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Old 02-04-2017, 05:17 PM
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Default First Dart Frog Vivarium

Hi!
Today, I'd like to start a photo-documentation thread, from my first Dart Frog vivarium.
It's still a work in progress, but I hope to finish it by the second half of February. We'll see how it goes, but I'm in good hope. Despite the fact, it's the first so complicated build for me. Even though it's not a first vivarium overall

Let's start from the beggining.


Terrarium 33.5x20.5x16 inches I've managd to buy for 5$. Fit for a total makeover. Dirty as it could be, no lower ventilation, but the upper one, was covering a whole ceiling. I had to remove the front and upper glass panels, as well as the backwall decoration, that I didn't like. I've also changed the orientation to 33.5x16x20.5 inches.


At first, I've planned to make a decoration based on great stuff, covered in epoxy with coconot fiber on it. But I've ended up with more ambitious plan of sculpting in styrofoam. On the picture above, you can see th initial attemts of fitting the pots, for Nepenthes ampullaria.


Here, I start scuplting, after the change of plan.



To the right, you can see a tank, that will cover the water pump, for the waterfall and stream.



I've almost forgot to mention the species that will be living in this viv. Dendrobates leucomelas. Probably up to 6 frogs, but I'll start with 4 to see how they feel about the amount of available space.
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

I'm proceding with sculpting today, and effects can already be seen. There's only one wall and the waterfall left to do, after that I can put the grout, epoxy and peat.

General shape of the waterfall and stream is ready.

I was wondering, how to do the part of the decoration, where I didn't want to use the slated rock effect. Eventually I made a decision, to just glue some pieces of styrofoam and shape them with a soldering iron. Effects are better than I thought!



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Old 02-11-2017, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

After a short sickness I've finished sculpting. The only thing left to do is putting a few layers of grout, then epoxy and peat/coco, and planting some plants

Let's try some branches


Current overall view

In the end I've completely scratched earlier versions of waterfall. I've tried big blocks of styrofoam. I've tried using real rocks. None were satysfying. I also decided to do a small pond (2-3cm deep) instead of stream.

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Old 02-17-2017, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

I've finally manage to put the first layer o grout (out of probably 3-4). Rocks are looking quite well (considering my art skills :P), but I hope to get the better effect with next layers. The only thing that really annoys me, is the rectangular piece in the middle, that's masking the pots. But I guess, that I shouldn't worry too much, as it will be covered by big branch, and in short time overgrown by sphagnum moss, that will be hanging out of the pots.


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Old 02-17-2017, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Looks good! I'm going to put an ampullaria in my tank too
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Wow this looks very beatiful.

How will you colour the grout?
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

You may already be aware, but I hope you know that grout needs to stay moist for a full 28 days to fully cure. You'll want to do many, many rinses, and test the pH of the rinse water as you go. No matter how well you seal it, if uncured, the base it releases will eat that sealant and ultimately leach into your vivarium. There are threads on this that may be helpful. I've linked two of them here.

Faux Rock Question

foam rock hardcoats and peatmoss backgrounds?

It's also worth mentioning that styrofoam leaches an endocrine disruptor.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Don't worry. I plan to get the frogs at the end of March, or even at the end of April, so there is plenty of time for the grout, to properly cure
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: First Dart Frog Vivarium

Ok, it appears that I messed up during translation. I'm not using grout after all. I'm not sure how this thing is called in English, but the dictionary translates it as mortar. This particular brand that I'm using is recommended by most Polish hobbyists. I've asked around and it appears that it doesn't leak any harmful components and the only reason to spray it for some time, is to avoid it cracking.
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