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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 05-19-2020, 12:11 AM
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Update:

I previously said that next would be the light... well who knows when that is going to happen. The place I bought the led components from sent an automated email saying it has shipped but in reality only the label has been printed. The order has not actually made it to the post office yet so le sigh at best I am 3 days away from having my leds once they do get it to the post office.

In the meantime I ordered bugs from a forum member. Specifically springtails, dwarf white isopods and powder oranges. I will add 75% of the springtails to the tank and all of the isopods when they come, so I need a place for them to actually go. With that in mind I mixed up my substrate and added it to the tank.

The ABG recipe I went with is:

1 part sphagnum peat moss
1 part milled sphagnum
1 part charcoal (actually added a little more then 1 part since a base layer in the back is some larger pieces of charcoal)
2 parts tree fern fiber
2 parts orchid bark

I actually mixed up a giant batch, pretty much exactly 5 gallons worth. I ended up only using about 2.5 gallons for the tank so... yea a lot left over.

Here is what the tank looks like with the substrate added:







After adding the substrate I went ahead and re-hydrated some long fiber sphagnum and stuffed it into cracks in the background and in my driftwood. Here is how that looks:



All of these spots will have plants on them, moss and epiphytes of course.

Heres hoping my leds ship tomorrow.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:39 PM
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Update:

Insitu vivariums by report have a silicone edge to one piece of door glass to keep in flies. I say by report because mine didn't come that way. They ran out of the good glass so I ended up with 2 random pieces of glass cut to fit. They are a bit rough... on the edges and lack the silicone seal. They are supposed to be sending me the right doors in a few weeks but in the meantime I want to get this tank essentially up and running since I plan to add bugs in the next few days. I don't want to need to remove a door and keep it off for hours (maybe a day?) if getting the right door in ends up taking longer then expected.

So with that in mind I decided to go ahead and add the silicone seam to the door. To make this happen I used the 'credit card method' discussed on this board.

The first one I did was frankly terrible. Also I for whatever reason, didn't tape off the door appropriately so I made a bit of a mess. I scraped that off this morning and redid it. This time I taped the area that was not to be covered in a smear of silicone. The silicone I used dries pretty quickly so in just a few hours I was good to go. Difficult to photograph appropriately but here is how it looks:





and installed:



I also got my misting system up and running (programmed, reservoir filled) and tested it (more then I intended when I didn't realize the "stop" function wasn't a time to stop it but rather a duration).

And finally my LEDs shipped. Expected arrival is not until Friday... but ohs well that's how it is sometimes.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Update:



Insitu vivariums by report have a silicone edge to one piece of door glass to keep in flies. I say by report because mine didn't come that way. They ran out of the good glass so I ended up with 2 random pieces of glass cut to fit. They are a bit rough... on the edges and lack the silicone seal. They are supposed to be sending me the right doors in a few weeks but in the meantime I want to get this tank essentially up and running since I plan to add bugs in the next few days. I don't want to need to remove a door and keep it off for hours (maybe a day?) if getting the right door in ends up taking longer then expected.



So with that in mind I decided to go ahead and add the silicone seam to the door. To make this happen I used the 'credit card method' discussed on this board.



The first one I did was frankly terrible. Also I for whatever reason, didn't tape off the door appropriately so I made a bit of a mess. I scraped that off this morning and redid it. This time I taped the area that was not to be covered in a smear of silicone. The silicone I used dries pretty quickly so in just a few hours I was good to go. Difficult to photograph appropriately but here is how it looks:











and installed:







I also got my misting system up and running (programmed, reservoir filled) and tested it (more then I intended when I didn't realize the "stop" function wasn't a time to stop it but rather a duration).



And finally my LEDs shipped. Expected arrival is not until Friday... but ohs well that's how it is sometimes.
I had the same experience using my misting system for the first time lol. I had accidently set mine to run for 9:10:20 instead of 20 seconds lol.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:43 PM
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I had the same experience using my misting system for the first time lol. I had accidently set mine to run for 9:10:20 instead of 20 seconds lol.
Yeah that's pretty much exactly what happened. I set it to 8:30:10 thinking I was setting it for 10 seconds. What is funny is that they don't bother to explain how to program the timer in the owners manual.

After it started going off I realized somewhere around 20 second mark that something was wrong. Then there was a bit of a scramble to figure out how to turn the gosh darn thing off heh. One youtube video later I knew how to make it work.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:55 PM
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Update!!:

A surprise was waiting for me on my doorstep this morning, but it was not the led parts I have been waiting for. It WAS and led light though! To be specific the Chihiros WRGB 2 (30cm model) had arrived.

I ordered this light about a month ago when I was still planning to use the frog cube conversion. It is therefore small for the Insitu but as it turns out, not wholly inadequate. I used my par meter to take some readings and found that it put out between 25 and 80 par/ppfd at substrate. This was good enough for me to get planting!

