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Old 10-10-2017, 04:16 PM
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Default Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

Found a cracked 20 x-high 2 blocks from my house...shazam...time to turn that into a dart frog vivarium for my wife's third-grade classroom.

Ultimately it will house a 1:1 pair of Azureus. Yes, I realize it dimensions (20" W X 10" D X 24" H) make it probably better suited to some sort of arboreal thumbnail...but that's just not going to happen at this time It's the same footprint as a 10 gallon, just taller.

More to come...
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Old 10-10-2017, 05:59 PM
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Default

If you put some nice slanted wood from the middle area of the ground up to the middle of the background that almost doubles "floor" space and tincs are willing to climb around on gradual slopes.
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Old 10-17-2017, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - Springtails

Knowing where this is heading, and getting the kids involved, my 4 year old daughter was excited to get to establish a new springtail culture!
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:01 AM
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Default Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - Woodwork Hardscaping Concept #1

Alrighty! Time to post some PHOTOS!

I went through a few "hardscape" (wood) iterations with my friends on Facebook...here's how it went:

Version #1

Just a trunk straight up the back...
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

Version #2

Considering that this will be visible from the FRONT and then the right panel, my second design concept shifted things to the left, and created somewhat of a "tree" of sorts.

The round...well...since I was debating internal air circulation, One of the concepts was to actually use the round, kinda angled as shown in the second photo, as the exhaust for a hidden air system.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

Version #3

Originally, I had selected a really nice piece of Spiderwood for this tank. Unfortunately, the "BEST" orientation for it places it squarely to the RIGHT side of the tank...so if the tank had been blacked out on the right and back, it would've been truly perfect.

That said, I got creative, and I think I stumbled upon what we all agree is the winning basic concept. All the wood will obviously be "up" a little more to account for the substrate.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:15 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - the LED

THE LIGHT I selected to try on this 20x-high is the 18" Beamswork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater 0.50W - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I got the optional timer module for it, but not sure if I'm going to like it or not. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Using our Apogee PAR meter, simply in the "electronic" mode, I measured this to be as low as 20 PAR at the floor of the tank, and closer to 200 at the top.

Incidentally, when discussing this today with a friend of mine from the Orchid world (yes, I'm probably going to put some really fun stuff in here), he was discussing light intensity with me in terms of Foot Candles....OK...so...how do we go from FC to PAR?

I did some digging around looking for a conversion, specifically asking how much PAR is in 1 foot candle of sunlight. That number actually turns out to be 0.02...more or less it would seem. Thus, a plant experiencing a range of 800 to 1400 Foot Candles of light in its natural environment, that might roughly translate to 16 to 28 PAR....and so long as all those numbers are correct, that means my two very special orchid selections for the floor of this vivarium are going to fare quite well with the "20" min that they'll be getting!
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - Background, Step 1

Background, STEP 1

I decided to follow the advice given by NEHERP's guide to some extent, particularly after reading several accounts of folks who had foam coming off their glass. I want to build this to last, so I'm spending the time putting down silicone on the glass first.

I went with DAP 100% Silicone on the advice of my local herp shop who has been using it himself, cited others, and ultimately, saw no problems with it at all. I have to say, researching Silicone has been one of the more frustrating things in Vivarium construction, as many references say only "TYPE 1", while others say "TYPE II" is fine, so long as it's not explicitly mold-inhibitor laced (bathroom and tile type stuff). I should note that there are possibly some differences between the GE and DAP, including the amount of time they can withstand 100% immersion...and I think that detail is often being overlooked in the discussion. And then there's the aquarium-grade silicone at considerably more expense, but there may be times/applications where that makes the most sense.

For me, for this layer, it's going to be behind the foam. I suspect it's almost 100% irrelevant what type it is from a toxicity standpoint as it will be completely covered in the foam.

So here's the pix of the process (and a good shot of the broken panel which I first "patched" by siliconing a piece of glass to the exterior, then painting on the outside with flat black Rustoleum...my go-to for years now when painting a flat color background on aquariums).

For spreading the background, I just used my hand and nitrile gloves. I left it rough, thinking that texture can't hurt foam adhesion (and would in fact probably help).

I should note, for anyone wondering about quantity, during this session I did the 20 X-high (2 tens stacked basically, back and one end) and a 10 gallon I had around (back and both ends). By my math, that's roughly 480 square inches for the 10, and 720 for the panels done on the 20 x-h, and it took around 2 tubes to cover them. So I got maybe 600 square inches out of a tube, approximately. In case anyone else wants to know how much silicone they might need for this step. Again, just approximate numbers.
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Last edited by mpedersen; 10-17-2017 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - in tank fan ventilation

Way overdue for an update on this build!

Back on 10-13-17 I built the in-tank air circulation system based off a concept that my friend Dr. Adeljean Ho showed me. He had used corrugated plastic (obtainable at the big box hardware stores) to create a ductwork system that would be hidden behind the foam wall of his vivarium.

In Ho's setup, he placed supports for the fan to sit horizontally near the top of the riser, the actual ductwork somewhat "open" at the top, sealed by the cover glass. In this orientation, the fan could be easily removed for servicing/replacement.

I really liked his concept, but disliked the amount of space that a fan, oriented horizontally, would require. This is actually my second build for this concept; my first was done in my daughter's 10-gallon with a small 40 mm fan. I found that while the fan is certainly moving air, it's doing nothing for clearing up condensation in her tank. For my wife's classroom vivarium, I wasn't going to take any chances.

