Two ten gallon verts. One of the biggest aims for these tanks was cost effectiveness and ease. I took me like 2 weeks to do all of this. (and a ton of time)
Background: GE 100% Brown Silicone II, Great Stuff Foam, Eco-Earth and T-Rex coconut bark, local tree root.
(left tank is my 20gallon with 3 leucs, middle is empty, right has 3 imitators)
Falsebottom: Eggcrate, fiberglass screen and printer spool supports
Front: McMaster-Carr 1/8” Polypropylene living hinge, 1/8” and 3/32” glass, 1/8” polycarbonate with 3/4 inch rubber grommets and Equinox no-see-um netting.
Hood: ¼” Plywood, four 6500 K 13 watt compact florescents, Scythe KQ01 KAZE Q fan controller, two 80mm fans, on/off toggle switch
Comments and criticisms are welcomed. These are my 2nd/3rd vertical tanks.
I used the standard silicone/great stuff/eco-earth background with a false bottom. First I glued in the wood and a plastic thing that will hold a plant. The plastic “cup” thing is from a camcorder DVD storage box that was going to be tossed. I used it in my other build and it turned out pretty well; this way I can have a plant higher up in the tank. After 24hrs when the silicone had cured I applied the great stuff. I carved out the background and reapplied some more where I wanted after it had cured.
PRO TIP: Grapefruit knife is by far the easiest way to trim the foam.
The drift wood is a part of a 8ft long tree root I grabbed from the river bank like 4 years ago. It has been inside for over a year and appeared completely dried out. Earlier this summer I had cut it to size, soaked in a weak bleach solution for a few days, scrubbed and then soaked in several changes of clean water. When it was drying, it was pretty heavily covered in mold, but that disappeared as the wood dried out. I used a piece from the same root in my other tank and its holding up well. It doesn’t seem to be decomposing and probably won’t for a long time since its not constantly wet. In my other tank, there has been some mold and mushrooms that have sprung up, but they disappear pretty quick. I considered sterilizing it with an oven, but after reading several threads on it sounds like the only way to get it truly sterilized is an auto-clave. Besides, occasional mushrooms are cool.
I used GE 100% Brown Silicone II. After reading all the controversy over I vs II I decided that the risk, if any, is acceptable. Since there isn’t any hard evidence against it, and it was readily available in the brown color, I went with it. Using toluene would have made it easier to apply, but I’m not exactly rolling in dough. Rubber gloves came in handy here.
For the false bottom I used egg crate and fiberglass screen from lowes. The supports are spools from receipt printer paper that I have been collecting from work. Saves me from buying PVC. I cut them to 1 1/2 inch.
I got my glass from Ace hardware. Glass is way cheaper than I would have thought. It was like less than ten for both tanks. I drilled a hole in the bottom piece of glass for easy access to drain the false bottom. Plus if I messed up on drilling I wanted it to be on the replaceable glass instead of the tank itself. For now I am just going to have a rubber plug there. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...glass-diy.html
PRO TIP: Get glass cut at a glass shop, hardware stores definitely don’t cut the glass as well or as clean. I had to go back twice. Once was because one side was almost 1/8 inch wider.
The bottom piece is 9 ¾ by 5 inches. 1/8” thickness. Middle door piece is 9 ¾ by 12inches, 3/32 thickness. Top piece (polycarbonate) is 9 ¾ by 2 inches, 1/8” thickness. I had a local glass shop cut the polycarbonate for about $8.
The living hinge I purchased from McMaster-Carr. Much lower quality than the ones that come with aquarium hinge tops, but it worked. McMaster-Carr doesn’t give you a shipping estimate before you place your order, so keep that in mind. I would have ordered more if I had known one 6 foot piece would have come in a giant 8 foot long tube.
Originally the top ventilation part was going to be glass, with 2 holes drilled for ventilation. Turns out I forgot how time consuming it is to drill glass. I scrapped the glass I originally bought and has the glass shop cut be polycarbonate.
I could have done the window screen ventilation, like http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...step-step.html
. But I didn’t really have a good way of cutting the aluminum frame. Plus the frame takes up viewing space.
I am using 3/4” rubber grommets. Idea from http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...een-vents.html
The inside diameter is different that the diameter that you have to drill. When I was planning for glass, I had to keep this in mind. Glass drill bits don’t come in every size too.
I purchased some No-seee-um mesh from Equinox; I cut pieces to size and siliconed them on the rubber grommets. I now have a lifetime supply. In the pic below, the No see um mesh is compared to the regular fiberglass screen I got from lowes.
I never took any wood shop classes so the hood was a challenge. I used 1/4” plywood on this tank and 3/8” on the previous. I prefer the thinner because it makes for a lighter hood, but it did make nailing it together harder. If I would have had clamps I would have just glued the whole thing together. The hood rests on top of both tanks, with no overhang. Small Velcro strips holds it in place.
I found this thread useful when I was doing the lighting. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...-vivarium.html
Given the cost of LEDs I opted for the compact fluorescents, much much cheaper.
Lighting: four 13 watt 6500K compact florescent bulbs. I stole a power cord from some computer thing (no idea what it was). Its rated at 10A 120V, which is fine because the 4 bulbs are pulling less 210mA each. The on/off switch controls just the lights and is rated at 6A. I cut and stripped the end of the wire and was attempting to find out which end was the “live” end. Accidently crossed the wires and blew a fuse. Oops. It was kind of exciting however. If you’re looking at the outlet, the hole on the left is taller and the hole on the right is shorter. The right one is the hot wire, so you follow it up to the end where you stripped the wire and wire the hot wire to the on/off switch.
The sockets I bought from menards and are just regular porcelain sockets. Black is hot on those. I used “butt splices” to connect everything together.
The fan controller I purchased from newegg to control the two fans in the hood and the ones that will go into the tank to clear the condensation. They are just 80mm fans I had lying around from old computers I cannibalized for parts. When you get a fan controller make sure you know what amps each channel is rated at; you don’t really want to have a fan attached that requires more amps than the controller can give out.
This is the adapter I am using. All my fans together will pull less then 1/2 an amp.
I had cut the fan controller a bit smaller. I plan on possibly adding two smaller fans to inside the tank to clear condensation on the front.
This shows the wiring i did for the ac/dc adapter to molex connecter for the power to the fan controller. White dashed wire from the adapter goes to yellow 12v molex wire. All black wire from adapter goes to the black ground of the molex adapter.
Front fan controller with on/off switch for the lights.
I plan to order some more plants in the spring when it warms up. So far the temperatures inside the tanks, at the top is 76 and the humidity is about 80. I have the fans on the lowest setting and they don't make too much noise and provide plenty of cooling.
Cost break down:
All glass cut = 13.56
Four pack CF 13-watt = 3.97
Rubber stoppers [email protected]
1.56 = 3.12
¾ inch neoprene grommets [email protected]
1.21 = 4.84
¼ inch plywood 7.9 sq ft = 5.18
Porcelain sockets 4 @3.79 = 15.16
Two ten gallon tanks = ~ 12.00
Equinox no-see-um netting = 8.00
Glass drill bit from ebay ~ 12.00
Living hinge = 8.40+13.74(shipping)
On/off switch ~3.00
Egg crate ~6.00
2 tubes Clear and brown silicone = 12.00
Fan controller = 19.99
Great stuff= 3.00
White spray paint, fans, nails, gorilla glue, Velcro, butt splices, fiber glass screen, zip ties, razor, plants etc FREE
Total was about 150 for two tanks, the one on the right has three imitators in it. Heres one of them. They are actually really bold, much more than my leucs.