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Old 10-04-2018, 04:33 PM
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Default Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

Hey All,

Long time lurker here, I've been frog-less for about 5 years and have decided to return with a medium sized display build for my new apartment. This will be my second time around building a vivarium. I've been deep in the planning stages for a few weeks now and I'm just about ready to begin construction.

Currently living in Manhattan... Surprisingly it's been pretty difficult to find a lot of the stuff I need locally. If anyones in the NYC area let me know, would be awesome to know some local froggers for plants/cultures/resources! Hit me up.

So I decided to go for a 24x18x18 Exo Terra, it's the biggest I can go with the space I've got. I want this tank to be epic for me as well as perfect for my frogs. I haven't decided exactly what to put in the tank yet... I want something really bold with a lot of color contrast. Preferably a medium sized frog that doesn't call too loud (living in a studio apartment haha). I would love some D. Tinctorius Robertus or Green Sipaliwinis if I can find them. If not maybe some Azureus. Would you guys recommend 2-3 frogs in a tank this size? I'm not at all interested in breeding. I know these guys are mostly terrestrial but would be cool to see em use the climbing space I'll be creating. In the past I've had Leucs (soo loud!) and some Veraderos (even louder). Any suggestions here would be great.

In terms of some materials... I'll be using EpiWeb as my background and will use the GS + Silicone method to build structures in the corners using Mopani and Ghostwood. Wondering if I should use some silicone on the part of the EpiWeb that GS will be touching? Going with the EpiWeb because I'd also like to fill the back wall with moss and maybe some oak leaf creeping fig.

Some other goodies include Hygrolon which I'll use to line the edges of a shallow pond to gross moss on in the front area of the tank. SiFly strips for fly proofing & Dusk Moss mix from Glass Box Tropicals as well as a bag of ABG mix and substrate mesh.

Stay tuned for my next steps which will be first steps on the background construction & putting together my false bottom/layout.

Thanks for reading!



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Last edited by EllisGreenDesign; 10-04-2018 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:22 PM
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I have had 2 azureus in a 36x18x18 for a few months and when I first got them they were timid, but now they are often out in the open. People will succesfully keep a pair in a tank as small as a 10 gallon, so I think you would be fine with atleast 2. Mine don't make any sound and will occasionally climb but not often. They look gorgeous and are doing great as display frogs.

I have not used dusk moss mix, but from what I've seen it seems to grow a lot of sphagnum moss, which I don't love the look of.

I can't help with anything else because I am limited in experience.

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Old 10-04-2018, 05:31 PM
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Sounds like good planning! I will say that I hope you have better luck with Epiweb getting plants to grow than I have. It could be just me, though :-)

As for frogs, that is always a tough call. Tincs (including Azureus) will use the whole space, but they will stay on the ground most of the time, for the most part (at least in my experience). That will be true of most of the larger species of frogs. They are capable of climbing but are comfortable on the ground. If you want something that really likes to climb on the branches you put in there, you might consider Ranitomeya or Pumilio. Pums (and some Ranitomeya, as you experienced) can be pretty loud, though.

If you are doing Tincs, up to three in that space should be fine, but I would recommend 2.1, if you do that. Females sometimes fight, especially in the presence of a male. If you go with smaller frogs, you could do more of them, depending on the species/morph. Some are more group friendly than others.

Best of luck,

Mark
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:10 PM
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Definitely looking forward to updates on this!
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:11 PM
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I have had 2 azureus in a 36x18x18 for a few months and when I first got them they were timid, but now they are often out in the open. People will succesfully keep a pair in a tank as small as a 10 gallon, so I think you would be fine with atleast 2. Mine don't make any sound and will occasionally climb but not often. They look gorgeous and are doing great as display frogs.

I have not used dusk moss mix, but from what I've seen it seems to grow a lot of sphagnum moss, which I don't love the look of.

I can't help with anything else because I am limited in experience.

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Ah that's disappointing to hear about the Dusk Moss. I did a bit of a search and I don't see many photos around but there is another post or two that mentions a lot of live sphagnum moss which sucks. I guess I could always pull it out if I'm not into it.

