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Old 10-04-2018, 08:30 PM
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Default Newbie in the UK

Hi folks, I'm fairly new to to the hobby, I currently have a pair of juvenile going on adult Azureus in an Exoterra 18"x18"x24". The viv is planted up with a few broms and the usual suspects, bioactive, with a false bottom, but otherwise a basic set up.

I'm planning a proper rainforest build with a water feature (typical n00b, I know!) In the near future, but being in the UK it's difficult to find the hardware and supplies as the most popular products in the hobby are from the US!

Any other UK herps out there that can share their finds for hardware and landscaping viv equipment and supplies in the UK?

Lively to meet you all *waves*.

Here are my tincs for attention 😍
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Newbie in the UK

Welcome!

I'm also from Europe so I know you frustration about finding similar supplies that are used in the US. Many things can be found though but under different brands. Only thing we don't really have cheaply available is egg crate (at least not in Sweden). So for a false bottom other options are needed. But there are many options and ways to construct a false bottom or drainage layer so that's not really a concern in my opinion.

My tip is to focus on what function you want out of it and then go search through big hardware stores and see what you can find. Try to think creatively and out of the box. That's how egg crate was discovered in the first place I'm sure of.
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Newbie in the UK

Welcome! Its funny that we look at European style glass vivariums, European plant selection, and overall European years/experience in the hobby with envy and you guys look at our "lets cobble things together with random things I found in the hardware store" approach with envy.

For example, our vivarium selection is either re-purposed fish aquariums or Exo-terra/Zoo med vivariums, which are themselves poor copies of the craftsmanship of Euro style glass vivariums.

You guys have plant cultivars that go back to Victorian times. People in Europe have cared about specific tropical plant cultivars so much that they have kept them alive for multiple hundred winters (before electricity!!!) and through multiple wars. We on the other hand gravitate to what ever is new and flashy and cheap to mass produce.

If anything we copied Europeans when it comes to building vivariums. We saw European two part foam backgrounds and someone over here went "Hm... I could cobble something like that together with this left over can of greatstuff from the hardware store" European hobbyists inspired Americans hobbyists to come up with the off the wall uses for random hardware because they felt that Europeans had easier access to quality vivarium supplies.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:06 AM
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Smile Re: Newbie in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalle View Post
Welcome!

I'm also from Europe so I know you frustration about finding similar supplies that are used in the US. Many things can be found though but under different brands. Only thing we don't really have cheaply available is egg crate (at least not in Sweden). So for a false bottom other options are needed. But there are many options and ways to construct a false bottom or drainage layer so that's not really a concern in my opinion.

My tip is to focus on what function you want out of it and then go search through big hardware stores and see what you can find. Try to think creatively and out of the box. That's how egg crate was discovered in the first place I'm sure of.
Hi Kalle, thank you for the welcome! (sorry it's been a while, my son has been sick and needing lots of attention!).

I've also recently become a member of RFUK (Reptile Forums UK) which has pointed me in the right direction for a few things. It seems that fellow froggers are getting hold of egg crate (or light diffuser panels) here, I haven't investigated yet, but hoping I'll find some suppliers at a reasonable cost. I'll pop back and post links if I do

I'll post a detailed run down below, but I seem to have spec'd up most of my hardware for the new build, let me know what you think!
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Newbie in the UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okapi View Post
Welcome! Its funny that we look at European style glass vivariums, European plant selection, and overall European years/experience in the hobby with envy and you guys look at our "lets cobble things together with random things I found in the hardware store" approach with envy.

For example, our vivarium selection is either re-purposed fish aquariums or Exo-terra/Zoo med vivariums, which are themselves poor copies of the craftsmanship of Euro style glass vivariums.
Hello! Thanks for the welcome

