Hello everyone, I'm kind of new around here and I haven't done anything with vivariums for 8 years or so.
The last one I built was a very successful auratus habitat that was killed off a long time ago by someone being a bit nuts with pesticides in my old home. Given that it was a successful habitat without human intervention I am now out to take a new unused exo terra 12x12x12 and turn it into a natural vivarium.
However, when I did this 8 years ago everyone was using gravel and full bottom systems with Styrofoam so this safe silicone and "good stuff" business is all new to me. As a result I've been doing some research on how you folks make false bottoms with the lighting diffusers from florescent bulbs and have decided to make a false bottom terrarium using that standard method. I have a colony of 4 baby emperor scorpions that have outgrown their current habitat that I will transfer to the new container. The way I've planned this they should have in theory 3 inches of substrate to burrow into and hide. Plenty for little scorpions.
I intend to make a stream out of sculpted good stuff sprayed onto the egg crate and carved out with egg crate as a "Step" on the sides to guide me in terms of height. I also intend to glue some gravel to the "stream bed" using black silicone if I can manage it. I want the stream to be very gentle and will be partially assisted by gravity. it's possible that
that dosing pump will work for what I need. I also have designed in an aquatic section with a ramp. As the emperor scorpions are juveniles it will be filled with gravel and shallow. I made a terrible diagram here:
that I've rambled about my crackpot plans I have questions, so many questions.
1)I've seen a lot of mention of you guys gluing cocofiber to things but no one seems to mention what they're using to do that? I'm curious if it's just a matter of laying down a layer of say good stuff and then letting it cure and smearing a layer of silicone and powdering it with it. Or are you folks actually using a glue in these tanks?
2)What's with the lack of external pumps? Are the external solutions really that bad? Is an external filtration system with activated carbon going to hurt any potential future frogs?
3)Is a water heater in the tank a viable way to keep temperatures up? Or do most folks rely on a heat bulb/heat mat on the side of the tank?
4) Back in my day I ordered a nice set of plants from Black Jungle. Now I see a lot of you guys ordering from Josh's and I also noticed the addition of magnolia leaves to most terrariums now? Black Jungle still seems to exclude it from their start kits.
5)My scorpions are only going to be in the environment for a molt or two and by then I expect that the habitat should be fairly well established. Now I've got that itch to try and start another tank with auratus after my catastrophic accident years ago but I don't know how many could actually fit in that much floor space. Also I am concerned about temperature drops in my apartment in the winter due to a not so great heating system and me not being able to feed them if I am called out for work for an extended period. Would a single Ceratophrys be more at home in the cramped space and possible variable temperatures and thus a better option?
Thank you so much for reading this long rambling plan I hatched out at 2am.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.