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Old 01-07-2016, 06:15 PM
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Talking 20 long cobalt build

heres the build of my new viv for my little cobalt, if anyone knows good methods for making a GS background please tell me because I don't know where to start

so heres what I've come up with so far, I plan on making a GS background and mounting plenty of bromeliads and air plants. Tips on making the background are welcome



this is just the planning so far, so i can change it if anyone has any pointers
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

my input. I love the placement of the wood. has the potential to be a really awesome vivarium.. But its a double edged sword.. I do not envy you trying to GS and cover it once its cured! gonna be a pain in the butt to get every bit of GS covered hahaha! But good luck, I hope you can do it! One thing I have done in the past is laid down my GS then set the wood into it while its still wet and then foamed over parts of the wood as well. hope that helps
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

You could make a removable background
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

I also LOVE the wood. How about using tree fern panels or cork flats as a background? Either one could be cut or shaped as needed allowing the wood to rest on the background. This would be a lot easier than trying to cover foam.
The only other issue I see is the false bottom. Right now it looks like it is resting on the bottom of the tank. I'm not sure how much you could raise it without needing to cut the wood shorter.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

That is alot of dollars in wood for a frog that most likely wont use it post juvie. i like wood heavy tanks, just be careful not to lose half of it in the great stuff

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Old 01-08-2016, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by Nismo95 View Post
my input. I love the placement of the wood. has the potential to be a really awesome vivarium.. But its a double edged sword.. I do not envy you trying to GS and cover it once its cured! gonna be a pain in the butt to get every bit of GS covered hahaha! But good luck, I hope you can do it! One thing I have done in the past is laid down my GS then set the wood into it while its still wet and then foamed over parts of the wood as well. hope that helps
Thanks for the tips, I assumed already that that part would be a pain, and I like your method of placing the wood in after the foam but would I be able just to put foam in all behind it then carve the excess away?
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by chillplants View Post
I also LOVE the wood. How about using tree fern panels or cork flats as a background? Either one could be cut or shaped as needed allowing the wood to rest on the background. This would be a lot easier than trying to cover foam.
The only other issue I see is the false bottom. Right now it looks like it is resting on the bottom of the tank. I'm not sure how much you could raise it without needing to cut the wood shorter.
Thanks, I have some bark that I plan on using along with coco fiber for the background. And about the false bottom, I've had great success with one this small in my previous two vivs and most of the plants will be mounted and not in the soil
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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That is alot of dollars in wood for a frog that most likely wont use it post juvie. i like wood heavy tanks, just be careful not to lose half of it in the great stuff

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I actually collect and sanitize all my wood myself and the tank was given to me, and the egg crate was salvaged so the only thing I bought was the light and a plant growing bulb for it, each about 12 dollars All I will have to buy is great stuff, coco fiber, silicone, and plants (I've got another of the same lights I'll put on it)
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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You could make a removable background

I've kinda got my heart set on a GS/bark background
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

This is just my opinion, but instead of the GS (I'm assuming that you're going to use the yellow foam then cover it with coir, please correct me if I'm wrong), you could use the black pond sealant that Tetra sells (I think GS also sells it). It's like regular foam, but it cures black, so it looks like rocks. You could use that if you would like a more rocky-looking background.
Good luck!
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by GandalfTheGrey View Post
This is just my opinion, but instead of the GS (I'm assuming that you're going to use the yellow foam then cover it with coir, please correct me if I'm wrong), you could use the black pond sealant that Tetra sells (I think GS also sells it). It's like regular foam, but it cures black, so it looks like rocks. You could use that if you would like a more rocky-looking background.
Good luck!
im not exactly looking for a rocky look but black would be easier to hide with coco fiber than yellow. any tips on the actual construction?
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by Lake View Post
Thanks for the tips, I assumed already that that part would be a pain, and I like your method of placing the wood in after the foam but would I be able just to put foam in all behind it then carve the excess away?
Carving the excess foam away would work but you'd have to remember exactly where you put the wood and I don't imagine that the GS would come off the wood easily, it may leave some behind when you carve it off. You could probably do a test with a small piece of wood and try letting some GS cure on it then seeing how easily it comes off.
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Also I think I remember reading on one of the GS cans that it expands 2x the original amount, so you may want to keep that in mind if you go ahead and put in the GS behind the wood
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:55 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

am I missing something? Where is the drainage area??? Where is the 1/2 - 1 inch gap to prevent the "soil" substrate from wicking moisture from the drainage? If you go to the construction forums here, you will understand the importance to not only your future frogs, but also to the plants...Please, please take that time --the pictures I looked at are doomed as a viable vivarium...sorry....
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by Judy S View Post
am I missing something? Where is the drainage area??? Where is the 1/2 - 1 inch gap to prevent the "soil" substrate from wicking moisture from the drainage? If you go to the construction forums here, you will understand the importance to not only your future frogs, but also to the plants...Please, please take that time --the pictures I looked at are doomed as a viable vivarium...sorry....
The white grid on the bottom is a 1/2 inch drainage layer of egg crate plastic this amount of drainage has worked well on my three other vivs. Again, this is just a brainstorming phase and I have not put in the screen to cover it yet so that might be why you didn't se it. Thanks for your concern, I'm glad you're looking to help
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Originally Posted by GandalfTheGrey View Post
Also I think I remember reading on one of the GS cans that it expands 2x the original amount, so you may want to keep that in mind if you go ahead and put in the GS behind the wood
Ok, I think I will put a small amount behind all of the branches and see how it expands since I can always add more
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