I began with the biggest and bulkiest plant I currently have, the Bromelaid. I ordered this plant from ebay where it was described as a hybrid between a fireball and a royal burgundy. When it arrived it had a pretty good size pup on it. I pulled that off and attached both to the background with toothpicks. The roots I laid over long fiber sphagnum I squeezed into nooks in the background.



After that was in place I began with.. well pretty much everything else.



Dwarf mondo grass is on the left. Alocasia "Tiny Dancers" is in the middle next to the lemon button fern. I have the asian jasmine behind that. Dragons tongue is planted.. well most everywhere. The rabbits foot fern is attached to the background and the fluffy ruffle fern is planted at the base of the background.



Here I added the other rabbits foot fern to the background. I had a lot of trouble figuring out where to put this one. I almost got rid of it entirely but I think this location will work.

And here is how it looks now:



I added some anubias to the background in a few places. There is anubias afzelii added to the driftwood up front and some minima added in back. Plus some nana on the background (though you can't see it). On the twiggier driftwood there is some Java fern (Microsorum Pteropus). This last I made a bundle of long fiber sphagnum and wrapped some cotton thread around to keep the roots moist and then just wedged into the wood. I may end up moving this around, not sure I like it's location or not.

I still need to plant my hair grass and all of my moss, plus add leaf litter, but it already looks SOOOO much better then before.

In other news, I also need to troubleshoot my mistking. The darn thing is not going off when the timer is set for it to run. I can manually make it run (either by setting it to "on" or by using the quick start setting) but it doesn't run when the auto program P0 or P1 time comes about. Anyone run into this before? The manual was no help.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Update!!:



A surprise was waiting for me on my doorstep this morning, but it was not the led parts I have been waiting for. It WAS and led light though! To be specific the Chihiros WRGB 2 (30cm model) had arrived.



I ordered this light about a month ago when I was still planning to use the frog cube conversion. It is therefore small for the Insitu but as it turns out, not wholly inadequate. I used my par meter to take some readings and found that it put out between 25 and 80 par/ppfd at substrate. This was good enough for me to get planting!



I began with the biggest and bulkiest plant I currently have, the Bromelaid. I ordered this plant from ebay where it was described as a hybrid between a fireball and a royal burgundy. When it arrived it had a pretty good size pup on it. I pulled that off and attached both to the background with toothpicks. The roots I laid over long fiber sphagnum I squeezed into nooks in the background.







After that was in place I began with.. well pretty much everything else.







Dwarf mondo grass is on the left. Alocasia "Tiny Dancers" is in the middle next to the lemon button fern. I have the asian jasmine behind that. Dragons tongue is planted.. well most everywhere. The rabbits foot fern is attached to the background and the fluffy ruffle fern is planted at the base of the background.







Here I added the other rabbits foot fern to the background. I had a lot of trouble figuring out where to put this one. I almost got rid of it entirely but I think this location will work.



And here is how it looks now:







I added some anubias to the background in a few places. There is anubias afzelii added to the driftwood up front and some minima added in back. Plus some nana on the background (though you can't see it). On the twiggier driftwood there is some Java fern (Microsorum Pteropus). This last I made a bundle of long fiber sphagnum and wrapped some cotton thread around to keep the roots moist and then just wedged into the wood. I may end up moving this around, not sure I like it's location or not.



I still need to plant my hair grass and all of my moss, plus add leaf litter, but it already looks SOOOO much better then before.



In other news, I also need to troubleshoot my mistking. The darn thing is not going off when the timer is set for it to run. I can manually make it run (either by setting it to "on" or by using the quick start setting) but it doesn't run when the auto program P0 or P1 time comes about. Anyone run into this before? The manual was no help.
Looks great.

On the misting: pressing mode will cycle the different modes (on/off/auto) , you want it in auto mode.

A picture of the timer as it currently looks would help ;-)
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:48 PM
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Looks great.

On the misting: pressing mode will cycle the different modes (on/off/auto) , you want it in auto mode.

A picture of the timer as it currently looks would help ;-)
Ya I figured out the "auto" mode after watching a video yesterday when setting it up. But it still skipped last night's misting and this mornings as well. Here is the 'home screen'



And the P1 screen (next misting)

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Old 05-21-2020, 12:54 AM
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Ok disregard the mistking issue. No idea what changed but it went off as planned tonight.

In other news I have been collecting moss for a month now from hikes in the forest. I soaked it to get rid of any hitchhikers and added some of it to the tank tonight. I will likely add some more but for now here is how it looks:





I just misted when I took these pictures so... not the greatest shots. I will have to get some better ones when this is all done (will likely just remove the doors for the photos.

I also just bought a used macro lens off of ebay for my camera. I have been wanting a good 1:1 macro for a while now and the deal (if the lens is as advertised) was too good to pass up.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:21 PM
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Tank is looking great! I like the mondo grass, I was just checking it out online the other day.

Question on the moss, does it need to go dormant? I have a ton of moss in my yard, I use it for my landscaping, but I was under the impression that it wouldn’t survive in a vivarium?
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:58 PM
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Tank is looking great! I like the mondo grass, I was just checking it out online the other day.

