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 [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure

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~Abyss~
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PostSubject: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/6/2008, 8:11 pm

Most people keep their Emps in a ten gallon tank and have trouble maintaining the humidity at the proper level. Humidity gauges don't work very well so I recomend if you have one throw it out now because if you follow these steps you will have the perceft humidity reguardless of what your hydrometer says

SUPPLIES
-CLEAN TANK (can use other enclosures such as KK or Plastic containers)
-Gravel ( you can buy enough gravel for under three dollars at Home Depot)
-A screen mesh ( i uses and old window screen i wasn't using)
-About 6-7 inches of peat (again you can buy peat at Home depot make sure it's pesticide free, or about 1-1.5 bricks of Eco-Earth)
-Hides and decor of your choosing( doens't have to be anything fancy but your scorpion needs a retreat to hide in)
-heat source ( red bulbs, ceramic heat lamps, and heat pads will all work)
-any kind of funnel(i used a water bottle and cut up to base)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!CAUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your scorpion will want to burrow to escape the heat put the heat pad on the side not the bottom.


1.Pour the gravel in the tank about 2-3 inches
2. measure the mesh and cover the gravel with it. (this is optional but it makes cleaning easier)
3. In a corner put the funnel base down leading to the gravel. Make sure the small hole faces up and is to small for your scorpion to get it. If your using a bottle you will be fine.
4. Drop the peat in and compact it down as much as possible. ( I like to slope it so that the scorps will have more walking space). Make sure you still have acces to your funnel to pour water down
5. Your set up is preety much complete just add your decor and hides.

© 2008 Edward Hernandez All Rights Reserved


Last edited by GS on 3/16/2012, 4:53 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Updated title)
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/6/2008, 10:27 pm

Step By Step Set Up For A Tropical Enclosure Utilizing A False Bottom:
As Regards To Tropical Scorpion Enclosures. This Guide Is Neither Definitive Nor Authoritative, It Is Simply What Works Best In My Experience.

Checklist:
□ Aquarium (Any Size)
□ Aquarium Gravel (Enough To Create Nearly 5±cm [2.0±in] Layer)
□ Aquarium Undergravel Filter Tube Assembly
□ 5cm2 Fiberglass Window Screen (To Cover Hole In Tube Top)
□ Suitable Substrate (ie. Eco Earth® Expandable Substrate)
□ Shallow Water Dish
□ Scorpion Hide(s)
□ Other Decorations (ie. Stones, Rocks, Logs, Plants etc.)
□ Fitted Screen Top For Primary Tank Cover
□ Glass Or Acrylic Sheet For Humidity Barrier Secondary Tank Cover
□ Heat Source (ie. Heat Lamp w/ IR Bulb Or Ceramic Element, UTHs)
□ Thermometer And Hygrometer If Desired





1) Place the expandable cocofiber brick into a 5 gallon bucket and pour 1 gallon of warm water over it. Set it aside for ½ hour to allow it to expand.
2) Take your clean tank and pour in an even layer of rinsed aquarium gravel to a depth of about 5cm (2in)
2.1) I use gravel with a diameter of around 2.5cm (1.0in) this usually dissuades the scorpion from pulling gravel to the surface. As an alternative some people use smaller gravel and then place a screen barrier between the gravel and substrate.




3) Assemble the undergravel filter tube, and cover one end with a screen or similar material to keep prey and smaller scorpions from dropping down. (you can also plug the hole with cork or tape until you need to use it) Invert the tube and place into an easily accessible corner.



4) Place any large or heavy item in now on top of the gravel. Scorpions will burrow and heavy items may collapse onto the scorpion and injure it.
5) Take the bucket of cocofiber and pour generously into the tank and around all the decorations. Pack firmly with the back of your hand to add rigidity to the substrate to help burrows stay intact. Pour to a depth of 10-12cm (4-5in)
6) Place hides water dish and other decorations around as desired. To assist in burrowing I place my ½ log hides into the substrate and fill up the tunnel. I then reopen the front by placing three finger wide about 4cm (1-2in) deep.
7) Place your gauges in a highly visible spot. If using a UTH (Under Tank Heater ) place it on one side of the tank. (some will argue that it can go under the tank I won’t argue it) Fix your IR heat lamp so that it provides adequate heat and point it towards the tank. I place mine on top of the tank clamped to a solid object. Make sure it is a solid base, I’ve had a lamp tip over and melt all the plastic under it.
8.) Place the screen top on the tank and the aquarium canopy on top of that for a humidity barrier. (Plexiglass, glass or even cellophane will work I just prefer the ease of the canopy)
9) Leave the tank set for the better part of a week to allow it to acclimate and balance the temperature and humidity. This also gives you a chance to change your set up drastically if need be.





