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Old 02-18-2017, 01:37 AM
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Default 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Hello all I am new to the forum. I have read a lot from this forum through google search while researching my tank. This tank is my first ever attempt at a vivarium. I do keep a 40 breeder reef tank that has been my hobby for some time now. I acquired a 20 long critter cage tank and decided to give some of these awesome little frogs a try. Instead of the "dart frogs' I went with the "painted mantella". I'm fairly certain that the mantellas that I have are Mantella madagascariensis. I have 2 at the moment, but may possibly add a 3rd soon. I just picked the frogs up yesterday after having them held for me giving me time to set up the tank and let it settle a bit after adding springtales and such. I wanted to set up a water fall/pump in the tank even with having the limited height. I used Great Stuff foam to form the background as well as eco earth, cork, and other wood. I used the Zoo Med hydro balls (2 bags), window screen, and repti-soil for substrate. I added a bunch of moss, a fern that was marked down for $1 at lowes, a "mini orchid"(seeing how this plays out, hoping well), and a buddy gave me a sprig of somw type of ivy that I liked. The mantellas seem to be doing very well and are smashing fruit flies. The light I went with on this vivarium is a (petsmart) 30 "National Geographic freshwater LEDs. I wanted LED's on the tank, and for the price and coverage, I figured I would try these out. If necessary, upgrades will be made as this tank goes on. Here are some photos on the frogs and my vivarium. Comments, suggestions, criticism... it's all welcome!

Finally bringing the frogs home.



My little 20 long vivarium.



One of the frogs really seems to like the cork round that is used for the water fall.









Locked on to a fruit fly.




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Old 02-18-2017, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Awesome tank. Great to see people working with Mantellas.
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Old 02-18-2017, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

My big criticism would be the moss. Mantella love leaf litter and cork bark pieces to hide under and dart to and from. Most PDF's really value leaf litter, honestly, but I consider it a must for Mantella. The moss looks nice but isn't doing anything for your frogs.
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by drcameraman View Post
Awesome tank. Great to see people working with Mantellas.
Thanks!
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Originally Posted by HunterB View Post
My big criticism would be the moss. Mantella love leaf litter and cork bark pieces to hide under and dart to and from. Most PDF's really value leaf litter, honestly, but I consider it a must for Mantella. The moss looks nice but isn't doing anything for your frogs.
Thank you for being honest. I do have some leaf litter in the tank, but just where the moss isn't. I wasn't sure if the frogs would mind walking about on the moss or not. I did just really like the idea of a decent carpet of moss though. I kinda figure some of it would die, especially the packaged "frog moss". I have already tossed out 2 chunks of that. The other moss I used I got from a friend who had a bunch of. I could always make more available leaf litter area on the tank ground.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul87 View Post
Thanks!

Thank you for being honest. I do have some leaf litter in the tank, but just where the moss isn't. I wasn't sure if the frogs would mind walking about on the moss or not. I did just really like the idea of a decent carpet of moss though. I kinda figure some of it would die, especially the packaged "frog moss". I have already tossed out 2 chunks of that. The other moss I used I got from a friend who had a bunch of. I could always make more available leaf litter area on the tank ground.
The moss carpet idea is often attempted and can be done, to quite a beautiful degree. With big bold frogs such as Terribilis and Tincs I'd be more prone to try it. I personally, was always taught with Mantella to give them a lot of leaf litter and some cork pieces.

Last edited by HunterB; 02-18-2017 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Poor spelling
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Beautiful frogs and tank- all I can say is if you aren't 100% sure of species you have do not add a 3rd.

We definitely do not need hybrids, no Frankenfrogs.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:50 PM
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Beautiful frogs and tank- all I can say is if you aren't 100% sure of species you have do not add a 3rd.

We definitely do not need hybrids, no Frankenfrogs.
Thanks you! There was a batch of 6 ordered. They are all the same species. If I add it will be from the batch that I got these 2 from. These things don't really fly off the shelves in my area. I would like to increase my likelihood of having a pair though.
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Old 02-18-2017, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Took some more photos today of the mantellas and the viv. Im going to be added some more leaf litter as well as possibly removing one of the moss slabs later on. Just fed these guys and don't really want the little flies all over the room.

Tank shot.


Top tank shot.


The orchid.




Construction photo. The orchid is planted in the "foam cup" to try to keep it from staying drenched around roots. It seemed like a good idea to me, but still observing everything.


The waterfall from above.


Random shots of the frogs, who seem to enjoy hunting on the moss from what I can tell so far. So far they seem to be getting comfortable pretty quickly. They where pretty active and somewhat bold at the store I got them. I watched them for a month there up until i got them.


















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Old 02-18-2017, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Nice pics... I love these frogs...

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Old 02-19-2017, 04:10 AM
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Nice pics... I love these frogs...