I've recently found a supplier for European vivs who is not far away from me (well, nothing in the UK is far away in US terms!) about an hour or so. However I won't be having the glass sloping false bottom, as this seems restrictive to me, unlike egg crate which can be planned to suit the viv's features and is flexible for future rip downs and rebuilds! From what I understand, Euro vivs are desirable because their ability for the airflow to keep condensation to a minimum on the doors, is that correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okapi View Post
You guys have plant cultivars that go back to Victorian times. People in Europe have cared about specific tropical plant cultivars so much that they have kept them alive for multiple hundred winters (before electricity!!!) and through multiple wars. We on the other hand gravitate to what ever is new and flashy and cheap to mass produce.
Indeed, we do have a rich cultivation history, but you try and find places in the UK that sell tropical species to consumers! They are few and far between. There appears to be many other suppliers on the European mainland, in Germany and Sweden for example, but that might as well be over the Atlantic for us (especially soon, with this Brexit nonsense ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okapi View Post
If anything we copied Europeans when it comes to building vivariums. We saw European two part foam backgrounds and someone over here went "Hm... I could cobble something like that together with this left over can of greatstuff from the hardware store" European hobbyists inspired Americans hobbyists to come up with the off the wall uses for random hardware because they felt that Europeans had easier access to quality vivarium supplies.
I hear what you're saying. I guess the difference is that now we are all so advanced in technology we rely on learning from online resources like YouTube. There aren't many (not that I've been able to find) who have instructional videos from the UK, so we end up watching the US and Canadian hobbyists and then trying to find the materials they use!

But there are some things that have us stumped still. Like MistKing for example. I went to order from their European website a few weeks back, only to discover that they no longer supply direct to the UK (only Europe). If you want to purchase anything MistKing in the UK, you need to buy from a retailer who are supplied by Perigine Live Foods, who have a monopoly on MistKing in the UK. This means it's more expensive, and we don't get the upgrade options like the Hygrostat

So looks like it's going full circle! You guys are starting to lead innovations in the hobby
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:37 AM
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Hello again, sorry it's been a while, my 8 month old baby boy has been ill with Hand Foot and Mouth (a bit like chicken pox) and has been demanding a lot of my time!

So as I mentioned before, I've been planning a much larger project (looking at a 35" wide, maybe 23" high MAX, 16" deep). This has been accelerated as my ExoTerra has sprung a leak and damaged the sideboard it lives on I think the tincs will be even happier in a larger set up, and I'm provisioning for better quality equipment.....

I've decided to go for a euro style viv and intend to have it made (with all the relevant holes) by Rainforest Vivs in South Wales. I'm tempted however to forego the glass false bottom and build my own egg-crate false floor sump so I can add a dripwall/stream/swamp feature using an internal filter pump. I intend to use the expanding foam/silicone/eco earth method to sculpt the background, and considering using Elastupor/Elastopur with pigments over polystyrene structures to create a stream/waterfall rock effect. A question - does Elastopur dry matt or gloss? I love the effect the Rockoflex (or cement/grout) creates, but as far as I understand, it still needs to be sealed to be safe and waterproof, and epoxy is very gloss!

I've spec'd up a Mistking system, going for the Starter v4.0 and hit a stumbling block when I went to checkout on their EU website and it only then decided to explain they don't supply to the UK No problem I hear you say - there's loads of UK based retailers? Yup, there are, but I had decided by this point to upgrade to the Hygrostat instead of the Seconds Timer, I also wanted to add the Plus Pack which seems like good value for the extra misting assemblies and the ZipDrip etc. None of the UK retailers offer these upgrades

I'm going for a real artistic build (I'm fairly creative!) so have decided to include a (no doubt superfluous) external fogger (Lucky Reptile Super Fog II) to add a bit of atmosphere, using the Multi Outlet add on to vent from multiple points of the background close to the substrate floor on a timer.

I currently have a retailer looking into the possibility of supplying the MistKing HT system I spec'd up including the upgrades through Peregrine - but I've also figured I could just settle for the MistKing ST and instead get the Luck Reptile Hygrostat, so instead of my mist system running on RH, I could have the fogger controlled by Hygrostat instead.

What do you think? Is the MistKing Hygrostat a good upgrade and worth the hassle? What is your experience with it? Any suggestions are welcome.

Ooo, and before I go, one last thing. Lights. I've been searching with very little success to source a Beamswork Evo Quad. I've heard such good things about them, but cannot find anywhere reliable to buy one. Have they been discontinued? Or is it yet again something that isn't available in the UK?

If so, I think I've settled on the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CC. It seems to have great reds and is bang on the Kelvin recommended for decent plant growth. My fireballs have lost their colour, so it would be great to get them looking good again. Also I'm a sucker for the different gimmicks a customisable light can offer Anyone had any experience with Finnex?

