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Old 04-07-2011, 05:23 AM
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Default ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

Not really new to Dendroboard.com but I've been a lurker for a while and only joined the site / started interacting quite recently. I also don't raise or plan to acquire any frogs - I'm more of a gecko person (Uroplatus phantasticus specifically). With that said, I wanted to share my vivarium on this forum because of all of the inspiration and technique I obtained from all of the extremely talented and knowledgeable people here.


Started off with eggcrate siliconed to the rear wall, and started experimenting with different positioning for the driftwood (cypress root).


Added foam sealant (Touch 'n Foam - my favorite foam so far when compared to Great Stuff and smartpond) and EcoWeb.


Some detail on the character of the driftwood. This piece is actually half of the original piece, and is mounted upside down. The other half is on the left side of the tank.


Mounted bromeliads (Neoregelia lilliputiana + Neoregelia amandae). I used Liquid Nails as the adhesive, but discovered that the bond did not hold after the tank was planted. Most of the specimens on the right side of the terrarium were removed.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

The tank is coming along very nicely, question though. Liquid nails is definitely something you would never want to use anywhere near frogs, wouldnt the same be for the geckos? I've always wondered how safe those products would be in a tank where its a bit more dry.

I've used Gorilla Glue and sometimes 100% silicon to mount my broms on various things, works great.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)


I added sphagnum moss to the backdrop and planted Bulbophyllum lasiochilum cuttings into the moss.


The fully planted vivarium (with inhabitants). I wanted to get more intermediate shots while planting, but I normally work very fast and didn't want to get the potting media / sphagnum / water on my camera. I also didn't want to keep taking off my gloves. It's pretty difficult to capture a good sense of depth with photos of a terrarium sometimes . . .


A closeup of the "fern corner" at the foot of the driftwood roots.


Glamour shot of one of my favorite ferns: Elaphoglossum peltatum.


Some detail of one of the geckos and of the Ficus benjamina 'Too Little'. The plant was originally cut and grown for bonsai use and as a result had a very nice growth shape.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadcow View Post
The tank is coming along very nicely, question though. Liquid nails is definitely something you would never want to use anywhere near frogs, wouldnt the same be for the geckos? I've always wondered how safe those products would be in a tank where its a bit more dry.

I've used Gorilla Glue and sometimes 100% silicon to mount my broms on various things, works great.
That would probably have worked better. Honestly, most of the broms that were attached to wood with Liquid Nails did not hold and were removed, and the leftover cured glue was duly scraped out (prior to any planting).
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

Nice plantings!

Why didnt you cover the background with silicone/coco?

What species of Selaginella is that?


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Old 04-08-2011, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

I wanted to try using the EcoWeb approach to foster epiphyte growth. I'm envisioning the backdrop being covered in orchid growth, with ferns, moss and liverworts filling it out as well. Whether that happens, we'll see.

Oh, and that's Selaginella uncinata (Peacock Spikemoss).

Last edited by toksyn; 04-08-2011 at 03:02 AM. Reason: Provides Selaginella species epithet.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:41 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

How long have you been keeping phantasticus in this type of a set up? And if you do not mind me asking is the phantasticus wc or cb?
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

I only ask because in my personal experiences a set up of this nature is going to be far too wet and humid for Uroplatus phantasticus. There also seems to be very little for them to climb on as they spend the majority of their time climbing/sleeping on thin branches.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

Damn... that looks awesome!
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:45 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

The phantasticus are cb. They have been in this vivarium for a few weeks and I have been monitoring them constantly - they are feeding a lot and show a lot of non-face-against-the-glass-trying-to-crawl-out activity.

My aim was for the Ficus to grow out and provide them with more thin branch areas, but to not lose the tank to a larger leafed (and in my opinion) messy "normal" cultivar of Ficus benjamina. The Ficus takes up nearly a quarter of the tank in volume in its current state. I find the geckos climbing the backdrop as well and have been observing them since they were introduced to see if there was an immediate need for more twiggy plants. They don't confine themselves to just the Ficus that's in already in there. I think they might be fine for now but I will keep observing. The Ficus is showing a lot of promising growth but if it doesn't take off I'll be obtaining bigger specimens.

As a side note - I really like the "Too Little" cultivar over the standard variety as its trunk and branches are sturdier and mimic the growth of larger trees with leaves to scale, versus the wiry and flimsy branches of the standard benjamina that dwarf the "Too Little" in growth. I think the sturdiness of the branches could be comparable to even young arboricola, but as a general rule I dislike arboricola in all its forms. The leaves don't even look like phantasticus tails.

My target humidity is 80% - 100%. There isn't any standing water in the tank and the temps are hovering in the mid to lower 70s. I've got the misting timer down such that the background stays moist without getting wet and stagnant. Perhaps I was led astray, but all of the documentation / experiences that I've looked at over the years suggest high humidity requirements for the phantasticus, while lower humidity seems to be more appropriate for ebenaui.

Essentially, I think that this is an improvement from arrangements that I found successful in the past (which consisted of mostly Pothos and sticks, in two tanks with 1.1 u. phantasticus each). I know that this may not be the most perfect biotope (considering a lot of South American plants found their way in there) but they seem to be doing fine with what I've provided. If I see anything hinting otherwise I will be taking immediate steps to address it.

Hope that settles your concern a bit, Nigel. May I ask about your own experiences? I'm always interested in hearing from others who have / had had phantasticus.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

I currently keep U. phantaticus, pietschmanni, ebenaui, sikorae, and sameiti. I too kept phantasticus at a relative high humidity constantly but found that this was extremely dangerous to them. I lost far too many animals but luckily figured it out. I feel they should be kept much dryer than many recommend. I currently have 4.4.2 with 5 eggs incubating and gravid females. The tank itself should be allowed to dry during the day, all of my Uroplatus terrariums dry out during the day with a misting at night to bring humidity into the high 70s. If the relative humidity of your room is above 45% you will have no issues with humidity being too low for them. The largest concern would be with feces not being able to dry out, resulting in the crickets that are not eaten by the gecko then eating the wet feces. With wet conditions comes bacteria and disease. I hope this helps as I said I lost quite a few phantasticus and its heartbreaking.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

4.4.2! I envy your colony, sir.

You brought up a very good point. I seeded the vivarium with a lot of temperate spring tails and isopods early on - I haven't seen any mold, or feces that stays wet, or even dead crickets. The floor is moist but not wet. Leaf litter covers the areas of the floor that don't have moss and the leaves stay dry to the touch. I also have a small fan for circulating air around the Bulbophyllum and Dracula orchids so in reality my target of 80% - 100% is likely only local to the heaviest planted areas and then only for a bit after misting.

It is quite heartbreaking to lose them . I'll definitely keep your experiences in mind should I see anything unsettling. Thanks!

I've got another question for you - I have always avoided feeding snails to my phantasticus because I didn't want to worry about parasites and about loose snails wreaking havoc in the vivariums. Do you offer snails to your female phantasticus? If so, do you culture your own / how are the snails offered?
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:39 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

I offer aquatic snail from freshwater aquariums. I do raise them myself and have not come across any issues in offering them. Although only one female seems interested.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: ExoTerra 18x18x24 (Non-Frog Build)

I place the snails in a dish with a tiny bit of r.o. water in the dish, for the most part they do not leave the water so you don't have to worry about them roaming. Even if they do get out , they will soon dies as they are aquatic not land.
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