Using false floors and separating water under floor with open water

Bill B

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Hi All,

I'm not trying to do anything fancy - I want to have a terrarium made basically from what is usually called an aquarium (open from top) and have a false floor over part of it.

What do you recommend to separate water under the false floor from open water? What would critters (in may case, frogs and salamanders native to Michigan, United States) be able to safely climb up and onto the false floor over? The false floor will have shredded coconut husk fiber with some mosses added.

Bill
 

PDONTnAMBY

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Hi Bill, quick question--what's your plan for cleaning underneath the false bottom? I tried this approach on a 55G that I built a few years back, and while it looked really cool I found that after awhile the area under the false bottom started getting really nasty. Algae just accumulated there, and even though I had limited access to the area under the false bottom (via a ~3.5" wide pipe that hid my plumbing) I found that I just couldn't gravel-vac out all of the space. When I disassembled the tank for move-out, the smell was almost unbearable.

All that said, if you've got a foolproof plan for VERY easy access to the area under the false bottom, I think this design could work. I built a divider and ramp out of the same material as my false bottom--eggcrate covered in vinyl window screen--and siliconed on some sand and pebbles to make it look more natural.

One more quick question: how do you expect your salamanders to use the water area? I ask because Michigan only has two native semiaquatic salamanders--the northern dusky and the southern two-lined--and both are very rare there and protected by law as far as I know. I kept spotted sals in my 55G, and I'd find one in the water about once a month. The water feature was much more for the black-bellied dusky sals with whom the spotteds shared the tank. If I'd done the tank primarily for the spotteds, I would have made it 100% terrestrial with a water bowl.
 

Bill B

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Hi Bill, quick question--what's your plan for cleaning underneath the false bottom? I tried this approach on a 55G that I built a few years back, and while it looked really cool I found that after awhile the area under the false bottom started getting really nasty. Algae just accumulated there, and even though I had limited access to the area under the false bottom (via a ~3.5" wide pipe that hid my plumbing) I found that I just couldn't gravel-vac out all of the space. When I disassembled the tank for move-out, the smell was almost unbearable.

All that said, if you've got a foolproof plan for VERY easy access to the area under the false bottom, I think this design could work. I built a divider and ramp out of the same material as my false bottom--eggcrate covered in vinyl window screen--and siliconed on some sand and pebbles to make it look more natural.

One more quick question: how do you expect your salamanders to use the water area? I ask because Michigan only has two native semiaquatic salamanders--the northern dusky and the southern two-lined--and both are very rare there and protected by law as far as I know. I kept spotted sals in my 55G, and I'd find one in the water about once a month. The water feature was much more for the black-bellied dusky sals with whom the spotteds shared the tank. If I'd done the tank primarily for the spotteds, I would have made it 100% terrestrial with a water bowl.

Are you able to post a photo of your setup? Sounds interesting, but I am not very able to visualize it.

I was planning on members Ambystoma -- not either of the two you mention.
 

Bill B

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And, I plan to use egg crate. My understanding is that some people use hydroponic gravel only with window screen over it.
 

Bill B

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One more thing I should include... I am concerned about the angle of incline of the piece of glass (if that is what I use) so that the animals can crawl out and not drown.
 

Otterwoman

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There is no floor to remove. It's just an easier way of making a 50-50 tank.
 
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