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Old 10-25-2017, 09:27 PM
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Default Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal



Hello Everyone,

Welcome to my Biopod Grand. This is merely a record of successes (and failures, maybe) Iíll encounter over the next few months, as well as a place to seek advice and opinion from more senior keepers. I welcome all your comments and hope you will find this enjoyable.

I came across Biopod over 2 years ago on Kickstarter. I had never considered having a vivarium at the time, never looked into the requirements, but I had kept several aquariums - both FW planted and SW Reefs - and thought it could not be much harder.

I will gladly admit that I may have had more money than sense at the time, and happily forked out for the ďflagshipĒ Biopod Grand thinking I had until Christmas to learn a bit about frogs. I had 2 more years before I received it, and I am not yet confident enough to keep frogs!

I donít dismiss any comments about the price of the Grand, but I donít think it will be very constructive to discuss it here. Yes itís too expensive, but so is the iPhone, and yet I love mine for the promise of something that ďjust worksĒ (notice that I did not say it did, just that it promises to do).

I will simply detail my experience, answer questions you may have, and hope to find answers to the questions I have.

I donít intend to keep frogs yet, I want to ensure the enclosure is stable with healthy growing plants beforehand.

Thanks a lot


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Old 10-25-2017, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: A Beginnerís Journal - Biopod Grand

The Setup:

The setup was not as smooth as I had expected.

First of all, the Grand is BIG! Its size means it does not come assembled like the other Biopods. A quick search on YouTube will show you how simple/complicated it is.

My Biopod had a few missing parts, the company was super fast replacing everything, but had I paid the full price I would have been really fuming.

It takes about 4-5 hours to put together, annoyingly required you to buy your own silicone for a couple of steps (I know! Stupid for that price!), and can be quite fiddly.

At this point, I thought I had made a big mistake...

You then need to fill the back wall with moss, chose your substrate I went for a traditional drainage, mesh, substrate thing, kept a lower area soaking wet and filled it with some aquarium substrate on the right.

After that itís pretty simple. I am told some users have struggle with this part of the setup, but for me it was really just plug and play at this point. Rain, irrigation, temperature seems to take care of itself.

I have planted a variety of things I canít identify, I guess that will be my first mission.

I really want to get moss on the ground, and on the wood, but not too sure where to start with that yet...

Let me know what you think...


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Old 10-25-2017, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Thanks for doing this, Boots. For those of us who are not familiar with Biopods, can you tell me the dimensions of what I am looking at in the pictures?

That is a great piece of wood! The only other comment I have is that you appear to have planted some of the bromeliads in the soil. Do you know that the species/varieties you have planted are not epiphytic? If they are, you would be better off attaching them to the wood or otherwise planting them so that their roots and bases are exposed.

Good work so far! I can't believe you had to assemble it yourself, and with silicone no less!

Mark
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
Thanks for doing this, Boots. For those of us who are not familiar with Biopods, can you tell me the dimensions of what I am looking at in the pictures?



That is a great piece of wood! The only other comment I have is that you appear to have planted some of the bromeliads in the soil. Do you know that the species/varieties you have planted are not epiphytic? If they are, you would be better off attaching them to the wood or otherwise planting them so that their roots and bases are exposed.



Good work so far! I can't believe you had to assemble it yourself, and with silicone no less!



Mark


Hi Mark,

You are welcome, and thanks for the first bit of advice I get!

The one I have is the Biopod Grand, the tank itself is roughy 125cm wide, 72cm tall, and 39 cm deep. It is sold as a complete solution with the main parameters setup by Biopod themselves according to the species you wish to host... a quick google search should show you the variety of setups available.

With the bromeliads, I have to admit how inexperienced I am... is there a quick way to identify which should be out of the ground and which should be in the ground? They all came in pots with ground and I naively assumed they should all be in substrate...

The assembly was a surprise tbh. Thankfully the silicone work is limited to sticking pieces of the back wall together and then sticking that onto the glass at the back... not a huge amount, but still too much IMO.

Thanks for your help!




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Old 10-25-2017, 11:14 PM
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I was hoping you knew :-) The ones in the front look like Neoregelia, mostly, though I must admit I am no expert. When people come over, I just give away cuttings of my plants and it goes like "And you can have some of THIS and some of THAT and some of this other thing..." because I am not real sharp with the plant names :-) Anyway, I usually treat Neos as epiphytic which means I secure them to the back wall or branches. I usually wrap a little sphagnum around the base to keep it moist for a while but that probably isn't necessary. My understanding is that epiphytic bromeliads get their moisture from the water they catch in the little pools formed by their leaves. The fact that things are planted in a pot is not necessarily a sign that they should stay in soil in your viv. Hopefully someone a lot better with plants will come in here and set things straight :-)

Great start, though, and thanks for posting the specs. That is, indeed, a monster of a tank.

