My First Vivarium Journal - Dendroboard
Dendroboard

Go Back   Dendroboard > Dart Frogs > Member's Frogs & Vivariums
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read Advertise

Support Our Sponsors
No Threads to Display.

facebook

Like Tree17Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2020, 01:50 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default My First Vivarium Journal

Hello folks!

I decided to start writing up a journal of my vivarium build for a couple of reasons. 1) hopefully someone more experienced will read this and point out errors I am making before they become too horrible, and 2) so I can keep track of things like plant names etc.

I am pretty excited for this whole process and really enjoying gathering things for the build. I have started buying plants and also some needed tools for some diy portions. So here is the current plan.

I purchased an Aqueon 20 High a couple of days ago. This build will use the aquarium in a vertical configuration. I also purchased the Frog Cube modification system to make this come together. The Frog Cube is essentially 4 pieces of 3d printed plastic designed to be siliconed to the opening of the the tank with some pieces of 3/32 glass. This creates the bottom of the vivarium and door with fruit fly proof ventilation below and above the door.

In addition to the Frog Cube I purchased a cheapy set of diamond hole saws and one cheapy 3" hole saw from amazon. I will use the set to drill a hole for a mistking starter package (also purchased recently) in the top of the tank. I will also drill another hole in either the rear or side of the tank (depending on if the bottom of the tank is tempered) to be used as an overflow drain. I also ordered a 2" bulkhead which will go in the top of the vivarium in the back (this is why I needed the 3" diamond hole saw).

For the actual construction of the vivarium I am planning to use Safe-T-Sorb (a calcined clay product, like turface or oildry) for my false bottom. Since I get to make all the decisions on how thick my substrate and false bottom should be... this brings me to my first question. How deep should the false bottom be?

I am planning to bank my substrate pretty heavily with it being on the shallow end in the front and MUCH deeper in the back. How shallow can I make it and still be good? I am planning to plant the foreground so I want at least 2 inches of substrate, so is that enough or do I need to go deeper?

In order to bank my substrate I am thinking of making a terrace kind of effect. The reason to do this is 1) to give the froggies more floor space which from my readings seems considerably preferred, and 2) for aesthetics. To achieve the terrace effect I am planning to use rocks for the terraces. I will likely only have 1 rock outcropping given the depth of the tank but I am planning to have it visible in the tank itself. I am thinking I should put the rock directly on the false bottom and then build the substrate up around it and behind it. This will allow me to bank the substrate higher then I otherwise would so that it won't all slide forward. Does that make sense?

For plants I am thinking of having only 1 big plant in the back (an amazon sword to be precise) and the rest of the plants on the floor will be low growing plants. In the front of the tank I am planning to grow dwarf hairgrass, elechoaris acicularis specifically. (my other hobby is planted aquariums, hence the aquatic plants)

I picked up some Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus nana), Asian Jasmine (trachelospermum asiaticum), Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia), and Dragons Tongue (Hemigraphis Repanda) all at Lowes for prices much cheaper then can be found online.

I also purchased a cutting of Marcgravia sp. Suriname for as much as I paid for all the other plants in the previous paragraph. Plus a bunch of cuttings of Oak Leaf Creeping Fig (Ficus Pumila Quercifolia).

And since this is a dart frog tank I bought a reasonably cool bromeliad which is a hybrid cross between a fireball and a royal burgundy. I plan to buy some other epiphyte plants down the line (likely anubias and bucephalandra) but that will have to wait till I actually have the tank set up. I don't want to try to keep those plants alive without a mister on a timer in a high humidity space. For mosses.. I have a hard time paying money for what I can probably just find when I go hiking and plan to go that route.

A lot of these plants require a pretty powerful light. So I bought a Chihiros WRGB II for this tank. Its a light that pretty much has to be bought from overseas but in the planted aquarium hobby is considered to be an excellent budget high light solution. With the tank in vertical configuration putting the floor at 24" away I should be able to get at least 50 PPFD at substrate. Plus it has an app that will allow sunrise and sunset modes which will be fun.

The room this tank is going into is in my basement which tends to be about 68 degrees year round. This begs the question of how to heat the tank.. I haven't come to a conclusion on this but some reading on the subject indicates a very small heater on the side of the tank that turns on during the day is the way to go? Definitely open to suggestions on this point.

Oh and I also plan to buy some manzanita branches with lots of little twigs on the ends. This will give my tank more vertical space and provide locations for me to stick all the moss plus some of the other epiphtye plants. 2 sides of the tank will have diy backgrounds on them. I have not decided what method I want for the backgrounds other then that I want them to not look flat, and to allow for all my vine plants to crawl up them.

And finally the big question... what the heck do I put in this tank? After reading various threads it seems like this tank is not going to be well suited for tincs because most of the space is vertical. I am therefore leaning towards thumbnails since my reading indicates they are more likely to enjoy climbing and thus need less floor space. Does this sound right?

Thank you to everyone that actually read this incredibly long post. In my next update I will have pictures of something.. I promise! Plus I plan to update this thread with the entire build so folks can follow along as I go.
RyanD likes this.

Last edited by minorhero; 04-28-2020 at 01:52 AM.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2020, 02:06 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Hello folks!



I decided to start writing up a journal of my vivarium build for a couple of reasons. 1) hopefully someone more experienced will read this and point out errors I am making before they become too horrible, and 2) so I can keep track of things like plant names etc.



I am pretty excited for this whole process and really enjoying gathering things for the build. I have started buying plants and also some needed tools for some diy portions. So here is the current plan.



I purchased an Aqueon 20 High a couple of days ago. This build will use the aquarium in a vertical configuration. I also purchased the Frog Cube modification system to make this come together. The Frog Cube is essentially 4 pieces of 3d printed plastic designed to be siliconed to the opening of the the tank with some pieces of 3/32 glass. This creates the bottom of the vivarium and door with fruit fly proof ventilation below and above the door.



In addition to the Frog Cube I purchased a cheapy set of diamond hole saws and one cheapy 3" hole saw from amazon. I will use the set to drill a hole for a mistking starter package (also purchased recently) in the top of the tank. I will also drill another hole in either the rear or side of the tank (depending on if the bottom of the tank is tempered) to be used as an overflow drain. I also ordered a 2" bulkhead which will go in the top of the vivarium in the back (this is why I needed the 3" diamond hole saw).



For the actual construction of the vivarium I am planning to use Safe-T-Sorb (a calcined clay product, like turface or oildry) for my false bottom. Since I get to make all the decisions on how thick my substrate and false bottom should be... this brings me to my first question. How deep should the false bottom be?



