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Waterfall Jungle Tank Build Hey all! Towards the end of last year I was browsing etsy and came across this handmade resin medusa statue (that I unfortunately did not take photos of). She was handpainted so I coated her with a few layers of white krylon fusion spray paint. The resin the artist used was aquarium safe (always message and ask!). I really wanted to make an overgrown, jungle-esque, tank with the statue as the centerpiece. Eventually I want it to be covered in moss and look ancient. I built the tank and stand and have had the plants growing in but I am actually going to tear it down this weekend and redo the scape and planting. I accidentally piled the substrate up way to high and I am not a fan of the look. I wanted to create this journal to show how I built this and to say what did and did not work. The Stand The stand was pretty straight-foward but I did want it to have a natural and minimalistic look from the beginning. I purchased an 8 foot butcher block from the hardware store and used that to make the entire stand including the legs (I wanted them to match in appearance). Wood was stained, I didn't take progress photos since I did not think I was going to share this build with anyone. I also assume most people have built basic stands before. I did want to have a bottom shelf which was built into the stand. dog tax final stand. It actually ended up not being as stable as I thought it would be when the tank was on the tank so I did make one change. I used some basic 2x4s to create a skirt that the bottom shelf sits on and removed the two ledges. They did not provide as much structural support as I thought they would. I did want to keep the top skirt-free for the aesthetical look, I find the bottom skirt is perfect for this stand. The Aquarium The tank is a low iron 25g cube from Seapora.I bought it from my lfs but this is an online listing for it: http://www.reefsolution.com/catalog/aquarium-canopy-stand-aquariums-cube-25gal-crystal-series-cube-aquarium-p-10124.html?osCsid=9fd7b31b3b0bfc84b0d4cc1d0bbbbb22 My initial plan was to have a waterfall on top of the tank. The issue is that every other build I saw used a paludarium style tank where the back glass was taller then the front glass to support the waterfall. I did not want to have it sitting inside of the tank so I decided to build a support wall for it to sit on. I ended up using a little under 3" of footprint at the back of the tank to create the support as well as a compartment to hide the filtration and heater. I used corrugated plastic since it is easy to cut and is rather durable. https://www.michaels.com/plastic-corrugated-board-by-creatology/M10567770.html. FYI! Silicone does not adhere to this very well at all. It wasn't an issue for the compartments and support but it did become an issue when building the waterfall. Sanding it down helped the silicone stick to it much better. Now it looks pretty ugly in the back, I wasn't too worried since I knew that the back would be hidden from view. I layered the pieces in a "T" repeatedly to provide good support for the waterfall sitting on top, it also kept the back panel from bowing in. I used fiberglass window screen on the openings I cut out for water flow to the back. This is to keep critters and anything else from being able to go back there. I made three large cut outs so there is plenty of flow. Here you can see the holding box that the waterfall is built around as well as the "steps" for it. Lots of silicone to waterproof it. I ended up splitting the back compartment into three sections: the left was a planter, the center was open for the filter, pump, and heater, and the right was all support for the waterfall. A top view as I was still building up the support. I cut a window into the planter (similar to the back panel) and used the screen to allow water to flow into the planter. I did not take any photos but I ended up adding 2 more planters that do not receive direct water flow from the tank, they are siliconed to the back of the tank so I can add more terrestrial plants around the waterfall. I bought quite a bit of black slate and black lava rock to use for this build, I like the look of these rocks personally and thought they fit the overall aesthetic well. You can see the little holder for the waterfall where the water is pumped into. All of the tubing is hidden by rocks which are glued or siliconed into place. I used black all purpose pond foam at first but the cure time was too slow, it did create a good base for the rocks to be glued on though. I unfortunately did not take many photos during this process but it was lots of rock layering on the sides. I bought a bag of small black lava rock that I glued to the back panel to hide the ugliness and to create my own diy background. This is the finished tank with the background built. You can see how high the substrate is and why I want to lower it. It takes away more area for the fish to swim in and really is not necessary. I knew I wanted this to be high tech with co2 and good lighting and I went back and forth on the light to use. I was initially going to go with a Kessil but the fact that you need to pay $100 just to control the light is insane and unacceptable. I did want a pendant style light hanging from the ceiling, not a strip/bar light. I also wanted it to give a beam/center light appearance in the tank to create depth, shadows, and a more dramatic look. I ended up going with an AI Prime which I am very happy with. For the substrate I used fluval stratum, only because I like the natural look of it and I had 50lbs of it sitting in storage. Otherwise I personally prefer to use a mix of fluorite and stratum as my substrate. The final shot In the left hand planter I currently have pothos, basil, golden creeping jenny, and arrowhead growing. I also have some red mangrove in the tank as well, you can see the stems sticking out. It has been doing surprisingly well in all of my tanks and is sending out air roots. You cant really see all of the plants from this angle though. I ended up sticking some pothos into the tank on the righthand side to add more greenery. I haven't planted the two back planters but those will be planted once I redo the tank. I'm thinking a nice fern in one and another bushy plant in the other (would love any suggests from you all). I also added some sheet moss to the rocks, you can see some of the white silicone that I want to cover with more moss. Changes I want to make: I am not overly happy with the waterfall itself, I plan to add more rocks and silicone to redirect the water flow a little since it doesn't flow as evenly as I hoped. Lower substrate depth Fix the crooked statue, I thought I wanted her to be slanted to look ancient/apocalyptic in a way but I'd rather have her sit straight Rearrange the scape and plants. I planted some val in there that I really regret, I forget how fast it spreads and I do not want a vallisenaria tank so I will pull that. Otherwise I want to add some red or pink plants (pink flamingo? if it's ever in stock) and rearrange some of the existing plants. I installed a little fog/mist machine but I did not make the holding box deep enough so it only works if the waterfall cap (that has rocks on it to cover the holding box) is tilted off or taken off entirely. I want to mess around and get this working properly I'll keep this thread updated with any changes I make, hopefully I can get this looking how I want it to be soon.