Mark
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Nice scape. Love the wood! Have you any idea what kind of frogs you'd like to keep once you're ready?

Cheers
Mark
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

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Originally Posted by --Mark-- View Post
Nice scape. Love the wood! Have you any idea what kind of frogs you'd like to keep once you're ready?



Cheers

Mark


Hey Mark,
Thanks, took me a while to get the wood sorted, and Had no other choice but to leave some ugly silicone showing for now - it will cover eventually.
I donít know about frogs yet, but something thatís in the easier to keep rather than rare and fragile...
when I started with reef tanks I made a couple of mistakes biting more than I could chew, and ended up losing a few corals and a mandarin fish. I now understand that slow and steady wins the race, and I want a thriving enclosure before I bring frogs in.
Iíll take suggestion though
Cheers


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Old 10-26-2017, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Lovely big tank. Those bromeliads are definitely going to do better mounted to the wood and background. They don't like wet feet. You can use a combo of gorilla glue, string, sphagnum and/or floral wire.

Other than that everything looks good. I like vining plants for the background but too many plants at first leads to lots of trimming. Your 'start slow' approach is the right one.

I'm interested to see your progress and thoughts on the biopod. If I wanted a single standalone display tank this would be my choice as well.

Choosing frogs will be hard!

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Old 10-26-2017, 06:12 AM
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What type of wood are you using?
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Old 10-26-2017, 06:20 AM
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What type of wood are you using?


Itís vine.

Thanks


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Old 10-26-2017, 07:57 AM
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As in Grapewood? If so, that's not the best choice for a frog tank - it breaks down the fastest of the commonly used woods in a humid environment.
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:22 PM
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As in Grapewood? If so, that's not the best choice for a frog tank - it breaks down the fastest of the commonly used woods in a humid environment.


Hi Calivet,

Yes, thatís right, grapevine.

I read about mould too, and understand it is of no detriment to frogs or the enclosure. I hope I am right...

Since it has no structural role or importance, and itís basically free of charge as previously used under water for 2+ years in a previous tank, I shall keep it as is for now. Time will tell if this was a mistake.

Thanks for the advice though, keep them coming

Cheers.


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Old 10-27-2017, 03:57 AM
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Quote:
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Hi Calivet,

Yes, thatís right, grapevine.

I read about mould too, and understand it is of no detriment to frogs or the enclosure. I hope I am right...

Since it has no structural role or importance, and itís basically free of charge as previously used under water for 2+ years in a previous tank, I shall keep it as is for now. Time will tell if this was a mistake.

Thanks for the advice though, keep them coming

Cheers.


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Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal - Dendroboard
It's not the mold, it's the fact that the wood simply breaks down faster than other wood types. If it was submerged for 2+ years, it may be even worse, where you're going to need to completely replace it within a few years. It's not harmful, it's just going to collapse and the very nice looking build will be gone.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:35 AM
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Apologies in advance, this is very insignificant for most on here...

Walked passed the biopod this morning, and this little bad boy happened:


Donít ask why Iím excited about it, I just am...




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Old 10-30-2017, 08:16 PM
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Nice! A blooming brom usually means it's happy. Get ready for it to start producing pups.

Do you have an upated picture?

Your grapewood will eventually break down but honestly most vivariums are a constant evolution of changes. I wouldn't worry about it. Since its not 'structurally important' in your set up you could replace it with cork flats or tubes down the line when it decomposes. Any mounted plants can be remounted to something else.

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Old 11-03-2017, 05:30 PM
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Will the sphagnum moss in the living wall eventually turn green and come to life or do you plan on adding moss sheet on top?

I've seen the Biopod scaping videos and it seems they're plastering on a lot of live moss on top to get that instant green look. Curious to hear your thoughts!

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Old 11-06-2017, 10:18 PM
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Quick update.
I tried hard to stay away, touch nothing, and wait to see how it goes and if it grows... but thatís actually harder than it seems

I have moved a few plants around and replaced some sphagnum by a variety of live mosses - I canít decide if it is a good idea to carry on that process with the back wall.

Most plants seem to do well, although I have lost some climbing plant of some description, and something that looked like an anubia... Poor placement is likely to be blamed, but I thought it was best to play safe and remove as soon as it started to decline rather than relocate and potentially spread a disease or something...

Thatís where we are now:



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Old 11-06-2017, 11:11 PM
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Big improvement! Looks much more alive now you can't see so much of that brown sphagnum

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Old 11-24-2017, 12:04 AM
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How have you found the circulation in the Grand? Any instances of mold?
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:13 AM
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How have you found the circulation in the Grand? Any instances of mould?


Hi,
By ďcirculationĒ do you mean air circulation?
I donít think there is a problem there, it seems good to me, humidity stays high and glass remains condensation-free. I have a bit of mould on some exposed wood but it is very limited, and I understand it is expected at the beginning anyway... it certainly does not look like an issue to me and I hope I am right.


