something that is now covered. Oh well, it worked and it was a LOT of fun to make! Just a few more photos-
Well, these are the last for now. I have a few more plantings and some minor adjusting here and there that I will post soon. I'd like to wait a month or more to see how the plants will do and how stable I can make the environment before I try to introduce any PDFs.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions, I welcome any and all! Enjoy!

Thanks and take care,
That is a really nice viv.
You sure put a lot work into the eggcrate part.
I am curious as to why you chose to make the water portion self-contained? Was it for depth, whithin the 16" height of the tank?
Very nice Mike!
Tell us about your plants.

Quote:That is a really nice viv.
You sure put a lot work into the eggcrate part.
I am curious as to why you chose to make the water portion self-contained? Was it for depth, whithin the 16" height of the tank?


Thanks, glad you like it! I'd love to see pics of your "masterpiece(s)" too.
Yeah the egg crate portion turned out to be more difficult than I had first imagined. But, it had to be cut into pieces to fit through the door...
The water feature was designed to be a separate and easily changeable source, serviceable, and something different. Smile As you mentioned, scale played a huge part in how it turned out; though I had originally made it taller, it had to be shortened considerably.


Here are a few shots of the plants. Mainly the highlights... though the really fancy plants aren't in yetWink Most of these are doing well, though they have only been in for three weeks, so I don't really know which aren't going to make it for certain.


3 Selaginella sp. - growing very well

Broms - N. lilliputiana, N. ampulacea - seem to be doing well

Tillandsias - T. bergeri, and some hybrid I can't remember - some won't make it, too much consistent moisture

Ferns - Heart Fern (H. arifolia), Maidenhair Fern (A. pendatum), Lemon Button Fern (N. cordifolia), and two Microgramma sp. (epihytic vines) - clearly, I'm very fond of ferns =)) - all growing like mad!!

Orchid - Mediocalcar decoratum - don't think I've killed it yet

Liverwort - Riccia fluitans - amazingly fast grower!

Lichen (actually not a "plant"Smile - Raindeer Lichen and some variety that came attached to the cark bark - pretty sure the RD Lichen will need replacing at some point

Peperomias - P. rubella, P. angulata - very little growth if any

Tropicals - Pilea Cadieri - doing very well, also easy to start my own cuttings, Syngonium rayii - not doing so great, maybe to wet for it

Aquatic - S. natans - gowing like a weed

Please excuse any poor spelling; most of these are new to me and off the top of my head...

The reason I like construction journals is....I get to steal ideas! Smile


Glad you found something! I did the same while I was planning this viv and it helped a lot, especially with the false bottom and substrate layering. If you have any Qs, feel free...

BTW, what does your user name mean, if you don't mind my asking? I don't think I was quite able to figure it out... just curious.

where did you get the acrlic cube from.
The enclosure and the reservoir were both custom made by First Class Aquatics. Very fast and professional. Been meaning to plug for them in the vendors forum...

I really like the idea of the separate water container. On the vivs (only two, really) that I've made I always leave a little pool area and it's never able to hold as much water as I've wanted it to. Once you reach a certain depth you're starting to hit the substrate then that turns into a soggy mess. So yeah, I really like the idea. Is there any worry about any future warping? I'm not too knowledgeable on the materials.

Thanks! Yeah, the raised water container is a neat concept; the substrate is moist, but not soggy. Also, being self contained, this allows the H2O feature to be placed almost anywhere you like, not just the corners and sides. The folks at FCA were very kind to work with me on this design.

I've never done this before and it's so recent that I can't say for sure whether there will be any long term warping. The acrylic sheet used to make the reservoir is the same thickness as that used to make the tank, so I think it will be okay; quite a sturdy material. However, the tank door, nearly half that thickness has begun to warp a little. To hedge this, I'm having a brace applied to it. Bracing could also be a preventative method for a water container, if warping were a concern...

That's an awesome setup!
looks great
Sweet setup :!: That turned out freakin awesome, I hope mine works out that well.

I just did mine up this last weekend and used a false bottom. Under the false bottom I left it open, then on top of the egg crate I put the clay balls, then soil and such.

For my water feature I did something similar, I made a cube wall around where the pumps go and put the pumps inside a smaller cube and set that down inside it and incorporated a small sponge filter into the mix as well as some bagged carbon for filtering. One pump is for the water fall, and the other recyles the water from the false bottom resivoir through a small sprinkler setup I put into the hood.

I did this is an Exo Terra 18x18x18.
Thanks! It's still a work in progress though - I'll post more pics in a week or two, when all the finishing touches are done. You'll hardly recognize it. Confusedhock: 8)

Yeah, the water feature reservoir idea is pretty neat; a little complicated to get set up at first, but I think it makes things easier in the long run. You know, I wanted to have another pump/filter somewhere outside the cube, but I started to run out of space and good ideas... :lol: Did you drill a hole or make some space for siphoning "groundwater"?

Hope all goes well for you! Keep us posted - looking forward to seeing some shots once you have it done. :wink:

that looks very complicated, But a nice result, kind of intimadting though when your just preparing to design you first....
very nice

You're right, it was the complicated way to go - I read a lot of construction journals and tutorials and became convinced that I needed a false bottom, but many people seem to do just fine without. (The one good thing I can say about the false bottom is that it allows me to keep an eye on the groundwater level and be sure that it isn't being wicked up into the substrate.) If I had it to do over or if I ever make another, I might skip the false bottom and just use the LECA pellets (drainage) with peat bricks on top for substrate and landscape. Smile Hope your first experience goes well - this is possibly the neatest hobby! Big Grin


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