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How To Setup a False Bottom Tank: For Tropical Scorpions

Discussion in 'Scorpions' started by Thaedion, Oct 4, 2007.

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    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.

    □ 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.


    This tank was being set up for a friends lizard

    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.


    The above tank was put together in the video that follows. I put together this video to go through a complete setup to show how long it takes.


    For a ten part 30 minutes of your life video sequence, visit my YouTube page.

    Thank you for your time, Thaedion My'Kel :clap:
  2. tabor

    tabor Arachnoprince Old Timer


    Very nicely done !

    Sticky this ASAP.
  3. Kenobi

    Kenobi Arachnoknight

    I'm in the process of constructing a false-bottom. I'm using larger pebbles though. I don't actually know why I'm doing it, as my scorp is only 2 and half months old and won't be going into the big tank for ages yet :?
    Still, better to get it done now rather than later.
    One question though: is the water to be filled up past the pebbles and into the substrate? Or has the water to be touching the bottom of the substrate just slightly? If it's the latter, I need to either remove some water, or add more pebbles...
  4. this should be a sticky
    great job
  5. Fill until the water just starts soaking through the substrate. You'll be fine if you put too much water in, it'll only increase humidity. If you put too little water, though, you may find the false bottom doing nothing for you, or not as much as you were expecting.

    Great job by the way, Thaedion. Definitely sticky-worthy.
  6. :worship: Thanks to you all for the nice compliments... :worship:

    :D I'm just hoping it helps people out... :D
  7. MissConnie

    MissConnie Arachnoknight

    really good instructions and video, I will have to get my babies a tank like that!...only question...where does the heat mat go?
  8. Thank you MissConnie!

    If I used a UTH I would put it on the backside wall, partially above/below substrate level. This would heat the ambient air and the soil in that particular space. If you do put it under the tank this will in effect heat the water, which will raise the temps and humidity (no real concern of the scorpion burrowing in contact with the hotness) but it will also evaporate the water slightly sooner. If it does evaporate ALL the water, the UTH will heat up the glass quite hot and when you refill it (while hot) the glass may crack or shatter

  9. BadBikaDamo

    BadBikaDamo Arachnoknight

    Fantastic Advice, another vote for a sticky. The most comprehensive guide to a false bottom set-up yet. A superb piece of work Thaedion.
  10. Kenobi

    Kenobi Arachnoknight

    This may sound like a rediculous question... but who "invented" the False-Bottom idea? :eek:
  11. MissConnie

    MissConnie Arachnoknight

    Thank you for the reply Thaedion :D

    When I get paid I will try to get myself all the items needed and set my babies up with a happier home!

    I might try heat mat on side...and if that doesnt do the trick *big tank, cold flat* I will put it underneath and make sure the water does all go bye bye and therefore risk of glass cracking

    Thank you again xxxxx:clap:
  12. Cyris69

    Cyris69 Arachnoprince

    Remember emps burrow when they get too hot so if it lived above the heatmat and gets too hot and it burrows down toward the heatmat your going to have a steamed scorp.

    On another note, great tutorial Thaedion as usual :)
  13. Xaranx

    Xaranx Arachnoprince

    Also, having the heat pad on the bottom, the substrate will block much of it not allowing the ambient air temp to go up.
  14. MissConnie

    MissConnie Arachnoknight

    to be honest mine dont burrow. they move everything around but they dont dig. They have made semi hideyholes but thats about it...but to be honest I think thats because they dont have enough to dig in! Ran out when cleaning them out a while back...

    and I also meant "doesnt go bye bye" instead of does...damn typo!

    But again, a wonderful video done which shows exactly what needs to be done...ok...one more question

    When Thaedion had the tube...he seemed to cut it...obviously to make it the right length but what I saw...maybe I saw wrong but it looked like...the cut part was put into the other half...did that happen? Or were my eyes being silly and playing with my mind?
  15. In the still pictures in this post there is a pic showing the unassembled tube next to the stones. You'll notice there is the tube to the far left and two pieces parts and the small ring. I assemble the 90° head to the tube and then cut the tube, as you mentioned, to the approx height. The other pieces part is the part that the ring slips over snugging the screen between. What you then saw me do is put that piece on the tube, it is slightly bigger and allows adjustment up/down to the height. In the pic of the fully assembled tubing you can see better what I mean.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2007
  16. MissConnie

    MissConnie Arachnoknight

    ...right. I think im on the same page again now. Thank you :) A bit slow at times...I admit it...

  17. Ted

    Ted Arachnoprince

    what good is this false bottom setup?
    seems like an unnecessary expense and extra work.
  18. It is just one of many ways to setup for tropical scorpions. I like it due to the fact that it is low maintenance when it come to keeping the humidity up. I pour in water and do not need to pour any more for a few months and the humidity is always up in the 90%.

    I also like the way Brian S has suggested and that is to simply saturate a corner of the tank and allow for a moisture gradient in the soil while keeping the air humid.

    I've used both ways, I recommend what works best for you in your situation.

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