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Sounds like good planning! I will say that I hope you have better luck with Epiweb getting plants to grow than I have. It could be just me, though :-)

As for frogs, that is always a tough call. Tincs (including Azureus) will use the whole space, but they will stay on the ground most of the time, for the most part (at least in my experience). That will be true of most of the larger species of frogs. They are capable of climbing but are comfortable on the ground. If you want something that really likes to climb on the branches you put in there, you might consider Ranitomeya or Pumilio. Pums (and some Ranitomeya, as you experienced) can be pretty loud, though.

If you are doing Tincs, up to three in that space should be fine, but I would recommend 2.1, if you do that. Females sometimes fight, especially in the presence of a male. If you go with smaller frogs, you could do more of them, depending on the species/morph. Some are more group friendly than others.

Best of luck,

Mark

What do you think the issue is with your EpiWeb? I know the stuff doesn't hold moisture very well but I hear it works great for vines/climbing plants. A group of Ranitomeya could be really cool, definitely something worth thinking about. Thanks for the tips on m/f ratio.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

Tincs imo use everything you give them if it'll hold. The only truly terrestrial dart I've seen is Terribilis. I've yet to have one climb up anything unless its huge pieces of wood done like ramps. My azureus routinely climb the glass and use up every bit of space I give them. There was someone here showing off a very tall tank with broms. It looked like one azureus was 4ft up the background.

Don't get me wrong thumbs will use the vertical space a lot more, but there's tradeoffs.

If you want something vines and moss like to climb up then look into tree fern fiber.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by EllisGreenDesign View Post
Ah that's disappointing to hear about the Dusk Moss. I did a bit of a search and I don't see many photos around but there is another post or two that mentions a lot of live sphagnum moss which sucks. I guess I could always pull it out if I'm not into it.




What do you think the issue is with your EpiWeb? I know the stuff doesn't hold moisture very well but I hear it works great for vines/climbing plants. A group of Ranitomeya could be really cool, definitely something worth thinking about. Thanks for the tips on m/f ratio.
Imitators are bold, but you have to watch for territorial issues. Variabilis are awesome in groups and pretty bold. Vanzolini is another one I like a lot that's fairly bold and does well in groups.
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:57 PM
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Tincs imo use everything you give them if it'll hold. The only truly terrestrial dart I've seen is Terribilis. I've yet to have one climb up anything unless its huge pieces of wood done like ramps. My azureus routinely climb the glass and use up every bit of space I give them. There was someone here showing off a very tall tank with broms. It looked like one azureus was 4ft up the background.

Don't get me wrong thumbs will use the vertical space a lot more, but there's tradeoffs.

If you want something vines and moss like to climb up then look into tree fern fiber.
All true, but if you are really looking for something that uses all parts of the tank equally, it isn't the heavy-bodied frogs (Tincs, Auratus, Terribs, etc.) OTHER than large obligates :-) All of my heavy-bodied frogs (even Terribs) get up to the top of the tank to hunt, etc., but mine spend more time on the ground than up high.

I agree about the Vanzos and Variabilis, too. They both have done well for me in groups, as long as I don't over-crowd them.

Mark
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by EllisGreenDesign View Post
What do you think the issue is with your EpiWeb? I know the stuff doesn't hold moisture very well but I hear it works great for vines/climbing plants. A group of Ranitomeya could be really cool, definitely something worth thinking about. Thanks for the tips on m/f ratio.
I am not sure what it is that the plants don't seem to like. Truth be told, I can't even tell you for sure that it is EpiWeb (TM) that is in the tanks that I am talking about, but I think it is. It could be some ghetto off-brand Brillo pad stuff. I didn't build these tanks - I bought them already built. The stuff is super dry (holds no moisture) and it seems really harsh. When my Marcgravia tried to climb the EpiWeb, it sort of got back into the voids behind the first layer and the growth tip ended up getting damaged and it just died off. In another tank I have, the EpiWeb is just empty. Plants seem to favor the organic stuff. I am in the process of re-doing the backgrounds of all of those tanks and I am doing cork mosaics in them instead of EpiWeb. Plants love my cork mosaic backgrounds. Like S2G said, too, I use loose tree fern fiber pressed into silicone on many of my tanks and the climbers/shinglers lover that stuff. His recommendation of tree fern panels is great, too.

