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Old 01-14-2005, 08:34 PM
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Default 29 gallon construction journal (UPDATED 12/15)

*** SEE PAGE 7 FOR UPDATED VIV AND FROG PICS! ***

well im starting a 29 viv. ive seen a few "how-to" type threads here on DB lately, and there are tons of god sites (most of them yours here on DB) that show constructiom of a viv. i would like to document my viv step by step, day by day. this will give newbies (im in this bracket) a good bit of info to get started with. it should also allow you experienced guys to offer your help and criticism to me in my project.

a little background on me:
ive owned 5 mantella aurantiaca (kept in 20 long), 5 melanophryniscus stelzneri (kept in 20 long), and 2 dendrobates auratus (kept in 10 gallon false bottom) i lost all of my frogs over the summer. we had a thunderstorm here that blew out our power. in doing so it fried my compressor of my AC unit. for two days the fan was sucking hot air from my attic and blowing it into the house. the frog room was allready the warmest room in the house. it got over 100* in there. very sad i lost everything in that room except my male day gecko (phelsuma laticauda).

currently i keep a a male chameleo calyptratus, anolis carolinensis, phelsuma laticauda, bufo americanus, trachemys scripta elegans, and hyla caerula. i also have a 37 gallon FW planted tank (which i hope to convert to PDF viv), and a 75 gallon reef tank.

allright, on with the show:
i plan for this to be a fairly elaborate tank. i would like to have a small water fall and a little stream, both powered by the same pump. ive never used great stuff as a background, but want to give it a whirl. i purchased two cans of the stuff, and four tubes of GE II silicone, two brown and two black. ive only built a false bottom once, so this is all new to me. i went ahead and bought a plumbers pack of 2" long cupplings to raise the false bottom, and am going to get egg crate and cross stitch grid this afternoon on the way home. i have a piece of drift wood, collected from a safe site in VA, a root from my planted FW tank, and a few cork tubes and flats from random projects. i have "forest floor" by exo-terra (i believe) and some cedar bark.

allright heres the plan:

-put silicone on the sides of the aquarium, about 6" from the back. i took this from black jungle's site, to hide the GS from outside the tank.

-silicone the cupplings into place on the bottom of the viv, so i dont have to worry about them tipping over when installing the false bottom.

-cut, then dry fit the eggcrate in place a few times to get the exact look i want. i believe i will leave a pond in the front right center of the viv. i will also have an opening in the back right corner to access the pump and some space behind the crate to run plumbing easily. i will be using the driftwood from my planted tank as the wateer barrier and will have the crate cut around this also. its about 10" tall so will create a high perch also.

-line the front of the false bottom wth GS and line it with gravel, attached with black silicone. i dont want the false bottom to be seen from the front either.

-mount the piece of collected driftwood to the back left corner of the tank, to create an overhung root. this will provide a hide and climbing area, giving that corner a lot of depth and height.

-run plumbing lines from pump out into viv. leave excess hose to be placed and trimmed later.

-mount a half tube of cork to the left corner. im hoping i can find one at the LPS thick enough to offer an access to the pump. i will be able to place a piece of styrofoam over the pump (when access is not needed). this styro will act as a platform to place a small FF cuture on when i go on trips, or to supplement my regular dusted feedings. the cork i need will look like a tree in the corner. it will run from the top of the viv to the bottom, not allowing access for the frogs to get back there. i will raise it with GS and create a little hill up to the tree, if extra height is needed. the cork will have holes in it where the FF can escape into the display area. the holes will be disguised on the outside with plants and/or moss.

-mount a cork tube or driftwood to the back of the viv. the tube would double for mounting broms, and as an elevated hide. more driftwood would be my preferance, but i cant seem to find a good piece i like, for that application.

-place hoses for water feature(s) in desired location(s). im thinking a small trickle of water (airline tubing?) coming from the base of the wood on the left down to the pond, lined with small river stones. and, a small trickle over the root into the pond.

-cut and place cross stitch grid on crate

-spray in GS to form background around cork and driftwood. i will also mold my trickling river out of great stuff at this point, and have some planter baskets in the back wall (where i dont have the option to mount to wood).