For a 10 part 30 minute tutorial, check out my youtube chanel. http://www.youtube.com/user/Thaedion
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/7/2008, 5:15 pm

^^ I was going to be doing this on saturday for Stingy...but oooh no...she has to go and have her brood before I was ready!
I was even going to look at this list and follow it step by step!

I love this set up and whats even better is the video as for simple folk like me, seeing is better then just reading.

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/7/2008, 7:45 pm

I highly reccommend using aquatic plant soil(ceramic based) made by Schultz instead of gravel. It holds water extremely well, looks ok, and will not support algae.

You can get it at most home depots in the garden area.

Edit: This is also awesome for using in vivariums. I used it to make mine...


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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/7/2008, 8:24 pm

Thanks for the tip Kevin.
-Eddy
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 5:56 pm

hmmmm, i dont mean to knock ya in any way, but that isnt a true false bottom. a true false bottom elevates ALL substrates off the bottom of the tank so that all that is on the bottom of the tank is water or even.. nothing but pvc tubes. i use pvc tubes about 4 inches long and that plastic lighting eggcrate used to diffuse the light and screen. set the pvc tubes on end around the corners and middle of the aquarium and the eggcrate goes on top of that. the screen sits on that to prevent substrate from falling into the false bottom. this method works very well. check this link

http://www.dendroboard.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19118&highlight=false+bottom

this is a very complex false bottom. i love them and they really help alot. they also cut the weight.

-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 8:17 pm

False bottom STYLE. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 8:27 pm

josh_r wrote:
hmmmm, i dont mean to knock ya in any way, but that isnt a true false bottom...

-josh

Correct! it is borrowed from the tree frog viv setups and improvised for tropical scorps.

What wrote:
I highly reccommend using aquatic plant soil(ceramic based) made by Schultz instead of gravel. It holds water extremely well, looks ok, and will not support algae.

You can get it at most home depots in the garden area.

Edit: This is also awesome for using in vivariums. I used it to make mine...

As Eddy said that is a good tip, the rocks can get 'funky' after several months of stagnant water and soggy coco fiber.
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 10:15 pm

Quote :
Correct! it is borrowed from the tree frog viv setups and improvised for tropical scorps.

this is a very outdated method....even for the treefrog hobby. salamander keepers, frog keepers, gecko keepers are all turning to the false bottoms shown in my link.


Quote :
As Eddy said that is a good tip, the rocks can get 'funky' after several months of stagnant water and soggy coco fiber.


this is exactly why people are turning to real false bottoms along with saving weight and your water level does not rise near as quickly due to the loss in mass created by the gravel. you will have to siphon water out of a rock bottom much more frequently than a false bottom setup. they work great. either way, they are both effective and highly recomended.

-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 10:18 pm

Emps and het species need a lot of substrate to burrow which is why this method is still around. They need at least 7 inches of substrate.
-Eddy
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 10:23 pm

however they cannot efficienly burrow in smooth gravel like that so you are still out 4 inches either way.
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 10:28 pm

No the gravel is about four inches then you have your barrier(i used plexiglass with a small holes drilled onto it), then you have your 7 inched of substrate. So they'll never really burrow past that point. Maybe your link does have a better way but I cant see it on this computer. I'll give you a more accurate response later. But I think that this is still in use because of the need to burrow.
-Eddy
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 10:39 pm

the method i use is no different as far a height goes. you still put 7 inches of peat on top. ok, the gravel elevates your barrier and the soil. well, the false bottom does the same exact think, only you are not using rocks. you will understand once u see the link.
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/15/2008, 11:00 pm

Okay cool I'll check it out tonight.
-Eddy
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 9:15 am

josh_r wrote:
...

this is a very complex false bottom. i love them and they really help alot. they also cut the weight.

-josh

I've seen this method back when I first heard of 'false bottom' setups in the forums, a few foreseeable problems for scorpion applications are:

1. Pandinus and Hets are burrowers, they will burrow down to the plastic mesh, no problem for the big ones but small instars will fall through

1.1 to circumvent the above problem you could put a screen mesh over the plastic, but a new problem will come up as the scorpions may burrow and get between the screen and the plastic.