I am planning to bank my substrate pretty heavily with it being on the shallow end in the front and MUCH deeper in the back. How shallow can I make it and still be good? I am planning to plant the foreground so I want at least 2 inches of substrate, so is that enough or do I need to go deeper?



In order to bank my substrate I am thinking of making a terrace kind of effect. The reason to do this is 1) to give the froggies more floor space which from my readings seems considerably preferred, and 2) for aesthetics. To achieve the terrace effect I am planning to use rocks for the terraces. I will likely only have 1 rock outcropping given the depth of the tank but I am planning to have it visible in the tank itself. I am thinking I should put the rock directly on the false bottom and then build the substrate up around it and behind it. This will allow me to bank the substrate higher then I otherwise would so that it won't all slide forward. Does that make sense?



For plants I am thinking of having only 1 big plant in the back (an amazon sword to be precise) and the rest of the plants on the floor will be low growing plants. In the front of the tank I am planning to grow dwarf hairgrass, elechoaris acicularis specifically. (my other hobby is planted aquariums, hence the aquatic plants)



I picked up some Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus nana), Asian Jasmine (trachelospermum asiaticum), Lemon Button Fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia), and Dragons Tongue (Hemigraphis Repanda) all at Lowes for prices much cheaper then can be found online.



I also purchased a cutting of Marcgravia sp. Suriname for as much as I paid for all the other plants in the previous paragraph. Plus a bunch of cuttings of Oak Leaf Creeping Fig (Ficus Pumila Quercifolia).



And since this is a dart frog tank I bought a reasonably cool bromeliad which is a hybrid cross between a fireball and a royal burgundy. I plan to buy some other epiphyte plants down the line (likely anubias and bucephalandra) but that will have to wait till I actually have the tank set up. I don't want to try to keep those plants alive without a mister on a timer in a high humidity space. For mosses.. I have a hard time paying money for what I can probably just find when I go hiking and plan to go that route.



A lot of these plants require a pretty powerful light. So I bought a Chihiros WRGB II for this tank. Its a light that pretty much has to be bought from overseas but in the planted aquarium hobby is considered to be an excellent budget high light solution. With the tank in vertical configuration putting the floor at 24" away I should be able to get at least 50 PPFD at substrate. Plus it has an app that will allow sunrise and sunset modes which will be fun.



The room this tank is going into is in my basement which tends to be about 68 degrees year round. This begs the question of how to heat the tank.. I haven't come to a conclusion on this but some reading on the subject indicates a very small heater on the side of the tank that turns on during the day is the way to go? Definitely open to suggestions on this point.



Oh and I also plan to buy some manzanita branches with lots of little twigs on the ends. This will give my tank more vertical space and provide locations for me to stick all the moss plus some of the other epiphtye plants. 2 sides of the tank will have diy backgrounds on them. I have not decided what method I want for the backgrounds other then that I want them to not look flat, and to allow for all my vine plants to crawl up them.



And finally the big question... what the heck do I put in this tank? After reading various threads it seems like this tank is not going to be well suited for tincs because most of the space is vertical. I am therefore leaning towards thumbnails since my reading indicates they are more likely to enjoy climbing and thus need less floor space. Does this sound right?



Thank you to everyone that actually read this incredibly long post. In my next update I will have pictures of something.. I promise! Plus I plan to update this thread with the entire build so folks can follow along as I go.
Dendrobates leucomelas will like the vertical height of that tank too and they're great for beginners.

For drainage layer: I usually have mine be about 1-2", but the main thing is to make sure it's higher than your drain/bulkhead hole, that way the water line is below the substrate, preventing soggy rotting substrate...

At 68F the temperature is a little on the low side but not terrible cold. Lights will add a decree or two to the temperatures. Others can chime in on temperatures.

I think I answered most of your questions. If there were over I missed, sorry. I have a hard time finding questions in paragraphs lol.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2020, 11:07 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
Dendrobates leucomelas will like the vertical height of that tank too and they're great for beginners.

For drainage layer: I usually have mine be about 1-2", but the main thing is to make sure it's higher than your drain/bulkhead hole, that way the water line is below the substrate, preventing soggy rotting substrate...

At 68F the temperature is a little on the low side but not terrible cold. Lights will add a decree or two to the temperatures. Others can chime in on temperatures.

I think I answered most of your questions. If there were over I missed, sorry. I have a hard time finding questions in paragraphs lol.
Thank you for your response! I'm impressed you even read my crazy long post .

I considered Leucomelas but honestly I am just not wild about them. I will get the wife's opinion (part of my secret plan to have her happy with the vivarium is consulting her on the froggies and some of the plants) but as it stands these fellows live way way too long for me not to be super happy with the look of the frog upfront.

2" is what I was thinking of for a drainage layer as well. I hear plastic window screen is the stuff to use between the drainage layer and the substrate? One video I saw was of someone who said it didn't need a barrier at all... unless its better without I am planning to use a barrier though.

Has anyone come up with a good method of heating a tank? I read one post where they were concerned the glass would crack if you put a heater under the tank and suggested one on the side instead.
Reply With Quote
 
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2020, 11:10 PM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Fibreglass or plastic Window screen works for a barrier, and yes you will want a barrier.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2020, 12:54 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
Fibreglass or plastic Window screen works for a barrier, and yes you will want a barrier.
Much appreciated!

Small Update:

The first of the various things I ordered came in tonight, specifically a 3 inch diamond hole saw. I began by making sure none of the panels on my tank were tempered via the sunglass method, and they are not so yea, I can proceed. While I have seen a lot of videos on it, this is my first time actually drilling glass.

From those videos (as well as experience doing some woodworking) I know the secret to stopping chipout when drilling a hole is to fully support the backside of the hole. This means I needed a board clamped to the inside of the tank. Because the location was pretty deep in the tank itself I had to get a bit creative.... with my clamping solution. Here is what my drill setup looked like. The bit is in the picture just for reference.



Basically once you have decided on a location for the hole you need to have a way to keep the bit wet while it is in use. I decided to go with plumbers putty and building a little dam around the hole. I filled it with water and set to it. Other options include letting a hose constantly trickle water. I had frankly planned to use the hose and a guide but as it turns out I don't have a 3" wood hole saw and I was unwilling to use the diamond hole saw to cut wood when I was also planning to need the darn thing just once for cutting this glass. So I freehanded the hole and used the plumbers putty.

It took about 5 minutes to cut the hole but it came out pretty nice. There is only a very very tiny amount of chipout along one side where I suspect I pressed too hard after I drilled through.