-cover the back wall with brown silicone and some type of cover. im looking for reccomendations on this. id like to use some of the material i allready have, but dont want to put something that will rot out or look real bad.

-cover the river with black silicone and stones. at this point i will make sure my river will not let too much (hopefully none) water spill into the soil.

-fill in the rest of the land section with a soil mix. im thinking sphagnum and peat, but am also taking reccomendations on this. i will be covering the section under the driftwood with leaf litter, and leaving the rest bare, with saliganilla (sp?) or other ground cover planted. in front of the false bottom (where there is no water) i will fill in with stones. i will blend this into the soil section, and prolly leave a portion a barely above water level, to stay damp. i have some java moss to plant here.

-dry fit some broms (i am about to place an order from some one here on DB, and have some brom pups that i will tranfer over) and other plants to get perfect locations. once im comfortable with plant placement, i will drill holes in the wood to place the broms into. now arrises a Q. should i plant creeping fig in a planter box on the back wall, in the soil, or just place clippings on the back wall in strategic locations? i will be ordering the varigated and common versions. i may have enough to do all three, but what is ideal?

-drill holes in wood, to mount broms to.

-place broms and terrestial plants.

-build insert for lid. i have a glass lid, but want to put something on the front to releas some himidity, for viewing purposes. im still not sure what i will do here, but i want it to be escaper proof for FF ans frogs.

-seed with springtails. i need guidance here. i have a springtail cuture running, but am not sure the best way to get them into the tank and breeding.

-wait until ideal temp for shipping of azureaus, as i have smoeone here im going to purchase a mated pair of adults from.


thanks for taking the time to read some or all of this, hopefully the long description of plans (that will prolly change multiple times) did not deter any one from following this project along.

i plan to take tons of pics, and will gladly take requests for pics during certain stages or parts of the project. again i am trying to help out future viv builders and get some constructive crtiticism on my methods.

here is what i have so far......


a 29 gallon tank that doesnt leak (with 6" of water anyways)

after reading my post a few questions arose:

anyone used artillery fern?

would this grow up my cork tree?

would it be too much to add with the creeping fig?

what other plants do you reccomend for ground cover, and color?

with having multiple locations for egg deposit (trickling water on stones and wood, and wet moss as well as brom axis) should i add a place to deposit eggs? im not relly trying to breed these guys and would like to let it happen naturally if its going to. it would sure be a bonus! if im going to add something, now is the time. i dont want anything visible, so id want it to be easy to hide.

thanks again for helping, following along or just reading.

Landon
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Old 01-14-2005, 08:56 PM
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Sounds very good. I also like to have things planned out before I begin construction, something jsut doesn't sit well with me when I rush into something and go along without a destination. By taking lots of pictures, you will be hleping out we members when we start more tanks and future ones looking for ideas.
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Old 01-15-2005, 12:09 AM
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Artillery plant, pilea microphylla, has nice lime green leaves and is a nice plant. But it shoots spores up into the air and each one starts a new plant. It will quickly cover the viv. I had some in my leuc tank and it made a nice forest. It looked nice but pretty much took over all the other plants.
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Old 01-15-2005, 12:57 AM
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thats exactly why im doing it Derek. i like to plan mine out too. i even did a sketch of how i want to lay it out. i would post a pic of it, but i dont want to embarass myself. :lol: im no artist

thanks for the info on the artillery geckguy. i will steer clear of that one for this viv. i may try it out in my paludarium, as pothos have taken over but im about to remove them.



i have cleaned the tank out completely. will have a pic in the am, of clean tank and all of my materials.

