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Old 04-14-2015, 03:05 AM
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Default First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Hey guys, haven't posted for a couple years now, but I think I'm finally going to give it a shot at building my own vivarium! Well to be honest I tried building a 10 gallon viv back when I was 16( 2 years ago), but i was a bit tight on money so I failed miserably

I've been doing a lot of research these past few weeks and know what mistakes I made, so now that I know what I'm doing (and have more money haha) I'm really excited about finally building a successful vivarium!

All I have right now is a drawing essentially of what I want to do. (Sorry, I've never been good at drawing) I didn't even attempt to draw the GS background hehe.

My plan:
  • 29 gallon tank ($1 per gallon)
  • 2 or 3 cans of black touch and foam
  • Flat long wood for waterfall(not sure what type yet...any suggestions?)
  • 3 or 4 black 100% silicone tubes
  • Small water pump
  • Coco fiber for background
  • Some Isopods( I have some, and ordering giant orange isos as well)
  • A few broms and plants(especially moss! maybe from NEHERP)
  • Egg crate and aquarium gravel
  • ABG mix
  • Some T8s for lighting

Am I missing anything?

Oh and by the way, I'm not keeping frogs in this, at least not for a very long time, mostly just for show

One question...Does sphagnum moss grow well in vivariums? If so, i was planning on getting some from my nepenthes collection to save on some money.

What do you guys think? Is it doable? Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

I've seen people on here say they can get spag to come back to life. I just put some in my viv but no luck yet but it's only been three weeks. The key from what I read is to keep it wet and lots of light.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:27 PM
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Well I already have live sphagnum moss, just wondering if it'll grow well inside a vivarium(My sphagnum is in a mini greenhouse) because I don't recall ever seeing some in a vivarium before.

I actually find that mine explodes in growth when I forget to water it. I look inside the greenhouse thinking it's all dead and dried up, but to my surprise it grows quite rapidly for some reason when it needs water.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:19 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Alright so I'm contemplating on whether I should get CFLs or Jungle dawns for this setup. I'd be getting them as a kit from NEHERP...

The CFL kit comes with 1 18W CFL, 2 23W CFLs and an exo-terra medium compact top for $40

The Jungle Dawn kit comes with 1 11W LED, 1 17W LED and an exo-terra compact top for $104

My question is... Is it really worth a $63 difference buying the jungle dawns?
Can you really tell a big difference of plant color/ growth between using CFL's and Jungle dawns??
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Jungle Dawns rock and I purchased mine from the place you mentioned. There are other vendors here and on the web that sell similar LED products that I use as well. I supplement with CFL's but light the tank with LED replacement lamps which Jungle Dawns are.

CFL's will work just fine but if you can make the jump to LED that would be my vote.

Good luck!
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Oh and one more thing, do only 2 Jungle dawn LEDs fit in the medium compact top( Because it has space for 3 CFLs) or is it implying that for a 29G tank only 2 jungle dawns are needed?

If the Jungle Dawns are much better than the CFLs, I'll probably get 3 13W JD LEDs (Unless I only need 2 of them for a tank this size) and an exo-terra medium compact top for a total of $120

Feel free to chime in guys, any advice appreciated!
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polypodium View Post
Jungle Dawns rock and I purchased mine from the place you mentioned. There are other vendors here and on the web that sell similar LED products that I use as well. I supplement with CFL's but light the tank with LED replacement lamps which Jungle Dawns are.

CFL's will work just fine but if you can make the jump to LED that would be my vote.

Good luck!
Yeah i think I'm going with jungle Dawns, i really want great plant growth so i think thats the way to go! just wondering if i would only need 2 or 3 for a 29G tank? Because the kit comes with only 2 JDs, but the compact top included can hold 3 of them. What do you think?
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

you could go with something like a led fixture.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Fixtures: LED Aquarium Light Fixture

for example
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Quote:
Originally Posted by tongo View Post
you could go with something like a led fixture.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Fixtures: LED Aquarium Light Fixture

for example
How does it compare to the Jungle dawns?
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikiwakawakawee View Post
Yeah i think I'm going with jungle Dawns, i really want great plant growth so i think thats the way to go! just wondering if i would only need 2 or 3 for a 29G tank? Because the kit comes with only 2 JDs, but the compact top included can hold 3 of them. What do you think?
For a 29G, two should be fine depending on the plants you grow.

