20L vivarium with waterfall -pic heavy - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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20L vivarium with waterfall -pic heavy

So i started this project in the hope of making it a crabitat complete with a waterfall and land some land masses. i converted a 20L that had previously housed a bunch of celestial pearl danios and white cloud mountain minnows. my first vivarium!

i started with a large piece of eggcrate to produce the land mass. i used zip ties to secure the pieces together and form a standing structure. wish i had made it smaller as it was a really tight fit in the tank.


ended up getting the Tetra reptofilter 10i to be used as the waterfall/filtration for the tank; didnt want things getting stagnant in there. I cut the eggcrate to produce an opening for the filter and a open area in the front for viewing.




I then covered the egg crate with weedblocker mesh. The mesh will keep the substrate from falling through the eggcrate while remaining porous enough to allow excess water through.



here is a test placement of the eggcrate and filter in the 20 L



next the foaming.... what a mess that was. i used a whole can of great stuff pond and stone foam. i chose this foam because it was labeled as fish safe and came in black, did not want to have to paint over it. This was my first time using the stuff and one must have a really soft touch or spurts of the stuff will come flying out of the can. Here is the eggcrate with foam covering the entire outer edge and especially large amounts of the stuff applied to the center for the waterfall look.



i did not realize how much extra height the foaming would give the structure so i ended up with less vertical space for plants ... but i think this can still work! here is the tank currently with some riccia planted at the edges.







next up will be the background and the island substrates. the submersed areas contain Ecco-complete from the tanks previous setup.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 01:57 AM
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I am really liking the looks of this!
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 02:34 AM
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That does look nice.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 03:15 AM
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Can't wait to see more!
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 03:37 AM
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I know you don't want to have to do anything to the foam but you are going to have a hard time getting anything to grow on it as it is. When it cures a skin forms on it that is really smooth. Most people who use foam like that then cover it in brown silicone and then cover the silicone while it is still wet with baked coco coir (this is easy to get at most pet stores and is for reptiles, it also needs to be baked because any moisture will cause it to not stick to the silicone). You will then have a nice even surface that moss and plants like java fern and anubias will easily attach to. Check out dendroboard forum for how to threads. I like the look though and its a good start.

If you check out my Borneo stream biotope thread in a couple days I will be doing just this to the yellow GS foam that you see in the current pics

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the feedback guys!

Ibacha i got a majority of my inspiration from dendroboard in addition to the threads in this forum. i have found that the cured foam is really smooth but i ended up not going the silicone route because i was satisfied with the black mountainous look i ended up with using the black foam. i do have coco coir and will be using it as part of my background. As to plants growing on the foam i found making small scratches with a razor blade or needle created enough of a foothold if you will in conjunction with the small crevices of the foam to allow the riccia to stay in place at the very least. Only time will tell if everything stays in place.

Your stream biotope is looking really good! the plants you have are looking great as well.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-23-2012, 10:48 AM
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Looks great! I love waterfalls and its great to see one coming to life! Looking forward to seeing your updates.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-24-2012, 04:58 AM
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yaaaaaay, looking forward to more updates
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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lots of work done over the weekend! I did the background using the kittylitter method using Dr. elseys precious cat litter; it is supposedly one of the better litter for use in ripariums/vivariums because of its all natural ingredients and lack of dust and perfumes. It was kinda odd being in the cat section of the petstore let alone buying kitty litter having no cats!


to get the litter to clump and form a consistency like clay i added water and let it sit for 24 hours. here is half a bag of the litter after a day in water:
Ecoearth compressed coco fiber/Sphagnum moss/ some poolfilter sand and pebbles mixed in to produce this:


the mixing was the hard part as there was alot of kneading envolved... like dough!

some extra wood lying around...
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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left side of tank with the kittylitter background in place:


right side:

center:


have to make sure the kittylitter doesnt get into the water as it will not be able to sustain itself and probably dissolve into some kind of a big mess... land areas to follow later. enjoy!
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:03 PM
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lol, my hands where so raw from mixing dr elseys by hand... almost as bad as rinsing blasting sand.

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:04 PM
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Looks like the clay could use a little more organic matter.

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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and that sticky consistency of it was so annoying to get off! applying it to the tank was pretty difficult after playing with the litter for so long
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 01:49 AM
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Great looking so far! So you just pressed the riccia into the cut up foam and it stuck? Also, how are you supposed to get the filter out to clean it?

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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the riccia is not fully stuck in there but its not falling out on its own either. getting the filter out would entail removing the 4 inches or so of background directly above the filter via the foam rock i placed ontop of it to replace cartridges/completely remove filter.
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