This hole is purely for ventilation so I will be using a 2 inch bulkhead and covering it with some kind of fruit fly proof screen. I may also use this hole for temperature and humidity probes if I find something I like. Most of the other things I ordered from amazon are coming next week. I am less sure about my substrate supplies. I ordered tree fern and orchid bark from a rare orchid website, plus cork bark from another plant website. Once all of those come in I will be able to start considering the backgrounds.
RyanD and fishingguy12345 like this.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2020, 11:19 PM
DPfarr's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: SACRAMENTO
Posts: 447
Thanks: 0
Thanked 33 Times in 30 Posts
Default

Nice work on the ventilation hole. That’s what I would prefer if I would go the vert route.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2020, 04:11 AM
dartboard's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 427
Thanks: 51
Thanked 20 Times in 15 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

looks cool, Ill be following along
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2020, 12:51 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPfarr View Post
Nice work on the ventilation hole. That’s what I would prefer if I would go the vert route.
Thank you, I think it will work. After looking at pictures of custom vivs I think the amount of ventilation in this tank will be pretty similar to euro designed vivs of a similar footprint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dartboard View Post
looks cool, Ill be following along
Thank you! I'm enjoying the process.

Small update:

I am continuing to get parts delivered to me. I recently received a shipment of cork bark I plan to use for a titebond 3 background just to break up the lines a bit. My plan right now is to add some calcined clay pieces (Safe-T-Sorb - similar to Turface) to the surface of the titebond 3 background along with the cork bark just so its not too uniform. I don't know if the safe-t-sorb will stick but I figure worst thing that happens the safe-t-sorb falls out.

I am also continuing to research what I am going to put in this darn thing :P

I was thinking thumbnails because of the footprint but my research is turning up threads (many from this board) of people keeping a pair of tincs in a 10 gallon horizontal. The footprint of this tank once the substrate is banked will be slightly larger then a 10 gallon horizontal which makes me wonder if I can responsibly keep tincs in this vivarium.

One thing to consider is that I can not under any circumstances have a frog with a loud call in this tank. My children's bedrooms are above this tank as well as my own and frankly if my kids get woken up by the frogs... well its not going to go over well with The Wife.

In other news I bought and received a bluetooth thermometer and hydrometer with pretty solid reviews from amazon for just 19 dollars. It's called Govee. It's pretty spiffy and will even track temperature and humidity over time so I can see how the temperature changes over the day. I also turned the heat up in the basement slightly and got the ambient air temperature to 69 degrees. If the lights boost me 1 or 2 degrees that puts me in a much happier froggy place.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2020, 11:27 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update:

I received in the rest of my diamond drill bits. I wasted no time in putting in a few more holes. Here is a 1/2 inch bulkhead drilled for a drain in the back of the vivarium (formally the bottom of the aquarium).



It doesn't look it in the picture due to the angle but the bottom of the hole is 1-5/8 inch from the bottom glass. I am also going to install a strainer so my false bottom doesn't leak out of the hole. I will put down at least 2" of false bottom (probably a little deeper in the back) but this way all the water will drain out before it can soak my substrate.

I also drilled a 5/8" hole for my mistking nozzle. Here is how that setup looked prior to drilling:



And the tank with all holes drilled:



And here is the vivarium on the stand in the corner it will rest once all is said and done:



In other news I was out hiking with my wife and kids today and my daughter kept wanting me to catch frogs (I think they were Northern or Southern Leopard Frogs). After I caught a few my daughter started making a lot of noises about how she wants to keep them. The Wife, to my complete shock, was all for it. The Wife was then disappointed when I had to nix all such plans since we do not even have a single vivarium up and running let alone one setup for a temperate froggy like what we were catching. Once I explained a bit more in depth about what the vivarium setup process is like she seemed only somewhat mollified. Instead she is already making big plans for a vivarium for temperate frogs.... I'm at a total loss... The Wife won't let me add any more aquariums for fish (I have one 5 gallon, one 7.5 gallon, one 5 gallon breeding box, and one 40 gallon, the last two are in an unfinished part of the basement), but she is practically insisting on having more frog vivariums.. It will be interesting to see if this level of interest on her part stays after the current vivarium is setup, running, and occupied.
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 05-02-2020, 11:47 PM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Update:



I received in the rest of my diamond drill bits. I wasted no time in putting in a few more holes. Here is a 1/2 inch bulkhead drilled for a drain in the back of the vivarium (formally the bottom of the aquarium).







It doesn't look it in the picture due to the angle but the bottom of the hole is 1-5/8 inch from the bottom glass. I am also going to install a strainer so my false bottom doesn't leak out of the hole. I will put down at least 2" of false bottom (probably a little deeper in the back) but this way all the water will drain out before it can soak my substrate.



I also drilled a 5/8" hole for my mistking nozzle. Here is how that setup looked prior to drilling:







And the tank with all holes drilled:







And here is the vivarium on the stand in the corner it will rest once all is said and done:







In other news I was out hiking with my wife and kids today and my daughter kept wanting me to catch frogs (I think they were Northern or Southern Leopard Frogs). After I caught a few my daughter started making a lot of noises about how she wants to keep them. The Wife, to my complete shock, was all for it. The Wife was then disappointed when I had to nix all such plans since we do not even have a single vivarium up and running let alone one setup for a temperate froggy like what we were catching. Once I explained a bit more in depth about what the vivarium setup process is like she seemed only somewhat mollified. Instead she is already making big plans for a vivarium for temperate frogs.... I'm at a total loss... The Wife won't let me add any more aquariums for fish (I have one 5 gallon, one 7.5 gallon, one 5 gallon breeding box, and one 40 gallon, the last two are in an unfinished part of the basement), but she is practically insisting on having more frog vivariums.. It will be interesting to see if this level of interest on her part stays after the current vivarium is setup, running, and occupied.
Take the enthusiasm!!!!
Those are Nice clean drill holes.
minorhero likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:06 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quick Update:

My orchid bark and tree fern are coming in tomorrow. I already have long fiber sphagnum moss as well as milled sphagnum moss and peat moss. So I have everything I need to make my substrate after tomorrow.. except the charcoal. Well I have cowboy natural charcoal from Lowes. But it is not the right size...

After reading some threads it seems the accepted method of correcting this issue is to put the charcoal in a pillow case and either beat it with a hammer or run over it with your car.

Between those 2, hitting it with a car sounds way cooler.

I decided to put my own spin on it though and not use a pillow case. I frankly didn't want to ruin one. So I used a heavy duty contractor trash bag. This worked really well! Afterwards I had trashbag of coal chunks and a LOT of dust. I decided to fill the bag with water from my hose to wash the coal.

Do not do this.... seriously... its a mess.....

Anyway after I cleaned up the mess a bit I had a good sized bucket of coal chunks.



