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Old 05-18-2016, 05:02 AM
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Default Crested Gecko Vivarium

Not a Dart Frog enclosure but it is a vivarium and I did get a lot of my ideas from this site so hopefully this won't get removed lol. I started this enclosure around 2 months ago and just finished it yesterday. Its going to be a permanent home for my Crested Gecko after the first tank I built for him turned out to not have enough climbing space for him, that tank ultimately became home to a trio of D. tinctorius 'Patricia'. This tank is an 18"x18"x24" Exo Terra enclosure.

I started off by attaching pieces of that egg crate light paneling stuff to the back and sides of the tank, using silicone. After letting that cure for around 72 hours I went ahead and started testing out the placement of the 3 manzanita branches I was using in this tank. Once I had them in positions I was happy with I used silicone to attach them to the egg crate. Along with the wood I also attached two net pots to the background using silicone, one in the back left and one in the front right.

72 hours later, I began attaching pieces of cork bark to the background using Great Stuff. I also filled in the cracks between each piece and around the net pots. About a week later I went ahead and carved out the excess foam and shaped it to my liking. The next step was to clean the background by spraying it with some compressed air, just to get rid of any dust or foam particles, in preparation for silicone.

Once cleaned I painted all the visible foam with silicone and then covered that with NEHERP's store brand background mix. Fast-forward 72 hours and I went ahead and cleaned off the excess background mix with some compressed air and then touched up any tiny areas of foam I missed.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was finally satisfied with the background. Next, and final step in the assembly, was to add in the drainage pipe. I made this pipe by taking a small piece of 3/4" thick pvc and attaching two straight connectors to each end. On one end I had my dad drill some holes around the bottom of the connector, to allow water to pass through, and on the other I got a little cap to cover up the pipe when not in use.

Once this pipe was done, I took my time with this so it was done over the course of about a week or so, I painted the bottom front right of the enclosure with a layer of silicone, and then stuck the pvc tube down into it. Once it was done curing about 72 hours later, I finally decided to move the tank up from my basement and get substrate and a couple plants into it; lol I actually just did this yesterday.

The tank still needs a lot of plants, a leaf litter, and a few more things until its ready for my gecko but its definitely getting there. I'm moving to Delaware in a week or two so I'm hoping he'll be in his tank within a month or two after the move.

Now, here are some photos of the tank setup in chronological order!














Last edited by xxohmycaptainxx; 05-18-2016 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:04 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

And finally here's a picture and quick video of what the tank looks like now.






Last edited by xxohmycaptainxx; 05-18-2016 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Looks great. The geckos will love it.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

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Looks great. The geckos will love it.
Thanks! Just waiting to order more plants. Already got one order together. Have to wait until my next reptile show though to get some ant plants. I already have a small Hydnophytum moseleyanum but I'd really like one or two really large, mature plants. Also would love a Lecanopteris sinuosa and one or two Pachycentria glauca.

I've only seen mature plants for sale at reptile shows though. Funny enough I've only seen Black Jungle have them for sale, yet their website only lists young plants for sale lol.
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Old 05-18-2016, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Very nice, the gecko should love all those branches to climb around on.
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Hey guys just wanted to give an update on the tank since I've moved to DE about a month ago and have settled in and done a ton of work to get this tank ready for my gecko.

Here's a quick video update of the tank on 06/11/2016.




Since the last update I've added a small Hydnophytum formicarum to the top front left side of the tank. Right above it are a Trichoglottis triflora and Octarrhena parvula, both of which are micro-orchids that I'm hoping will do well.

On the back right side of the tank is a big 4 year old Hydnophytum moseleyanum. Right in front of that is a Pachycentria glauca, and then in front of that is a Myrmephytum species, which is a very rare genus of ant plant.

Both of the Hydnophytums, the Pachycentria, and the Myrmephytum are all ant plants, which basically means they have hollow chambers inside of their tuberous like bases that provide homes for ants. In return the ants provide food for the plant via their waste.




Now here is the tank as of 06/16/2016.



