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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:25 AM
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Default My first clay backgrounds

I don't do anything one at a time! So here are my first 3 clay backgrounds. Let's start with our custom made Vivs. We completely fabricated these from the ground up from factory reject windows!
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File Type: jpg slope fronts 001.jpg (90.1 KB, 642 views)
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Here is Viv number 1 completed and planted. By the way, size on these are 11 3/4 side to side, 24" tall, 24" front to back. All set up for thumbnails.
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Here is viv number 2. This was done by my son, Frogboy! His first Viv flying solo!
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Number 3 I decided to get a bit more imaginative! Kind of went nuts with a sort of vine system! Here are pics before planting.
Doug
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File Type: jpg slope fronts scaped 001.jpg (94.4 KB, 436 views)
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

And here we are fully planted. Can't wait to see what it looks like when all those different vines grow in!
Doug
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File Type: jpg slope fronts scaped 073.jpg (101.4 KB, 952 views)
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

The substrate is sort of an experimental mix. First we put down about 1 to 1.5 inches of Turface. Then we put in a mix a coconut husks and charcoal chunks. We sprinkled this with about 1/8 cup of Calcium Carbonate, mixed it in and sprayed it down. Now wherever we put a plant in, we hollow out a spot and put in one or two handfuls of ABG mix. This is the cool part. We set up the ABG mix in a huge tray about 6 weeks ago, moistened it and fed it rice, mushrooms, and fish flake. Seeded it heavily with about 6 or 7 different types of springtails. Now it is crawling with springs so we already have a nice backbone of springs in the vivs! Sooo, time to release some frogs! Here is a pair of my Varaderos checking it out! They've only been in here like 5 minutes and the male is calling already! Right here the female is peeking out and deciding it might be ok to come out.
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Two action shots here as I caught her mid-jump!
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Together at last! I love the last shot where she turns and stares me down! "Scuze me...a little privacy please!"
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Now she's following him all over the Viv. My man knows how to keep his woman in line!: Just Kidding! lol:
Doug
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Great work guys! Love those tanks.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

great looking vivs, nice background work and great use of recylcled materials!!
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Man im jealous..those tanks are GORGEOUS! Great job!
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
And here we are fully planted. Can't wait to see what it looks like when all those different vines grow in!
Doug
Number 3 is I think my favorite tank ever! Good thing I'm starting a new tank tonight! I know what it's going to look like.

Any chance you could let us know what plants are in there?

LOVE IT!
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

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Originally Posted by oneshot View Post
Number 3 is I think my favorite tank ever! Good thing I'm starting a new tank tonight! I know what it's going to look like.

Any chance you could let us know what plants are in there?

LOVE IT!
Thanks for the kudos, everybody! Appreciate it.

Oneshot, I wish I could but while I love getting a large variety of plants, I'm afraid I'm not much for plant ID. Basically, I purchase what I know works in Vivs, and I try to beg, borrow, trade, for plants I see in others vivs. Whenever I am in a greenhouse, I tell them what I am doing and ask for their recommendations on what to try. Sometimes they work out great, and other times, not so much. I'll try to ID a few for you but some of my names will just be "slang" or a nickname so to speak. These are all from tank 3. In pic 2 on the cork bark ledges is an assortment of mini orchids. In pic 3, in the far back left corner is a freaky tall growing plant. It's actually Ginger! To the right, the big oval leaves with the radiating pink/red thin stripes is Prayer Plant or Calathea. That's one of my "go to" plants as I love it and my thumbs love to lay eggs on it. The vines with the tiny round kind of thick leaves is Pepperomia Prostrata. I got a huge pot of it for 99 cents as it had root rot! Made a bunch of cuttings and it's doing fine! Two or three different kinds of dischidia vines. A bromeliad that is too narrow leafed for egg laying as I don't want any mystery tad deposits to turn off breeding. Still in pic 3 on the bottom left is another orchid I was given. My orchid loving friend knows what it is but I forgot already. Some creeping Oak Leaf Fig is visible in pic 3 and 4. Pic 4 bottom right is a Pothos with metallic silver spots. Slow growing but cool. To the left of that is a Lemon Button Fern (another fave). Further left, the wrinkly leaf is some sort of Pilea? First time trying it. Far right bottom corner...No Idea but man do I love it! Hey! Not too bad. Got at least a rough id on most of it! Oh yeah, and then three or four different mosses about. The yellow looking sphag WAS live green sphag but it did NOT like the bleach treatment! Hoping it will come back. Then there is a little branch of ghost wood on the right. I have another box of ghost wood coming in and I may put another piece in.

