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Old 12-26-2018, 07:06 PM
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Default New 36x18x24 build journal

Returning to the hobby after a few years of concentrating on a reef tank. Now that I got the reef where I want it and bought my own place, itís time to build a new Vivarium. I never did a build journal before so weíll see how it goes as I want to try out some new materials and skills I picked up over the years.

The build will be an Exo Terra 36x18x24. For my reef tank I built my own sump and free standing refugium, so Iím going to use those techniques to make a pond with drip wall and waterfalls, plumbed to a 10 gallon sump. Will be using 2 part epoxy with the goal of avoiding the use of great stuff. Iíll build my own stand with full canopy to keep light in, cats out, with built in fans for circulation. I will convert the top to all glass with holes drilled for fans.

Tools of the trade


First step was to drill two hole in the bottom. The pond/waterfall area will be isolated from the ground area, so I drilled a 45cm hole for 1Ē bulk head to return water to the sump. The false bottom area I drilled a hole for 1/2Ē bulkhead for drainage. I made a template using 1/4Ē pvc board to drill the holes.





Finally for this first installment, I learned that before starting, it is a good idea to remove the doors and tape off the plastic in the front to protect it from adhesives and scuffs.
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Next step was to cut and install the glass divider. I used pieces of wood to hold the divider perpendicular at a 6Ē width.



Next step was to build the base for the waterfall. I used quick setting 2 part epoxy made for coral frag mounting to attach egg crate to the glass. I used a wood spacer to align the egg crate at exactly 8Ē from the bottom. I found this method much easier to keep the ďbracketĒ level than measuring and making marks. When applying the epoxy I also used a block of wood wrapped with wax paper to keep the epoxy from coming above the egg crate.






After that set I started covering it with the free form epoxy, this is the same stuff they make coral inserts with on the show Tanked.

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Old 12-26-2018, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Next my friend moose supervises construction of the waterfall base.




I used a rubber rock mold, made by woodland scenic for model railroads to press in to the epoxy to for rocks. The rock appearance will really come to life when I paint it
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Old 12-26-2018, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Moose signs off on hardscape layout


Starting to install return lines for waterfall and drip wall


Now filling in rock work and cork to cover plumbing


Routing the return lines




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Old 12-26-2018, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

I got on a roll filling everything with rock work, driftwood, cork bark and silicone/back ground mix. You can see where I added false bottoms to some of the open cork pieces which become planters.








Jeremiah likes this.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Worked on the plumbing the last couple days. This is the pump Iím using

This is the brand I use on my reef tank, so I know they are quiet and trust them. I got a model with a higher gph than I would need because of head pressure, and all 5 lines have separate control valves.




I did a water test and found a couple spots I need to add more epoxy to direct the flow where I want it to go.




Next up I will build the stand while the epoxy and paint dry.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:04 AM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

So I got the stand mostly built and am installing equipment. I still have to attach the doors but Iím going to wait until I get it mostly set up.







I installed 2 fans that will run on timers, but only in the summer, the one on the right blows in, left blows out. Upper right hand corner you can see a removable access hatch to get to the plumbing if needed. I made a simple sump, (iíll Post close ups later). In front of the sump is the misting reservoir. I made the stand out of pine to match the entertainment stand it sits next to. Five coats of polycrylic inside and out. I got a couple shipments of plants this past week so I have to get cracking.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Wow, I should have done this much preplanning. Definitely following because it's going to turn out great!
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Skipping forward a few steps




For ventilation in the tank, I used these 50mm fans, drilled a 45mm whole in the glass, cut a small piece of screen, then used a tiny bead of silicone to attach the fan to the glass. This fan blows air in and is the left front corner, there is also one that blows out in the back right corner. These fans are lined up with the fans I installed in the stand itself.

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Old 01-09-2019, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: New 36x18x24 build journal

Nice, man. Real nice. I'm also a dedicated fan of the Sicce S-S 1.5's. And double-drilling for 1) return/sump water and 2) drainage layer / discard water. And finally, I love epoxy!!! Ha ha ha. Seriously, I do. Nice use of the blocks and wax paper. Old-school analog works.

Cheers
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