So this build uses an 1IP 56 rated fan; I wanted to go higher, but many factors prohibited it on this build. Nevertheless, I looked at IP56 given the dustproof and splash resistance...there's no telling what a 3rd grader may do with a handheld mister.

I'll say now that I tried two PWM (4-pin) Rosewill 120 mm versions, using the Perry Lee 4 channel fan controller - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - they fried in very short order despite supposedly being compatible. When I received a regular, 3-pin version of this fan, it ran FINE and consistent for weeks on the controller. Rosewill and New Egg both were more than happy to just keep sending out fans despite the fact that they were failing...in the end I now have some other fans I didn't even want, 2 semi-dead ones...it should not have been this complicated (I'm not exactly thrilled with my first fan / power supply / control setup either...this is, to date, my biggest gripe with the vivarium hobby).

Anyway, I went with the 120 mm fan and controller on the premise that if it's too much, it can always be dialed back. I can't make my 40 mm fan push any more air unless I swap out the fan itself.

Getting back to the design, I came up with a slimmer profile and a top-loading concept that wouldn't require several square inches of space to be taken up by the ductwork behind the foam background. I was concerned it might restrict flow or something, but that doesn't *seem* to be the case, although the fine-mesh fiberglass screen certainly does slow the fans down a bit (another reason to go bigger than you think you'll need).

A razor blade, black duck tape, and that's about all it took to build out this air circulation system. It pulls from the bottom, exits at the top. The photos should be pretty self-explanatory.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - more fan circulation pictures

Here's the rest of the photos from the fan circulation ductwork build:
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread - Foaming it In

So on 11-2-17 I foamed in the background. I can tell you now that my inexperience with the foam in general did lead to a less than impressive result.
Bottom line, I didn't silicone the cork and fan ducktwork to the tank walls prior to foaming, and that proved to be a mistake. By simply using the foam, as it expanded it pushed things around and out of position, and it also created some bad voids where it puffed out, and away, from the background.

The end result is that things that were aligned flush to the top were no longer. Things that were tight to the back were now an inch or two out, costing some tankspace. So had I tacked the cork and ductwork in place with silicone before foaming, I would've had a better result.

Still, overall, I'm pretty happy with what I got. I used Great Stuff Pond & Stone on this build, and as the photos series shows, I did spray it down as suggested at the end to speed curing.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

This is awesome. I really like the corrugated plastic in there. I have a bunch of extra lying around and was going to use it as the basis for a water feature. But I do have enough for a vent...
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

On 11/06/2017, I did some carving, which revealed that I also had some gaps behind things that would need to be re-filled and re-carved before I could move ahead with this one.








I can tell you now that the big integrated piece of spiderwood is really a challenge to work around, especially since this is a top-opening aquarium and not a front opening vivarium!

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Old 02-04-2018, 02:22 AM
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Default Filing in the foam in the gaps with an extended great stuff applicator

So this tank sat untouched until 1/20/2018, when I was finally ready to get back on it, mainly because the last of Renee's tadpoles from the classroom was finally morphing out...so I couldn't put this off much longer.

The problem was gaps between the foam and the glass, particularly down low where the foam had lifted with the cork as it all shifted and floated around while curing. But how do you get a can of greatstuff into the bottom of a 24" tall tank that has the footprint of a 10 gallon and a huge piece of spiderwood in the way?

Well, you don't. You extended the tube from the great stuff using vinyl tubing and Rescue Tape. I had tried this earlier with tubing I had on hand and duct tape and let me tell you, that leaked at the joint and was a disaster.

So here's what I used and how I built it:



FYI I don't recall the tubing size, sorry. I just took a can of Great Stuff to the tubing aisle at Menard's and found the closest, tightest fit.





Rescue Tape is this self-adheasive silicone type tape that can withstand water and high pressure applications; really cool thing I got years ago at a Reef Aquarium Conference. This stuff is years old, but didn't skip a beat.





And here is the extended applicator in action (kinda, I had to just rest it mid application to take photos, but you get the idea). No leaks at the joint this time! It was a bit odd to use because I think the foam would start setting up before it even made its way all the way through the roughly 3 feet of tubing I had. But it absolutely got the job done, and once I got to all the hard-to-reach gaps, I just cut the tubing off and used the rest of the can normally.





Filled in gaps around the ventilation assembly as well...

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Old 05-15-2019, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

Did you ever post on another thread the finished tank? I seem to remember stumbling across a vivarium of this description build by a husband for his wife's classroom, filled with an impressive number of orchids. Was that you, by any chance? I have been searching for that thread all morning, on here , and on facebook. But I am a member of so many dart/vivarium groups on FB that I am not sure where I saw it...
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Classroom 20 X-high Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by miculi1975 View Post
Did you ever post on another thread the finished tank? I seem to remember stumbling across a vivarium of this description build by a husband for his wife's classroom, filled with an impressive number of orchids. Was that you, by any chance? I have been searching for that thread all morning, on here , and on facebook. But I am a member of so many dart/vivarium groups on FB that I am not sure where I saw it...
Yes, that was me, and no I did not finish this build thread...life just got in the way of finishing this thread, but the build turned out great, and the cohabitation of Azureus and French Vents in it has not been problematic at all! Only two of the orchids in it bloomed so far; the Pleurothallis alleni is in constant bloom. Neither Phragmipedium I placed in there lived long term, which as a perplexing disappointment as they should have faired well.

I really *should* finish this build thread someday, as I hit many snags along the way and had to shift/adjust my expectations. I am really happy with how it turned out overall. I have all the photos here. It's *time* that's always in short supply!
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