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Building A False Bottom Tank

This tank can be tricky to make because it utilizes a homemade spray bar that waterfalls water down the back glass. A modified version of this tanks leaves the spraybar out and is much simpler to make. So if you are thinking this tank is just too complicated, you can try it without the spraybar.

      Here is a list of what you will need
  • aquarium
  • heater
  • water pump
  • water tubing
  • air pump
  • air tubing
  • bubble wand
  • pvc peices
  • lighting panel
  • filter foam
  • leca (or gravel)
  • bubble wand

Lets start with the most difficult part of the tank; making the spray bar. If your going to omit the spray bar you can skip down a couple paragraphs, otherwise read on. Start by cutting the water tubing to size. You will want to make it long enough to run along the top edge of the tank and down to the pump. To create the spraybar drill a succession of small holes in the portion of the tubing that will be affixed to the top edge the tank. Glue the tubing in place using aquarium silicon making sure the holes are directed toward the back glass. Have tape ready to secure things until they dry.

A picture of what lies under the false bottom. One of the problems with the false bottom is once you add the gravel and plants you can't access this equipment.

You will need to cap the end of the tubing so the water will come out the spray holes. You can cap it using silicon or add a removable cap like we did. A removable cap will allow you to easily drain the tank by removing the cap and attaching a length of tubing that empties into a bucket.

A picture of the lighting panel in place. In the picture the panel is sloped toward one of the ends but you can slope it toward the front glass or keep it level.

The lighting panel will be used to elevate everything within the tank and keep it from sitting in the water. To size the panel lay it flat on top of the tank and mark it with a permanent marker. Pliers work well in cutting it to size. Try not to cut it to small or there will be gaps between the panel and glass where the substrate will fall through.

Position the pvc peices in the tank so that the lighting panel slopes toward the rear of the tank and then silicon them in place. While you have the silicon handy glue the bubble wand to the bottom of the tank opposite the water fall to help circulate the water.

Before placing the heater in the tank you will want to test it and set it to the desired temperature. You can do this in another tank with an accurate thermometer. Once you have the heater, bubble wand and water pump in the tank you can reposition the lighting panel and place the filter foam on top of it. The foam is just to keep the substrate from falling through the holes in the lighting panel.

A picture of the finished tank. Its a good idea to let the tank stabilize for a week during which time beneficial bacteria will form in the tank, helping to create a mini ecosystem.

Your on the home stretch now. All you need to do is add the substrate and some plants. Rinse the substrate thoroughly before adding it to the tank. Once the substrate is in place you can add your plants; Potted or bare root. Bare root is probably the better way and is easily accomplished by starting with potted plants and washing all soil away with a garden hose. Add a hood and a full spectrum light and your finished!

by Bradley Adams and Erick Lux.

Site designed by Bradley Adams.
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