Patrick thanks for the great advice. Its never too late for modifications that make it better! I appreciate you taking the time to help. I too thought about and toggled over the water section a bunch. I planned on doing 100% WC each week but I can go every 3 days if necessary. I have a lot of help. Sanitizing will be more difficult because of the build parameters. If the leos will not become well trained and use the substrate as a toilet; and instead like to use the gently gurggling spring to have their morning movement, I may be in some trouble! lol. I think I can provide and maintain some good RO water for them to drink. But if I cannot, the design was such that I can easily drain the water section and insert a small, hand carved, rock bowl in its place. That I can easily change daily like most people prefer. Sure would be a shame as that section took some serious time and thought to make. It happens when you try and stretch your builds to be as naturalistic as possible. Wont be the first time I have had to make changes.
I have some nifty new gadgets in the science dept this year to test in all my tanks. Data on all dissolved gases, chem analysis, humidity and temp gradients, along with extensive microfauna studies. If there is a decent population of protazoa in any of my tanks, I will find out. I have a small army of students who are getting quite adept at using the compound light microscopes. A plankton sieve has been working quite well. Anyways, I'll give it a try.
Thermal gradient not easily maintained with fans..........good to know. They work great in my tropical biotopes but this desert thing is quite new for me. What about just one above the water section (assuming it works) to pull out moisture? The tank is 6 feet long......hopefully that will make it possible to maintain a nice dry spot for them. I guess we'll know soon enough.
Thanks again for the advice!
You can always just section the water area off so they cant get to it, and use a small water dish that you can remove and hide easily. I forgot to address your feeding concerns in my last post. For the past 6 years I have been feeding my leopards meal worms exclusively. Some people don't feed them for fear of impaction, and rightfully so. To prevent impaction I feed a larger amount of small mealworms to my adults. There exoskeletons are not as defined as adults there fore they digest more readily. When I was breeding my leopards I did a little experiment. I started one hatchling on crickets and another on mealworms. Both dusted with calcium powder.(I use Repashy line of nutrients and I sware by them just incase you wanted to know) Although that wasn't nowhere near a good enough sample size to draw up anything conclusive, I still had the same growth rate.
I didn't realize how large this enclosure is. Your going to have to spend a good amount of time figuring out the parameters of this enclosure. Be ready to adjust things to suit your needs. Ill try to help you with problems that may arise to the best of my ability. You can always test a small computer fan over the water section to see if it will pull out the moisture. Although im not 100% sure how it will effect the humidity. I would avoid placing a heating element near the water section to reduce humidity.
How many leopards do you plant on putting in here? Im sure you are well aware of this but you need at least one hide per gecko. I would make at least two hides per gecko to give them more options. You will have to test the temperature in ech hide to make sure thy reach optimum temperature. I would also construct them so you can easly remove the animal(s) for maintenance.
Your going to do live plants correct? Have you figured out a substrate for them? I think I may have a link to plants that are\not toxic to leopards. Remember leopard geckos love to dig so be ready for them to mix up the soil. This goes without saying stay away from soil with any ferts or things of that nature. If your going to toss succulents in there I have a mass amount I can hook you up with if you want to go that route.
I have seen very few desert vivarium's built. So there is little info on the internet about them. One thing you need to thing about is drainage. I feel you should devise away to drain water from the soil just incase you over water. maybe a airline tube berried in the substrate about every foot so you can suck out excess water as well as water the plants without drenching the top layer of substrate. As it would most definitely increase the humidity.
Im late for work so I have to stop here. I will finish my thoughts today when I have time. Feel free to p.m me for any reason if you feel the need to. My inbox is always open. Hope you have a nice day.