I had been wanting a small pond with some form of waterfall, even before I saw the below forum post. I've made some progress so I figured I'd document what I've done so far, and what my plans are. I'm far from an expert on this, so feel free to give me suggestions or tell me I'm doing things all wrong. And if anyone has any questions I can certainly answer anything that I've learned with my vast experience of building half of a 100gallon pond 🙂. I definitely did take some inspiration from here: I have a deck that I wanted to incorporate, so I built the pond just off the end. I'll probably have to add in some rails or safety (I'm sure it's not to code shhhhh). My plan was to just build something quick and cheap as a little experiment, with maybe a larger one in the future (I want to incorporate a raised design to incorporate in with my raised garden beds). So to do it cheap I used the following materials so far: Pond Master 950 Pump - $115 (probably too late now, but I welcome your thoughts on this model or alternatives). Diverter valve - $15 (not sure I'll even use, mostly as a reducer/flow back into the pond) Misc adapters and ball valve - $10 (still need to get more today) 1-1/2" flexible tubing, 20ft - $35 (gosh I hope 1-1/2" is good) Misc paint - $15 Pond Liner, 45mil 10'x12' - $140 ( I thinkkk, I can't find what exactly I ordered) Flower pots - free! Manually shoveling a 100gal hole - free! So, not that cheap. But I didn't go with the most luxurious pump, and I'm not sure where else I could have shaved some money. For the waterfall, I decided to use some old busted fiberglass pots I had: I was roughly thinking something like the layout above to waterfall into each pot, and then the pond. I painted them black, and painted the inside with the water sealing black spray paint. I still have to cut up the liner and silicone some holes in the pots. Might just try to line the majority with the liner if I can for added protection. But they look a lot better painted!: I then dug the hole, and dug some more, and then removed rocks, and dug some more. I'm not horribly concerned with the shape. I also decided to have it overflow into a boggy type area where there will be rocks and plants throughout. I'll also incorporate a step down and stepping stones through the wet bog so you can kind of walk through the pond itself! Oh here's the hole: Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea. A few different levels, and the pump will sit on a bucket near the bottom. I had some old carpet we just replaced, so I cut that up and laid it in to protect the liner: I then laid the liner in, and filled up 5 gallon buckets to pour into the pond so I could measure how big it actually is. It will be just shy of 100 gallons once i edge out the lawn a bit more and raise up the low side a bit so the pond will all be a little higher. So that's where I'm at right now! Already a girl from my neighborhood was over and just stared at the pond and bubbling water 😄. It's already enjoyable as is! Things I'm concerned with: Will the pump provide enough pressure? It's 950gph, 15' travel and 5' vertical. I don't want it gushing, really just a trickle so fingers crossed. Will the tree just constantly shed into water? Will the fish/shrimp survive (more on that below)? Will the pots hold up? I'm okay if they just last a few years.. Safety How will it look?? Everything that you smart forum members will point out I messed up 😬 Anything that can go wrong with my next steps... Next steps! Go to the store today and pick up fittings for the pump to the tube. The pump has a .5" outlet and I have 1.5" tubing. Also have to get silicone and more paint. ADD THE FISH! So I have about a million guppies and a decent amount of blue rili shrimp in my 20 gallon. Like way too many guppies for the 20gal. WAY WAY TOO MANY. So I'm going to add a couple at a time here soon to see how they do. I welcome all suggestions here. But I hope to throw a ton in there and watch them multiple, and then sell them at the end of the summer. Line, silicone, and paint the pots Edge the grass out some. Raise the low end under the liner and fill it up more. Get a nice stepping rock for the main step down Trim the liner Incorporate rocks around the edges and in the bog Setup the waterfall pots Run the tubing to the waterfall. Possibly cut a hole in a pot Plug it all in and adjust as necessary. Hope for the best... Buy/gather some plants for the bog and the pond itself Sit back, relax and enjoy! What am I forgetting?! Thanks for reading so far, I'll update in the next few days!!