Glad you like it but here is perhaps my favorite Viv that I've done. It is for my Cayo Nancys. It is another of my slope fronts but it is twice the size at 24" x 24" x 24". Made it bigger to raise up those Pum babies!
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

I love that one too! You should give a class...
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:04 AM
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Thanks!
Doug
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

They look great.. I think I like your son's viv the best :P
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Old 11-10-2010, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Excellent work!!! I really like the design of the tanks. I look forward to seeing future pics of the growth of these tanks. Once again, GREAT JOB!
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:14 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

And if you were paying attention...there was still one empty viv. Here it is "muded". (as in, "lets go mud the tank!) Now on this one I decided to incorporate the cork bark scraps from the Pumilio tank. Most of these were scraps about an inch wide by two or more inches long. They were pieces we couldn't bring ourselves to throw away even though they seemed to small to do anything with. That kind of became the focus here and actual sculpting took a back seat. Maybe not a truly natural scene but we built this one for the frogs and they are going to LOVE climbing the ledges!
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File Type: jpg slope fronts number 4 002.jpg (89.7 KB, 177 views)
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:24 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Here is a little more info on our "experimental" substrate. It is a mix of charcoal chunks, coconut husk chunks, and fine orchid bark. In picture number two you can see the calcium carbonate we spike it with. This is so our frogs can pick up some extra calcium while grazing on microfauna. This will come in really handy should we decide to let any froglets morph out in the viv. In pic 3 we sprinkle it in and in pic 4 we mix it in. Then we mist the tank heavily and begin planting. Wherever we put a plant we put in a handful of ABG mix. The ABG mix has been seeded out for about 6 weeks with about 6 different varieties of springtails. They plan here is that the "chunky" substrate will grow a lot of calcium rich springtails and isopods.
Doug
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

And here it is fully scaped!
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File Type: jpg slope fronts number 4 024.jpg (97.0 KB, 228 views)
File Type: jpg slope fronts number 4 026.jpg (98.2 KB, 112 views)
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:39 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Here I'm releasing the Understory Iquitos Vents into their new home. Four went in.
Doug
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File Type: jpg slope fronts number 4 021.jpg (85.8 KB, 76 views)
File Type: jpg slope fronts scaped 082.jpg (82.5 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg slope fronts scaped 084.jpg (95.1 KB, 45 views)
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

I may have missed it, but what did you use exactly to make the backgrounds?

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

I used powdered bentonite from a pottery store. Mix 1 part powdered bentonite with 1 part coconut fiber (looks like dirt), 1 part peat, and aobut 2/3 part pulverized sphagnum (ground in a blender). Mix it dry with a drill and then mix with water. Let stand for an hour so the organics will suck up the moisture or the consistancy will change while you are working.
Doug
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:44 PM
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When I do this again, I will massively reduce the amount of organics per Eds advice. 75% clay and 25% organics.
Doug
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumilo View Post
I used powdered bentonite from a pottery store. Mix 1 part powdered bentonite with 1 part coconut fiber (looks like dirt), 1 part peat, and aobut 2/3 part pulverized sphagnum (ground in a blender). Mix it dry with a drill and then mix with water. Let stand for an hour so the organics will suck up the moisture or the consistancy will change while you are working.
Doug
I think I might try this instead of the kitty litter idea. I used the kitty litter in my two exo's and I am not liking it to much. Misting heavily in it is causing the broms to fall from the sides and so forth so I have to be careful. Anyway, I will keep this mixture in mind.

Viv's look great and also your frogs!
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jfehr232 View Post
I think I might try this instead of the kitty litter idea. I used the kitty litter in my two exo's and I am not liking it to much. Misting heavily in it is causing the broms to fall from the sides and so forth so I have to be careful. Anyway, I will keep this mixture in mind.

Viv's look great and also your frogs!
Hey John, did you see my follow up post that this mix was not optimal for a long life? Reduce the organics to only 25% so that there is 75% clay. I will also be using a large portion of the clay as powdered Redart clay as per Eds recommendation. He has made WAY more backgrounds than I have. I'll be mixing the clay powder as 75% Redart and 25% Bentonite. Then into this I will mix 25% organics. I anticipate that on my original mix, the organics will decompose and leave cavities in the clay that will eventually collapse.
Doug
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Pumilo - now that you have your tanks up and running I was wondering how you were liking the dimensions? I am thinking about making my tanks the same size but am a little worried it might be too narrow. I'm curious to know your thoughts
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:34 AM
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Hey Kaity, if I had the space, I would go wider. I figure at least it's a couple inches wider than something like a 10. Then too, I tried to compensate by going a full two feet front to back and also a full two feet tall. But I do have a limited space to work in. Man I wish my wife "got" frogs! I'd go 50 gallons minimum on all my vivs! Fill the whole basement! But alas...I am banished to one room. You know what they say, "When the momma ain't happy, Ain't nobody happy!"
I am very happy with my Pumilio Viv size. In fact, I am partway through an identical build for a pair of Escudos I picked up! That one is 2' x 2' x 2'. Plus another 4 of my standard size!
Doug
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

these. are. awesome.

i'm building two 20 gal verts in the next few months. i love the little shelves you built into the walls to give the frogs some more surfaces to hang out on!

how is the clay holding up? i see the note about 75% clay / 25% organics, i'm going to do just that.

also wondering if the clay can handle being wet all of the time? my other viv's plants have grown best in the damp area near where my waterfall pours out, so i was planning on running a continuous drip powered by a small pump on my backgrounds ... not sure how the clay would stand up to water flowing over it all the time.

again. great vivs. i'm gonna have your pictures out while i'm scaping mine for sure! then its off to the reptile show to hunt for imitators.

