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Building My Vivarium


The type of tank set up is called a false bottom.
The idea is to put the pump or filter below the substrate,
beneath a false bottom.
(Click any image to enlarge)

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08/09/02
First, I set the tank up with cardboard to
get a feel for how the layout would work.





Then I cut and fit all of the base pieces. The base is 3/4 inch PVC pipe and a common Light Diffuser. A Light Diffuser is the 2 foot by 4 foot cover for a fluorescent light fixture. This type is white plastic with large square holes called "Egg Crate".
Next I siliconed the pieces together
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08/11/02





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08/12/02
I laid down some kind of firm plastic latch hook rug grid thing, and covered that with nylon window screening, and covered that with pebbles and slate. I covered the front and side with Egg Crate and screen.





I added another level, and put in what will be the basin at the bottom of my waterfall. The square hole on each level is for easy access to the pump.
I started adding shred coconut husks as a substrate. This was a bad choice. The coconut husks are too absorbent, they stay too wet and they act like a wick, staying wet well above the water level.
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08/12/02
One of the better shots

substrate: the base on which an organism lives
"the soil is the substrate of most seed plants"
-Webster


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08/12/02
Secured the rest of the screen, added more pebbles, more substrate





I made a little creek for the waterfall water to come from. The idea was to make a waterway that was nearly water tight. I used the hard plastic package from the tube of silicone. The sides weren't high enough to contain the water flow and the piece of PVC was hard to hide. Two weeks later I rebuilt the whole thing. I discarded the pipe and replaced it with pieces of slate and siliconed more rocks to the clear plastic. The water looked nicer coming from beneath a piece of slate than from a sewer pipe.
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08/13/02





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08/13/02
I secured the top and piled on more rocks and coconut.





After a good inch of substrate was spread around, I raided the creek in my Mom´s backyard. This is 100% Long Island, NY backyard stuff.
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08/17/02





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08/21/02
I started attaching pieces of slate up on the cliffs to hide the egg crate. I realized that it would have been easier if I had siliconed these on before I added the substrate, and they would have helped keep the substrate on the terraces. I attached a coco panel to the back of the tank. It harbors beneficial bacteria, holds water, raises humidity, and plants will grow on it





Filled with water, done for now
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08/28/02





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10/18/02
This is the top view of the roof of the hut
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10/18/02
The hut is made of Cat Tail reeds





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10/20/02
This is the finished hut
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10/20/02
Room for rent





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