Question on the moss, does it need to go dormant? I have a ton of moss in my yard, I use it for my landscaping, but I was under the impression that it wouldn’t survive in a vivarium?
Thank you!

Moss does not need a dormancy period. Moss pictures or mosaics are becoming popular and they are just moss stuffed into a frame, no need to put them outside for winter etc. I have seen a lot of folks drawing a distinction between temperate plants and tropical but I think the reality is more nuanced. At least some species of hair grass for instance require cold stratification for seeds to germinate but will happily reproduce via runners forever in terrarium. They are definitely temperate but for our purposes it doesn't matter.

Anyway there are a LOT of moss species out there and most are difficult to identify if you are not trained in such. Like other plants different mosses have different requirements. I collected moss from the shadiest and wettest locations I could find. Will they take? No idea, but I should know in the next month. I have at least 4 different species in here so far and they are planted on different surfaces. If some don't make it while others do I will have a better understanding of what they need. Plus they were all free so you know, easy to replace.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:20 PM
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Out of curiosity what made you go decide against the Amazonia model? Been thinking about ordering one and kind of liked the idea of it coming with lights and fans.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:54 PM
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Out of curiosity what made you go decide against the Amazonia model? Been thinking about ordering one and kind of liked the idea of it coming with lights and fans.
The fan may be useful, not sure myself whether I will add one down the road. The light though.... Insitu provide very few details about their light. They basically just say that spectral designs make it and that it comes with a manual dimmer. They charge an extra 150 dollars to go from the Selva Plus to the amazonia. For that money you get a fan (worth 50 dollars if you buy it from them), the light, and a back panel made out of something not glass. I could care less about the back panel since I knew I was going to make a background. And for 100 dollars I figured I could easily buy a better light. I was right to, since the undersized light I am currently using is more powerful then their light (according to some numbers put out on their facebook group) and has an app that lets me control spectrum, timer, and has a sunrise and sunset mode. The light I will be building costs significantly more just in parts but will likely be about twice as powerful allowing me to grow plants in parts of the vivarium I wouldn't otherwise be able to and frankly will be fun for me to build so /shrug no reason to go to the Amazonia for a fan I may or may not ever use.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkubaSTI View Post
Out of curiosity what made you go decide against the Amazonia model? Been thinking about ordering one and kind of liked the idea of it coming with lights and fans.
The fan may be useful, not sure myself whether I will add one down the road. The light though.... Insitu provide very few details about their light. They basically just say that spectral designs make it and that it comes with a manual dimmer. They charge an extra 150 dollars to go from the Selva Plus to the amazonia. For that money you get a fan (worth 50 dollars if you buy it from them), the light, and a back panel made out of something not glass. I could care less about the back panel since I knew I was going to make a background. And for 100 dollars I figured I could easily buy a better light. I was right to, since the undersized light I am currently using is more powerful then their light (according to some numbers put out on their facebook group) and has an app that lets me control spectrum, timer, and has a sunrise and sunset mode. The light I will be building costs significantly more just in parts but will likely be about twice as powerful allowing me to grow plants in parts of the vivarium I wouldn't otherwise be able to and frankly will be fun for me to build so /shrug no reason to go to the Amazonia for a fan I may or may not ever use.
That’s a pretty valid point. I figure the fan would help keep the glass clear, it perhaps their ventilation is good enough without it. I’ve built
LEDs for reef tanks before, but for this build I think I want a clean
Manufactured fixture. But I do
Like your compulsory canopy to hide everything as well. Is there any fixtures you’d reccomend for this if I didn’t want to diy? I do like the idea of controlling the light to give you the sunrise and sunset look. But isn’t mandatory. But would
Like a night lighting option too
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkubaSTI View Post
That’s a pretty valid point. I figure the fan would help keep the glass clear, it perhaps their ventilation is good enough without it. I’ve built
LEDs for reef tanks before, but for this build I think I want a clean
Manufactured fixture. But I do
Like your compulsory canopy to hide everything as well. Is there any fixtures you’d reccomend for this if I didn’t want to diy? I do like the idea of controlling the light to give you the sunrise and sunset look. But isn’t mandatory. But would
Like a night lighting option too
I knew no matter what I did I would have misting lines running around on the top of the tank so with that in mind I figured I would have to have a canopy if I wanted it to look clean. with a black plastic lid its not like we can achieve a rimless look anyway.

Anyway if you only need around 50 - 80 ppfd at substrate for most parts of the tank (medium light to lower end of 'high' for house plants) then I would go with the larger version of what I have on my tank right now. Chihiros WRGB 2 (45cm model). They are not available in the States so you will need to order from China. Mine is the 30cm model, was guaranteed to arrive in 12 days but took almost a month so /shrug.

For reference the the Insitu Facebook group has a photo show their par values of their light saying theirs produces 50 ppfd at substrate.

