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I'm the new guy here planning a 55 Gallon build and I have
#1
Hello all. First post and I'm looking forward to my new frog adventure!! Currently I'm in the planning stage on my first build. I have a 55 Gallon tank which will be the canvas on my build. It will house several dart frogs eventually. I tend to go a little overboard with every thing I do, I don't see this being any different. This tank is big, but it still doesn't have much floor space so I'm trying to make every inch usable. I am going to put a water feature in there..... enough with all that... here is the ideas I have rolling around in my head. Please let me know of anything I'm doing wrong or could be done different.

First black silicone on the back wall, 1 side wall and 1/2 the other wall. One side has a crack at the top so that will be completely siliconed over, that is also where the water feature will sit. Great stuff on top the silicone, then silicone, then coco fiber....

It will have a false bottom, egg crate sitting on 1 1/2 PVC couplings to elevate it, slits cut in the bottom of the couplings to allow water to move through it. Egg crate cut at an angle and positioned in the corner behind the waterfall for access to the pump/filter. Cover with screen then substrate.

My water feature I have planning will be a waterfall all the way to the top of the tank, making a good size drop into a pool, stream, then a small drop into the last pool. My plans are to build up the waterfall, then have a rather large target for the water to hit, I'm thinking a pot filled with pea gravel, Cut a notch in the pot and lay the split pipe in the groove and silicone the gaps. Split some PVC pipe in two fill layer with silicone then put pea gravel in the silicone, sprinkle with sand to get in the small crack to hide all the silicone. Then have the stream fall again into a smaller pool. I'm thinking after I lay the pipe/stream down build up a little with Great stuff around the edges of the pipe, grout then paint, that way to try and keep debris out of the water.

For the pump/filter I'm thinking a canister filter like the zoo med 501. Put a valve on the outlet side to control flow for the fall. Also have a "T" in there use the same pump for my mister. I need some kind of in line timer for the mister though. It will go something like this... Canister to "T", one side of the "t" valve/regulator for fall, other side would be timer/valve then mister

For the terrain I also have big plans. To get the most real estate I want to build several ledges on the back wall. I want to have almost a two tier design. Where the river falls off at the bottom I want there to be a ledge, preferably for the frogs to get behind the water fall. The ledge will be 6 inches or so wide and about 3 inches or so overhang. I want the top portion to be about 2-3 inches higher than the bottom level, with a gradual grade on the back side about 3 inches wide and cliff/ledge spanning the rest.

That's kinda what I have rambling in my head, I hope ya'll can picture it!! Now for my questions....

1. How can I build the two level design? Elevated egg crate?

2. How to cover the egg crate from the outside view? I don't want gravel around the edges, too much to clean. Silicone the inside before install? Paint the outside?

3. How to make the bottom fall, fall straight down instead of running back down the ledge? Silicone some slate to make a flat surface?

4. Since i'll be using the pump for the water feature and mister, if I use distilled water for the whole thing will it dirty up my glass with the possible contaminants in the water?

5. Will regulating the water on the outlet side of the canister cause stress on the pump any ways? Too much pressure on the canister?

6. What to put under the ledge? Coco fiber? grout the paint to look like a cave?

7. Will too much grout/paint hurt the frogs? I'm wanting to keep as much contaminants out of the water as I can.

8. Substrate.... what to use? I want the top layer to be a leaf litter, but what does best under that?

9. Planter pots, what to use? Do the roots stay contained in the pots?

That is about all the questions I have for now. Thanks in advance for your help/advice/tips. Thanks for reading this long post.


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#2
1. 2 levels is often done...a better way is to build 'out' from the background - like some wood features instead of building 'up" from the ground. Does that make sense ?

2."Black contact paper" - Google it

3. Do you mean 'waterfall" ? Do a search here on 'waterfall" and "water feature".

4.You should use 'separate' ,clean RO water for your misting system. Recycled water will foul misting nozzles over time.

5. I'm not sure what you mean here....

6.Just silicone cocofiber or similar...plant growth will obscure things anyway. So it will look 'cave-like' on it's own, in time.

7.Yep..go easy on paint and grout. I like to stay as close to 100% organic as possible.

8.Do a search here for "ABG" and yes...2 layers of magnolia leaves or some small live oak are what most people use.

9.I let all my plants 'free range" and grow / root where they eventually want to.

yes...it was a long post..lol...glad to be able to try to help. Keep reading and keep posting ! Good luck with your build !
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#3
Thanks for the reply! I actually went out yesterday and started buying some of the stuff that I know will be in there. Some of my original ideas have changed a little since then. That was a post from about 3 days ago that I posted on another forum... I still hasn't be answered yet! lol

1. For the 2 level design I kinda have something specific in mind. Since this is a rather long tank I wanted something to break up the length and give it some kind of distinct terrain. I'm planning on building some ledges on the back wall as well too.

2.Too late, already put black silicone on the inside.

3. I still got a lot of planning for this one!

4. That makes perfect sense.

5. What I mean.... I want to put a valve on the outlet side of the pump/filter to regulate to water flow. I dont know if regulating the output of a canister filter will harm it in any way.

6.Sounds good

7.I actually ditched all the grout/paint idea. The waterfall will be slate instead of grout.

8.I'll look into that

9.Do the pots need to be of a certain size? I was thinking of using the tops from the Great Stuff? I dont want them to be to small to limit the growth and kill the plant, I also dont want them to be "useless" big and take up too much room.
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#4
I've used the lids from the great stuff containers also, they work fine. I wouldn't put a brom in one (no drainage) but good for vines etc...

As far as the contact paper, a lot of times with silicone on the inside, a spot gets missed, or, where its not as thick you will get a little glow of the light showing through. Black contact paper on the outside of the viv is a nice finishing touch.

A friend of mine did what your talking about in item 5. I think he used a pvc valve and just turned it to regulate how fast or slow his stream was flowing. Once the viv is up and running, I'm not 100% sure the "practical" value of it, but, it was kinda cool. Seemed like a lot of work for what it was.
Derek
1.5 kids and a bunch of frogs
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#5
[Image: 556387_829474175255_924973363_n.jpg]

I went with three small tree fern panels for vine to grow on, attached to Styrofoam covered with black silicone, then coated with peat moss. The overflow was covered with the half log hides.This is a 55g acrylic with three mistking nozzles. I went simple, yet once the plants take hold you really can not notice. I recommend going simple. You may want to go with a small pool over a waterfall. I used a potion of pool liner sunk into the soil with a slate boarder to create a small pool with java moss growing in it. Once again, when the plants take hold they are hard to notice.
Later and Happy Frogging,
Jason Juchems
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