Landon
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:15 PM
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well its still in the pretty boring stages but hres a few of last nights pics

this one is of the malaysian root from my planted tank, that will be stolen for this viv

it has a good growth of java on it, that i hope i dont loose. i may use the coconut shemm in front of it also.....havent decided if there will be room.

this is a pic of the clean aquarium, and most of the supplies


and this is my sketch to give you a visual idea of what id like to do, even though i didnt want to share my drawing (non)skillz
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:18 PM
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the fun stuff should start tommorrow. i want to get the black silicone and false bottom in tonight, so it will be dry tommorow, but today is my moms 50th B-day, so my wife and i are taking her and my father out to dinner tonight. i may be able to make something happen though

Landon
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Old 01-16-2005, 06:10 PM
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Haha, I do the same with the sketches, I have so many pieces of paper and crap laying on this computer desk that I have to push them out of the way to access the mouse. Ben Green told me of the wonderful invention called a spiral notebook, so I got quite a few for christmas, so it's a bit more organized.
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Old 01-16-2005, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Benson
Haha, I do the same with the sketches, I have so many pieces of paper and crap laying on this computer desk that I have to push them out of the way to access the mouse. Ben Green told me of the wonderful invention called a spiral notebook, so I got quite a few for christmas, so it's a bit more organized.
:lol: me too, but in this pic i ccropped the spirals out of the bottom. some how (*cough*my wife) they always get ripped out though, and i find them all over the house


update
late last night i got the sides coated. i also got the false bottom in, and lined with GS. i will try and get the GS coated with silicone, and may get it coated with the gravel. i have a lot to do today (including some reef maintenance), so i dont know how much i will get done, but i will have progress pics tommorow when i get to work and can upload them.

Lanodn
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Old 01-17-2005, 02:24 PM
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Default pic update

here the viv is after coating the side walls with black silicone and putting in the false bottom. i used 2" risers.


here is the beggining of coating the GS with black silicone. i will put on another coat and add river stones (small) to the front of the GS.


i have a question about this though. do i have to coat the GS 100% for it to be safe for the frogs? it will be totally cured before adding water to it. the water section will be very small and i dont know how much the frogs will "hang out" in there, but if i end up with running water, that will be my source water. thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mnytnx
i have a question about this though. do i have to coat the GS 100% for it to be safe for the frogs? it will be totally cured before adding water to it. the water section will be very small and i dont know how much the frogs will "hang out" in there, but if i end up with running water, that will be my source water. thanks in advance for the help.
still have this question....any help would be appreciated. ill search the parts section agaiin, but ive allready found mixed reviews.

heres the updated pics, after mounting my wood to the back, and coating one side and some of the back with GS. i would have a lot more done, but my GS was practically frozen and was real hard to deal with.



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Old 01-19-2005, 10:37 PM
 
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Great Stuff, once cured, is completely harmless. If anything, you will want to cover it up becuase it looks unnatural. There was some argument in the past when the idea first came up about the safety of GS in vivs, but it has been time proven that it is harmless.

Dustin
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Old 01-20-2005, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker555
Great Stuff, once cured, is completely harmless. If anything, you will want to cover it up becuase it looks unnatural. There was some argument in the past when the idea first came up about the safety of GS in vivs, but it has been time proven that it is harmless.

Dustin
Dustin,
i am going to cover all visible GS, but was worried about the stuff exposed under the false bottom. thanks for the reply, and info.

Landon
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Old 01-20-2005, 03:02 PM
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oops double post
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Old 01-20-2005, 06:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Dustin,
i am going to cover all visible GS, but was worried about the stuff exposed under the false bottom. thanks for the reply, and info.




Landon,
Again, I wouldn't worry about bare GS being exposed to the water as I have had GS seep through the eggcrate of one of my tanks that has a water feature and there seems to be no problems since the 1 1/2 years its been up. Nice step-by-step pics.

Dustin
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:17 PM
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TY
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:15 PM
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Default update, finally

well i havent had time to mess with this project for a while. then all of a sudden my plants from POTT came in. i "had" to get to work on it this weekend. i placed my pump and hose to my water features. i have the tree mounted in the corner (to hide and access the pump). and i have most of the back covered and planters mounted. i used old pill cases from my GMa for the planters. i hope this wont be a drainnage problem later. here are the pics

left side - planter between protruding roots


right side - tree and planters


close-up of water outlet


and a full shot - you can see the "river" feature starting to be formwed with GS. i will get this finished tonight along with the basic shape of the water fall.


for the "river" i have some tubing running beneath the GS that will be fed by my one circulation pump.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:26 PM
 
