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to false bottom or not?
Im setting my dart tank up tommorow and a, im decididng whether to use a false bottom or not i have everythng i need to construct this tank including the pvc and eggcrate fo rthe false bottom.Is it relly neede for a long time healthy setup or can i put a peice of pvc in the corner fill the tank first with drainage substrate,mesh,then orchid bark, coco mix and then moss.Then siphone out every week or so the excess water build up through the pvc in the corner?or go with a false bottom and seti up 2-3in off the bottom so i can siphone it that way?My concern is functonality but alsi i dont lke the "look"of thr false bottom.Please let me kno your opinon on this.also please post pics of some long term set ups.
I don't recall what size tank you are working on.

There are a lot of opinions on the 'False Bottom VS Drainage Layer' debate.
We have been using the false bottom technique in our vivariums for a number of years. We have tried other methods but feel this works best for us and the longevity of the tanks. We do use the eggcrate and PVC spacers that have been notched, but we still use the Hydroton on top of the eggcrate, then use a piece of fiberglass window screen to keep the substrate from sifting through the Hydroton.
While the false bottom is very functional is does have the drawback of being unsightly. There are ways of addressing this. The easiest way is to cover the inside of the tank where the false bottom will be visible in silicone.

I don't have any pictures handy of long term set ups.
I agree with Cindy that a false bottom is the way to go. I didn't construct one on my first set up and wish I had. I did years later take it apart to put in a false bottom. On scraping out the layers of substrate I thought to myself that all the goo that had drained to the bottom was like a bio hazard to the little froggies that live inside.
you can go without the false bottom and use gravel instead filled half way or so with water. This will last 2 years before having to do a break down and sanitize everything. the gravel will act as a biological filter, and plants will root right into it. may seem sterile, but it is also an option and prettier. Downside, gravel in two years will be time consuming to remove, sanitize and replace. plants can also be sanitized. I do this on some of my dart frog set ups and have never had any bad fecals etc. just cover the gravel with proper leaves...change leaves every month-2months, can add some sheet moss too to areas that get best light and drainage. If extra water occurs.....siphon out with turkey baster to lower water level again. that simple. or you can go with the false bottom....both work equally good and both need maintenance. ts up to you. kristySmile

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