In the back left of the tank in the substrate and in the net pot are a couple Spathiphyllum 'Petite'. I'm hoping this will grow in and fill in the majority of the back left of the tank. Immediately in front of them are a bunch of Fittonia albivenis. I absolutely love the foliage on these plants and I'm hoping they'll take root and really fill in this area nicely.

Lastly, on the front right side are three separate plants of Philodendron wend-imbe. There's two in the substrate, and one in a net pot on the background. I'm hoping they'll get nice and bushy and provide some really nice cover for my gecko in the future!

The only thing that you can't really notice without being told is all the ant plants are growing some really strong roots and the big H. moseleyanum in the back right is actually completely attached to the background now. I removed the wire and everything, its firmly attached and only took it about 2 weeks which is really amazing. It still has some roots that haven't hit the background yet but they're getting close. Hopefully everything else grows in nicely as well and I can get my gecko into this tank in the next month or two.



Hope ya'll enjoy the videos despite them being so short and that ya'll like the tank as much as I do. I really failed with the first one I built for my gecko over a year ago, which ultimately became a tank for my D. tinctorius trio, so I'm glad I was finally able to build something I'm satisfied with. Thanks for checking in!
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Old 06-26-2016, 03:44 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Not a huge update but I thought I'd share that my Pachycentria glauca just flowered for the first time! Only had it for a couple weeks now and its not even rooted to the background yet but its already flowering. I took these photos a couple days ago and since then the petals have fallen away. Hopefully the flower was self-pollinated and it'll grow a fruit. Would love to grow seedlings of this awesome plant!





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Old 07-01-2016, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Here's another quick update on the tank. Added in some rocks to the front left and some pilea glauca. I have this plant in my other vivarium and its doing quite well so I'm hoping it will do well in this tank and take over the bottom of the tank to an extant.

Took these pics a couple days ago so since then I've added in the leaf litter. Its dark now so I can't take updated pics but I'll take some and post them tomorrow if ya'll are interested.



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Old 07-04-2016, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Thought I'd give ya'll another update. Here's a pic of the tank in its current state, after I put the leaf litter in.

It still needs a few more plants here and there but its coming along. I just ordered an Elaphoglossum nigrescens for the back left side of the tank. I'm going to plant it epiphytically on the wall of the tank so it covers the manzanita branches a bit and provides some cover for my gecko. I'll probably also plant some more philodendron wend-imbe directly in front of where the Elaphoglossum is going, just to provide more cover.

As it stands the tank has lots of climbing space for my gecko to explore at night but it doesn't have many hiding spots for him to sleep in during the day so once I can create more of those, and all the plants grow in, he'll be added to the tank.

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Old 07-09-2016, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

wow, this looks really amazing. I love how you incorporated all the branches to retain a natural look. I bet your crested geckos will absolutely love it in there.

Your tank has given me some inspiration for a vivarium I am currently building for some giant day geckos. One problem I am facing is day geckos, being diurnal, require some basking locations that can get up 90 degrees which will probably not be great for plants near the top of the enclosure. Not sure if crested geckos have similar issues.
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:23 AM
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wow, this looks really amazing. I love how you incorporated all the branches to retain a natural look. I bet your crested geckos will absolutely love it in there.

Your tank has given me some inspiration for a vivarium I am currently building for some giant day geckos. One problem I am facing is day geckos, being diurnal, require some basking locations that can get up 90 degrees which will probably not be great for plants near the top of the enclosure. Not sure if crested geckos have similar issues.
Actually have the exact opposite issue. Crested Geckos are completely nocturnal and don't require high temperatures. Day time temps over 82*F can actually be fatal for them. Day time temps are best around 75*F-80*F and night time temps can fall as low as the mid 60*s.

The tank has grown in quite a bit more. My ant plants are doing really well and I'm hoping to get more. Once I can get my hands on some larger Philodendron wend-imbe specimens I'll get those into the tank to provide more cover. Want to try and add more leafy epiphytes to the bank wall of the tank that'll grow over the wood branches and provide some sleeping areas for my gecko. Hoping to have this tank ready for my gecko within the month.

