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Old 01-06-2009, 12:19 AM
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Default Nice Butt!

-ress!

I've been working with Zach for the last few weeks on a 18x18x24 Exo-Terra (part of the agreement for him helping me was the title, so blame him, not me ) that I got at MWFF for the imitators that I also got at MWFF.

In designing this tank, I wanted to make it as naturalistic as possible. Many of the vivariums I've seen are so artificial, and I wanted to instead make a tank that actually looks like I took a chunk of the rainforest and put it in my room. Now, I know imitators are Peruvian, but in my experience, general make up of the forest doesn't differ all that much, so I designed this based off of my experiences in Panama. Based on my observations both in captivity on imitators and in the field on pumilio, I reasoned that imitators would utilize tree buttresses like pumilio do, so I wanted to make a tree buttress tank. Ideally, I wanted to get a strangler fig look to it too, but it didn't work out as well as I had hoped. I'll have to keep experimenting with it on future vivariums.

So in addition to the buttresses, I found that sparse planting is more natural. Most of the vivariums I see are so crowded that it looks nice, but you'd never see things like that in the wild. So I just have 5 species of plants in the tank. And in addition to the "never see viv planting in the wild" bit, you'd also never see film canisters in the wild, so I'm going to try to change that as well. I've got the Dendro Pods at the bottom (which I'll line with silicone because they do drain), and the broms at the top should provide plenty of spots to rear tadpoles.

So for plants, I've got Neoregalia "Little Pearl" - green one, Neoregalia "Zoe" - striped one, Neoregalia "Ryan's Pride" - red one, Cissus amazonica, Philodendron "Burle Marx." The Ryan's Pride will actually be the biggest brom (should fill the bottom) and might actually make this be a little more crowded than I'd ideally like it, but oh well. The only thing that I'm going to add is Riccia moss to the tops of the buttresses.

Anyway, enough talking, here are the pictures! I'm very happy with how this turned out!













I'm going to let it grow in for a couple weeks before I move the 2.1 imitators in, but here's one of the guys that'll be residing there!





Thanks to Zach for his help and guidance. Let me know what you think!
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Last edited by MonarchzMan; 01-06-2009 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Looks good man.. They will love it.

What is that background made of?
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

pretty frogs
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

The buttresses are made of concrete. There is no background at the moment other than those. I'm just going to put black vinyl on the back. I thought that anything other than that would distract from the buttresses.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Nice butt indeed. Cool tank!
Candy
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Ahh, you post this and no construction journal :0
Did you use styrofoam to make the base and then apply the concrete?
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Wow you are a master with concrete. I cant get concrete to do anything for me. How did you get it to look like that?
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Quote:
Originally Posted by otis07 View Post
Ahh, you post this and no construction journal :0
Did you use styrofoam to make the base and then apply the concrete?
Haha, yea, it wasn't until I had the concrete on that I got my camera over to Zach's house (the tank was there since he was better set up for it), and at that point, it was just painting the thing, so it wouldn't have been much of a construction journal.

We used insulation styrofoam for the ribs, and then covered them in great stuff, and carved the great stuff into the shapes that I wanted, and then covered it with concrete. As for how to get it to work, you really gotta get messy. I was able to get that texture because I used my bare hand and continually smoothed it out as it was drying to get rid of any of the unnatural scratches and such. You can use gloves, but they have to be pretty tight fitting.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonarchzMan View Post
Haha, yea, it wasn't until I had the concrete on that I got my camera over to Zach's house (the tank was there since he was better set up for it), and at that point, it was just painting the thing, so it wouldn't have been much of a construction journal.

We used insulation styrofoam for the ribs, and then covered them in great stuff, and carved the great stuff into the shapes that I wanted, and then covered it with concrete. As for how to get it to work, you really gotta get messy. I was able to get that texture because I used my bare hand and continually smoothed it out as it was drying to get rid of any of the unnatural scratches and such. You can use gloves, but they have to be pretty tight fitting.
Thanks JP, I was thinking about doing something similiar for one of my Phelsuma's but the only info I found was Brent's guide, which is great, but the list of supplies is a bit overwhelming. So what concrete did you use? Sorry for all the Q's, but I'm going to pick you apart till' you tell me all the dirty details of this tank
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

I just used a quick-drying concrete (the brand escapes me though..). Get it the consistency of mud and just slap it on, and just keep working it over the foam. Then after 10-20 minutes, it should still be wet and malleable, but firm, so you go over it and smooth it out. It's when you can't make finger prints without being a little forceful (should be like wet sand you'd use for sandcastles).
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Very nicely done on the tank and those are beautiful frogs.

ccc
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Thanks so much for the info JP! I think I'm going to attempt this method, but I doubt it will turn out as good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonarchzMan View Post
I just used a quick-drying concrete (the brand escapes me though..). Get it the consistency of mud and just slap it on, and just keep working it over the foam. Then after 10-20 minutes, it should still be wet and malleable, but firm, so you go over it and smooth it out. It's when you can't make finger prints without being a little forceful (should be like wet sand you'd use for sandcastles).
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:49 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Eh, you'd be surprised, I think. We actually stumbled upon it quite by accident. We were trying to make strangler fig vines and they didn't work, but we had the concrete all made, and didn't want to waste it, so we slapped it on and started playing around with it. It's all about experimentation and tweaking things. The nice thing about it is that if you don't like it, you can cover it with a different concrete or just break it all off and try again!
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

It does look very compelling...maybe I missed it but are the "butts' not covered with something more organic resembling tree roots or it is only concrete...?

Sally
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

It's only concrete. The concrete was painted with diluted acrylic paints to give it a more earthy color.
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Really nicely done, JP. I think the scale of your buttresses worked out really well for the tank. That Cissus will work its magic in no time.

Mike
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Cool setup JP. I think you accomplished your goal.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:35 AM
 
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

It looks fantastic! I have spent a lot of time in the Neotropics and tried to get my husband to do something similar (for similar reasons) to no avail. I would also try to get some bryophytes growing in there- they'd naturally cover the buttresses (to a certain extent) and live also on the leaves of some of your plants. It would give a really nice look to the viv, and make it look even more natural.

Nice job! You have enviable skills!

Last edited by susan_heydler; 01-06-2009 at 04:36 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:03 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Bryophytes... I hadn't thought of that. I do have some access to liverworts that would look pretty cool on the buttresses. I'll have to see if I can get something like that going! Thanks for the suggestion.

By the way, since you're a neotropical botanist, perhaps you'll know what tree I'm thinking of. I believe it's called the milk tree and has smooth bark that looks like camoflage. Do you know the species? I wanted to find a picture of it to paint the trunk in a similar fashion, but couldn't think of the name. I've got another tank I'm working on for the lab I teach in, and it'd be nice to try to vary the colors a bit.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Nice Butt!

Awesome! That's exactly what I was going to do with my exo that is in the mail
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