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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.