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False Bottoms, Drainage and Lid questions

I am building a vivarium (30 gallons) and I really dont want to go through the hassle of building a waterfall or false bottom.

I am wondering, what are my other options for draining and keeping the tank humid. List several examples please Tongue

Thanks !
#2 would be totally awesome if someone can add me on msn to talk.


Basically...I dont want a waterfall or a falsebottom..

I just need good ways of making sure I have good humidy and drainage

you can use leca balls (expanded clay used for hydroponics) which is lightweight or aquarium gravel if you can't lay hands on leca. make a layer of 1-3 inches then cover it with fiberglass screen for windows, or coco basket liners, or a thick-ish layer of spagnum moss. the point of covering it is to allow water to drain but prevent your substrate from falling down into the drainage layer. you then add your substrate mix and plant away. i don't like the unnatural look of the leca layer, but you can easily just cover the outside (bottom portion) of the tank with brown silicone, electrical tape, or whatever to obscure the leca bottom layer.

if you want you can slope the leca and leave a "pond"at the lowest point. you might also think about being able to drain the setup very simple trick is to hide a piece of tubing which goes down through your layers to the bottom and has the upper end exposed (and capped with screen or whatever). you can then feed airline tubing down to the bottom for siphoning.

So far this is what I am going to do....

Have 2-3 inches of pea sized gravel...then plexi screen over that with the subtrate on top. I will also elevate one side of tank .25 inches so the water in the gravel runs to one side for easy siphoning or draining...

can I just drain water every 2-3 days...or as needed?

Ok, Now that I have my draining done..I need to know what subtrate to use. If this is a store or online bought subtrate please tell me where I can find it. (Also I want to plant lots of plants so make sure the subtrate is very plantable)

i think black jungle sells a soil mix, and lots of people swear by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens mix (google it). i use 1 part soil/compost with no additives, 1 part peat, 1 part orchid bark for drainage, and 3 parts coco fiber. many people warn about using perlite as it may be accidentally ingested by the frogs.....good luck with your little jungle!

i might just use gravel

what about for humitdy...should I make a screen top for vent. and cover part of the top for more humidity....

and can I just mist it? I will also have a bowl in there too


Cover the top. It will be a constant battle with a screen top.

It won't need to be covered completely, will it ? Because that is my only means of fresh air and ventilaton.

Opening your door/top to mist will be enought ventilation for MOST plants and your frogs. You can leave maybe a 1 inch portion in front with just the screen top but most people cover the entire thing.

Note not all plants will thrive in this situation. Again, you need to pick your plants wisely, if there is not ventilation do not go out and buy orchids or other plants that cant handle the wet leaves.

So is it a good choice to just have a full plexi-glass cover with a few holes (10ish) drill it in for some ventalation....and then alot of the vent. will come from the few times a misting a day?

I would recommend you do a plexi glass top (or glass, plexis is easier to work with at home) and a small section with screen. You can buy the parts to redo a screen window at a hardware store. You just need less of the material for your purpose. I would not drill the plexi, unless you have a way to cover the holes. You can have 2 things happen, frog escapes, and bug escapes. You will be suprised at the small holes frogs can get through.

I dont know about you but my tank is bug escape free. And my Girlfriend prefers her wine without fruitflys.

Hmm ok, like a square screen vent on the top? What size would you say the vent(s) needs to be ?

To make it easier on your self I would make it the length of tank plus 1 inch of screening. If i recall correctly the window screen edging takes up about 1-3/4 inch per side.

I'm sorry, that kind of threw me off...

I plan on making the whole top plexi glass.My viv will be 3.5 feet long - 20 inched tall and 12 inches deep.

How big of a screen vent would you say is needed and where would it be best positioned ?

Here are links with information:

Here is an example of a vent. Its on the front but you can easily take the same design and move it to the top.


Nothing is the RIGHT way. There are so many factors to take into account. What temp do you keep the room at, what humidity is the room, does the room temp/humidity fluctuate, do you use an air conditioner, what part of the world are you in. There is no cookie cutter way to take into all the environmental factors and give one good answer. You are going to need to setup the tank and tinker with it. This is half of the reason you want to have a 2-3 month cycle time for your tank. ESPECIALLLY with your first VIV, after this it get smuch easier. The temps and humidity can fluctuate from the reading you get when you first setup the tank. Think of it like cycling a saltwater tank. But anyway read all the info you can get set the tank up as best you can and you will learn what works and what doesn't for your particular house. Keep firing away im still trolling.

Im gonna cut up an old screen for a 10 gallon and then cut out 15% of the plexi glass out and insert the about 85% of the top will be covered

I have a spare air pump if that could be used for anything :S

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