This tank is only for one gecko btw. Its only an 18"x18"x24" so its not big enough for more than one gecko. Even if I had a bigger tank I wouldn't put more than one together as Crested Geckos tend fight one another, they're more solitary animals.

I'll probably post some updated pics and maybe another short video of the tank sometime soon.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Any of the plants in the viv that can thrive in pots? I'm not doing a viv for my Crestie and use paper towel substrate so I thought about replacing some fake with live.
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:41 PM
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Any of the plants in the viv that can thrive in pots? I'm not doing a viv for my Crestie and use paper towel substrate so I thought about replacing some fake with live.
Nearly all of them will do well in pots. The Fittonia, Philodendron wend-imbe, Ficus benjamina "too little", Spathiphyllum "petite", and the Pilea glauca will all do fine in pots. The ant plants that I have in the tank however won't really do well in pots unless you plant them in a special epiphytic plant potting mix. They're not plants that grow in soil so if you want to grow them in pots they have to be planted in a mix of orchid bark and other ingredients that provide good airflow and drainage. The person I bought them from cultivates them in pots but we both agree they do much better when planted epiphytically on a piece of wood or a cork bark background.

I really urge you to try bioactive with your Crestie. Mine isn't in this tank yet but the tub he is in now is bioactive and it works amazingly for him. Any poop, debris, or fallen food is quickly eaten up by the springtails and isopods. Its just a lot easier to manage.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

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Nearly all of them will do well in pots. The Fittonia, Philodendron wend-imbe, Ficus benjamina "too little", Spathiphyllum "petite", and the Pilea glauca will all do fine in pots. The ant plants that I have in the tank however won't really do well in pots unless you plant them in a special epiphytic plant potting mix. They're not plants that grow in soil so if you want to grow them in pots they have to be planted in a mix of orchid bark and other ingredients that provide good airflow and drainage. The person I bought them from cultivates them in pots but we both agree they do much better when planted epiphytically on a piece of wood or a cork bark background.



I really urge you to try bioactive with your Crestie. Mine isn't in this tank yet but the tub he is in now is bioactive and it works amazingly for him. Any poop, debris, or fallen food is quickly eaten up by the springtails and isopods. Its just a lot easier to manage.

Yeah I might eventually switch over what would be a safe potting mix for most of those plants.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:49 PM
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Yeah I might eventually switch over what would be a safe potting mix for most of those plants.
They'll do fine in any organic potting soil. Just make sure there's no perlite in it. Must be organic. You can also buy some vivarium substrate from NEHERP or any similar company, such as Josh's Frogs, but organic potting soil works just fine.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:51 PM
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They'll do fine in any organic potting soil. Just make sure there's no perlite in it. Must be organic. You can also buy some vivarium substrate from NEHERP or any similar company, such as Josh's Frogs, but organic potting soil works just fine.


Ah okay I'll try Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix thanks a lot.
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:01 AM
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Ah okay I'll try Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Mix thanks a lot.
You're welcome, just be sure its totally organic and doesn't have any pesticides or fertilizers in it. Its also best to make sure the dirt is covered with leaves or something when you put the pots into the tank.

I've never witnessed my gecko doing it but I have heard that sometimes Crested Geckos will eat dirt in an attempt to get nutrients they may be missing and in turn they become impacted. Just a layer of leaves or sphagnum moss over the dirt is a good idea.
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:56 PM
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I also have crested geckos, and they like to trample plants. The ficus benjamina can get 100 ft tall. My male digs into the forest moss in his tank during the day, so philodendrons are not in my tank. They can be poisonous. I've had my gecko in a planted tank for two years. I've had him six years. Just my 2! Good luck on your tank!
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Old 07-22-2016, 11:47 PM
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I also have crested geckos, and they like to trample plants. The ficus benjamina can get 100 ft tall. My male digs into the forest moss in his tank during the day, so philodendrons are not in my tank. They can be poisonous. I've had my gecko in a planted tank for two years. I've had him six years. Just my 2! Good luck on your tank!
This is a ficus benjamina "too little" its essentially a dwarf variety of f. benjamina. Along with that its been pruned and kept small for years. This plant is over 15 years old. If kept properly pruned ficus make good vivarium plants. Many people on here have them in their vivariums, and almost every bioactive crested gecko vivarium I've seen has had some species of ficus so I'm not too worried about it on that end.