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Just guessing that you don't plan on having a whole lot of soil substrate. Right? Looks cool though. Get to work on it! :wink:
Mike
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunner97074
Just guessing that you don't plan on having a whole lot of soil substrate. Right? Looks cool though. Get to work on it! :wink:
Mike
Mike, i plan to have a thin layer of pea gravel (only because the water level will be just about at the top of the FB) with a mixture of sphagnum and peat over that. then i may try some of this moss from T & C ( http://home.att.net/~a.j.calisi/moss.html ) on top of that. ive had good luck with this before, but i dont really want the totally green look in this tank. i got some nice colorful broms from Ken at POTT, so the green may be ok. it all depends on how brown the backwall ends up. ive never used the GS covered with coco-peat so im not sure how how it will turn out. all my plants are broms though and will be suspended off of the substrate any how, with the exception of creeping fig, which i understand will have no trouble in whatever substrate i choose :wink: thanks for the heads up and hopefully ill have time over the next week to complete this project....
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:47 PM
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I just did the great stuff background in my 30. It came out good, I guess. One suggestion is to use a lot of silicone to make sure you cover everything. Good luck.
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:00 PM
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The main problem i found when i did my 115gl silicone/coco background was misses spots where the coco didn't stick. This can be fixed by making sure to pack the coco down. When putting on the coco on the silicone, make sure to press it in everywhere as hard as you can. This will minimized having to fix spots where the silicone comes through.

Luke
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:15 PM
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im using the brown GE II silicone, so if i miss some small spots it shouldnt be the worst thing. i do plan on using a heap of silicone and coco-peat to try and minimize any missed spots. after reading numerous posts i am sure its a neccesity to dry the coco and press it in as good as possible.

thanks to everyone for the feedback!!
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:56 PM
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I had some dry over time, but I also cooked some to speed up the process. I used the brown also.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:07 PM
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Same here. Used the brown silicone II. I backed the coco in the oven in several batches. Just make sure to press it in hard. Spots i didn't press in, it didn't stick too well and you can see the silicone. It's not that the brown silicone stands out against the coco, it's that ligth bounces off of it and makes it look shiny.

Luke
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:09 PM
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Greg, do you have any pics of your finished product?.....Luke?
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:22 PM
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I used it on my 30 as well and like youve realized making sure it is completly dry is a neccessity. I used brown GE II as well and s little black on the sides...ive done this before on my 15 designer but it didnt come out as nice as this one...make sure you do it in sections and be patient itll take a few days to do it all, letting it dry then reapplying and patching. Be patient. Here are some pics of my almost finished 30 with almost no white spot (you cant even see them with out looking very closely....



this pic looks to have a lot of white spots but the ones at the bottom under the large log are peices of perilite from the peat moss... as for the others some are white spots and some are just the way the pic looks

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Old 02-22-2005, 06:31 PM
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I have a bunch of pics of the whole process here.

Luke
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Greg, do you have any pics of your finished product?.....Luke?
I took pics of the process and I have them on my camera, but I don't know if my USB is active. I am going to get them burnt onto a CD at Target and put them on that way. Possibly this weekend I will.
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darks!de
I have a bunch of pics of the whole process here.

Luke
The Skywalker pic is priceless
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:52 PM
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reflex - thanks for the pics. ive been following the thread on your tank and its looking real good.

Greg - looking forward to seeing your project

Luke - i took a look at your gallery but where is the "full" shot? i got some good ideas from your tank. it looks great!! cant wait til i get a BIG tank for PDFs.

Blort - the Skywalker pic IS priceless. :lol:


thanks again for the responses.......update to follow......
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:56 PM
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Yeah, it WAS done. Then my pump must have gotten clogged so my waterfall is not functioning. It lasted a whole day. Very disappointing, so I have to decide if I should just scrap it, or try and fix it. I may just scrap it and add a nice brom. After all the work and trouble I had on that fall, it sucks to get rid of it.
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:58 PM
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i didnt get much done last night. GS takes too long to dry when its cold out :?

i got two more planters added to the water fall area as well as filling in the area around the smaller piece of cork tube, and the actual waterfall. i should be able to begin shaping it this afternoon, but i do need to add more GS to cover the new planters.


i also raised the river walls a bit, so i can have a little deeper substrate. i can have about 2 1/2" inches left of the river and up to 4" on the right. that should be plenty.



and one more full shot too get an overview.





does any one see a problem with using sphagnum peat to cover the back wall, in place of coco-peat?
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:53 PM
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What a mess! LOL, looks good, keep working on it! :evil: It's not going to build itself. Can't wait for some more pics.

