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This DIY background project began with a used 29 gallon aquarium won at a local aquarium club auction. To our surprise, it turned out not to be a traditional aquarium at all, but was made from thinner glass intended only for small reptiles and mammals. This presented the challenge of what to do with this project so our first semi-aquatic design was born. The thinner glass easily supported the estimated 8 gallons of water used in this design.
DIY Aquarium Background
Semi-Aquatic Plateau and Waterfall
This father daughter project turned an otherwise unsuccessful aquarium into our very first DIY semi-aquatic background built with polystyrene and cement.

The background features an unidentified bog plant on the left, Java Moss carpeting the rock wall and a working waterfall on the right. A DIY water bottle power filter hidden below, supplies the waterfall and dripline with filtered water.

here if you would like to see how the hidden filter was made.

The nylon hose dripline provides a continuous flow of nutrient rich water for the Java Moss from the water column below.

This closeup shows the white nylon T-splitter used to direct water from the hidden filter to both the waterfall and the dripline. Since the dripline is fed with pre-filtered water, the small holes in the dripline rarely clog with debris.

A small wedge of pink polystyrene was used to hold the dripline in place and is for the most part, out of sight when viewing the aquarium.
Flash back a few months earlier, our semi-aquatic setting was sporting less than natural looking blue gravel.

Three Fire Bellied Newts unconcerned by the youthful selection of substrate, relax in the Java Moss bed after a swim. The natural stone leaning against the plateau was added to provide the newts with easy access to and from the water.
Patience was a virtue when it came to waiting for the Java Moss to spread and flourish.

The reward however, was a more natural look to the rock wall and naturally ocurring biological filtration provided by the moss.
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