2. the 1/4 inch holes will allow the cocofiber to easily fall through to the water, making for a soupy mess and clogged pump/filter, problem circumvented by putting a screen mesh over plastic, see 1.1 above.

3. the water will not wick up into the substrate effectively. The benefit of irregular objects piled up for the bottom is that the cocofiber will pack around and down Ito the stones at the top and allow for 'fingers' to 'wick' the water up into the substrate, even if the water is low it will still creep up the stones into the substrate. Wicking.

I love the set up you mentioned for animals that don't burrow but for Pandinus and Hets it may have problems, now the weight of a stone filled 'false bottom' is a problem. In the 10 segment videos I made that tank weighed 66 pounds, the second video I made that tank was 45 pounds, so I there is something to use in lieu of stones but still allow for irregular stacking that would be great
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 12:58 pm

Quote :
2. the 1/4 inch holes will allow the cocofiber to easily fall through to the water, making for a soupy mess and clogged pump/filter, problem circumvented by putting a screen mesh over plastic, see 1.1 above.

evidently, you are not understanding me or you have never seen this method before because you would have known that we use screen over the eggcrate to prevent anything from getting down into the false bottom. you can even use this really thick plastic screen used for knitting i believe. you can also layer some leca or something over it.

Quote :
3. the water will not wick up into the substrate effectively. The benefit of irregular objects piled up for the bottom is that the cocofiber will pack around and down Ito the stones at the top and allow for 'fingers' to 'wick' the water up into the substrate, even if the water is low it will still creep up the stones into the substrate. Wicking

ahhh now your thinking very closed minded my friend. there are several ways to 'wick' water into the substrate with a true false bottom. also, if you set your scorp viv up the right way, you would not need to 'wick' water into the substrate. ok, so you want to wick instead of spray. you can use cloth through the false bottom, you could slope the sides of your false bottom so dirt is actually touching the bottom at every edge of the tank (this method works very well) there are other methods as well but who cares. the whole point in a false bottom is to prevent water from sitting and 'wicking' into your substrate and prevents the soil from goin anaerobic. that rotten fowl smell means your soil is bad. false bottoms prevent that. so how bout this, forget wicking, spray your viv down every once in a while and cover the top with a piece of glass cut just small enough to leave a 2 inch vent in the back, then go buy some window screen supplies and make the vent. this works wonders in keeping up your humidity but still allowing air flow needed by your scorps. besides, you are trying to keep excess water out of the soil. all that water that seeps through becomes anaerobic and your trying to keep that out. if you are just wicking that stuff back in, your soil is going to be rotten. i wouldnt want to live in rotten soil.

Quote :
I made that tank weighed 66 pounds, the second video I made that tank was 45 pounds, so I there is something to use in lieu of stones but still allow for irregular stacking that would be great
[/quote]

you could cut the weight down to like 20 pounds lol! look man, i know the false bottom works very well for burrowing creatures because ive done it before. i have found that with inverts however, i can eliminate the false bottom all together because ive found better ways to set them up that dont require constant spraying or care. ive learned all this stuff from years of experimenting in the dart frog hobby and i expanded it to my inverts. you come to learn that alot of that stuff is just for your amusement than the benefit of your animals.

do as you wish however, it is no big deal and not worth debating over. so i will finnish here. happy bugging!

-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 1:49 pm

I'll have to give it a try... I was always under the impression that the water wicks up through the soil and is evaporated into the air... keeping a constant exchange as long as you had some ventalation.

So how is the water used in this type of setup, does it have to be brought to the surface via the pump or other source... that is where I'm losing the concept
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 2:04 pm

josh_r wrote:
Thaedion wrote:
3. the water will not wick up into the substrate effectively. The benefit of irregular objects piled up for the bottom is that the cocofiber will pack around and down Ito the stones at the top and allow for 'fingers' to 'wick' the water up into the substrate, even if the water is low it will still creep up the stones into the substrate. Wicking

ahhh now your thinking very closed minded my friend.


It's not close-mindedness, it's a familliarity with a system that works and not being experienced enough with an alternative system to understand how it works.

Regarding "rotten" soil, I had the gravel-style false bottom tank set up with one of my heterometrus for about nine months before something came up that I had to perform maintenance on the tank -- the soil down in the bottom (coco fiber, actually), was still in the same condition as the day I put it in. No funky smell, no visible signs of decay, or anything. The scorpion living in the tank acutally burrowed right down in that area to have her babies.