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Thanks and me too!
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

I'm fairly certain I have identified these particular frogs as Mantella baroni, not Mantella madagascariensis like I had originally thought. Here is the article that helped me in finding this out-
Correctly Identifying Mantella baroni and Mantella madagascariensis

Today I picked up another cork round and split it in half to make for log tunnel for the frogs. I also cleared a little moss area out and added some more magnolia leaf litter. I also planted 2 very small ferns that where collected at my parents by a stream. Though it may not look like it, there are plenty of little hidey holes in the tank for the little guys to hide about. Everything seems to be going well so far. I think once the ivy takes off in the front left of the tank, there will be more cover provided for that portion of the tank. Here is some photos of everything after the slight remodel.





















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Old 02-26-2017, 02:32 AM
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Added another 2 mantella from the same batch a few days ago. I could've swore I heard one calling yesterday and today so I think I have a male now. I've been working on restoring a shelf to make a more solid stand for the viv today as well. Should be ready to go tomorrow. The plastic shelving that is currently being used for the stand is a tad flexible causing the tank to slightly shake a bit when I'm near it. All the plants still seem to be looking good as well. I added another shorter orchid as well as an "earth star". Should have sone updated photos coming soon.
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Old 02-26-2017, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

looks great man! currently, I only have a crested gecko vivarium but it's posts like this that really make me want to get into dart frogs.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Your frogs look really gorgeous!

One quick tip about your orchid (the Phalaenopsis)- most Phals are not terrestrial, so you will have better luck with it lifted up off the ground. Otherwise, it's likely to rot, since that foam cup it's in is probably going to break down faster than you expect. Keeping it in a plastic pot buried in the substrate won't give any real drainage or airflow around the roots, and it will be hard for you to keep an eye on how it's doing.

Phals are also susceptible to crown rot, which happens when water sits too long in the base of the leaves, especially overnight. You might want to mount it on that piece of cork log in there, and be careful when misting, so that you only spray the roots. It's a little tough with a short tank, since the inflorescence can be quite tall.

You did a nice job on the background, and did well with not stuffing too many plants in there. It's going to look even better as it grows.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

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Originally Posted by Woodswalker View Post
Your frogs look really gorgeous!

One quick tip about your orchid (the Phalaenopsis)- most Phals are not terrestrial, so you will have better luck with it lifted up off the ground. Otherwise, it's likely to rot, since that foam cup it's in is probably going to break down faster than you expect. Keeping it in a plastic pot buried in the substrate won't give any real drainage or airflow around the roots, and it will be hard for you to keep an eye on how it's doing.

Phals are also susceptible to crown rot, which happens when water sits too long in the base of the leaves, especially overnight. You might want to mount it on that piece of cork log in there, and be careful when misting, so that you only spray the roots. It's a little tough with a short tank, since the inflorescence can be quite tall.

You did a nice job on the background, and did well with not stuffing too many plants in there. It's going to look even better as it grows.
Thanks! I realize that about the orchids. I am currently building another tank from scrap glass from a 20 tall that I plan to make a taller tank with. i will probably end up moving the orchids to that one. The height of this 20 long is hard to do orchids with. The second orchid I added is elevated as much as possible on wood and spagnum, I think it will be ok. I've been keeping an eye on them. I really appreciate the background approval as this is my first time ever doing anything like this.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:38 AM
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Here are some updated photos.

Here is a shot with all 4 mantellas present. This was taken the day after adding the 2 others and before I added a couple plants.


The new earth star and orchid.



Then we got this guy...


FTS


Left side.


Right side.


And some random frog shots.






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Old 02-28-2017, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Really nice work.. those frogs are awesome... i love the contrast between their body and legs..are they pretty active?

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Old 03-01-2017, 01:11 PM
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Thank you! Yes, they seem to stay pretty active for the most part. I've never kept PDFs before do can't really say if they are more active than others, but they are usually out and about. I can put my hand right up to them and they could care less. Lol.
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Old 03-02-2017, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Beautiful!
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:38 AM
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Beautiful!
Thank you.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:47 AM
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I have another tank in the making. I think u mentioned in an earlier post that I had a regular 20 gallon that I took apart for the glass. The bottom was busted and most of it is scratched up. I will be using these panels to build a new vivarium with the front page being a new piece of glass that I'll be picking up tomorrow hopefully. These darn glass shops close early around here! Anyways, the tank should come out to be around 18 gallons after I get some panels trimmed. It will be designed to fit under my 20 long. Basically it will be a 20 tall that is 11" deep vs. 12". It will also be frameless and the bottom panel will go inside of the sides vs. the other way around when it is in trim. I've made a frag tank (saltwater) like this before and it turned out decent (held full of water). I have a few ideas about the top, but I'm taking it one step at a time. I still don't have a clue what I will put in it either. It'll be a vivarium and possibly have a pair of PDF's. Any ideas welcome.
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

The more time you spend reading on the board, the more you'll notice that most keepers choose their frogs first, research the behavior and needs of that frog, then build their tank accordingly. Perhaps that will help give you some ideas.
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Old 03-04-2017, 02:45 AM
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Makes sense. I'm thinking of possibly getting some of the "strawberry blue jeans", but will be a little while. I just got the new recycled tank silicone yesterday. Gonna leak test it tomorrow. All old glass except for the front panel. I still need to get the top cut as well as silicone in some braces to hold it. I think I may do background all around on this tank for the exception of the front panel of course. It was made 11" deep so it will fit on then shelf under this tank. Support still needs to be made as well. I'll start a new thread on this tank soon. Here it is as of right now.