To be completely honest though... if I had it all to do over again I would be VERY tempted to build my own tank. The fit and finish on the Insitu is just..ok... really nothing to be impressed about at all. With 50 dollars in shipping the Plus model cost almost 300 dollars. I think I could realistically build a plywood tank with glass top, glass side window and glass sliding doors that will look nicer then their tank for about half the cost.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-21-2020 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkubaSTI View Post
That’s a pretty valid point. I figure the fan would help keep the glass clear, it perhaps their ventilation is good enough without it. I’ve built
LEDs for reef tanks before, but for this build I think I want a clean
Manufactured fixture. But I do
Like your compulsory canopy to hide everything as well. Is there any fixtures you’d reccomend for this if I didn’t want to diy? I do like the idea of controlling the light to give you the sunrise and sunset look. But isn’t mandatory. But would
Like a night lighting option too
I knew no matter what I did I would have misting lines running around on the top of the tank so with that in mind I figured I would have to have a canopy if I wanted it to look clean. with a black plastic lid its not like we can achieve a rimless look anyway.

Anyway if you only need around 50 - 80 ppfd at substrate for most parts of the tank (medium light to lower end of 'high' for house plants) then I would go with the larger version of what I have on my tank right now. Chihiros WRGB 2 (45cm model). They are not available in the States so you will need to order from China. Mine is the 30cm model, was guaranteed to arrive in 12 days but took almost a month so /shrug.

For reference the the Insitu Facebook group has a photo show their par values of their light saying theirs produces 50 ppfd at substrate.

To be completely honest though... if I had it all to do over again I would be VERY tempted to build my own tank. The fit and finish on the Insitu is just..ok... really nothing to be impressed about at all. With 50 dollars in shipping the Plus model cost almost 300 dollars. I think I could realistically build a plywood tank with glass top, glass side window and glass sliding doors that will look nicer then their tank for about half the cost.
Yea with the current situation who knows how long anything from China would take to ship. Canopy looks easy enough to make with a nail gun and miter saw at least. How hard is it to build a plywood one? Do you have any good resources on a diy I could look over? I’m fairly handy, but sometimes my ocd gets the best of me and I’ll over think and complicate things. Sorry didn’t mean to hijack your journal.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:19 PM
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Yea with the current situation who knows how long anything from China would take to ship. Canopy looks easy enough to make with a nail gun and miter saw at least. How hard is it to build a plywood one? Do you have any good resources on a diy I could look over? I’m fairly handy, but sometimes my ocd gets the best of me and I’ll over think and complicate things. Sorry didn’t mean to hijack your journal.
No worries! This is what journals are for in my opinion. Places for me to learn by going over what I did and for others to learn by seeing what I did and either copying it or doing it better ;P

You are basically just building a plywood aquarium with extra viewing windows. Normally these things are built to hold hundreds of pounds of water, obviously a vivarium only needs a few inches at most so it won't need to be as strong (thus you can use much thinner glass and more of it). There are a few people out there offering pre-made tempered glass table-tops at very reasonable prices which could be used as windows or as the glass top. For that matter you don't need the entire top to be glass, just a section big enough to let your light shine through. A tempered glass 'shelf' will work great for this purpose. Similarly the doors could be a pre-made tabletops or even just regular annealed glass since they are commonly 1/8th" glass to begin with. Hardware stores commonly have this size in and many will cut the glass to your specifications for free. I would only use that size for the doors though just to be safe. Any viewing windows should be at least 1/4" thick if annealed or 3/16" if tempered since you will not want to replace those if they break.

Anyway I have been thinking for a few weeks about how I would go about building a 4 foot long vivarium.. That build may be in my future at some point. Before I get there though I want to live with my current vivarium and see how I like actual frog keeping. If I like it enough I may go on to build what will essentially be a 120 gallon vivarium in the middle of my family room/entry way. I was planning for an aquarium to go in that spot but I think a vivarium might be significantly less maintenance.

Here is a video/series on making a plywood aquarium from the king of diy fishkeeping:


Last edited by minorhero; 05-21-2020 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
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Yea with the current situation who knows how long anything from China would take to ship. Canopy looks easy enough to make with a nail gun and miter saw at least. How hard is it to build a plywood one? Do you have any good resources on a diy I could look over? I’m fairly handy, but sometimes my ocd gets the best of me and I’ll over think and complicate things. Sorry didn’t mean to hijack your journal.
No worries! This is what journals are for in my opinion. Places for me to learn by going over what I did and for others to learn by seeing what I did and either copying it or doing it better 😜

You are basically just building a plywood aquarium with extra viewing windows. Normally these things are built to hold hundreds of pounds of water, obviously a vivarium only needs a few inches at most so it won't need to be as strong (thus you can use much thinner glass and more of it). There are a few people out there offering pre-made tempered glass table-tops at very reasonable prices which could be used as windows or as the glass top. For that matter you don't need the entire top to be glass, just a section big enough to let your light shine through. A tempered glass 'shelf' will work great for this purpose. Similarly the doors could be a pre-made tabletops or even just regular annealed glass since they are commonly 1/8th" glass to begin with. Hardware stores commonly have this size in and many will cut the glass to your specifications for free. I would only use that size for the doors though just to be safe. Any viewing windows should be at least 1/4" thick if annealed or 3/16" if tempered since you will not want to replace those if they break.