If you want to add a third lamp pick up a small 13W - 23W Daylight CFL to supplement. I use one Jungle Dawn, 1 x 23W CFL and 1 x Tincman LED bulb on my 24 x 18 x 24" Exo Terra in a 3 lamp hood with good results. I have a second 3 lamp hood with only two CFL's that are turned on as needed. I grow ferns, bromeliads and orchids in this tank with good results.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polypodium View Post
For a 29G, two should be fine depending on the plants you grow.

If you want to add a third lamp pick up a small 13W - 23W Daylight CFL to supplement. I use one Jungle Dawn, 1 x 23W CFL and 1 x Tincman LED bulb on my 24 x 18 x 24" Exo Terra in a 3 lamp hood with good results. I have a second 3 lamp hood with only two CFL's that are turned on as needed. I grow ferns, bromeliads and orchids in this tank with good results.

Good luck,

Gary
Alright cool, haha thats about $30 cheaper too thanks!
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Just wanted to chime in... Our 29G kit currently contains only two LEDs because one is the longer 17W model, which is significantly longer & bridges the gap where two bulbs would normally fit. It's tough to explain, but on the 24" Exo Terra hood, there is one small space for a bulb, and one larger space for two more:




In other words, although the kit utilizes only two bulbs, it's about as bright as using three smaller LEDs. We suggest this setup due to the cost savings compared to three smaller LEDs.

There's more fitment info on the individual bulb page, if it helps!
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

So i drew some more wood on the sides so they could look like roots coming out of the background. Not sure if i should just make the roots myself out of ropes and stick silicone and peat moss on them or just use ghost wood?
I have this cool piece of mopani wood, but dont know where i should incorporate it.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

I also started to build the false bottom. First i outlined the pond with masking tape, then cut out the pond shape. It was a pain putting all the little pieces to the perimeter of the pond because it was a weird shape, but putting on the other sides to make it a box was pretty easy.

I'm having trouble putting on the screen mesh barrier, how do you guys do it? ive been using zip ties, but its kind of difficult.

I dont even know how im going to attach the screen to the inside of the pond... any suggestions?
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Old 05-02-2015, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Where ilu buy they false bottom plastic cut outs?
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Quote:
Originally Posted by justcoolforyou View Post
Where ilu buy they false bottom plastic cut outs?
I just bought a sheet of it that was about 4ft long at homedepot, it was where all the fluorescent lights were at. Ask the employees for "Eggcrate" and if they don't understand you, then try "Light diffuser panel", costs about $12.
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

I have a quick question. Is great stuff foam strong enough to hold mopani wood in a background?? I want to try and use some for the waterfall, but it seems really dense and heavy. Has anybody had any problems doing so?
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Alright so i just ordered 2 cans of GS black pond foam, 4 pieces of mopani wood, 5 tubes of black GE Silicone II, a small pump and tubing. Says it'll get here on friday, so see you guys till then! (Not like people are actually looking at this thread haha)
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:50 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Just trying to figure out how to post pictures...

Seems like it worked!
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Alright so I wrapped it up in mesh, but still haven't lined the pond area, probably going to modify it so it doesnt just drop steeply, instead make it transition into the water area.


I kinda forgot i had to make room for the pump haha so im gonna have to tear a corner off of it

PS. sorry for the poor quality, im trying to figure out how to make the pictures look big instead of them being thumbnails
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

So i know people don't really reply to my thread for some reason but i was wondering about how wide i should make the vent?

I live in Phoenix, AZ so humidity here is always around 0%, and i did some research on the vents, and people said that the amount of humidity in the area will determine how wide your vents are. Most people make it about 2" wide, so should i make it 2" as well or reduce it to 1" or something?
Any help is appreciated!
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Old 05-12-2015, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

That depends on the tank and so many other factors. If there is a front vent as well as a top, then you probably need less of a top vent, but if it is an aquarium style with no front vents, it should be larger. I live in SoCal in relatively low humidity and keep a few inches at least on my aquarium style tanks with no front vents, but only about 1-2 inches on tanks with front vents.

Really the best way to know is to get a good hygrometer and make appropriate adjustments based on the humidity levels in your tank.


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Old 05-12-2015, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Can anyone from AZ give a little insight on how wide the vents should be? Or share how big your vents are please? i just dont want to get the glass cut, then find out i have to get another piece cut because i need to make the vents smaller or somthing.
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Old 05-13-2015, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

Good luck


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Old 05-13-2015, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: First Vivarium Build (29 Gallon) Advice Please??

I would go for the 2" vent and you can always cover part of it if you have to.
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