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Old 10-28-2004, 12:04 AM
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Default Great Stuff Foam

Hey all, I am setting up a 55 gallon, false bottom, coco liner background terrarium. I am planning on making a type of waterfall/stream out of the great stuff foam, as well as use it as part of the background. I have read a few topics here about using it, but I would like anyones suggestions from experience in its use. I think it will turn out great. Thanks for anyones suggestions.

On a side note, can someone please give me information about d. ventrimaculatus. I am planning on ordering some soon, and can't find much info about them. Thanks all,

Ed Parker
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:43 AM
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is there anything in specific maybe i can help with on either great stuff ( the only technique i use at all right now) or d. vents which i got my first tadpole today of.
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:39 AM
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I have done a tank with greatstuff/silicone and I am finishing up one with greatstuff/quickcrete. I think the great stuff works perfect.
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Old 10-28-2004, 05:41 AM
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Jace,
Thanks for replying and offering help. Here is what I am planning on. I have a 55 gallon long tank. I am going to start in the back corner, and make the foam as a type of waterfall, then have that run down into a stream, which will be made out of the great stuff. So, is the great stuff easy to get in the right shape you want, and is it easy to carve it??? I am pretty sure it is easy to carve, but I am not so sure on the "shaping" of it. THen I will use blackk ge II silicone over it with ground coconut husk on the silicone. So, do you think a stream bed will be no problem? I haven't seen people do that before, I have only seen people use it as the background of the tank. I already have a large piece of coco liner which I was going to use for the majority of the background, as well as cork bark. Also, how long should I let the great stuff cure before putting the silicone on? I would try the aquarium mortar, but it is just so expensive, and I hear it takes a while to get the hang of it.
Also, on the vents, what kind of temps are they best kept at? Running water, or not? What to plant with? How high do they need the tank to be?(they are more arboreal than terrestrial, right?) Also, what else can you suggest on their care. THanks a bunch for the help.

ED parker
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:24 AM
 
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Hi Ed,

Quote:
I am going to start in the back corner, and make the foam as a type of waterfall, then have that run down into a stream, which will be made out of the great stuff. So, is the great stuff easy to get in the right shape you want, and is it easy to carve it??? I am pretty sure it is easy to carve, but I am not so sure on the "shaping" of it.
I don't know about shaping it. When I did the background, I noticed that the Great Stuff was Extremely Sticky and stubborn. I think the best way to shape it is only after it solidifies -- with a cutter.

If you have the patience and the eye for carving with a cutter, I think its very doable. I didn't want to bother too much with it when I made mine so there


Quote:
THen I will use blackk ge II silicone over it with ground coconut husk on the silicone. So, do you think a stream bed will be no problem? I haven't seen people do that before, I have only seen people use it as the background of the tank. I already have a large piece of coco liner which I was going to use for the majority of the background, as well as cork bark.
hmm...I think coco husk will last long using it as a bed for a stream...but you'll find out that the coco husk can easily rub off of the Silicon. Maybe a better thing to do would be to fill the bed of the stream with pebbles instead and to cover the black of the silicon on the sides, have moss grow over it. Further...having water run over coco bedding usually gives that tea color which I personally don't like too much...so that may be a factor in considering if you would want to use coco bedding as a stream bed.


Quote:
Also, how long should I let the great stuff cure before putting the silicone on? I would try the aquarium mortar, but it is just so expensive, and I hear it takes a while to get the hang of it.
Actually after spraying, you'll see that after a minute or two, with good ventillation, you can touch the foam and its actually quite solid already. Even if you touch it, it will stay in this shape and form till it solidifies.

hope it was of some help.

bluetip
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:00 PM
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Only problem I had with the silicone was that after pressing on the coco fiber, the silicone would rub of easy. I like the quickcrete because it dries hard and doesn't rub off. This background is coco/peat moss mixed with quickcrete and bonding adhesive.
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:28 PM
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prince
Okay ill start with the vents. i currently am housing my vents in a 10 gallon vertical. planted with pothos,philodendron and one large Nereogelia Nivea ( this thing goes from the base of the tank to the top). i have three film canisters 2 black and 1 white. two vertical and one 45 degrees. i dont have any running water, and i dont keep temps all that constant or monitered. i used to have a system where i kept temp guages in three tanks and they sent the temps downstairs to a small portable monitor my tv room. I dont really use that whole system to much and just go with the flow as far as temps go. never below 65 is a good rule i think. Currently i contemplating using a great stuffed 44 gal corner to house 3.3 vents. this would include running water, but im always leary of running water in thumbnail tank and have never done it before.
As far as river in great stuff go, i do thinks its possible. i just have not tried. me and my friend were trying to come up with a way involving that stuff you edge gardens with ( black rubber paneling). we thought this combined with silicone, carved great stuff, rock, and a pump could possibly do it. Just slope the water to the bottom and cycle it back up. we never tried cause we are happy just to mount waterfalls without streams. For you other questions. Carving is extremely easy.id say dont worry about timing for silicone application to great stuff. ive heard someone say they apply coco straight to wet great stuff. i just wait till its hardened or when ever im ready to start in. also you might want to check out the bronze silicone, i am using i for my first time after my friend said he liked it bettter. So far its not proving to be better or worse visually.
Overall i love to use great stuff and vents are fast becoming my favorite frog in my colllection, because they are freqently breeding in the canisters and they let me watch.
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:31 PM
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I just finished a 40BR with a Great Stuff waterfall as part of the backdrop. I used Great stuff to form the streambed leading up to the waterfall, carving the foam with a normal household steak knife into the shape and slope I wanted once it had dried. Then I covered it with silicon and aquarium gravel.