Anyway I have been thinking for a few weeks about how I would go about building a 4 foot long vivarium.. That build may be in my future at some point. Before I get there though I want to live with my current vivarium and see how I like actual frog keeping. If I like it enough I may go on to build what will essentially be a 120 gallon vivarium in the middle of my family room/entry way. I was planning for an aquarium to go in that spot but I think a vivarium might be significantly less maintenance.

Here is a video/series on making a plywood aquarium from the king of diy fishkeeping:

Yea I’m in a similar situation. I really want a centerpiece for my living room. Was goin g to go back to reefs or a high tech planted ada tank (I was recently obsessed with high end aqua scaping, but knew that rabbit hole would get super expensive to go down) so for years I been telling my wife when we get a house I’m going back to frogs, so now I think that’s the route I want to go. I figure a couple small setups until I get back into the swing of things, haven’t had darts for like 15 years.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SkubaSTI View Post
Yea Iím in a similar situation. I really want a centerpiece for my living room. Was goin g to go back to reefs or a high tech planted ada tank (I was recently obsessed with high end aqua scaping, but knew that rabbit hole would get super expensive to go down) so for years I been telling my wife when we get a house Iím going back to frogs, so now I think thatís the route I want to go. I figure a couple small setups until I get back into the swing of things, havenít had darts for like 15 years.
Heh we are in the exact same place except you have the advantage of actually having kept frogs before. I got permission from The Wife almost 2 years ago to have a 120 gallon rimless high tech planted tank in the main area of our house when we bought one. I am rethinking it now after keeping a 40 gallon high tech in my basement for the past year. It's a lot of work to keep it looking nice and easy to let it look terrible. I can make a low tech nano tank look great and it keep it that way effortlessly, my 40 gallon has been an ongoing trial. It doesn't help that that tank is all native species and frankly doesn't have a good algae eater among them. Anyway, with how easy vivariums are I am really thinking a 120 gallon with a drip wall and a species that is group friendly like auratus might be the way to go. But... if the bugs gross the wife out too much there is no way we can put it within sight of our dining room table...
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:57 PM
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Yea I’m in a similar situation. I really want a centerpiece for my living room. Was goin g to go back to reefs or a high tech planted ada tank (I was recently obsessed with high end aqua scaping, but knew that rabbit hole would get super expensive to go down) so for years I been telling my wife when we get a house I’m going back to frogs, so now I think that’s the route I want to go. I figure a couple small setups until I get back into the swing of things, haven’t had darts for like 15 years.
Heh we are in the exact same place except you have the advantage of actually having kept frogs before. I got permission from The Wife almost 2 years ago to have a 120 gallon rimless high tech planted tank in the main area of our house when we bought one. I am rethinking it now after keeping a 40 gallon high tech in my basement for the past year. It's a lot of work to keep it looking nice and easy to let it look terrible. I can make a low tech nano tank look great and it keep it that way effortlessly, my 40 gallon has been an ongoing trial. It doesn't help that that tank is all native species and frankly doesn't have a good algae eater among them. Anyway, with how easy vivariums are I am really thinking a 120 gallon with a drip wall and a species that is group friendly like auratus might be the way to go. But... if the bugs gross the wife out too much there is no way we can put it within sight of our dining room table...
Believe it or not mine was ok with one in the kitchen, but someone on my other thread mentioned with small kids salmonella in the kitchen is unwise so I’m thinking a low tech with shrimp in that spot. But yea in our loving rooms having a giant box of water brings it own headaches and has made me realize vivarium not only looks cooler, but is less of a accident waiting to happen as well. I already know the group I want in that main display. Terribilis. Big, bold and loud calls
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:02 PM
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Update!:

Planting done??? Maybe!

When I left off most of my plants were in but I was still missing leaf litter and y dwarf hair grass carpet. For the leaf litter I decided to go with 100% Genuine Backyard Leaves. These leaves are all free range and collected with highest sustainability practices possible. ;P

Anyway my 3 year old loved going around and stuffing leaves into a plastic bag. After we collected enough (way more then I need truly) I boiled the leaves for 20 minutes to get rid of any hitchhikers. I strained the leaves and dried them somewhat on a storage container lid I had laying around. After that I added them to the back right as well as under the mopani wood, near the back wall and part of the front right as well. The front left section is all open which is where the dwarf hair grass carpet comes in.