If all goes well then at some point tomorrow I will be making one side of my background.
fishingguy12345 likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:11 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Quick Update:



My orchid bark and tree fern are coming in tomorrow. I already have long fiber sphagnum moss as well as milled sphagnum moss and peat moss. So I have everything I need to make my substrate after tomorrow.. except the charcoal. Well I have cowboy natural charcoal from Lowes. But it is not the right size...



After reading some threads it seems the accepted method of correcting this issue is to put the charcoal in a pillow case and either beat it with a hammer or run over it with your car.



Between those 2, hitting it with a car sounds way cooler.



I decided to put my own spin on it though and not use a pillow case. I frankly didn't want to ruin one. So I used a heavy duty contractor trash bag. This worked really well! Afterwards I had trashbag of coal chunks and a LOT of dust. I decided to fill the bag with water from my hose to wash the coal.



Do not do this.... seriously... its a mess.....



Anyway after I cleaned up the mess a bit I had a good sized bucket of coal chunks.







If all goes well then at some point tomorrow I will be making one side of my background.
I enjoy hitting the charcoal with a baseball bat :-)
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2020, 01:31 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
I enjoy hitting the charcoal with a baseball bat :-)
LOL put that way I feel like I missed out ;P
fishingguy12345 likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 05-04-2020, 02:07 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
LOL put that way I feel like I missed out ;P
It's messy as can be going at it with the baseball bat, and leaves a lot of charcoal dust.
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2020, 01:44 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update!:

I received my substrate supplies today as well as the rest of my plants. After opening the box I realized I am definitely going to need a lot more tree fern fiber since it is the main ingredient in my backgrounds. The two gallons I had already ordered would have been plenty for just the substrate, but not after I mix most/all with glue...

That brings me to my background! I hydrated most of a gallon of tree fern fiber and realized that I didn't quite like the texture by itself. I then added in some peat moss and safe-t-sorb I had previously hydrated and have been using for cuttings. The mixture was a much better consistency and this is what I used. I added glue until when I squeezed it into a ball it held together without immediately crumbling when I loosened my fingers. Kind of the consistency of wet sand when making a sand castle at the beach if that makes sense. Anyway I pressed this mixture into my tank when it was lying on it's back. I tried to create little hills and valleys (as much as I could with only about 1" of depth in the deepest areas) to add some visual interest. I also took my cork bark and stomped on it till I could break it up into smaller pieces. Those I added to background making sure to actually cover parts of the cork bark with some of the tree fern fiber mix. And finally I added some more safe-t-sorb and pressed it in. This last was done to break up the homogeneous nature of the tree fern fiber and add more aesthetic appeal.

Overall I am pretty happy with how it looked. The last step was to take a damp paper towel (actually a bunch of them) and wipe down the glass where the the gluey wood had smeared areas that were supposed to remain uncovered.

Here is how it looks:



The blue tape is there to cover up the area where the bulkhead goes. I don't want anything interfering with my seal in that location.

And just for giggles here is how my cuttings of Marcgravia sp. Suriname were shipped:



I've never gotten a plant in a tiny vial before. I thought it was a pretty cool way to make sure they got to their destination without being crushed.

I nipped off the end, dusted them in root hormone, and planted them in damp peat/safe-t-sorb mix. I then put a little cup overtop so they keep in some humidity and put them in a window that gets indirect light.

I also got in my amazon sword plant (Echinodorus Hadi) which got a similar substrate but in a glass container I had lying around:





I have no idea how long it will take my background to dry. I've heard as little as 3 days and as long as 10 days. I don't think mine is as wet as some (I saw a video of guy whose background was so wet he was squeezing the water/glue out of it as he placed each handful) so I am hoping I am on the lower end of the spectrum. Once it is dry I can roll the tank onto it's side and do this whole process again.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-05-2020 at 01:47 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2020, 03:50 AM
Organics's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 105
Thanks: 11
Thanked 15 Times in 11 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Loving the look of the background, mind explaining the process a bit more in depth(glue/ratios)?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
__________________
Big Brained & Talebian Posterboy

Ranitomeya Fantastica “True Nominal” 1.1.0
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2020, 11:02 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organics View Post
Loving the look of the background, mind explaining the process a bit more in depth(glue/ratios)?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
So here is what I did. I took my tree fern fiber and dumped it in a 5 gallon bucket (highly recommend a 5 gallon bucket or something with similarly high sides.. seriously important).

Then added water till it was damp but not dripping.

Then I didn't like the look of just the tree fern fiber I was using so I added some already wet sphagnum peat moss and safe-t-sorb I already had mixed (probably about 40% of the final mixture is peat moss and safe-t-sorb).

Then I dumped in the glue. For the amount you see on the background I used about half of a 16 OZ glue bottle.

Wearing disposable gloves I mixed all of this together for a few minutes. Then I pulled out handfuls and deposited it on the glass. I did this till I had complete coverage at a pretty even depth.

Then I added my cork bark pieces pressing it into the background pinching, pulling, redistributing the background mix over, around, and to the sides of the cork bark.

Then I compacted and fluffed up the background mix in various spots to make the background bumpy (doesn't come across well in the picture, but it's there).

Then I dribbled some Safe-T-Sorb onto the background I pressed this lightly into the background mix as well. No idea if this will work, I haven't seen anyone else use this stuff but I think it looks good so I am willing to try.

Then I found something to act as a cover for the tank so my wife's cats don't jump into the tank and take a big steaming poop on my background ;P literally....

And that is it. A video I saw said that the whole process will feel like its not going to work right up to the point when it finally dries. That's how I feel now. Titebond is not a particularly sticky glue when wet... The background mix is only slightly more sticky then it would be if it was just water being used.

Here are 2 videos I saw of the process. Mine is much closer to the second video, the drier of the two.


Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-2020, 11:33 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

And like that... I realized I've made a huge mistake....

You see I've been trying to figure out the frog selection for a while and mostly coming up short. I basically really wanted tincs. While some folks do indeed put tincs in a 10 gallon horizontal and I have slightly more space then that... it seems to generally be frowned upon. All of my reading indicates they will not climb much and prefer to spend their time on the ground. So the vertical space is less important to them.

I thus moved onto consider the Ranitomeya and recently thought I settled on imitator varadero. They have a quiet call, are bold, and I liked the look. But I was settling, I really wanted tincs. Then The Wife saw the frog I was considering. Her response was something to the effect of "what happened to the frogs we looked at before?"

I explained that the vivarium I was building was not going to be suited for them, something I frankly didn't know when I bought the tank.

Her response to this was essentially, "well what would we need to get the frogs we actually want?"