YMMV,

Mark
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:19 PM
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All true, but if you are really looking for something that uses all parts of the tank equally, it isn't the heavy-bodied frogs (Tincs, Auratus, Terribs, etc.) OTHER than large obligates :-) All of my heavy-bodied frogs (even Terribs) get up to the top of the tank to hunt, etc., but mine spend more time on the ground than up high.

I agree about the Vanzos and Variabilis, too. They both have done well for me in groups, as long as I don't over-crowd them.

Mark
Ok your right. Thumbs are more awesome
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:07 AM
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Ok your right. Thumbs are more awesome
My apologies. I didn't mean to offend.
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Old 10-05-2018, 12:27 AM
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Ill be following this build as well.

This youtuber used Dusk moss mix in the upper half of his vivarium and it is mostly sphagnum. It does include some different colored sphagnum though. He also laid some sheets of java moss that at one time carpeted the bottom of his vivarium on some pieces of wood near the middle of the vivarium.
Neherp has a moss slurry that you can check out. NEHERP - Terrarium Suitable Moss It seems to grow more fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum) than anything from what I have seen. It is best to buy it when you plan to use it as it is a wet product rather than a dry product like Dusk moss mix.

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Old 10-05-2018, 12:46 AM
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IMO Java moss or riccia are better choices than the mixes.

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Old 10-05-2018, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

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Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
I am not sure what it is that the plants don't seem to like. Truth be told, I can't even tell you for sure that it is EpiWeb (TM) that is in the tanks that I am talking about, but I think it is. It could be some ghetto off-brand Brillo pad stuff. I didn't build these tanks - I bought them already built. The stuff is super dry (holds no moisture) and it seems really harsh. When my Marcgravia tried to climb the EpiWeb, it sort of got back into the voids behind the first layer and the growth tip ended up getting damaged and it just died off. In another tank I have, the EpiWeb is just empty. Plants seem to favor the organic stuff. I am in the process of re-doing the backgrounds of all of those tanks and I am doing cork mosaics in them instead of EpiWeb. Plants love my cork mosaic backgrounds. Like S2G said, too, I use loose tree fern fiber pressed into silicone on many of my tanks and the climbers/shinglers lover that stuff. His recommendation of tree fern panels is great, too.

YMMV,

Mark
Interesting, alright well I think maybe I should rethink my background strategy while I'm still ahead. I can definitely get my hands on some tree fern panels for my background instead of the EpiWeb. I'm thinking maybe I should use my EpiWeb in front of my false bottom to carve out the shape of my pond. I can cover it with my Hygrolon and use that to grow my mosses/riccia on instead.

How does that sound?

Quote:
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Ill be following this build as well.

This youtuber used Dusk moss mix in the upper half of his vivarium and it is mostly sphagnum. It does include some different colored sphagnum though. He also laid some sheets of java moss that at one time carpeted the bottom of his vivarium on some pieces of wood near the middle of the vivarium. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiJrz59ijm4
Neherp has a moss slurry that you can check out. NEHERP - Terrarium Suitable Moss It seems to grow more fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum) than anything from what I have seen. It is best to buy it when you plan to use it as it is a wet product rather than a dry product like Dusk moss mix.
Ah I see what you're saying now. Yeah that's really not the look I was going for, its very pillowy and kind of straggly at the same time.

In my mind I was picturing a much more dense foreground with mosses, riccia and baby tears. I found this image on Pinterest and it's kind of what I'm envisioning.



I found riccia, java moss and pennywort at my local fish shop. The mats are pretty expensive $20 each. I looked closely and noticed that the tank they were in had some baby snails in it which makes me suuuuper nervous as my first tank did have a snail infestation. I would probably need to treat the plants before introducing them to the tank.

Would you say it would be a bad idea to maybe use the dusk moss mix and spread it over my driftwood. I plan to let this tank grow out for a few months before frogs, I want it to feel very lush.

Thanks again for your input everyone.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:11 AM
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If you take the time to grow out and transition the aquatic plants to terrestrial before adding them to your tank, the snails should die during that process. You can also buy tissue cultured snail free aquatic mosses from I believe NEherp and Bruceplant. Just make sure that the humidity is high when you plant them out and dont let it drop for any length of time or you will set the moss back for a while.