Last edited by paul87; 03-04-2017 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Woodswalker View Post
The more time you spend reading on the board, the more you'll notice that most keepers choose their frogs first, research the behavior and needs of that frog, then build their tank accordingly. Perhaps that will help give you some ideas.
Makes sense. The new tank passed the leak test and is now under full construction! And I thought reefing was addicting!
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Old 03-07-2017, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Cool! Do you have a build thread going for the next tank?
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

This makes me want to add to my group of painted mantellas. Such a cool frog
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

hey loving the tank..but one thing i dont like (sorry for judging) is the orchids...i really love everything else in your tank except the orchids...they sort of dont flow with the tank and sort of looks like they come out of no where...i really think if you replaced them with some nice looking ferns your tank would look so much more natural...but i was also wondering how your air flow is and how often you mist to keep your moss so healthy? And what kind of moss do you use? My moss starts rotting after a couple months cause i have horrible air flow and i never lowered my misting...still same problem...so i decided to put leaf litter but id much rahter have moss since it looks so much nicer...but keep up the good work!
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Woodswalker View Post
Cool! Do you have a build thread going for the next tank?
Not yet, but it's slowly coming together. I'm really considering strawberry bluejeans for it, but read they can be tricky. Just put a nice large batch of springtales in the new viv. Still working on getting plenty of leaf litter, bromeliads, and maybe another plant.
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This makes me want to add to my group of painted mantellas. Such a cool frog
They are awesome!
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hey loving the tank..but one thing i dont like (sorry for judging) is the orchids...i really love everything else in your tank except the orchids...they sort of dont flow with the tank and sort of looks like they come out of no where...i really think if you replaced them with some nice looking ferns your tank would look so much more natural...but i was also wondering how your air flow is and how often you mist to keep your moss so healthy? And what kind of moss do you use? My moss starts rotting after a couple months cause i have horrible air flow and i never lowered my misting...still same problem...so i decided to put leaf litter but id much rahter have moss since it looks so much nicer...but keep up the good work!
I do appreciate all honesty. I did remove the larger orchid and put it into my new viv which is taller. I may end up doing the same with the other, but I think it's in a good spot so we will see. Most of the moss I have I got from a friend. It's the fern looking kind and is starting to sprout up very well. I have virtually no air flow in this tank except for when I open it up for feeding or wiping the glass. Observing everything one day at a time, and for the most part things are looking good. I mist the tank down usually once a day.

Last edited by paul87; 03-09-2017 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:23 AM
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Nothing quite like a powdered fly!
https://youtu.be/sdma86-2rzI

And here is the new custom 24"x16"x11" viv as of today. Still has some work to be done.
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Last edited by paul87; 03-09-2017 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:34 PM
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I just started a new thread for the new vivarium. Here is the link.
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Old 03-15-2017, 04:13 AM
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So I removed the orchid our of this tank. I replaced it with another "earth star". One of the frogs seems to like it. Still not sure if that one is the male yet, but I think it is. I also added a nice fern to the tank as well to complete it. I really like the way it turned out and am hoping that new fern don't get too large. Here are some updated photos.





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Old 03-20-2017, 01:43 AM
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The Mantellas seem to be enjoying the cover the new fern provides. Also, most of the moss is sprouting up.





Video-
https://youtu.be/zAuXttzQKYI
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:28 AM
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Updated photos.





[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/hkeNeD5.jpg[/IMG
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Old 04-02-2017, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Amazing frogs, congrats!
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:20 PM
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Those are awesome frogs, are those the painted mantellas?
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Really like the waterfall!
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Old 04-13-2017, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rigel10 View Post
Amazing frogs, congrats!
Thanks!
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Those are awesome frogs, are those the painted mantellas?
Yes, the are one of the three species labeled as painted mantella. These are the baroni.
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Really like the waterfall!
Thanks! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out with that piece of cork.
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: 20 GAL Mantella Tank

Very nice set up. I just picked up some of these. Wish me luck!
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:43 AM
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I love the frogs!
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:49 AM
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Quote:
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Very nice set up. I just picked up some of these. Wish me luck!
Thank you and good luck! You should really enjoy these guys.
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I love the frogs!
Thanks!
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