2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc - Dendroboard
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:14 AM
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Default 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

So i recently acquired this beast as a gift. It is by far the largest tank ive had. Im 5'1" and i can easily get inside of this thing. Due to its size i would love to do something ive alway wanted to do but never had a tank that could accommodate it: a tree stump viv. I added a picture that i found on google that was close to what i want my end goal to be. Im actually leaning more towards paludarium than vivarium since im not sure i will ever be able to put PDFs in this bad boy.
I was told it was a custom built tank. It came with an awesome wood stand and hood. They need a lot of tlc, so theyre both currently getting cleaned and sanded, decorated to be baroque style, repainted, and then waterproofed with epoxy resin(has anybody ever done this before? Any advice on how to waterproof wood would be much appreciated. It has to be black).
I have already removed all the old, rotting caulk and will be recaulking it. I also removed the Frankenstein of a sliding screen door mechanism. I would like to replace it with either one(zoomed style) or two(exo terra style) glass panes with hinges. Any advice on that would also be most welcome.
I have a bunch of black pond foam, i think i want to do either an all foam fake tree in the center of the tank, or a hybrid part foam part real wood tree. The foam part would be the part that is constantly under water at the bottom of the paludarium. Has anyone noticed any pros and cons when it comes to real wood vs foam other than the obvious eventual breakdown of real wood? How do plants take to the foam? Do they take better to real wood? The tank will be mostly epiphyte broms, crypanthus, dwarf baby tears, probably some vines i havent decided on yet, and eventually some aquatic plants. Moss would be cool.
I want to make one area that is actual land, cut off from the water area by the trees "roots". The ground area will have a separate drainage system as to not mix the tannin rich water with the clear water feature water. The water feature will also drain to a separate filter tank housed inside the stand. Will probably rig it so that some water gets pumped up to the hood for drip(less dripwall and more rain) and a mist system. Tubes/hoses will not be inside of the tank, so no worries about hiding it or making the mistake of forgetting to give yourself access to it inside the tank incase something goes wrong.
I really want to put a waterproof led light strip down each corner of the inside of the tank as well as a main light feature in the hood. Does anybody have any experience with this? I was thinking about blacking out each corner with caulk and attaching like a quarter of some clear tubing that i could just drop the light strip down into instead of attaching the light strip to the inside of the tank in case any of them burn out and need to be replaced.
Other than that any plant or inhabitant suggestions are welcome! I will be updating with pictures as i go along.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

Depending on requirements for strength and waterproofness I would suggest either West System 655 epoxy (expensive) or fibreglass (less expensive) and finishing with a lacquer finish.

User Pumilo has a clay based mixture that you could use for the above ground, it would allow details and provide reasonably long life.

HD foam (the pink stuff you can get from you local home renovation store) can be carved and coated with a variety of materials to stay waterproof. Zoopoxy is one.

I have used submersible flexible LED strips for algae reactors in reef tanks.

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Old 01-21-2019, 03:23 AM
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That seems like a terrific gift and such a great amount of potential.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:37 AM
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It stinks we cant tag users in posts on here. *yells out a la night at the roxbury* PUMILIOOOOOO
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

This thread.

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Old 01-23-2019, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

That is a huge tank! I feel like the best way to do a stump is to use a section of pipe and smaller sections to build a tree stump/root structure and then fill it out with foam, put some rope on it and then cover it with some combination of peat, silicone, and drylok.

I will say that real wood will end up looking way better and will hold up better depending on the type you get. On my last two tanks I have skimped out and I feel like the rule is to get more wood than you think you'll need (until it would be too heavy of course).

If you are doing a dripwall I would think of looking at hygrolon which is a synthetic fabric that doesn't break down in water and moss goes crazy on it. And of course I'll be the obligatory person to say that make sure the water in the feature area is not too deep if thinking about keeping darts in it, especially thumbnails which would be perfect for this tank since they are so arboreal.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

That,s an awesome tank, although something to consider is access will be limited for maintenance. The builder is based in LA i believe, although I can't think of his name at the moment. He does excellent work.

I would recommend keeping it simple and either going with hygrolon/epiweb and or natrual wood. The wood will last for decades without issues in your tank. Epiweb and hygrolon are specially made materials for horticulture and vivariums that are hydrophilic allowing better growth for epiphytic flora, which you will have a lot of. Tannins however may be inevitable with this setup to some degree unless you run a pretty good canister filter.

You could definitely house a dart that enjoys a high tank, although if so you may wish to use a substrate design that is mostly draining since darts do not use water features as much and the water feature will make it much more complex.

Column sized tanks are tough to layout with limited access for maintenance. I have a 30 gallon or so made by the same person and even that is annoying to clean with the small door.

That said, it will be a great project, its a quality tank ready for a quality scape!
-Andrew

ps. you may wish to look at Kessils for lighting. The height is tough for most normal lights.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: 2'x2'x4'tall build, wood vs foam?, lighting?, etc

What are your goals for lighting, cheap, certain features etc.. What is your budget?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:23 AM
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Havent gotten very far on the tank due to priorities but finally finished recaulking it and repainting the stand. All together it's about 7ft tall. I've decided to try out making my "tree" using the foam/drylok method and also possibly embedding some cork bark in there. I have some black pond foam that's begging to be used. Im probably going to start the tree tomorrow, so I will have pictures soon.

I have already started collecting broms and other plants which is funny because my kitchen already looks like a jungle due to my house plants. If anybody has any broms they're looking to get rid of, I'm buying. Pups are totally fine.

I have two lights already. One is currently being used and the other is a new led grow light that I am going to experiment with as a sort of night light. The primary light for this tank has not been decided on yet, but the hood has ample room.

As for the inhabitants, if anybody has any variabilis southerns or veraderos feel free to message me. Looking for groups.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:25 AM
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Ps not going the paludarium route, there will be no water feature.
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