Id say go ahead and use the Dusk mix if you already have it. You can always plant other plants onto the sphagnum moss later or try giving the sphagnum hair cuts when it gets too crazy.

I believe that the moss you actually want is called star moss. Its spores are common in sphagnum peat moss and sphagnum peat moss based soil mixes. Someone else was asking about it recently too:
https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pl...moss-help.html
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:21 AM
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There are a lot of people that do planted aquariums that use riccia than get to hating it because of its growth habits. If you keep an eye out you can get it cheap this way. Wish I had a local fish shop with riccia near me consider yourself lucky.

You can also buy baseball size clumps of java off eBay I think it's like 25 dollars. Remember with these mosses even if you get small portions if your conditions are right they will grow in.

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Old 10-08-2018, 09:43 AM
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I used dusk moss in one of my vivs. I hate it. The moss grows super long, it’s full of other less desirable plants, and it has literally taken over my whole tank. 0 outa 5 stars haha.


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Old 10-09-2018, 02:38 AM
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Been a couple days since my last update. I've been waiting on some supplies to be delivered. I received a light fixture from Spectral Designs, it looks awesome super low profile and its really bright.

I also got the rest of my driftwood and I tested another layout, I'm really digging this one so far. I changed my plans a bit based on some feedback (thanks again for all the replies). I ordered four 17.5 x 6 inch fern tree panels which I'll be using as a background.

I then decided to repurpose the EpiWeb. I chopped it up and arranged into a sort of river's edge at the front of the tank. I'm going to spread the Hygrolon over it and down the road hope to have it covered in riccia and dwarf baby tears. I think I'll keep the water level at about at 1 inch high, just enough to keep the first level of EpiWeb+Hygrolon fully submerged.

Let me know what you guys think!



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Old 10-09-2018, 10:54 PM
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Nice progress. I love my Spectral Designs lighting. I hope you are as happy with it as I have been.

I think you will be happy with your decision not to use EpiWeb for the background. Tree fern panels will be great. Just make sure you fill the gaps between them somehow so that you don't get frogs trying to crawl back behind them. I think they are not always perfectly flush on the sides so that might create gaps between the panels.

Does anybody know why tree fern panels continue to be available while loose tree fern is pretty much gone?

I have had good success with both Riccia and baby tears in the past. I love the look of them both. I haven't used Riccia, though, since I got rid of my pressurized CO2 planted tank. I had unending supplies of that stuff while I had the tank up. I do remember deciding that I needed to keep a vivarium a bit wetter than I wanted to in order to keep Riccia happy. Baby tears likes it moist, but nothing like what I needed for Riccia.

Keep the updates coming!

Mark
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:50 AM
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Did either of you get the digital controller from spectral designs?
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:59 AM
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Nice progress. I love my Spectral Designs lighting. I hope you are as happy with it as I have been.

I think you will be happy with your decision not to use EpiWeb for the background. Tree fern panels will be great. Just make sure you fill the gaps between them somehow so that you don't get frogs trying to crawl back behind them. I think they are not always perfectly flush on the sides so that might create gaps between the panels.

Does anybody know why tree fern panels continue to be available while loose tree fern is pretty much gone?

I have had good success with both Riccia and baby tears in the past. I love the look of them both. I haven't used Riccia, though, since I got rid of my pressurized CO2 planted tank. I had unending supplies of that stuff while I had the tank up. I do remember deciding that I needed to keep a vivarium a bit wetter than I wanted to in order to keep Riccia happy. Baby tears likes it moist, but nothing like what I needed for Riccia.

Keep the updates coming!

Mark
I think I'll definitely be happier with the Tree Fern Panels, they're much more realistic. I purchased ones off amazon, they're completely flat and all the exact same size. At 17,.5 inches tall the bottom will actually be touching the water below my false bottom. Hopefully it'll wick upwards and keep the wall nice and moist.