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Old 11-24-2017, 12:22 AM
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Hi,
By ďcirculationĒ do you mean air circulation?
I donít think there is a problem there, it seems good to me, humidity stays high and glass remains condensation-free. I have a bit of mould on some exposed wood but it is very limited, and I understand it is expected at the beginning anyway... it certainly does not look like an issue to me and I hope I am right.


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Good to hear!
I actually have condensation showing on the glass of my Aqua II quite regularly. Hard to say if the ventilation is working properly other than it being audible when on (50min/hr). Most of the fogging clears eventually, but there are always water droplets on the glass (from the misting cycle). A little bit disappointing as I had hoped I wouldn't have to wipe the glass daily. Maintaining humidity certainly won't be a problem.

How much rainfall have you set per day?

I'm not sure if the air circulation in mine is as I had expected either. I have since removed most of the 'live' moss I had purchased due to it remaining dead and molding. I've ordered tropical varieties and some that are usually found in aquariums in the hope they take better.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:36 AM
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Good to hear!
I actually have condensation showing on the glass of my Aqua II quite regularly. Hard to say if the ventilation is working properly other than it being audible when on (50min/hr). Most of the fogging clears eventually, but there are always water droplets on the glass (from the misting cycle). A little bit disappointing as I had hoped I wouldn't have to wipe the glass daily. Maintaining humidity certainly won't be a problem.

How much rainfall have you set per day?

I'm not sure if the air circulation in mine is as I had expected either. I have since removed most of the 'live' moss I had purchased due to it remaining dead and molding. I've ordered tropical varieties and some that are usually found in aquariums in the hope they take better.


Hi,

I am running the automated program, at the moment it appears to be setup to do 2 x 45 seconds water spray per day. I have angled the spray so that the water does not really go to the glass.

At the very beginning, I remember finding my front glass would steam up. I made a few changes that lead to it stopping and only assumed the whole system was kind of settling...

From your comment, and assuming the improvement came from a change I had made, The only factor that could have affected this and that I can identify is the angle of the spray nozzles. I never really thought it through at the time, but I would now assume I stopped spraying water on the grey part at the bottom of the front glass where the air is injected and heated up - heating up even a small amount of water sprayed on those tiny holes would probably steam up the front glass (?)

I hope this helps...



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Old 11-24-2017, 12:42 AM
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I am running the automated program, at the moment it appears to be setup to do 2 x 45 seconds water spray per day.
I find it strange that in manual I can't have the misters on for longer than 30s, twice a day! It's clearly not necessary with my humidity remaining high but would be nice to have full control.

Quote:
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From your comment, and assuming the improvement came from a change I had made, The only factor that could have affected this and that I can identify is the angle of the spray nozzles. I never really thought it through at the time, but I would now assume I stopped spraying water on the grey part at the bottom of the front glass where the air is injected and heated up - heating up even a small amount of water sprayed on those tiny holes would probably steam up the front glass (?)
This is a great point. I have noticed water settling there in droplets after the misting settles. I have already attempted to adjust the spray to avoid hitting the glass (and sensors) and I'm not sure it's possible - perhaps the added depth of the Grand provides this ability. Maybe I can try to reduce how fine the spray is.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:07 AM
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I find it strange that in manual I can't have the misters on for longer than 30s, twice a day! It's clearly not necessary with my humidity remaining high but would be nice to have full control.

Honestly, I have no idea...
I just had a look at my app, if I switch from ďautomaticĒ to ďcustom, the rain is set to some 92 seconds per day...
Iíd first time the length of the spray period, then contact Biopod directly for clarification...
Alternatively, switch to automatic mode, select a setting where the rain is over 30Ē long, wait for a while, switch back to custom and change other settings as required?

Let me know how it goes.



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Old 11-24-2017, 01:15 AM
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I'll definitely get in touch with them!
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:23 AM
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I've since adjusted the spray nozzles. They are producing a mist that isn't as fine and I've repositioned them slightly. It seems that's helping mitigate some of the water deposit on the glass.

Will keep an eye on it over the next day or so. Hard to know if it has actually made a difference since it is night time here so not a best representation of the temperature in the room and the cycle in the tank. No condensation after misting quite a bit.

Also can't seem to find any settings that allow for longer than 60s per day in rainfall. Perhaps it's due to it being an Aqua II and not a grand -- maybe has a smaller reservoir? I've messaged Biopod all the same.
Sorry for hijacking your build thread with this! Hoping any prospective Biopod owners get something out of it.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:34 AM
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Sorry for hijacking your build thread with this! Hoping any prospective Biopod owners get something out of it.

Donít be, If I turned out to be of any help then great!

From my end, the frustration I have, is the inability to switch the lights on/off at the simple switch of a button...

