Hello all, I wanted to share with you my very first attempt at a vivarium. I started with a 30 gal tall tank that I had for a previous occupant. The wife decided he was looking at the cat like potental food source and had to go. (Red Tail Boa). I know this is a Dart Frog site but I got such good information from all of you that I hope you dont mind I'll be starting my frog keeping hobby with a White's Tree Frog. My girls 5, and 3 are very excited about holding the froggy and I think the little PDF's may not appreciate little hands quite as much. My first attempt at posting pics and such so this may take some practice and a couple of revisions.
The empty tank.
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Then comes an egg crate false bottom. I used plastic zip ties to hold the whole thing in place and cut 1" pvc pipe to support all the main corners. Also made sure to cut slots in the bottom of the PVC to prevent water from getting in and going stagnant.
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I purchased a small pump with a filter to power my waterfall. Here you see some of the plastic tubing run from the access point to the top of the waterfall area. I planed on using Great stuff foam to create my background and water feature. I left a small gap between the false bottom and the glass where i could put aquarium gravel to hide the white plastic.
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I dont know why I forgot to take pictures of the unfinished foam but for whatever reason we can skip right to the coco mating finish. I used DAP bronze silicon for the sides and back, spread thin with a putty knife. One of my small mistakes was to not work in thin layers of Great stuff... I just mounded it in there. The end result is still nice but I think I would have had more terristrial room had I took into account the expansion of the foam. To add depth to the background I have put in a piece of grape wood, drift wood, and slate pieces i got from a local masonry supply. (free by the way). I really played around with how to make the waterfall, tried to use plastic to press a trench into the half cured foam....that doesnt work well. I decided at the last minute to set a piece of slate half into the foam and ended up puncturing the harder outer layer. The unexpected result was for a rather large void was created by much of the interiour foam expanding outward while leaving the outer crust intact. A little persuasion with a knife and rotary tool and I was able to take advantage of the space to make a rather nice waterfall area. Not what I had invisioned at first but I have found out that the picture and in your head and the finished product may not always match perfectly.
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Waterfall/lagoon area close up
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Ok, so I've waited one full week for all the silicon to dry and cure and I'm ready for my first plants. I decided to put in a couple of small peat pots wich got foamed in next to the grapewood. In one I took a cutting from a Wandering Jew I already had. The other was a $2 african violet from Lowe's. Washed the roots well to dislodge all the white styrofoam and fertilizer. I've also gotten the waterfall working and added the gravel to the sides and pond area hiding most of the egg crate.
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I puchased a 24" Exo Terra compact light hood and put in a 5.0 sunglow flourescent, a standard 25watt incandescent for ambient heat, and decided on a flourescent coil blacklight for the night time that I bought at menards. My new plants just arrived from back2eight. I would highly recomend her to anyone looking for air plants. She was a joy to work with, plants are beautiful and very well priced. She is a member here so please look her up for your planting needs.
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And its almost done...I've put in some dry frog moss I found at Pet supplies plus that should come back to life when the conditions are right as well as some dry spahgnum that i hope decides to grow again as well. Used toothpicks to set the air ferns on. According to my source they should affix themselves to the background in time. Now to let it grow in a bit and add my new friend Timrek the Austrailian Green Tree frog, aka White's green tree frog, aka Dumpy tree frog, aka...ahh you get the picture. Thanks for reading my post and if anyone has any questions or if I left anything out please feel free to ask. If anyone has any suggestions or see's any critical errors in my construciton please let me know. My main concern is having a safe and fit habitat for the animal. I've run out of picture room on this post but perhaps it will let me attach a few more if i reply to myself.