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Old 01-28-2009, 08:12 AM
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Default New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

So, after almost a year with my old 10 gallon viv, it finally crashed during my four-month trip to Vietnam (no frogs in it so don't worry and my isopods didn't seem to care much although my tiny spider moved out just like he once had moved in). I suspect that my dear girlfriend overwatered it by misting more than it could take.

Since I had to tear the whole thing down (the substrate was oversaturated, several plants dead or near death, the moss had rotted and repulsive green slime had started to grow on one of the roots) I decided I might as well buy a new tank. I found a used 18x18x24 Exo Terra for a good price.

This time around I decided to make sure I had redundancy in the drainage, no more oversaturation. I also wanted easier access to the waterfall pump since it was a pain to get to it in my last setup. I kept the pump even though I didn't want a waterfall in my new tank, reconfiguring it to a simple circulation pump by adding some filter media.

I put gravel in the bottom, a few white plastic trays to hold the LECA in place and a few acquarium roots for the water feature "shoreline".
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

The LECA in the trays was covered with white bug net to prevent substrate from leaking into the water. On top of the white bug net, more LECA to provide extra drainage. I also put in the original polystyrene background I got with the tank after covering it with a thin layer of peat, attached using non-toxic silicone. Finally, I put in a few bits of cork from my old viv to use as "shelves", filling them up with LECA and substrate. I used non-corroding metal wire to attach moss and plants to the background. Finally, I put in a cork "log", stretching from the front left corner to the back right one, to "bridge" the depth and provide a base for epiphytes.

In these pics, the old T8 ramp from my 10 gal provides the light.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

This is the tank today, a few weeks later with more plants added and an 80w mercury vapor lamp I've had in storage for 14 years (since the days I had acquariums). The water feature may look smaller, that's because I added another root to cover the pump. It also provides a nice-looking "cave".

EDIT; the pics look darker than the tank actually is, I had to tinker with the exposure settings to get pics that weren't overexposed at the top.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:30 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Great job on this one, looks really natural!

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Old 01-28-2009, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

That looks absolutely great. Very natural. Great job.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

I agree , Looks great..
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Thanks! One lesson learnt from my old viv that I implemented in this one is that a water feature without a water fall is so much easier to build & maintain and it saves quite a bit of space. I'm curious to see if the Spanish Moss will make it. I have a ventilation slit in the front and a timer-controlled fan in the back but the air may be too stagnant for it anyway. And don't worry, I know about the risks involved with Spanish Moss but there are no frogs in the tank and won't be for some time at least.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Looks great!

What frogs are you going to keep in there?
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

We'll see, I haven't decided yet but I think availability may be a limiting factor. I won't be getting frogs any time soon though, the main reason being that I have to move some time during the summer after I've graduated. I don't know where I'll be going yet, in a worst-case scenario it may be difficult to take the tank with me immediately so until I have my plans settled and have landed a job, I'll wait.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Alright.
But you are going to keep a smaller frog?
Like O. Pumilio or R. Reticulata?

Do you have some kind of waterfall och something that are "moving" the water in the viv?
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Beautiful!

What's that fern looking plant just beneath your cork log and just to the right of that red plant? I love it
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

I've been thinking of getting a vertically oriented frog since my tank lends itself to climbing but I prefer not to plan too much ahead, availability will probably be very limited and I don't want to get too disappointed later if I can't get the kind of frog I've decided on. So I'll just wait and see.

There's a circulation pump concealed in the water feature, it keeps the water moving and provides surface turbulence. I change about 25-30% of the water on a weekly basis. I checked it yesterday and it seems to be cycling well, no nitrite or nitrate waste.

The "fern-like plant" I think you mean is a Mimosa ludica. I took a liking to them after seeing them grow in the wild in Vietnam. They're capable of rapid movement, if you touch the leaves they fold together. It also folds itself entirely during the night. It's actually more like a grass than a fern though. A frog could probably trample it and wreck the plants but for now it provides some nice entertainment for guests now and then.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

tank looks great, i woudl be careful of that light though as it can heat upt the tank rather fast.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Yeah, I know. The top part with the log goes up to 27 degrees (80F), the "floor" stays at 24 degrees (75F). The water feature also maintains 24 degrees.
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Old 11-24-2009, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: New Exo Terra 18x18x24, got log?

Today I took a bunch of pics of this very viv so I thought I'd post them here in case anyone wants to see how it has evolved. Over the course of time, I've removed the water section and filled the space with experimental soil/clay (it's been working nicely for more than 6 months). I also added a wall, built from water and peat moss mixed with dried bentonite (kitty litter). Some plants have been removed, some have been added.

Here's what it looks like today;
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