The Great Stuff is easy to shape how you want it. I bet you could even use a Dremel to shape it exactly.

My last bit of advice is to test the shape of the waterfall/stream BEFORE you silicon it to be sure it flows how you intended it to.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:52 PM
 
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Come to think of it, has anyone tried using a hairdryer to mold the great stuff? People at cichlid-forum use that all the time to get that smooth curve feel for their backgrounds then they cover it with cement to form a smooth but rocky effect.

bluetip
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Old 10-28-2004, 06:47 PM
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I would think it would be a bit difficult to apply coco to wet great stuff as it continues to expand for several hours and doesn't fully cure for about 24 hours. Great stuff skins over pretty soon, but I've let what I thought was firm foam overnight only to find a large spike of foam from where pressure had built up. If you put the soil on wet great stuff, you would have huge cracks and gaps in the morning.
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Old 10-29-2004, 03:18 AM
 
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I agree with Jared, let the great stuff dry thoroughly and then use adhesive for the peat or what ever you use. I found this out the hard way. I had the greatfoam on so I thought while it's tacky spead the peat and I'll be done...wrong. I wound up having to make three more "patches" the next day. As for carving grat foam, it's easy but let it cure for 24 hrs or you'll have a sticky mess. Good luck.
Mike
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Old 11-12-2004, 01:18 AM
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Yes

Also for getting nice rounded shapes cut into great stuff...try one of those hot air paint strippers (looks like a hairdryer only blows hotter) I have done this before, and it works great for simply melting away the great stuff where you want it carved or cut out.
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Old 11-12-2004, 12:35 PM
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Use the great stuff, let it dry, then carve it with a steak knife. Works perfect. I would almost think that drying it with a hairdryer would cause problems (although I dont know what kind!)

Here is a pic of my tank with great stuff everywhere. Just turned the tank up and sprayed great stuff. you have to spray to a near horizontal surface if you are doing an entire background because it will sag if it is too deep without support. I love it because you can make a background, then use your knife to cut out a v shaped trench about an inch deep all the way up, hide your cords, then replace the v shaped cutout with toothpicks or silicone. No more wires!



It really is agood medium to work with and its seems completely inert. I have had it in a tank I've had going for about a year now and no change in the background at all. Looks great covered with moss~

PS see the river running down the background and accross in front of the stump into the "pond". That answers your question of possibility!
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Old 11-12-2004, 02:40 PM
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Matt,

wow, nice looking Viv. So I can understand how the water can be guided down the wall, but for the river, how do you construct that, so it doesn't "soak" down into the substrate? Did you use Great stuff to create the riverbed too that leads to your pond?

Thanks
Dan

PS--I'd love to see more photos of your setup if you have any.
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:19 PM
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Yeah, i jsut took some eggcrate material (that stuff from the lighting section of lowes) to be the foundation, then sprayed a crapload of great stuff on it, then carved out a riverbed. One thing you'll want to keep in mind is to keep the water level (top of the rivers edge) at least an inch or so away from planned moss. Any closer and the water seems up the peat moss pressed into the silicone and soaks the moss, killing it slowly.

This is the 6th one of these I've made and they are getting better. My first one was the "test model" and it is still running about a year later, but my river was too close to the moss and it kept 30% of the tank floor slimy from too much water. I'm going to have to rebuild it soon. The other tanks I've got running with waterfalls and rivers are doing great. I've got 2 10 gallon tanks running with a waterfall and river and pond in each one, and the auratus and terribilis love the tanks.


[list]

This was the first test model. see, its a little slimy.






These are the little 10 gallon tanks with rivers. These run exceptionally well and the moss thrives.





This one is a 10 gallon just like the previous one, only without the plants. IT had no moss in it until about 2 months after I set it up. This tank now falls into the category of "just watchin it to see what it'll do". I'll finish it one day. Actually I'll probably finish it soon so I can use it as a morphing tank for my future tadpoles.





This was the 150 gallon during construction. See? Its simple as heck to do. This was before the river or filter or anything else really went in.

I wish you luck with your tank, but if you take your time and think it out, it'll be great. Oh, also, use some kind of gasket around the top of the tank or the gap from the pump cord going out might be big enough to let a frog out.
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:30 PM
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Where did you aquire the black silicone?
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:35 PM
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Do you have anymore pictures of the 150 construction or finished? That stump is amazing. Do the frogs use it? If so what kind do you have in there.
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Old 11-12-2004, 03:47 PM
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The black silicone was at lowes next to the white and bronze.

No, I didnt really take any more pics of the construction, but it wasnt hard. The frogs love the stump. In fact, they all always sleep under the moss at the top of it. We call it froggie mountain. they crawl all over it, just like they were magnetized. Oh, the 3 leucs are in it. Alot of room for 3 frogs, I know, but I'm hoping they'll start their own civilization in there.

Thanks for the compliments!
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