Top critical review
42 of 51 people found this helpful
A little disappointed
on August 17, 2011
The description sounds great. We got it set up and running without much effort. However, there are some features we really don't like about it. One - the filtration is so-so. Water can run UNDER that filter unit instead of through the filter cartridges. The water flow through the filter cartridges is VERY SLOW. It took much longer than I think it should have to get the water clear after adding our cleaned gravel.
What I consider a serious design flaw is my biggest gripe. We have fire belly toads in our setup. They can crawl through the space where the river bed exits the waterfall tower. And, since our tower has a manufacturing defect, there's a hole in the inside wall of the unit. One of our toads, of course, worked his way in to this hole (which is underwater, by the way) and couldn't get back out. We had to dismantle the ENTIRE thing to empty the water out of the base, pull it up, and retrieve the toad. What this meant was that we had to remove the other toads, scoop out all the waterbed gravel AND the course gravel from the land side - which meant destroying our carefully built live-moss landscape. Then, as a two person-and-many-swear-word-job, everything had to be carefully put back into place (difficult because you can't let any gravel get under either piece or they don't work right), try and rebuild our mossy ground cover and re-plant our live plants, and then add back the toads plus more water.
Our fix to prevent this happening again was to place 4 cottonballs at the corners inside the tower unit to prevent toads from working their way into the tower again. So far so good, but I can't imagine what you'd do if you had a small amphibian!
Finally, even though the filtration base makes a really tight fit against the sides of the terrarium, all sorts of debris gets sucked up against the rubber seals - I assume this means some water is also flowing beside the filter box instead of through it. Regardless, it's unsightly because there's this vertical line of debris right in the middle of the front of the terrarium glass that I can't reach to clean.
Also, there's no way to easily clean the gravel bed in the land area. I am interested to see if this proves to be a problem or not. The water portion is easy to clean - you just siphon it like you would in an aquarium.