Well... folks... let me tell you that this was both disappointing (since my current vivarium I have been working on is now defunct) and uplifting (because.. I really wanted tincs).

This brings us to The Wife giving the ok for an Insitu Vivarium. Which I have now ordered.

Here is a picture of one from their website:



Soooooo yea this is going to pause for a bit while I wait for my vivarium to arrive. Then I can pick this all back up when it comes... well kind of..

Because you see.. I already have made a lot of progress on my current vivarium, and I already own all the supplies needed to make this one a reality (even if some of it is still in shipping). Essentially what The Wife doesn't realize yet, is that we did not replace the current vivarium, so much as just gain 2 vivariums.... The Insitu vivarium will be for tincs while my current vivarium build will be a plant growout location / baby frog rearing site.... or at least that is how I see it The reality will likely not be as simple. My stand is not big enough for both tanks at the same time and my stand will have the mistking installed in it. So I would need to be pretty creative to find a place for a 2nd vivarium nearby.

Oh well, I will still go ahead and finish this build with the parts coming in, you never know when a second tank could be needed.
Socratic Monologue likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2020, 12:33 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
And like that... I realized I've made a huge mistake....



You see I've been trying to figure out the frog selection for a while and mostly coming up short. I basically really wanted tincs. While some folks do indeed put tincs in a 10 gallon horizontal and I have slightly more space then that... it seems to generally be frowned upon. All of my reading indicates they will not climb much and prefer to spend their time on the ground. So the vertical space is less important to them.



I thus moved onto consider the Ranitomeya and recently thought I settled on imitator varadero. They have a quiet call, are bold, and I liked the look. But I was settling, I really wanted tincs. Then The Wife saw the frog I was considering. Her response was something to the effect of "what happened to the frogs we looked at before?"



I explained that the vivarium I was building was not going to be suited for them, something I frankly didn't know when I bought the tank.



Her response to this was essentially, "well what would we need to get the frogs we actually want?"



Well... folks... let me tell you that this was both disappointing (since my current vivarium I have been working on is now defunct) and uplifting (because.. I really wanted tincs).



This brings us to The Wife giving the ok for an Insitu Vivarium. Which I have now ordered.



Here is a picture of one from their website:







Soooooo yea this is going to pause for a bit while I wait for my vivarium to arrive. Then I can pick this all back up when it comes... well kind of..



Because you see.. I already have made a lot of progress on my current vivarium, and I already own all the supplies needed to make this one a reality (even if some of it is still in shipping). Essentially what The Wife doesn't realize yet, is that we did not replace the current vivarium, so much as just gain 2 vivariums.... The Insitu vivarium will be for tincs while my current vivarium build will be a plant growout location / baby frog rearing site.... or at least that is how I see it The reality will likely not be as simple. My stand is not big enough for both tanks at the same time and my stand will have the mistking installed in it. So I would need to be pretty creative to find a place for a 2nd vivarium nearby.



Oh well, I will still go ahead and finish this build with the parts coming in, you never know when a second tank could be needed.
Best wife ever! It's never a bad idea to have an extra ready to use vivarium. Gives you a fallback in case of an issue with the main tank, or for babies.
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2020, 05:28 AM
RyanD's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Denver Colorado
Posts: 101
Thanks: 12
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Default My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
Best wife ever! It's never a bad idea to have an extra ready to use vivarium. Gives you a fallback in case of an issue with the main tank, or for babies.

Yep. I would agree! She’s a keeper for sure. Extra tanks are great for growing plants too. Or more frogs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Then I dribbled some Safe-T-Sorb onto the background I pressed this lightly into the background mix as well. No idea if this will work, I haven't seen anyone else use this stuff but I think it looks good so I am willing to try.

What do you like about the safe-t-sorb? That’s a clay, right? I appreciate you documenting this all.

Using tables and stands can get tricky, I’ve spent way too many hours on Craigslist and online shopping for nightstands that are the perfect dimensions but still fit in with the room.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
__________________
-RyanD

Last edited by RyanD; 05-06-2020 at 05:31 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #21 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2020, 10:51 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
Best wife ever! It's never a bad idea to have an extra ready to use vivarium. Gives you a fallback in case of an issue with the main tank, or for babies.
Absolutely, she is pretty awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanD View Post

What do you like about the safe-t-sorb? That’s a clay, right? I appreciate you documenting this all.

Using tables and stands can get tricky, I’ve spent way too many hours on Craigslist and online shopping for nightstands that are the perfect dimensions but still fit in with the room.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Safe-T-Sorb is the same stuff as turface or oildri it is just a different color. You can buy it at tractor supply stores for about 15 dollars for a 25 lb bag and since it's pretty light stuff, that's a BIG bag.

As to why I like it? It is a hardened calcined clay and that means it has a high Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). In the aquarium side of things it is not uncommonly used as a substrate choice because the CEC capacity means it has buffering properties. It can absorb nutrients being released from fertilizers or other substrates and store them until plants use them. I love the stuff because I also think it looks just like a bunch of little pebbles but it is light enough to stay on the surface in most aquarium substrate mixes and here at least I hoped it wouldn't pull off of the background. In this application it has no practical purpose beyond aesthetics.
Reply With Quote
  #22 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2020, 07:45 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update:

Even though I won't be putting substrate or frogs into this tank anytime soon I decided to keep documenting my build, hopefully it will be helpful for other folks.

The next morning after I made the background I touched the edges and frankly couldn't discern any real difference in the dryness level since I put it together the previous night.

I then put a small desk fan literally hanging into the tank and turned it on full blast. 24 hours later it was pretty darn dry. Probably not 100% dry... but certainly dry enough for me to stand it up. Here is how it looks now:





I also used some scrap molding from a bathroom remodel to make a hood for this tank. The original idea was to have something uptop that could hide the equipment.





I frankly do not love this hood and will definitely be doing something different for my Insitu once it arrives (which should be early next week). Also the final color of this hood is not white... heh that is just primer, the hood would be painted black.
Reply With Quote
  #23 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2020, 12:03 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Small Update:

I settled on a light solution for Insitu vivarium. I am going to build my own! I originally was going to buy an off the shelf light but some folks over at an aquarium forum I frequent suggested building my own and after thinking about it a bit I decided to give it a shot.

I have extremely limited understanding of circuits so this is definitely pretty far outside of my wheelhouse. Fortunately the person I was talking with knows quite a bit about it and was able to tell me what to buy and diagram how to wire it up.

So I bought a heatsink, 24 Luxeon Sunplus Cool White LEDs on pcb, 2 Sunplus Deep Red, and 3 Luxeon ES Cyan. Plus 3 drivers, power supply, and all the little fiddly bits to make it come together.