Iíve had friends come around after the lights went off on a couple of occasions. They were intrigued by the Biopod, and I really wanted to show it off a bit, but the stupidly unnecessary process one has to go through to simply switch the lights on is just too much and I could not be bothered when bearing in mind one would have to revert any changes afterwards too!

IMO, it needs a simple command in the app for a ď5 minutes display cycleĒ... press one button = 5 minutes of light...

Thatís my main issue so far



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Old 11-24-2017, 01:44 AM
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From my end, the frustration I have, is the inability to switch the lights on/off at the simple switch of a button.
...

IMO, it needs a simple command in the app for a ď5 minutes display cycleĒ... press one button = 5 minutes of light...
Couldn't agree more! I'm hoping they'll add plenty functionality to the app in the future - it seems the easiest way of improving the overall experience! If I could have 4x10s misting cycles as opposed to 2x20s that would be great.

I'm a little peeved that I need to permanently have 4" of water in the drainage layer in order to have the back wall irrigation function. Means the substrate remains virtually saturated and is much deeper than I had initially intended.
I've had troubles with inaccurate humidity sensing too - so when I found that perhaps the air circulation wasn't sufficient and the glass remained condensated/fogged, I wasn't best pleased!

If the vivarium didn't look as good as it does, and I didn't see the potential in it I'd have been begging for my money back already! I'm glad I got it set up so far in advance of my frogs arriving so I can fiddle with it and grow accustomed to it before anything is at risk.
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:54 AM
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From Biopod: "At the moment we only have the option for two rain cycles per day with the max of 30 seconds in custom mode but we are looking to add more flexibility in future app updates."

Bingo.
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:17 AM
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Update - 1 month on

Iím not nearly as good as I wish I was with a camera, but hopefully itís good enough.

I have now settled on using he Automatic mode for Blue Poison Dart Frogs.


Most things are settling in nicely, some good growth for some plants, others are being moved around a bit until I find the best spot...


An orange woodlice and example of the mould I mentioned in a previous post. I understand the mould is not an issue and to be expected at this stage...


I expect these have made it to the Biopod with the moss... I wonder what mushroom that is.


Not everything is doin brilliantly, this anubia (?) was probably in the wrong spot and been relocated now. I hope it will recover.


Mosses and ferns seems to be doing well in the living wall.




My Journal
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=331233
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Looking great! Love the little mushroom.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Biopod also commented on the suggestion with regards to the lighting.
"...that is a great idea and will make sure to mention it to our IT guys in charge of the app."

We can hope!
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

So, this happened today...



My Journal
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=331233
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Old 12-19-2017, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Hi Boots, Any updates? I'm still waiting on my Grand
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Old 12-19-2017, 05:51 PM
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Awesome job on yours
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Old 12-19-2017, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

It looks gorgeous, but you need a bunch of leaf litter. Leaf litter is important as it provides habitat for your microfauna to multiply, and your microfauna break down waste for the plants to use. Also, it keeps the frogs up off the wet ground, which is important because they can develop fungus in their feet if their feet are constantly soaked. If I were you, I'd cover every clear bit of ground with leaf litter, at least an inch of it.

Also, the plant that frog is sitting on is a fittonea, a nerve plant. They do great in vivariums, but be aware that they can grow quite large, something like a foot tall.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Biopod Grand - A Beginnerís Journal

Coming late to the party here but -
(a) I think the silicone isn't included because if the rest of the package parts & supplies are shelf-stable (I haven't looked up yet what constitutes a Biopod), then it could sit around for years until a customer buys it; silicone has a shelf-life, as I learned the hard way. Leave it around too long - even unopened with no seals broken - and the curing agent in it won't function and it never sets. That's what happened with an old tube I had lying around, waiting for inspiration to strike...I spread it on glass as a visual barrier base for the expanding foam and it never cured. At least it was somewhat easy to clean up.
(b) the struggling Anubias you were mentioning looks like Hemionitis arifolia (Heart Fern), which for me at least, has always been temperamental and easy to kill. Granted, I have not yet tried one in an actual terrarium, so I have hope. Still, I don't know if they're just sensitive to too low of a humidity level, water impurities or whatnot, but I always lose them. Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:38 PM
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Canít wait for more updates


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Old 04-07-2018, 09:33 PM
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Hi there,

Your biopod looks great, I had my biopod grand sitting in its box for over 3 months while our living room was being refurbished and a custom display cabinet was made for it to sit on.

I started the build just before Christmas to find some of the components were damaged during the delivery & have waited for quite some time to get replacement parts to me in the UK. I finally got it up and running last weekend and have now decided to wait for a while to see how things bed in and for any problems to work their way to the surface before I get frogs into the unit. I'm new to frog keeping, but have been into planted aquariums for many years now.

Reading your thread has been quite inspirational and hope I have as much success as you have with yours.
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