I have grown dwarf hair grass for aquariums before several times and it is largely an undemanding plant once established. Previously I have always used grown plants (either tissue culture or potted) but here I wanted to try something a little different. I had 1 cup of tissue culture eleocharis acicularis which I would separate and plant, but I also had a bunch of eleocharis acicularis seeds that I have been cold stratifying in a cup of water in my fridge for the past several weeks. Once a day (or every few days when I forgot....) I would change the water in the cup. These I dried out and then sprinkled over the surface. This is what it looks like:



I also added some more moss to branches in the tank either by squeezing them into nooks, or by tying them with cotton thread to the branches. Hopefully they root, at which point they will look way awesome. I may also decide to do slurry mix of moss as well as I think the effect of those is pretty great looking when they work. Here is how it looked:




And finally I added some Tillandsia to the background and some branches. Several twigs/plants of Ficus Pumila Quercifolia to the base of the background and on the background itself. And a pot of Peperomia Rotundifolia got split up and hung from some moss on the branchy driftwood plus some marcgravia suriname got the same treatment.

And then I added the first inhabitants... BUGS. Not a big deal for anyone on this board but for me it was something new. In aquariums we actively try to keep bugs out of our tanks. I ordered from Michael Shrom from whom I got springtails, dwarf white isopods and nosy peach isopods, plus some advice. He only charged for the bugs. Very pleased with the order which was very generous. I got a picture of this fellow before he disappeared into the substrate:



And here is where I am at now:





The rest of my light parts are finally coming today according to usps tracker so here is hoping that the next post really is about making a light.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-22-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:59 PM
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The tank looks great but... I would recommend A LOT more leaf litter.

It's going to be far more important to your future frogs' success and health than ground moss, or virtually anything else you could put in the tank.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:23 PM
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The tank looks great but... I would recommend A LOT more leaf litter.

It's going to be far more important to your future frogs' success and health than ground moss, or virtually anything else you could put in the tank.
Its not moss but hair grass. From what I have found people use leaf litter because it creates hunting zones for the frogs, they can hide in it, they can use the leaves to stay cool, and it keeps the substrate from sticking to their skin. The grass accomplishes most of this as well.

The grass is "dwarf" but that only goes so far, it will actually grow at least 3 or 4 inches tall. I will "mow" the grass using scissors and the cuttings will be left in the vivarium which becomes food for springtails and isopods which the frogs can hunt. I don't know if the frogs will feel like the grass is 'hiding' them or not, certainly it can obscure them from their eye level but they will definitely be visible from above. It also will keep substrate off of them but it won't do anything to make them stay cool. That said, I have a lot of plants that create shady spots so I don't think that will be much of an issue.

Doing research online I keep seeing mentions that while some frogs are found in forested environments others are found in grasslands. I haven't found good pictures of this in the wild but it at least indicates that this is not an alien environment for them.

Plus its hard to see in the pictures because a lot of the plants are in the middle of the tank and block access to the back, but at least half of the tank's floor space is covered in several layers of leaf litter. It's only the front left section that is to be planted in grass.

Edit for some of the research I found:

Blog of someone finding tri-color dart frogs in pasture wetland.

Small article noting that frogs were tracked depositing tadpoles - 2 were noted to go into flooded pasture.

Anyway I am not totally oblivious to the needs of animals. If after things grow in and I actually put frogs in the tank I observe they appear to avoid the hair grass I can always rip it out and replace it with more leaf litter. Ripping it out and adding leaf litter is a few minutes work, but it will be a month or more before hair grass carpets can grow in. Thus if I am ever going to try it, it has to be now.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-22-2020 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:11 PM
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Looking great. Forgot if you mentioned it, but have you narrowed down which frogs you may go with?
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:17 PM
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I'm not sure a carpet of hairgrass is comparable to a tropical grassland, which would have large plants & clumping-type grasses that create protected pockets beneath them... Plus the ecosystem's entire history of growth, death, & decomp built up on the surface which is basically what leaf litter is meant to replicate.

Thriving hairgrass grows pretty dense- I'm not sure that frogs would be able to hide in it more so than trample & sit on top of it. It would keep the frogs off the substrate & create an interesting hunting zone for sure, but it just doesn't have all the benefits of leaf litter.

I'd recommend adding a section of leaf litter to the front as well for the sake of your frogs and clean-up crew. Plus, it'd prevent your hairgrass from eventually growing into your dragon's tongue.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:59 PM
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Looking great. Forgot if you mentioned it, but have you narrowed down which frogs you may go with?
I am going with tincs, beyond that not sure as of yet. Part of the ultimate decision will be what The Wife likes ;P Right now its looking like either Azureus or Powder Blues. If I can find some fine spotted Azureus that would certainly be my preference.

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I'm not sure a carpet of hairgrass is comparable to a tropical grassland, which would have large plants & clumping-type grasses that create protected pockets beneath them... Plus the ecosystem's entire history of growth, death, & decomp built up on the surface which is basically what leaf litter is meant to replicate.

Thriving hairgrass grows pretty dense- I'm not sure that frogs would be able to hide in it more so than trample & sit on top of it. It would keep the frogs off the substrate & create an interesting hunting zone for sure, but it just doesn't have all the benefits of leaf litter.