Thanks in advance folks, looking forward to reading your replies
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Old 01-05-2019, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Newbie in the UK

*watches the tumbleweed roll on by*

Well, Happy New Year folks! Hope you all had a good Christmas?

Did my initial delay in responding kill this thread? Hope I haven't offended anyone

Figured I'd post an update for posterity, it's most likely that I'll keep this thread going and evolve it into my build thread. Maybe it will be of interest as it develops?

[NB: Unless the readers/mods would prefer me to start a new build thread in the relevant section, with a more relevant title? Just let me know.....thanks.]

So, nearly 2 months on, my Exo Terra is still leaking in it's new location on my living room floor (on a black bin liner, classy! ) but the tincs are thriving. AND I got a whole bunch of hardware for Christmas so that's softened the blow

I've now changed my whole plan for the hardscape construction. I will be using polystyrene to build the structure of a waterfall and stream, and adhering basalt (black granite - true granite, not quartz) to it with black aquarium silicone to create the finished product. This way, I keep the overall weight down, but get the natural appearance of rock, without the expense and mess of Elastupor/Elastopur, Rockoflex, cement/grout, or epoxy. I might need to use some epoxy to seal the stream bed, but that's far more manageable.

That structure will be sat on a egg crate/light diffuser false bottom, negating the use of hydroballs and further reducing the weight, and providing more volume in the reservoir to help handle any excess discharge from a misting malfunction.

For the background, I'm pretty certain I'm going to create the overall structure with expanding foam, but instead of the silicone/coco finish, I'm going to try the clay method. I like that this will further avoid the use of unnatural adhesives (like the silicone). I'll have pieces of cork and/or wood branches included in the background, but these will be placed strategically and not make up the majority, as I want to grow in the background with full epythite/moss coverage. I imagine I'll achieve a similar affect to a hygrolon background - ie. it will look a bit bare to start with, but over time the growth will develop it into a satisfactory display :-)

I'm still factoring in a drip wall on the opposite side wall to the waterfall, at the moment the plan is to construct it purely out of cork (with ABG or sphagnum stuffing), and the "pond" the stream runs to will be underneath it.

On to the tech. I buckled in the end and purchased the Mistking, but Internet Reptile had a great Black Friday deal on so it made sense to upgrade to the Ultimate system. It includes the ZipDrip, extra spray assemblies and other accessories I coveted from the add on package Jungle Hobbies offer outside of the UK. This meant foregoing the hygrostat upgrade and getting the standard ST Timer, but I got over that and fell back to my contingency plan of getting a separate hygrostat with the plan to use it to run the Lucky Reptile Super Fog II and a set of two 40mm fans. I settled on the Inkbird Humidistat in the end, as it can control both.

Okay, so the fogger and fans might be a little bit overkill and not as likely to kick in if I get the Mistking timings right, so it's a bit superfluous and indulgent, but like I said I'm going for a bit of atmosphere and drama in the finished project. Also, I've only got one shot at including all the possible hardware I might want in the tank, as I don't relish the idea of ripping the build out at a later date to drill more holes in the Euro Viv and build it all again. AND, I don't have the luxury of a frog room, or the space for one (yet.....maybe one day? A girl can dream ), so it's not like I can just do another build in the future. THIS IS IT! I'd rather have the tech there and non operational.......

So, my ill gotten gains so far in anticipation of the build:

- Mistking Ultimate System v4.0
- Ciano CF40 Filter Pump
- PVC piping (in both 8mm and 6mm internal diameter) generic from Amazon
- Elbow and T connectors (in order to run both a waterfall and a drip wall from the same pump with the above tubing) again, just got generic ones from Amazon
- Lucky Reptile SuperFog II Humidifier
- Lucky Reptile Superfog II Multi Outlet
- Inkbird IHC-200 Humidity Controller
- Two 40mm fans (and relevant power cables)

And on it's way from the States:
- Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CC 36" LED light

I might even be able to get the Euro Viv ordered soon, now I have the equipment, as I'll be able to tell Rich what holes need to go where......

Next up I'm researching the best/most cost effective places to get ingredients for the clay background mix, ABG mix substrate......oh, and egg crate.
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