I have in the past always rejected DIY lighting because I want the the light enclosures to look good. I put my aquariums in living spaces of my house. I want every part of them to look nice. But for the vivarium I am planning on having a hood which will obscure the misting system (and consequently the light as well). So it doesn't matter if the light looks like I made it myself as opposed to having someone with a design aesthetic putting it together. What matters is the color and the brightness.

The cool whites are horticulture lights but in the 6500 spectrum range. They should easily grow the plants. The reds and cyan are to make the colors pop. The sunplus chips also have a crazy angle on them of 150 degrees, so they should do a really good job of spreading the light all around the vivarium including the back wall.

In other news I got in some manzanita branches I bought from bloomsandbranches.com. I bought these when I assumed I was making a vivarium for thumbs. I still will try to use 1 or more for this build, but they are mostly for plant space. I am trying to find some driftwood that is more appropriate for tincs (meaning wider and slightly curved so I can use it to increase horizontal space).

Here is a picture of 2 of the 3 branches I purchased. The one on the right is in the same condition as when it arrived. The one on the left has already had me thin it out, and then file down the sharp stumps left by broken twigs.



And here are the two branches I thinned and filed down:



I don't know if this is a real concern or not, but I was worried that if I had sharp ends to the branches the frogs could injure themselves on the points. This is something I do for fish in aquariums. Not sure if its needed for froggies but I figured it couldn't hurt to do it.
Reply With Quote
  #24 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2020, 12:18 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
]


I don't know if this is a real concern or not, but I was worried that if I had sharp ends to the branches the frogs could injure themselves on the points. This is something I do for fish in aquariums. Not sure if its needed for froggies but I figured it couldn't hurt to do it.
It's not a bad idea to sand down sharp points :-). They can cause injury if the frogs scrape against them.
minorhero likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #25 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2020, 04:20 AM
Organics's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 105
Thanks: 11
Thanked 15 Times in 11 Posts
Default My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Small Update:

I settled on a light solution for Insitu vivarium. I am going to build my own! I originally was going to buy an off the shelf light but some folks over at an aquarium forum I frequent suggested building my own and after thinking about it a bit I decided to give it a shot.

I have extremely limited understanding of circuits so this is definitely pretty far outside of my wheelhouse. Fortunately the person I was talking with knows quite a bit about it and was able to tell me what to buy and diagram how to wire it up.

So I bought a heatsink, 24 Luxeon Sunplus Cool White LEDs on pcb, 2 Sunplus Deep Red, and 3 Luxeon ES Cyan. Plus 3 drivers, power supply, and all the little fiddly bits to make it come together.

I have in the past always rejected DIY lighting because I want the the light enclosures to look good. I put my aquariums in living spaces of my house. I want every part of them to look nice. But for the vivarium I am planning on having a hood which will obscure the misting system (and consequently the light as well). So it doesn't matter if the light looks like I made it myself as opposed to having someone with a design aesthetic putting it together. What matters is the color and the brightness.

The cool whites are horticulture lights but in the 6500 spectrum range. They should easily grow the plants. The reds and cyan are to make the colors pop. The sunplus chips also have a crazy angle on them of 150 degrees, so they should do a really good job of spreading the light all around the vivarium including the back wall.

In other news I got in some manzanita branches I bought from bloomsandbranches.com. I bought these when I assumed I was making a vivarium for thumbs. I still will try to use 1 or more for this build, but they are mostly for plant space. I am trying to find some driftwood that is more appropriate for tincs (meaning wider and slightly curved so I can use it to increase horizontal space).

Here is a picture of 2 of the 3 branches I purchased. The one on the right is in the same condition as when it arrived. The one on the left has already had me thin it out, and then file down the sharp stumps left by broken twigs.



And here are the two branches I thinned and filed down:



I don't know if this is a real concern or not, but I was worried that if I had sharp ends to the branches the frogs could injure themselves on the points. This is something I do for fish in aquariums. Not sure if its needed for froggies but I figured it couldn't hurt to do it.

Thanks for the info on the background, also from my understanding the red/blue won’t make color pop on plants, they will how ever change the type of growth you receive. Red for example will encourage more leggy growth this response is due to areas that receive higher amounts of “red” light tend to be areas shaded by other plants where its advantageous to grow fast and tall. Color tends to be a response to light intensity.

I did a write up on DIY led light fixture where I explained the basics of the circuitry as well as how to size heat sink, power supplies, led holder, etc.

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pa...soldering.html

Hopefully this can help you.

I basically condensed this guy’s information


https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=...iQPlYAhNe3GMGi

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
RyanD likes this.
__________________
Big Brained & Talebian Posterboy

Ranitomeya Fantastica “True Nominal” 1.1.0

Last edited by Organics; 05-09-2020 at 04:25 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #26 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2020, 04:47 AM
DPfarr's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: SACRAMENTO
Posts: 447
Thanks: 0
Thanked 33 Times in 30 Posts
Default

Depends on the wavelength of the red in respect to becoming leggy.



The shorter wavelength can travel through foliage or destruction by refraction. Conversion to the active form of phytochrome making it grow leggy.
Reply With Quote
  #27 (permalink)  
Old 05-09-2020, 10:38 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organics View Post
Thanks for the info on the background, also from my understanding the red/blue won’t make color pop on plants, they will how ever change the type of growth you receive. Red for example will encourage more leggy growth this response is due to areas that receive higher amounts of “red” light tend to be areas shaded by other plants where its advantageous to grow fast and tall. Color tends to be a response to light intensity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPfarr View Post
Depends on the wavelength of the red in respect to becoming leggy.

The shorter wavelength can travel through foliage or destruction by refraction. Conversion to the active form of phytochrome making it grow leggy.
My understanding is you both have a piece of it but the whole story is more complicated. Red light does make plants grow lanky but only if you use pretty much only red light. To be clear we are not talking about the far red part of the spectrum. If blue light is added you get normal plant growth. This is why so many people are selling these incredibly ugly grow bulbs that are a mix of red and blue leds to create this truly heinous purple light. Normal amounts of red light help plants flower, or in situations where they don't flower and are getting enough light otherwise to grow properly, and then if they can, red light helps plants turn red.

On the aquarium side this is a pretty common concern since some of the aquatic plants will turn various shades of red when exposed to enough co2 and light. But light with too much blue in it won't do the trick. Thus the best aquarium leds often have a much warmer spectrum, something in the 5000s to low 6000s.

Anyway in my case I am adding the reds and the greens for people not for the plants. The cool whites will grow the plants great, but if you shine green light on a plant it will mostly bounce off and thus make the plant look 'more' green. Same for red which is why I mention colors popping.

