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Old 07-12-2019, 01:15 AM
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Smile 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

So after almost 3 months of waiting and debating, I have finally finished my first vivarium.


Here is the tank (ignore my ugly carpet, it's a rental)


Silicone applied, using a fan to help the drying process. (Holy crap that silicone smells like straight vinegar.)


Side View showing how far up the sides I applied the silicone. Now we wait 48 hrs.


Foamed in the tank, I have four 2" net cups sunk in there, and some cork bark hiding a PVC drain tube. I was going to do a bulkhead, but after spending $30 on a 1 1/8" glass drill bit, I tried it on some old windows my landlord had in my basement. 3 broken panes later, I decided I'd just do it another way. I also foamed in a small piece of cork on the top right to act as a ledge. Two pieces of Ghostwood and one jungle vine round out the wood.


Here it is standing up with the light on. You can see (top left, and mid left) that my great foam decided it'd rather be free of the silicone.



Here is a picture from the top looking down, showing more foam separation.

I believe some of the foam expanded in the center after the edges had cured, pulling it free of the background.

So back to the hardware store for another can of foam, to fill in where it had separated. (Not Pictured)



Background mostly applied. I did have to fill some blank spots after the original application. (top middle, bottom middle)



Background now filled in, drainage layer, substrate barrier, and ABG mix added. 2 Pumice stones on the left, 1 heavy as hell green rock on the right. No idea on the type of rock, but it's a beautiful light green color.



Close up of the rocks


Close up of the top of the viv.



Yay! My plants came today. Shout out to GlassBoxTropical for the beautiful selection. Unfortunately my Begonia had many wilted leaves which I removed, probably because it was sitting in the sun on my front steps for 6 hours before I could get home from work to rescue it. Hopefully it will survive in its new home.



Close up of the top left, which has my Neoregelia 'Kit Kat', Neoregelia 'Cheers', and Tillandsia concolor, Tillandsia brachycaulos, and Tillandsia ionantha 'Mexican Select'



Top right close up, showing all the above mentioned plus Neoregelia 'Fireball' (F2) (red spotted) and Neoregelia 'olens x compacta'



Here is a close up of my poor Begonia 'Manaus'. As you can see it only has four leaves left, but I believe it will do okay.

I also bought some Dusk Moss Mix, and covered the vine and both pumice stones with it.


Full Build List

Exo-Terra 24x18x24 'Medium Tall' glass terrarium (Reptile Supplies and Live Reptiles - LLLReptile)
Mist King Starter kit + 1 extra misting nozzle (www.JoshsFrogs.com)
Current USA 24" Satellite Plus PRO LED light (www.Amazon.com)
Exo-Terra digital thermometer/hygrometer (www.JoshsFrogs.com)
1 Tub of Dwarf White Isopods (www.JoshsFrogs.com)
1 Tub of Tropical Springtails (www.JoshsFrogs.com)
5 tubes worth of ASI black aquarium silicone sealant (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
3 cans of Great-Stuff expanding foam (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
4 Liters of Hydroton Clay ball drainage layer (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
24x18 Substrate Barrier (landscape fabric) (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
4 liters of ABG v2 substrate (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
2 Gallons of Background mix (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
2 18-24" Ghostwood pieces (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
1 Jungle Vine (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
2 Volcanic Rocks (www.NEherpetoculture.com)
1 Random Green Rock (Thanks mom!)
1 Tillandsia brachycaulos (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Neoregelia 'Cheers' (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Tillandsia ionantha 'Mexican Select™' (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Tillandsia concolor (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Monkey Pod (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Neoregelia 'Fireball' (F2) (red spotted)(https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Neoregelia olens x compacta (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Neoregelia 'Kit Kat' (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Begonia 'Manaus' (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)
1 Bag of Dusk Moss Mix (https://www.glassboxtropicals.com)

Last edited by rmingers; 07-12-2019 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Looks great!
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Looks good, way better than my first attempt was.


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Old 07-12-2019, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Well I've had 3 months to determine what to do (and what not to do)

I didn't put my silicone/background low enough it turns out. You can see there is a 2 inch gap in the back.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:18 AM
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I want to warn you about mounting trichome heavy (xeric) Tillandsia with moss in a terrarium, that will have a mistking going. Those species that will rot easily in the first place let alone in those conditions.

You can take that w a grain of salt etc, but at least keep it in the back of your mind to aid in getting that grown in look in your nice new tank.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPfarr View Post
I want to warn you about mounting trichome heavy (xeric) Tillandsia with moss in a terrarium, that will have a mistking going. Those species that will rot easily in the first place let alone in those conditions.

You can take that w a grain of salt etc, but at least keep it in the back of your mind to aid in getting that grown in look in your nice new tank.
Thanks for the heads up. What should I use to keep them on the wood? I don't have a hot glue gun. Could I use dental floss? I tried toothpicks, but I couldn't get them into the hardwood of the Ghostwood.



Here they are without the sphangum. The stuff on the branches (not under the plants) is milled moss. They are just sitting on the wood, hopefully they will anchor themselves in. Will that be sufficient?

Last edited by rmingers; 07-12-2019 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

like the way this build is going
you are doing a good job
this reminds me I must get on and start doing mine
hope it turns out as good as yours is looking
then I will be happy as larry as they say
keep up the good work and keep the photos coming
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

I would use fighting line to secure them in place.


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Old 07-12-2019, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

As mentioned though, they are susceptible to rot so you will also want to make sure they are placed in areas that dry out between mistings and/or add an internal fan for some extra circulation around those plants.


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Old 07-12-2019, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

I didn't mention it before, but I have an 80mm fan connected to a dimmer switch (cause at full power the thing is like a jet engine) to aid with drying things out between mistings.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:22 PM
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Even with Neoregelia I just put them directly on a branch etc without moss and they root on easily.

Hopefully you can find a work around to keep them in.

If not, there’s the superb Tillandsoid genus Racinaea that does well in vivarium. Grab one when you see one.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Thatís what I do as well, I will either tie them to a branch or wedge the stolon between a branch and something else. Have also had success with Neoís by pressing the stolon itself into the background.

When trying to plant Tillandsia I would normally just place on a spot it can balance itself or would wedge them in place. Havenít tried them in a long time after killing the few I tried years ago though. XD. Have been debating about getting a couple for my 29 gallon as I have some places that dry out quicker but am still skeptical and havenít done much reading/investigation to determine an appropriate species.

In all honesty, Iím hoping they work well for you and are rewarding if/when they do, they are a challenge under normal vivarium conditions though. We just wanted to make sure you were aware.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

I will start this with a disclaimer: This is from a purely plant point of view and I don't know how it will effect frogs.... To get tillandsia to stay put on wood I used Gorilla Super Glue. Just a dab on the stolon will do. Hold the plant in place for 10-15 seconds for the glue to get a grip. Otherwise there is fishing line. Since I fish I have plenty of of line around.. I use green Sunline monofilament. Its olive green and blends with moss well. Trout can't see it and you shouldn't unless you are really looking for it.

Last edited by RoryOMoore; 07-12-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Gorilla glue is frog safe based off of the findings of others here on the board.

Some people here have even used it, gorilla wood glue, and titebond 3 as a binder for their background designs with positive results.


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Old 07-13-2019, 01:58 AM
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I love me some cut up stripes of pantyhose for mounting all plants.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

What did you do with the dust moss?
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: 24x18x24 Exo-Terra First Build

Covered the pumice stones and the jungle vine with it, whether or not that was a good idea remains to be seen.
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