I'd recommend adding a section of leaf litter to the front as well for the sake of your frogs and clean-up crew. Plus, it'd prevent your hairgrass from eventually growing into your dragon's tongue.
I may definitely add more leaf litter and rip out some/all the hair grass depending on how the frogs take to it. I haven't really seen anyone with a hair grass carpet in their tanks either on this forum, other forums, or on the social media websites. I am reluctant to reject the idea wholly when no one has really tried it before. I have seen some old threads of folks trying to grow hair grass and just failing (probably a light level issue). You are right of course that hair grass is vastly different from tall grasses, I was just pointing out that grass is something frogs would have encountered. Plus this particular species of grass does grow as far south as Ecuador according to wikipedia, so you know.. its actually possible frogs would have encountered this exact grass in the wild. /shrug

Leaf litter works in tanks that is a given. I want to know what else works in tanks and there is only one way to find out.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:15 PM
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Dealing with another issue, a question regarding ventilation. I have a bluetooth thermometer and hydrometer in the tank so I am monitoring the temperature and humidity over time. What I am seeing is that the humidity stays pretty high.. like in the upper 90s. Is this acceptable for the plants in the tank? I see folks remarking that plants may prefer less humidity? I have every vent open to maximum right now and its currently at 98% humidity. I am wondering if I need to add a fan.

Here is a screenshot from my monitoring app:

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Old 05-22-2020, 08:39 PM
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Have you verified that the hygrometer is correct by calibrating/comparing with other hydrometers?
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:11 PM
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Have you verified that the hygrometer is correct by calibrating/comparing with other hydrometers?
I have not, I actually do not own another one. By report mine is pretty accurate. This from reviews on Amazon. Do you think it likely to be that far off? My glass stays pretty foggy, especially near the top where the hydrometer stays. I am currently misting 3 times a day. Twice for 20 seconds and once for 15. Perhaps I should make it less?

If a second hydrometer is required, any recommendations, preferably on the cheaper end
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:38 PM
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I would take a day off of misting. You don't have any frogs in there, the plants will be fine for a day with no misting. If the hygrometer you have is correct then it's going to be too humid in the tank for frogs and plants to thrive long-term
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:21 PM
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Hey I meant to ask, any pics of your high tech setup? Or did you tear it down?
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:08 PM
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Hey I meant to ask, any pics of your high tech setup? Or did you tear it down?
My high tech aquarium? No its defintiely still running. It's just not pretty ;P My low tech nano tanks are cake walks but this 40 breeder is kicking my butt. Right now I have a horrendous case of staghorn algae that keeps coming back. There is bba as well. Here is a current pic:



All native fishes I caught myself from local streams which is fun. Most of the plants are also native and collected by yours truly.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:38 PM
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That’s actually pretty unique using all local stuff. Where is that?
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:56 PM
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Thatís actually pretty unique using all local stuff. Where is that?
Most of the fish and all of the plants come from central Maryland. I live in Ellicott City, basically within a few miles of my house. I have 3 mountain redbelly dace in there as well that come from central Virginia. The tank is in the unfinished section of my basement. It's actually my quarantine tank. My plan was to move the co2 tank and all the fish and plants to a much bigger setup in my living room. But now with froggies.. rethinking that.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:23 PM
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That’s actually pretty unique using all local stuff. Where is that?
Most of the fish and all of the plants come from central Maryland. I live in Ellicott City, basically within a few miles of my house. I have 3 mountain redbelly dace in there as well that come from central Virginia. The tank is in the unfinished section of my basement. It's actually my quarantine tank. My plan was to move the co2 tank and all the fish and plants to a much bigger setup in my living room. But now with froggies.. rethinking that.
The dace are pretty cool to have in there. I’m in NJ, not too far from there. Once the shows ever start back up you should check out the Hamburg pa one. Pretty cool since out there everything is legal. Surreal to walk around knowing if you really want to win a Darwin Award you could leave with a mamba or a spitter lol
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:43 PM
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Which temp/hygrometer you using?
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:59 PM
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The dace are pretty cool to have in there. I’m in NJ, not too far from there. Once the shows ever start back up you should check out the Hamburg pa one. Pretty cool since out there everything is legal. Surreal to walk around knowing if you really want to win a Darwin Award you could leave with a mamba or a spitter lol
Yea I am definitely not into anything poisonous heh. I have avoided dart frogs for years because I didn't do enough research to know they were not poisonous in captivity. I wouldn't mind going to a show/expo but I would need to get the wife on board. Someone would need to watch my kiddos while I got the heck out of dodge ;P

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Which temp/hygrometer you using?
I am using the Govee Wireless Thermometer Hygrometer.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-23-2020 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:17 PM
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The dace are pretty cool to have in there. I’m in NJ, not too far from there. Once the shows ever start back up you should check out the Hamburg pa one. Pretty cool since out there everything is legal. Surreal to walk around knowing if you really want to win a Darwin Award you could leave with a mamba or a spitter lol
Yea I am definitely not into anything poisonous heh. I have avoided dart frogs for years because I didn't do enough research to know they were not poisonous in captivity. I wouldn't mind going to a show/expo but I would need to get the wife on board. Someone would need to watch my kiddos while I got the heck out of dodge 😜

