600 Gallon Plywood and glass


Fire Eel
MFK Member
Aug 10, 2007
Started ordering parts for the Viv. The tank will have a false bottom made of eggcrate on top of PVC cut to raise the false bottom about 3"-4" above the real bottom of the tank, on top of this false bottom will be a layer of weed guard fabric that will keep the substrate from falling through into the water. Below the false bottom there will be about 2"-3" of water. The reason for the false bottom is to keep water in the tank at all times thus keeping the tank at a high humidity level which the tropical plants and PDF's (Poison Dart Frogs) require. I will have a water feature in the form of a multi level waterfall which will be powered by a Quiet One 1200 and filtered by a Lifeguard Aquatics Single Module Mech filter. Since I have to maintain a high humidity level I will have to create a hood that completely seals off the tank and lets in a lot of light. Once again I used Sketch Up to design the hood.

The glass will be hinged using standard glass top plastic hinges.
The front portion of the hood will be plywood about 12" wide, the reason I need this is to mount circulation fans inside the Vivarium to keep the window clear of condensation, keep constant air movement and I will have to aim some of the fans on specific plants that require higher air movement to dry out. The background will also require high humidity levels to keep it from drying out and cracking since it will be made of a mix of red art clay, sodium bentonite clay (kitty litter), peat moss and coco fiber. The peat and coco fiber give the clay texture and the coco fiber give the clay mix more structure somewhat like concrete that has fiberglass mixed in with it.

Here is a conceptual design of the water feature using Sketch up I made the other day.

The water level in the final pool is higher than what it will be since I will keep the water level about 1" below the false bottom.

Almost forgot! The substrate will be locally collected clay that will be screened to remove rocks and other debris then loosely applied over the false bottom which will let excess water drain out so it doesn't turn into sludge and compact. Over top of the substrate will be a layer of dried magnolia and live oak leaf. The leaf litter and clay substrate are there to let micro fauna (springtails and isopods) live and reproduce to supplement the frogs and hopefully froglets diets.

Ill post more later as I progress through the project.


Feeder Fish
Jun 30, 2011
san antonio, tx
first post on mfk and i love your build! I was wondering if you have made any proggress on your vivarium? sorry to bring up an old thread but i am really curious


Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Apr 30, 2011
I want one......now perhaps with such well thought out plans I can make one......THANKS!