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Did either of you get the digital controller from spectral designs?
I didn't purchase the digital timer, but now I'm wondering if I should. I'm already going all out on this build haha. Do you have one yourself?
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:25 AM
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Nope, just interested.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:09 AM
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Nice use of negative space with the driftwood! Plenty of surface area for plants and frog calling.
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Old 10-22-2018, 02:33 AM
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Been taking this build pretty slow. Thought I'd post a small update, tonight I built my false bottom and installed the tree fern panels to the background and sides. Trying to make this display tank as clean as possible. Will be lining the edge of the tree fern along the sides with silicone and coco for a more seamless look.

The pond area in the front is still a work in progress. More updates coming soon!


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Old 10-30-2018, 02:34 AM
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Hey All,

Back with an update on the build!

Finally found some time this weekend to create the top ventilation strip using the window screen kit method. After I installed that I cut and stuck the 0.8mm SiFly Silicone strips that I got from Glass Box Tropicals. I also siliconed some mesh into the exo terra ventilation strip along the doors but I forgot to take a photo of that. Hopefully this tank is now fully fly-proof. I don't see any spots for anything to come crawling out.

Next I finally settled on a layout. I then used Great Stuff and let that go wild then spent a couple hours carving it back down. I wanted to create two structures in each corner that looked significantly different. In the center I tried to create an area that would mostly be leaf litter with a lot of overhanging branches since the front 1/3 of my tank is moss and water.

Lastly I added in some pond rocks and fluvial stratum as a substrate in my water area. I'm pretty happy with the outcome. I think the right side is a bit more visually interesting but hopefully once its all grown in both sides will blend together nicely.

I'll be doing a bit of touch ups on the background tomorrow then I'll probably let it sit for a week or two until I get my glass top and can set up the mistking system.

Let me know what you all think!
Thanks for reading





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Old 10-30-2018, 08:08 AM
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looking great! cant wait to see this planted out
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

Hey guys, been a few weeks since my last post. Happy to say my build is planted & complete as of yesterday. Will be introducing some microfauna and then letting the tank grow out for a few months before introducing inhabitants.

I upgraded to double MistKing nozzles but still having some issues keeping the tree fern back panels saturated. Also I planted the biophytum sensitivium in a pretty wet section of the tank but as of this afternoon the leaves are very droopy. Hopefully it's just some shock from the transplant and it doesn't die on me.

Here's a list of what's currently in the tank:
Java Moss
Dwarf Pennywort
Dwarf Baby Tears
Cryptocoryne Parva
Riccia Fluitans Crystalwort
Neoregelia Angel Face
Neoregelia Yankee Doodle
Neoregelia Tigrina
Neoregelia Amandae
Neoregelia Fireball
Anubias Barteri Var Nana Bonsai
Begonia Rhinestone
Biophytum Sensitivum
Elaphoglossum Trilobate
Macodes petola
Marcgravias Sp Suriname
Microgramma Heterophylla
Selaginella Uncinata
Selaginella Kraussiana
Dryadella Cristata
Masdevallia Erinacaea
Cissus Amazonica
Epipremnum Sp. Pincushion
Ficus Pumilia “Quercifolia” Oak
Philodendron “Wend-Imbe”

Let me know what you think!

Jeremiah and dmsaw like this.
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Old 02-20-2019, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

Thought I'd post a quick update on the tank. It's been officially planted for three months and it's really starting to grow in nicely. I introduced a pair of green sipaliwinis last week, if you want to see more pics feel free to follow my instagram account @greensips (shameless plug).

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Old 08-14-2019, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

I can't believe nobody has replied since your update picture. Your setup looks incredible! How do you like the Spectral Designs light?
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

This is awesome. Would love to see an update if any are available.


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Old 08-15-2019, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

I second mermaidinMotion, incredible job
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Old 08-19-2019, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Build Journal 24x18x18 Exo

Quote:
Originally Posted by MermaidInMotion View Post
I can't believe nobody has replied since your update picture. Your setup looks incredible! How do you like the Spectral Designs light?
Haha well thanks for bringing it back to the top. The growth over the last few months has been great and its definitely due to the lights. If you're familiar with them you'll know they have a few settings. I run them for 13 hours a day on the medium setting so they only go 100% brightness for four or five hours.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eruantien View Post
This is awesome. Would love to see an update if any are available.
I can post updates here but I also decided to start an instagram account for the frogs and tank. You can check it out @Greensips. I post pretty frequently. Let me know what you think.
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