Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal - Dendroboard
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Old 12-15-2015, 11:31 PM
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Default Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

I am setting up my first dart frog vivarium and am hoping to house a small group of Ranitomeya imitator 'Varadero' frogs once everything is set up and running. Would a group of these thumbnails be okay in a tank this size? I am trying to maximize the available space while still keeping a nice looking design. Concept is a central tree with branches out to both side with hides for frogs. Front corner will have a shallow pond so I can drain excess water from the tank and so the frogs can use it if they want. (I was originally going to do the classic new guy waterfall with stream and decided not to after lots of reading.)

I am going to add planter baskets to the "branches" and possibly some embedded film canisters as well before I spray foam everything in. So far I also have oak and magnolia leaves for leaf litter and am waiting on a spring-tail culture to seed the tank.

Enclosure Specs:
Exo Terra 18"x18"x24"
Exo Terra light hood with two 13w Green Glo LED bulbs.
Exo Terra Monsoon RS400 Misting System
Exo Terra Cork Bark background
Josh's Frog False Bottom
Egg crate floor on PVC couplings for structure
ABG Mix for substrate.
New England Horticulture Cork Bark logs, stump, and planters.

Still attempting to come up with a plant list, so recommendations are welcome. I ordered an assorted bromeliad package from Josh's Frogs and also want to add at least one small orchid, as well as other plants obviously.
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Nice start, Tropiflora has a great selection of small Neo's, keep an eye on the classifieds for great deals as well..
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Old 12-16-2015, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Is the cork already siliconed in? If not, move it slightly off center for aesthetic purposes. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
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Old 12-16-2015, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Yeah man it looks great. I would give you a high five if I could for not going with a waterfall. Good for you. They sounds cool but most the time end up being a pain. Tropiflora has badass plants.
Are you in Texas?


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Old 12-16-2015, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Thanks for the heads up on Tropiflora and I haven't siliconed anything in yet.

I am located in Corpus Christi, TX.

I window screened the bottom eggcrate, drilled the PVC couplings to let water out, cut the cork bark background to fit, and used the extra to make the walls for the pond area. The holes for the pond are sealed with window screen and egg crate so the frogs can't get through and the gravel can't get out.

The cork bark trunk blends too well with the background right now, but I'm hoping that once things start growing in it will look more distinct against the backdrop. I had thought of siliconing some coco fiber around the trunk once I got it all in place, but didn't know if it would make it stand out more or just look fake.



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Old 12-16-2015, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Nice man, well I'm in DFW and I'm overrun with varadero males, so if ya ever need a calling male, we can meet halfway.
Looking forward to seeing how this tank turns out. Great start so far.


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Old 12-18-2015, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Looking forward to your progress, looks like a good start!
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

That cork is going to rot if it's soaking in water at the bottom. Just some screen would probably work better.
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Thanks for the heads up! I will swap it out.

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Old 12-18-2015, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

You could plant some oak-leaved ficus on the background and not let it get out onto the cork round. It would eventually fill in the background and look really cool, I think. Anyway, just an idea :-)

Mark
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

I will look in to the oak-leaved ficus, thanks!

I also picked up some thin pieces of slate from work and was thinking of mounting them along the background/side of the tank to make platforms. Trying to maximize the amount of usable space in the viv. Will have to see how it looks once I get the "branches" mounted.
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Old 12-18-2015, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Awesome! I am excited to see how this turns out. It's nice to see something different.

I, too, created branches and overhangs to maximize usable space. Just keep in mind not to block your lights especially if you are using LEDs, anything blocking the line-of-sight to the diodes really causes shadows so plant accordingly.

For the tree trunk you could black silicone down some of the 'cracks' in it and fill with sphagnum, coco fiber, tree fern fiber, etc. for a more 'tree trunk' look. Or, you could silicone the whole cork piece but I think that would be a waste of the nice natural accents it has.
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

For the slate, you might consider sanding or otherwise blunting the edges. Slate can break sharp and frog skin is really thin.

Mark
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

I had planned on grinding it with a Dremel to blunt it before installing it.

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Old 12-18-2015, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Since my cork bark delivery got pushed back a day I decided to tackle the lid mod I had planned. I also managed to redo the pond area to something that I can live with for now.

I stripped the old mesh out of the lid and cut off the cross-brace so that I could move it forward. I made a 2" vent in the front using fiberglass screen and got a piece of glass cut at Lowes for the large area under the light.

Stripping out the screen:


The braced moved to make the vent:


Adding the glass in:


On the tank:


It still need to cure before I can mount it officially, but at least now I can sit the light in the middle of the tank with no obstructions.

Restructured shallow pond.


I also got in my second package from Josh's Frogs and have my Springtail cultures started, and a bromeliad pack hanging out in some mesh pots until I get my cork and let everything cure. Waiting stinks!
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Old 12-20-2015, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Got my cork bark package in yesterday so I decided to assemble everything last night. Not exactly what I had imagined for the setup, but I think it works.

The pictures aren't the greatest, as everything seems to blend in together. I'm sure once I get plants in and add some color it won't look as flat.

Front:


Left Side:


Right Side:
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Got some color in to the viv today, the mister system hooked up, and did a modification for the Exo Terra top to help with the Texas summer heat when the time comes. I also oak and magnolia leaf litter that I added in after the picture was taken.

Plant List:
Rabbit Foot Fern (Davallia fejeensis)
Peacock Moss (Selaginella uncinata)
Nerve Plant (Fittonia verschaffeltii)
Asst. Bromeliads (Will try and ID if possible)

Still going to add some variegated fig ivy (Ficus pumila 'Variegata') to the back right corner of the viv to let it grow up the background and hide the shale platforms a bit more.

Right now the viv has 5 broms, but the two smaller ones will be moved to a different viv in the near future. Any help in with an ID for the broms would be greatly appreciated. They were bought as part of a pack from Josh's Frogs.

For the light I removed both reflectors so the heat can vent from the top more easily, and wired in a case fan to push cool air in the hood and help force hot air out of the top.

I have quite a bit of light bleeding out from under the hood and causes a glare on the top glass, so I will have to try and find a way to correct that as well.


Front:


Right:
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Exo Terra 18"x18"x24" - First Build Journal

Something I like to do to prevent a "box" look to the tank is, if you have extra
ABG, put extra at the back or in one corner so as to create a slope downwards to the front of the tank. I also agree with others that getting some ficus or other background plants growing only on the cork panel will make the cork tree pop out. It's looking great, can't wait to see it grow out some more, nicely done
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