-brett
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:38 PM
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these. are. awesome.

i'm building two 20 gal verts in the next few months. i love the little shelves you built into the walls to give the frogs some more surfaces to hang out on!

how is the clay holding up? i see the note about 75% clay / 25% organics, i'm going to do just that.

also wondering if the clay can handle being wet all of the time? my other viv's plants have grown best in the damp area near where my waterfall pours out, so i was planning on running a continuous drip powered by a small pump on my backgrounds ... not sure how the clay would stand up to water flowing over it all the time.

again. great vivs. i'm gonna have your pictures out while i'm scaping mine for sure! then its off to the reptile show to hunt for imitators.

-brett
Thanks Brett. There are some tips to keep in mind about "setting" the clay with a biofilm. If you do that right there should not be any problems. Read this short thread to learn how to "set" your clay with a biofilm. Pay attention to Ed's input. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...clay-fail.html
Doug
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

I've been getting some questions about my clay formula. PMs are always welcome, but here it is in a little more detail.

Do NOT use the clay mix I mention early on. It has too many organics for long life. I anticipate that as the organics decompose, it will cavitate and eventually collapse. I am now using this mixture. 75 percent Redart dry powdered clay from any pottery supply store. 25 percent powdered Bentonite (sodium or Calcium) clay. Now into this I mix in 25 percent organics (peat, coco fiber, ground up sphagnum...any or a mix). I like to mix this dry and then add water until it reaches the consistancy of modeling clay. I also much prefer the color of this clay mix. It's a nice reddish brown instead of gray like everybodys kitty litter mix. I really don't get that stuff! Cat's crap in it! Do you really think they care about the quality of the clay they use in kitty litter? They buy whatever is cheapest that week. They make the scented in the same factory as the unscented. How much perfume dust is left in the machinery when they run the unscented batch? I'll post they clay walls of my new vivs when they are finished.
Doug
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:09 AM
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Yeah, I read a lot of clay threads including that one before deciding to go with it. i've only misted manually so far. once its up and going, i'll probably just run the drip wall for 5 min at a time or so a few times a day on its own timer.

hopefully I can duplicate the Ed success formula, although, admittedly, I settled for kitty litter when I couldn't find a local pottery store to supply with the other stuff. It colored up alright when I mixed in the peat moss. I just hope it holds up.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Just planted. Getting ready for a sexed pair of Varaderos i'm picking up in a couple weeks ...
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Man how have I missed this thread??? Lol I am getting married in august and I am confined to the basment with little room. I love the tanks you built and I was thinking of trying the same slopes front. I was wondering what size the glass pieces are. What angle did you cut it. And did you cut it yourself or have a glass shops do it for you? Sorry for all of the questions but it got me excited to see tanks like that all together. Lol
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Frank H (06-16-2011)
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

I love the viv design, it looks like the bins from a candy display.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:38 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

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Originally Posted by calebrez View Post
Man how have I missed this thread??? Lol I am getting married in august and I am confined to the basment with little room. I love the tanks you built and I was thinking of trying the same slopes front. I was wondering what size the glass pieces are. What angle did you cut it. And did you cut it yourself or have a glass shops do it for you? Sorry for all of the questions but it got me excited to see tanks like that all together. Lol
I did cut all the glass myself. When I figured the slope, I really did not take the angle into account. Instead I figured it was 24" tall and 24" front to back. So the side pieces are 24" x 24". Now from the back at the top, I measured forward, 15". That point marks the top of the slope. From the front, at the bottom, I measured up 10". This marks the bottom of the slope. Score your line and snap it off. And did you cut it yourself or have a glass shops do it for you? Both. I am a glass shop! Don't let that slow you down though! This can totally be done with a T-square, Fletcher glass cutter, and a sander. One of these days I'll get the build thread done.
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I love the viv design, it looks like the bins from a candy display.
Thanks Tony, but much better "candy" inside!
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

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Thanks Tony, but much better "candy" inside!
Until you try to eat it...
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Thanks calebrez for bumping this thread up!

Doug, your custom tanks are very nice. I like how the doors use gravity to stay closed. Are they nice and tight (ff proof?), Im sure they are. Perfect size in my opinion. 11 3/4 wide so you can fit 4 on a rack. Genius. I wish Exo Terra would figure that out. 17.5 inch cubes!!
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

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Thanks calebrez for bumping this thread up!

Doug, your custom tanks are very nice. I like how the doors use gravity to stay closed. Are they nice and tight (ff proof?), Im sure they are. Perfect size in my opinion. 11 3/4 wide so you can fit 4 on a rack. Genius. I wish Exo Terra would figure that out. 17.5 inch cubes!!
Since they are cut by hand, there are tolerances. To close the gaps I wrap each door in waxed paper. Then I run a bead of silicone around the lip, where the door touches. Close the door and wait 24 hours before opening and peeling the waxed paper off the silicone "gasket". 100% fruit fly proof.
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: My first clay backgrounds

Thanks, Ill have to try that.
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