I would recommend increasing the height of drainage to 1" to 1.5", as half an inch would mean constantly removing water. Otherwise, the water will touch the screening barrier and wick up into the soil, creating a veritable swamp. Just for ease of care, I think adding just that little half inch to an inch of drainage will save you a lot of frustration. Anyways, just a suggestion, take it as you will.
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:49 AM
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I would recommend increasing the height of drainage to 1" to 1.5", as half an inch would mean constantly removing water. Otherwise, the water will touch the screening barrier and wick up into the soil, creating a veritable swamp. Just for ease of care, I think adding just that little half inch to an inch of drainage will save you a lot of frustration. Anyways, just a suggestion, take it as you will.
I might do that, but if I did I would have to trim a few of my main pieces of wood. I might just stack extra egg crate overtop of the existing pieces in a sort of mosaic around the base of the wood that would need to be trimmed and just cover it in a second layer of egg crate
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

I've done something similar. I had a central piece of wood that was too tall, and I basically stuck it halfway into the drainage layer (I lightweight porous rocks), and then just cut a whole in the screen soil barrier and placed it around the piece so that the soil just went around the wood piece and not down into the drainage layer.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:46 AM
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I've done something similar. I had a central piece of wood that was too tall, and I basically stuck it halfway into the drainage layer (I lightweight porous rocks), and then just cut a whole in the screen soil barrier and placed it around the piece so that the soil just went around the wood piece and not down into the drainage layer.
I might just buy hydro balls to solve the problem. Or I could stick to plants that like wetter conditions
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

As far as construction goes, I would take the wood out and add GS foam. Carve it down to whatever thickness you want, cover with coir and put the wood back in. The wood would sit loose in the tank resting on the GS. You can carve little notches as needed for the wood to rest on.
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chillplants View Post
As far as construction goes, I would take the wood out and add GS foam. Carve it down to whatever thickness you want, cover with coir and put the wood back in. The wood would sit loose in the tank resting on the GS. You can carve little notches as needed for the wood to rest on.
Ok, do you think a good method would be to do that, then after adding the wood, add a little more foam around where the wood meets the foam then carve, silicone, and cover that in coco? I'm looking to make as smooth of a transition as possible
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Old 01-08-2016, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Do you need GS to hold the wood? Think about this...what if a frog or something else was stuck behind the wood. You would have to break the wood/GS bond to get to whatever was behind it. If you ever need to catch a sick frog/baby frog, or remove all frogs for whatever reason, all that wood would prevent an easy capture. Also, adding/removing plants attached to the wood would also be much easier if you could just lift the piece out.
All in all, I think the wood would look fine just loosely resting on the top of the GS.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chillplants View Post
Do you need GS to hold the wood? Think about this...what if a frog or something else was stuck behind the wood. You would have to break the wood/GS bond to get to whatever was behind it. If you ever need to catch a sick frog/baby frog, or remove all frogs for whatever reason, all that wood would prevent an easy capture. Also, adding/removing plants attached to the wood would also be much easier if you could just lift the piece out.
All in all, I think the wood would look fine just loosely resting on the top of the GS.
A few of the pieces in the picture are temporarily glued to the background to keep them up, Ill look at it again and see if I could make that work, but I might have to rethink the wood placement to get the look I'm striving for if I use that method

(EDIT) I've looked at it and that method would make the project a lot easier, to keep the same layout I will only have to actually attach two or three pieces of wood to the background. Thanks for the help
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Old 01-10-2016, 07:53 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Trim the wood because that is not enough of a drainage layer to prevent rotten soil. Draining would be impossible. The wood will also wick water into the substrate if left in drainage layer

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Old 01-10-2016, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

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Ok, do you think a good method would be to do that, then after adding the wood, add a little more foam around where the wood meets the foam then carve, silicone, and cover that in coco? I'm looking to make as smooth of a transition as possible

Perfect idea. Exactly what I would do. Do as much as the back ground you can with foam/carving/silicone/substrate. Then put the wood back in and spot gs foam it in, carve that after its cured and silicone/substrate it. Can't go wrong. Ive never had a frog stuck...