Here is some random quick write up I found on red light plant growth:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/res.../red-light.pdf
Ravage likes this.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-09-2020 at 11:21 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #28 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2020, 12:02 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update:

I received in my frog cube and my glass cutter so I was able to go ahead and (for all intents and purposes) finish the vivarium. I am pretty pleased with how it went together.

First a word about cutting glass... I went to two Lowes looking for my glass to be cut to a specific size needed for this build. At the first Lowes they told me the glass cutter was out of service. (This as it turns out is just a lie). At the second Lowes they told me they are not offering glass cutting during the Pandemic... well shucks.

Instead I bought the only glass cutting tool they had, a kobalt glass cutter. Now understand I hate the Kobalt brand. Every Kobalt tool I have seen has been awful compared to literally anything else I can find, but I figured the glass cutter had to at least cut glass, and I didn't need it for more then a handful of cuts...

I should have gone with my gut... Here is a picture of two glass cutters. The Kobalt is on the left. The one on the right is a Toyo glass cutter purchased from amazon.



The Toyo cutter was purchased because the Kobalt cutter did not work AT ALL. I have never cut glass before, so when I ruined an entire 24"x36" piece of glass one small cut at a time, I assumed I was just horrible at cutting glass. I mean I worked at it for over 2 hours making dozens of cuts trying to get 2 relatively small pieces of intact glass out of the sheet. No luck.

Then I got the Toyo cutter and a new sheet of glass. Night and day difference. The Toyo cutter actually cut the glass.. So yea.. don't buy Kobalt.

With the glass cut I was able to assemble the frog cube. Some of the pieces required some filing/sanding because they were a little too tight. Other then that the whole thing went together very easily. After dry fitting everything I took it all apart and applied silicone. Here is the tank now:



Overall very happy with how it came out. I have no immediate plans for this tank but its nice to have and maybe some day I can put it to work ;P

Now I just need to wait for my Insitu to arrive. It is scheduled for Tuesday. After it comes I will immediately put together the background. Really looking forward to that.
Reply With Quote
  #29 (permalink)  
Old 05-11-2020, 12:05 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Nice! I'm sure you'll find a use for the extra tank soon enough. You Could also turn it into a plant only growing tank.

I've never cut glass myself, I'm not very handy and am quite accident prone so I try to avoid things that I'm likely to mess up horribly lol.
Reply With Quote
  #30 (permalink)  
Old 05-12-2020, 03:20 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

My Insitu Vivarium is coming sometime today. While waiting I decided to do a little project for the tank.

I bought some monkey pods a little while ago with plans of using them as egg depositories instead of petri dishes. I know the petri dishes are standard in the hobby but I just don't like the aesthetic of the coconut hut - petri dish combo. Since monkey pods are not necessarily waterproof I decided to coat them in something that is. Since black film canisters seem to be popular with smaller species I decided to go black for my coating. I've heard of folks using silicone for this but I didn't want to buy and waste most of a tube of silicone. Instead I went with 2 part epoxy and powdered tint. I've used this for woodworking before and it works very well and when dry, is just plastic so safety shouldn't be an issue.

Here is everything you need:



I am using loctite 5 minute epoxy but I have also used quickcure and I suspect any clear 2 part epoxy would work fine.

I added each part to a small disposable cup and then added a little of the powdered tint:



I mixed it up with a small scrap piece of wood (could use anything for this but it should be something disposable). Then dished it into the monkey pod:



At this point it doesn't look very black but that is normal. Once heat is applied it becomes substantially darker and also much less viscus (like the thickness of maple syrup once heat is used).

I basically just heated it up with the heat gun keeping it vertical in my hand. Once it was freely moving as a liquid I rolled it back and forth in the pod till it coated everything. The first one was the sloppiest, the 2nd better and I think I got a pretty good one by the time I got the third and biggest pod.



Once completely dry they won't be quite as shiny but you get the idea. Hopefully the froggies will appreciate them as well ;P
Organics likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #31 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 01:38 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update!:

My Insitu arrived and overall pretty happy. It was packed quite well and had zero damage. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was an apology letter by the Insitu team. It seems their supply chain broke down and they could not get me tempered glass doors. They instead sent me annealed glass doors with a promise to send me the correct doors in the future. I contacted them by email and already got a response, they were very sorry and plan to can send me the correct part in 2 weeks. This mattered only because the doors they did send did not have the silicone seam along one end to keep fruit flies in.

Still in 2 weeks I won't even be close to adding fruit flies so I doubt it will ultimately make much difference. And I am glad they sent me the vivarium now rather then put the whole thing on hold for 2 weeks.

After reading in another thread I posted about problems of growing moss on a titebond 3 background I decided to increase the amount of cork bark in this background (the moss will grow on the cork but not the titebond apparently). I didn't have enough of the cork I already had so I bought 2 small pieces of zoo med cork from amazon. It came in today as well and I was able to put the background together.

This one is made from 50% tree fern fiber, 40% sphagnum peat moss, and 10% orchid bark (for texture). I definitely used about 16 oz of titebond 3 as well.

Here is the tank on its back with the bark just laid out to see how it looked:



Here it is after I removed the bark, added the background material, and then re-added the bark:



And here it is after I added more background material to obscure some of the clean cut edges:



This background is not frankly as nice looking by itself as the previous background I made since the cork is just everywhere. But I think it will look a lot better once planted. There are a lot of nooks between the bark where I can shove plants and the bark itself will be able to support moss.

In the last picture you can see the fan I have on it. Hopefully I can get this thing dried out in the next day or so and at that point turn it vertical to begin playing with hardscape.
Encyclia likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #32 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 02:08 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Looks good so far :-)
Reply With Quote
  #33 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 01:50 PM
Encyclia's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 2,200
Thanks: 151
Thanked 242 Times in 228 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Update!:This background is not frankly as nice looking by itself as the previous background I made since the cork is just everywhere. But I think it will look a lot better once planted.
You are probably right. If there is one thing I have learned after building lots of dart frog tanks, it's that you don't really know how well you will like it after it grows in. Just last weekend I had to re-do a tank that I was sure I would like when I first planted it. However, when it grew in for a year or so, I ended up unhappy with it and starting again. I learn a little more each time that happens so I get a little better at it, but the possibility continues that I am not happy and I have to replant or adjust the hardscape. I use the cracked cork mosaic process for just about all of my tanks and it is similar to what you are doing. I would suggest some shinglers like Rhaphidophora or Marcgravia to cover the back. Oak-leaved ficus is another option, though it will take over eventually if you let it :-) Anyway, you have done a good job so far. Keep up the good work!