Also, I haven't read a single piece of literature that stated philodendrons can be toxic to Crested Geckos. They're one of the most commonly recommended species of plant that I've seen to be honest. This variety is a hybrid of two different species and stays quite small. I've seen it used in all kinds of tanks for animals from geckos, to plant eating reptiles such as chameleons and agamids, to dart frogs and other amphibians. I have no worries that its toxic. Even if it was, Crested Geckos aren't herbivorous or omnivorous. They're not interested in leafy greens of any kind and my gecko, who I've had for over a year now, has never touched any green plant matter of any kind.

In terms of digging, my gecko, as I've stated before, is already in a bioactive tub setup. This will eventually be his permanent home but atm he's in a bioactive setup and has been exposed to NEHERP's vivarium substrate for the entire time I've owned him and not once have I caught him digging, eating substrate, or eating sphagnum moss. This is definitely more of a worry with females and if your gecko is doing this you could have a female on your hands that may look like a male, as some females can have a fairly good sized bulge.

However, if any issue arises of my gecko eating something he shouldn't or doing something he should I'd definitely take immediate actions to change the setup. The substrate is covered with a nice layer of leaf litter and as I said he doesn't dig or even go to the bottom of his enclosure all that often so I'm not too worried. Thank you for your concern!!

Last edited by xxohmycaptainxx; 07-22-2016 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 07-27-2016, 06:41 AM
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Thought I'd provide ya'll with a bit of an update on the vivarium. Not much for me to say as I talk about the growth and such in the video but yeah. Sorry for the shaky quality, it was filmed on my phone as I don't own a camera.




If any of ya'll out there can hook me up with a nice sized Philodendron wend-imbe like I mention in the video, hit me up!
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

Just thought I'd give ya'll another update on my crested gecko vivarium. Things are growing in nicely.

The Hydnophytum moseleyanum's roots are taking over the side wall its ridiculous. The Pachycentria glauca is continually flowering and I actually managed to get a fruit to form which produced 4 seeds which I planted in some net pots with some vivarium substrate from NEHERP. So far 3 of them have germinated and are beginning to grow. I have more flowers on the plant now and another fruit forming so maybe I can get a steady supply of these plants growing and offer some of them for sale in the future!

The rest of the plants are growing in very nicely and everything is, for the most part, pretty well established in the tank. I'm planning on getting a couple jungle dawn LED's for this tank to maybe get some better growth on my Pachycentria and Myrmephytum but I probably won't do that for another few weeks.

I'll have another update later tonight with a video I took a couple days ago. This update and these pictures are about 2 weeks old, just haven't had the time to post them here. Be on the look out for the next update!

Anyway here are some pics!







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Old 09-08-2016, 06:06 AM
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So the second update of this comes with some pictures AND a video! In the past two weeks stuff has grown in a bit more. I trimmed the Pilea glauca as it was getting really tall and lanky and I want to keep it more compact. I trimmed the ficus wayyyy back as it was getting really big and bushy. The Myrmephytum is starting to grow entrance holes in its caudex for ants and its really starting to attach itself to the manzanita. I also got several new ant plants, some Myrmecodia sp, another Hydnophytum moseleyanum, and another Myrmephytum sp. Yellow Fruit.

Originally I planted the Hydnophytum on the front left wall of the tank but it threw off the whole tank and made it look incredibly flat and as if there was no depth to the tank. To solve this issue I removed the plant and replaced it with the Myrmephytum I got, which is a sister plant to the other one I have however this new one is a year older so is much larger. Its doing well so far just waiting for it to throw new roots and get attached to the background.