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Old 01-10-2016, 03:59 PM
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Perfect idea. Exactly what I would do. Do as much as the back ground you can with foam/carving/silicone/substrate. Then put the wood back in and spot gs foam it in, carve that after its cured and silicone/substrate it. Can't go wrong. Ive never had a frog stuck...


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Thank you, Ill do that method
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Old 01-10-2016, 04:00 PM
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Trim the wood because that is not enough of a drainage layer to prevent rotten soil. Draining would be impossible. The wood will also wick water into the substrate if left in drainage layer

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don't worry, I'm raising the false bottom
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Old 01-10-2016, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Leaving some of the wood in the substrate layer isn't the worse thing? I guess pending what kind of wood. I like having some of my Malaysian driftwood wick some of the water up. Keeps it damp and perfect for growing mosses.


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Old 01-10-2016, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Just bought the foam and silicone, I got brown because I thought it would be easier to hide than other colors
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Old 01-10-2016, 06:23 PM
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Leaving some of the wood in the substrate layer isn't the worse thing? I guess pending what kind of wood. I like having some of my Malaysian driftwood wick some of the water up. Keeps it damp and perfect for growing mosses.


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Substrate layer no, drainage layer yes, and with a 1/2" it would be in the drainage

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Old 01-10-2016, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

Hi Lake,

I noticed that you plan on using several bromeliads and air plants...I've seen Cobalts hanging out in bromeliads once in a while, but I don't really consider them necessary, because the frog itself is more terrestrial. Just my $0.02, maybe you can save some plant money.
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:42 PM
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Hi Lake,

I noticed that you plan on using several bromeliads and air plants...I've seen Cobalts hanging out in bromeliads once in a while, but I don't really consider them necessary, because the frog itself is more terrestrial. Just my $0.02, maybe you can save some plant money.
Yeah, I know that the cobalt (especially once mature) won't really use the vertical space as much but I mainly want the epyphites for looks, I'll be choosing terrestrial plants as well for my frog to hide in on the ground. I was also thinking of maybe getting a pair/trio of leucs and making another tank for the cobalt but for now, the broms and air plants are just for looks.
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:44 PM
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Substrate layer no, drainage layer yes, and with a 1/2" it would be in the drainage

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Yes, I've doubled the drainage layer so the wood will not touch it
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Old 01-11-2016, 05:52 PM
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Yes, I've doubled the drainage layer so the wood will not touch it
In my opinion, only my opinion, that still wont be enough. Since you are using egg crate directly on the bottom, there will be no exchange. Idividual cells will fill with debris that makes its way through the screen and will work as a wick. I prefer to put a few pvc sections under mine to bring it up at least an inch. Once again, just my opinion develped through good and bad experience.

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Old 01-12-2016, 01:32 AM
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In my opinion, only my opinion, that still wont be enough. Since you are using egg crate directly on the bottom, there will be no exchange. Idividual cells will fill with debris that makes its way through the screen and will work as a wick. I prefer to put a few pvc sections under mine to bring it up at least an inch. Once again, just my opinion develped through good and bad experience.

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I've already foamed in the background so I can't take it out now, my other vivs with half that height never did that so I'm hoping this one won't either.
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:10 PM
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Updates coming very soon!
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

so after i foamed and carved it, I noticed 2 of my main pieces of wood were ceder/pine so i had to rethink the wood layout:


adding coco fiber:

Started getting plants, so far only one orchid and an air plant:


random pics of the frog:


I've added the wood and tied moss onto some of it. I've also added the air plant I bought. Tips on mounting orchids are welcome its kinda hard to tell from the photos but I have the wood arranged so some of it it juts out into the center from the background:

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Old 01-17-2016, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: 20 long cobalt build

This tank looks great! It looks like your air plant is a Tillandsia, and your orchid is some kind of Phalaenopsis. Tillandsias need to be able to dry off between mistings, and good air movement never hurts either. Phalaenopsis are usually kind of troublesome vivarium orchids, because they get crown rot fairly easily. You can try avoiding this by mounting it sideways or upside down, but it isn't worth the trouble (in my opinion).

Frequently used mounting materials include fly fishing line, zip ties, florist wire (my personal favorite), and in some cases, toothpick "spears" (which I would not recommend for your orchid).
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jjl View Post
This tank looks great! It looks like your air plant is a Tillandsia, and your orchid is some kind of Phalaenopsis. Tillandsias need to be able to dry off between mistings, and good air movement never hurts either. Phalaenopsis are usually kind of troublesome vivarium orchids, because they get crown rot fairly easily. You can try avoiding this by mounting it sideways or upside down, but it isn't worth the trouble (in my opinion).

Frequently used mounting materials include fly fishing line, zip ties, florist wire (my personal favorite), and in some cases, toothpick "spears" (which I would not recommend for your orchid).
Ok, thanks for the input I'll move the air plant to a drier spot. Could I just mount the orchid in a spot the minsters miss? Cause it would still be humid, but it wouldn't be sprayed directly
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