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #34 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 03:06 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
You are probably right. If there is one thing I have learned after building lots of dart frog tanks, it's that you don't really know how well you will like it after it grows in. Just last weekend I had to re-do a tank that I was sure I would like when I first planted it. However, when it grew in for a year or so, I ended up unhappy with it and starting again. I learn a little more each time that happens so I get a little better at it, but the possibility continues that I am not happy and I have to replant or adjust the hardscape. I use the cracked cork mosaic process for just about all of my tanks and it is similar to what you are doing. I would suggest some shinglers like Rhaphidophora or Marcgravia to cover the back. Oak-leaved ficus is another option, though it will take over eventually if you let it :-) Anyway, you have done a good job so far. Keep up the good work!

Mark
Thank you! I have oak leaved ficus and some marcgravia cuttings I am trying to root. I also have some unidentified species of Solanum sold to me by black jungle (they didn't know what it was either apparently). One small pot of Peperomia rotundifolia var. pilosior. Plus Asian Jasmine I bought at lowes. So between all of those I'm hoping to have a lot of vining plants. I also have a lot of low lying plants as well, which will hopefully not take up space the froggies could be using. Frankly I have more plants then I think I will use but that is on purpose. When scaping aquariums I found it was better to have too much and not need it then have not enough and wish you had just a few more plants to balance something out.
Reply With Quote
  #35 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:17 PM
kblack3's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Loomis, CA
Posts: 317
Thanks: 25
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

One of the wall plants I like a lot is the ficus villosa. It has a ton of hairs on it which is fun. I also have a few awesome margravias including a very awesome peach colored one.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Encyclia likes this.
__________________
American Dad Living the American Dream
Reply With Quote
  #36 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:36 PM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 590
Thanks: 36
Thanked 42 Times in 42 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

The solanum looks nice. It'll love climbing the cork wall.

I'm a big fan of climbing/shingling plants, I have an order of marcgravia's and a solanum coming next week :-)
Reply With Quote
  #37 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:44 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Quote:
Originally Posted by kblack3 View Post
One of the wall plants I like a lot is the ficus villosa. It has a ton of hairs on it which is fun. I also have a few awesome margravias including a very awesome peach colored one.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I looked up ficus villosa and the pictures are pretty darn cool. Unfortunately it appears impossible to purchase. Even the all powerful ebay was easily defeated.
Reply With Quote
  #38 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:48 PM
kblack3's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Loomis, CA
Posts: 317
Thanks: 25
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Sent you a pm buddy


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
__________________
American Dad Living the American Dream
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to kblack3 For This Useful Post:
minorhero (05-14-2020)
  #39 (permalink)  
Old 05-15-2020, 12:24 AM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update!

The background is not completely dry but it is dry enough for me to turn upright. I then got some time to experiment with some hardscape designs. Here is one possibility:



The rocks in this case would be mostly buried by substrate with just the tip of the rocks on the left jutting up and part of the front of that rock as well. The substrate would then slope lower to the right and cover about half of that rock there.

Missing from this is the large piece of mopani wood I bought which will be going from near the top of the rocks on the left all the way across the tank and then curving down to the substrate. This will increase horizontal space (as does the sloping substrate) and it will create a kind of bridge the underside of which (with the help of some plantings) will be a natural hide. But I am still waiting for the darn wood to arrive heh, it was supposed to come today but alas the vagaries of the USPS have defeated me once more.

Anyway once I turned it upright and had some light shining behind it I noticed all those darn clear spots at the top. I laid it back down after taking this picture and added some more woodglue media to the top to plug up those holes. I put the fan back on and will give it another day or so of drying time before I try again.

Meanwhile I also made a hood for the top to hide equipment:



This one is made of crown molding and frankly does a much better job of not looking terrible.

And now an aside about Insitu being really really dumb. On the Insitu Website they list the dimensions of the vivarium as " (width x height x depth): 22.25 x 24 x 17.5" (56.5 x 61 x 44.5 cm)". This is just straight up a lie.

Now it is the case that aquariums are commonly measured and their volume calculated by the exterior dimensions. Thus if you buy say a 20 gallon aquarium the measurements of the aquarium will be "24 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 16 3/4" and this is the outside of the tank. The volume of the tank is calculated not by what the tank actually holds but rather by an imaginary box that had interior dimensions the same size as the tanks exterior dimensions. This is just how the industry operates and it's been going on for quite some time.

The difference between that and Insitu is that the Insitu tanks have a splayed base. Aquariums do not. The measurements of the Insitu tank are from that splayed base, the widened base mind you is purely for aesthetics, it doesn't need to be splayed. If you measure the outside dimensions at the top of the tank the dimensions are 21.5 x 16.75

This is the actual appropriate dimensions of the Insitu. Does it change my opinion of the company or tank? No not really. But I do think it's really dumb for them to market themselves as a larger tank then it is based on an aesthetic design decision.
Reply With Quote
  #40 (permalink)  
Old 05-17-2020, 11:15 PM
minorhero's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 117
Thanks: 5
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Default Re: My First Vivarium Journal

Update!:

The background is all done and I moved the tank to it's final location. I also potentially finalized the hardscape. I won't know for sure till the substrate is in and I get a chance to really absorb placement. The biggest thing stopping me from planting is the light. I am still waiting for the majority of the components to come in. So far the only thing I have are the project box, thermal glue, drivers, heatsink, and power supply. All the LEDs plus some wire are coming in this week (hopefully by Wednesday).

When I moved the tank to the stand I went ahead and filled the trough in the front of the Insitu with Safe-T-Sorb for my drainage layer. After reading some threads it seems fiberglass window screen is the preferred barrier so I cut an appropriate sized piece and laid that down as well:



Here is the hardscape in the tank currently:



The substrate will be at it's highest point in the back left corner and will slope down to the front and right. Most of these rocks will be covered completely with only the top rock on the left being partially uncovered and the rock on the front right will be mostly uncovered.

Here is what the tank looks like on the stand:



Since I am waiting on light components I went ahead and installed the mistking. My reservoir and drain containers are 2.5 gallon jugs purchased from amazon. I went with these because they fit in the section of stand I have devoted to this purpose. The electronic parts to the mistking are located in a drawer in the stand next to the big compartment. Only the motor is in the section with the reservoirs. Here is how it looks:



I also setup a Wifi powerstrip which I will be using for my light. I originally thought I was going to DIY my misting system as well (which is why I bought a whole wifi powerstrip instead of just a plug) but after reading old threads from others who went down that road I decided it wasn't worth it and just bought the mistking.

Next up is hopefully the making of the light!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:37 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.