Anyway, an explanation of how the "true" false-bottom brings moisture to the surface layer of soil would be interesting and informative. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 2:15 pm

lol, you have a good sense of humor! there is no need for a pump. it is actually very difficult to explain on the forum here. i am wanting to make a trip to california soon and assuming i do, i can actually show you exactly how i do it. we can actually photograph the entire process and post it if u want.

as for bringing the water up, this is kinda what we are trying to preven so the soil does not go stinky. one thing i would suggest is to change your substrate to something with a clay base. maybe mix your coco fiber into some nice loamy clay. it becomes very fluffy and holds moisture much longer. also, the use of live plants does wonders for holding in moisture and humidity. add a humus layer and that also helps the soil retain moisture. ther is a reason that woods are moist and humid and the desert is dry and hot. plants and trees keep the relative humidity constant and the humus layer adds nutients and keeps moisture in the soil.... everything the desert lacks. now if you go into the desert and find a group of mesquite trees, the soil and moisture will be much greater under those trees tahn out around them. this causes more plant growth due to moisture retension. basically what i do is try to mimic all this in my vivariums and it works well. you then dont have to worry about a false bottom or wicking. even if you do have a false bottom, it still works just as well. i also pun lights over my vivs for a natural photoperiod and it helps heep the humidity up as well. how this is where the vents come in. the vents allow excess heat to escape. if you have a vent on the back and one on the front of the viv, you will get a draft going. the hot air escapes through the front vent and new cool air is sucked in from the rear vent thus keeping the air fresh and not stagnant.

i have played around with some custon vivarium designs and ive come up with some really great ideas. i just need money to go and buy the glass and other product now Smile this same design would work for frogs, salamanders, inverts, snakes....whatever. it kinda follows some of the euro designs with my own trist to it Wink anyhoo, give some of this a try.

i heart mantids, this method will last you for years without having to fix anything. i know for a fact that the method you use will go bad (especially with peat). ive used that method many times when i first started doing this stuff years ago. well, as long as the soil isnt saturated at the bottom, it wont go bad near as quick. if you spray your tank down, the water will saturate the soil at the bottom and cause it to go stinky.


-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 2:25 pm

if i build anymore vivariums in the near future, i will be sure to document the entire process and post it here. you can modify the design for tropicals or even desert dwellers. this method is especially good for tropicals, anything from pandinus to tityus and centruroides and even many of your native species would appreciate setups like these. for deep burrowing species, i tend to not even bother with a false bottom because many species burrow not only to hide, but to keep the humidity constant because it always fluctuates in open air. so once they build burrows, i just occasionally spray the viv down and it will evenly disperse through the soil and evaporate slowly. i then spray down again when needed. i definitely suggest you guys try using a loamy clay based soil.

-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 9:56 pm

I've never used peat -- just coco fiber. That stuff is pretty resilient. I've had one tank where it actually noticeably decomposed, but that was where I didn't change anything for over a year. It just broke down into a fine organic . . . stuff.

No stink, though. *shrugs*

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/16/2008, 11:17 pm

hmmm, that is interesting. ive never used coco fiber so i didnt know that. very good to know.

ive always stayed away from coco fiber cause i thought it was unnatural for the animals to be on. i then realized the same about peat and i typically dont use peat anymore as well. i try to mimic the soil components from where they are found naturally as best i can.

in any case, it is good to know coco fiber doesnt go stinky. maybe ill start using it in my dart frog vivs. thanx for the info mantids

-josh
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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/17/2008, 4:07 am

I prefer not to use soil because it gets muddy when you add a lot of water -- coco fiber just gets wet. Smile I think it makes a great substrate and mimics the humus you'd find on the forest floor somewhere. The only way to get a 100% natural substrate is to go to Malaysia or Ghana and collect some stuff off the forest floor yourself. Very Happy

Anywho, I'd suggest giving it a try as a substrate. I was a little hesitant at first, but now I swear by it.

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PostSubject: Re: [HOW TO] Build a False Bottom Enclosure   2/17/2008, 2:03 pm

very nice. i will try it sometime. you can collect soils and humus in california that is every bit as natural as the stuff you find in malaysia Wink ill give the coco fiber a try in my next dart frog viv. i do like the color alot as well

-josh
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