Luke
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Old 03-06-2005, 04:34 PM
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ok so i have to be the biggest slacker on DB. im getting close to needing this ready for frogs so i should be getting a lot done over the next few days (weeks months :lol: ) i know ive allready said that before. yesterday i took the time to get some work done. as far as GS goes i should be done. i took a pic of the back and one of the tank laying down. it really shows the depth of the tank. you can also see my planters in the pics. i have places for 9 bromeliads and would like to make one more. i dont have ay room for any terestial plants but i need to figure out some sort of ground cover. im open to suggestions here.

top


back
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:33 PM
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Its starting to take shape....please keep us posted with more pictures of your project. What are u planning to house in this tank (sorry I'm kinda lazy to read all three pgs). ops:

Roger
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Old 03-11-2005, 11:36 AM
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Roger, im hoping to house a pair of azureus adults in this viv. ive got a lead on a pair from a user on this board. ill probably have to wait until may or so to get them shipped, unless the weather starts warming up real fast. :roll:
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:30 PM
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well 2 months and i didnt hit a lick at a snake......

...until this weekend

i got a bunch done this weekend, IMO.

i got a few coats of silicone on the background


i put black silicone on the water fall, and another nice thick coat of brown on the back. i also fitted some pieces of eggcrate to cover with silicone and gravel. they will keep anything from accessing the underside of the false bottom.



i detailed in and around my planters.


and put a lot more into sealing the river feature.


this week i plan to add stone to the river and water fall, and complete the background. this should not be out of reach.......:roll:

my deal for frogs fell through so i will be trying to decide what to get. also, i ended up putting all of my plants from POTT into my 110 gallon pludarium (which ive been working on in place of this 29) so ill need to get some new plants also....
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Old 05-17-2005, 12:22 AM
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Are you going to leave the brown silicone or are you putting coco stuff on it?
Brooks
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Old 05-17-2005, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantella Guy
Are you going to leave the brown silicone or are you putting coco stuff on it?
Brooks
ive had trouble finding the coco bark. i got one brick of it once when i ordered plants online. i tried to use it, but the bucket i was drying it in got turned over by my cats :roll:

im just going to use sphagnum peat in its place and see how that goes. i did a small area tonight to test it. if it looks decent tommorrow i will proceed :mrgreen:
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Old 05-17-2005, 01:03 AM
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I have a 3'x3'x4 1/2' terrarium to do and it needs to look good. I will use your idea, so let me know if the sphagnum works. I will have lamasi and terribilis's in it. Also what do think about sticking plants right into the foam.
Brooks
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Old 05-17-2005, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantella Guy
I have a 3'x3'x4 1/2' terrarium to do and it needs to look good. I will use your idea, so let me know if the sphagnum works. I will have lamasi and terribilis's in it. Also what do think about sticking plants right into the foam.
Brooks
i thought about just shoving the plants roots into the foam, i also thought about moldinh planters out of the foam. i just didnt know how hard the great stuff would be whe hardened. i tryed the molding trick, and i think it would work in your viv. mine was just too small and it took a lot of foam to get things like i liked them.

i opted to use pill cases and a few small pots i got with mini-broms at Wal-Mart. i just sprayed a little foam, let it set for a moment, then pressed the planter into it. i would hold it in place for a moment or two (long enough for it to be stuck there). then i would spray more foam around the outside. these type planters worked out really nice. they were easy to detail around, and im sure will create a nice planter for broms. i plan to fill them with sphagnum moss to help hold the plants in place and give them a rooting substrate.

you could use any small plastic container for this. i think condiment cups, film canisters, and many other things cold be substituted for the pill cases. i just happened to see small plastic bag full of the pill cases in my grandmothers garage, that she was throwing out.

you can see the orange in the shots above, but here is one that shows a couple a little better.


HTH
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