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Which temp/hygrometer you using?
I am using the Govee Wireless Thermometer Hygrometer.
Never seen that one. Pretty cheap too. Is it waterproof? I seen a similar one people were using that was waterproof but can’t think of the name. I like the idea of monitoring remotely and having a chart for the whole day to see what conditions were.
I haven’t been to a expo in probably 5-10 years. I’m sure like everything else they e changed somewhat, but buy when I first started going as a teenager and seen the stuff you could buy I felt like a kid in a candy store. I refrained since I knew at the time I couldn’t provide the proper care for those exotics. Well except the 2 gator babies I had for years, but also got those knowing I had a person that bred and collected large crocodilians ready to rehome them once they grew too large.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:41 PM
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I refrained since I knew at the time I couldnít provide the proper care for those exotics. Well except the 2 gator babies I had for years, but also got those knowing I had a person that bred and collected large crocodilians ready to rehome them once they grew too large.
LOL

I think my wife would freak out if I brought home an alligator ;P

I doubt it is 'waterproof' but I don't really immerse it either. I used double sided tape to stick it to the roof of the vivarium. Direct spray is not an issue in those conditions. The mistking kind of fills the enclosure with a very fine .. well mist. If it gives out I can get something else but in the meantime its small, cheap, and has better feature set then models that cost twice as much.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:20 AM
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Most awesome creatures I had the pleasure of watching grow. Wish I could find my old phones with pics of them. Had them with a alligator snapper and electric cat
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Old 05-25-2020, 01:12 AM
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Update!

Lets build a light!

So on plantedtank.net (the aquarium forum I visit) a fellow basically held my hand through the planning stages. I could not have made this light without their assistance. I am saying this because I don't want folks thinking I have a clue about what I am doing ;P

I began by using thermal glue to attach the LEDs I purchased to the heatsink. In total I have twenty-nine 3 watt leds. They were laid out in the following pattern:

WWWWWWWWWW
W C R W C W R C W
WWWWWWWWWW

Where the 'W' is for cool white leds. The 'C' is for cyan, and the 'R' is for deep red LEDs. These are all Luxeon Sunplus except the cyan which is regular Luxeon Rebel ES (sunplus not being available).

Once everything was attached I tined the pads and wired each row together. Here is how that looked:



The light needed to have a power supply and drivers. I also needed a place to put them and a cord between that place and the leds. For the cord I used the same 22 gauge wire I was using to wire the leds. I twisted those wires together and used an expanding braid sheeth (purely for aesthetics). This got poked through a hole I drilled in the plastic endcap on my heatsink and a knot was tied to keep the cord from being ripped back through the hole:



The drivers and power supply were attached inside a project box using double sided carpet tape. They got wired together and holes were drilled for a power cord and the LED cord.





That looks like a mess, so to describe what is happening, the power is coming from the wall to the power supply. From the power supply it comes out and goes to 3 drivers. Each driver then has the power go to one row of led lights.

Here is the finished product:



Before taking off the old light I broke out my par meter which I haven't used since planting the tank.

From the darkest spot in the tank I got a miserable reading of 2-3 ppfd.



The front center being one of the brightest spots was around 40 ppfd.



Then I added the new light. First off the colors are SOOOOO much better. It doesn't show up well in the pictures but wow, it looks good. The old light had a LOT of greenish hues to it unless I really turned down the green and blue levels significantly. I didn't want to do that because when I did my ppfd at substrate dropped too much for me to be happy. The new light has none of those issues.

It is not as powerful as I thought it was going to be (I am assuming because the LEDs have a crazy wide 150 degree coverage area) but I think it will be bright enough for my needs.

In the same corner as before I now got around 10 ppfd:



And in the same front center location as before I now got just over 50 ppfd:



If you look at the pictures with the par meter in it from the old light and compare to the new you get some idea about the color shift between the two lights.





And in other news I just bought a used macro lens for my 'real' camera. All of the pictures so far have been from my phone. But I actually have a nice camera that gets used mostly for taking pictures of my kids. With a new lens I pretty much had to put it to the test. Nothing to warrant a good macro but I figured I could use it to shoot a portrait of the tank:



Next up will likely be fruit fly culturing. I am still a month (more?) away from froggies but I want to make sure I am good to go on culturing fruit flies. I read in some thread somewhere that one beginner mistake to avoid is making sure your food supply is well secured before the frogs come. Makes a lot of sense to me. I have read a stupid amount of fruit fly media formulas and also watched some videos. Near as I can tell fruit fly media is basically just 3 ingredients. A starch, a protein, and an anti-molding agent. The protein is almost always yeast, the starch is typically either oats or instant mashed potatoes. The anti-molding agent is either methyl paraben (which apparently works great) or vinegar/cinnamon which may or may not do much of anything if old threads are to be believed. Some folks throw other things into the mix like sugar, bananas, apple sauce, etc basically something sweet, those things seem to be unneeded though so /shrug.

Right now I am thinking of making my own that uses cream of wheat, yeast, and methyl paraben.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-25-2020 at 01:17 AM.
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