Also just ordered some large clumps of Philodendron "wende-imbe" from jdart16, just waiting on them to arrive. Once they do arrive, they'll go on the back left wall of the cage, right behind the new Myrmephytum.

Now for some pics!

New front tank shot!


The trimmed Pilea glauca.


The new Myrmephytum.


The first Myrmephytum.


Entrance hole and root system on the Hydnophytum moseleyanum.



And here's the video of the tank!

Last edited by xxohmycaptainxx; 09-08-2016 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 09-13-2016, 02:46 AM
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Just another update on the tank... phew with all the updates I've been posting I thought I'd get at least some comments. Ya'll not liking this setup? Please leave feedback and any comments ya got. Would love to hear from everyone.

Finally got the Philodendron 'wend-imbe' I had been searching for. Ended up being ENORMOUS so I only used a few small portions of it in this tank. Saving the rest for a big 36"x18"x36" build i'm planning for my group of D. tinctorius 'Patricia'. Got that planted in the tank today and rearranged the new Myrmephytum, that I showed in the last update, so it looked better.

The tank is now basically done. I just have to let the last few plants get established and then it'll finally be ready for my gecko. I'm thinking this'll take around 2 or 3 months as from personal experience Philodendron 'wend-imbe' is pretty slow at taking root in substrate so I'm assuming it'll be slow to take root to the background.

For the moment this tank is serving as temp-housing for a fourth Dendrobates tinctorius 'Patricia' that I got at the White Plains reptile expo yesterday. This frog is around 6-7 months old and is looking strongly to be a male. Really hoping it turns out to be male, as the trio I originally bought is looking to be 2 females and 1 male. There's still time though as the trio is only around 9 months old but I'm like 99% positive I have 2 females and 1 male. The group is going into a bigger tank as I said before so I would like to get a few more males to curb any aggression amongst females for a mate. So I would like a group of 3-4 males and 2 females.

Anyway here's a new front shot of the tank, some detail shots of the philo, and a couple pics of my new tinc.









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Old 09-17-2016, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

That looks incredible. Good job!
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:26 PM
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I just ran across this thread so I saw the whole thing from start to finish in one go. It's been interesting to see the progression from bare tank to where it is now. Great looking tank!
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:40 AM
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Thanks you guys! Its been a lot of work and money, some of the ant plants cost more than $50 each, but I'm happy I chose to go with the setup I did and I'm excited to get him into the tank when things are done growing in and the temporary dart frog inhabitant has been moved out.

I plan on adding a hanging hide for him, probably a coconut or one of those straw hides for finches, to provide a nice little spot for him to really curl up in and sleep. Now that I've shaded that back rim and added those plants on the left side wall he has more places to sleep but I think he'd appreciate a nice hanging hide.

I'll post updates occasionally but there won't be any that often simply because the cage is done being built and the only thing that will change is in regards to the plants. Speaking of which the Philodendron 'wend imbe' I added to the left wall is doing nicely and the new Myrmephytum is already sending out new roots so hopefully those plants become fully attached soon. My Pachycentria glauca is growing more fruits and flowers and the 5 seeds I planted are doing really well. If my methods of propagating this plant continue to work well I could have some young plants for sale in the coming months.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: Crested Gecko Vivarium

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Originally Posted by xxohmycaptainxx View Post
Thought I'd give ya'll another update. Here's a pic of the tank in its current state, after I put the leaf litter in.

It still needs a few more plants here and there but its coming along. I just ordered an Elaphoglossum nigrescens for the back left side of the tank. I'm going to plant it epiphytically on the wall of the tank so it covers the manzanita branches a bit and provides some cover for my gecko. I'll probably also plant some more philodendron wend-imbe directly in front of where the Elaphoglossum is going, just to provide more cover.

As it stands the tank has lots of climbing space for my gecko to explore at night but it doesn't have many hiding spots for him to sleep in during the day so once I can create more of those, and all the plants grow in, he'll be added to the tank.

looks great! whats that tree looking plant on the left?
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