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Old 09-11-2019, 02:35 AM
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Default First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

I recently took on my first build in an 18x18x24 Exo-Terra. This tank will eventually house some species of Ranitomeya once I am happy with the looks.

I went with the silicone and great stuff method. I covered the glass with black silicone so it was more aesthetically pleasing than the yellowish foam. Some cork flats were arranged in a way that allowed for some pots to be fashioned into the background.



Once I had a decent layout the great stuff was added. I should have been more tedious about adding it in layers as I had a bit of shirking my first go.



After my foam was carved and plucked, I added another layer of my black silicone and pressed some eco-earth into it. From what I have seen in other tanks,I’ve always liked the look eco-earth gives. Drainage layer, some AGB mix, and some plants came after.



I added some leaf litter and lights and it started coming together a bit.



A little more rearranging.



And that is pretty much where I am at. There were a few things I liked about this build I have not seen many other people do so I thought I would share those now.

First put silicone around the base of my enclosure so the drainage layer was not visible.



I kept a small section towards the back so I could still check to see if it needed to be drained.



Lastly I put fish tubing down before I added my foam. This way I can siphon water out of the bottom of my tank without digging into the corner of my terrarium. The tubing runs right out the top of my tank for easy access.



I still need to modify the top lid as it is currently just screen. I plan to make the back panel all glass and then add a finer mesh screening to the front. I will then have another piece of glass cut to rest on top of my cage so I can move it freely to adjust air flow and humidity.

That’s pretty much it. My only concerns for this tank are the plant species I currently have. I’m aware my alocasia will grow very large but I love the way they look. I plan on adding in a jewel orchid and marcgravia and taking out that nerve plant.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions let me know. Thanks for reading!


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Last edited by jacobsforbes; 09-11-2019 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

Nice vivarium! I like how it's setup.
I like the fittonia, I'd leave it in.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Nice vivarium! I like how it's setup.
I like the fittonia, I'd leave it in.


Appreciated! I may give the fittonia a chance, it has been showing some new growth lately.


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Old 09-11-2019, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

I have them in my two of my tanks and they grow nicely for me. I'm glad I picked them up. you can also start them in moss and they'll root into the moss. I basically just set some into the living moss/dense plant (not sure exactly what to call it) and the fittonia is growing really well, it's not remotely touching substrate so I have no idea how it'll do long term, but it's pretty neat right now.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:10 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

I might give that a try! Nice to know it propagates easy. Also glad to hear live moss is working for someone. I read a lot about moss dying off and people just rip it out because it looks bad. I gave it a shot though and am hoping it sticks around.


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Old 09-11-2019, 10:23 AM
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Great progress. Very impressive. I just started my viv. I hope mine turns out as great.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:14 PM
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Really good looking viv. Although if you have misting system drilling drainage hole is very worthwhile (future thought). I also love Alocasia but they do get tall quickly.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobsforbes View Post
Lastly I put fish tubing down before I added my foam. This way I can siphon water out of the bottom of my tank without digging into the corner of my terrarium. The tubing runs right out the top of my tank for easy access.

Use a connector to add some length to that tubing. Hang the end of the tube that is outside of the tank lower than the end inside the tank and add an airline tubing ball valve to it. You can keep the siphon primed between drainings by closing the valve before the siphon breaks. When not in use, the length of tubing outside of the tank can be coiled up and taped to the back of the tank to keep it out of the way. Just make sure that you have the outside end lower than the inside end before you open the valve or the siphon will break.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

What a beautiful setup! Very tastefully done.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Great progress. Very impressive. I just started my viv. I hope mine turns out as great.
Thanks so much! Enjoy your build, it was a lot of fun!
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

Thank you so much! I'd have to thank my significant other for the help - she is a lot better at spatial arrangement than me.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Originally Posted by Cakers View Post
Really good looking viv. Although if you have misting system drilling drainage hole is very worthwhile (future thought). I also love Alocasia but they do get tall quickly.
Thanks! I considered the drainage hole but drilling it myself was a daunting task. This is something I would consider if I were to do a future build though. I typically hand mist, but I have the misters installed incase I am not going to be around for an extended amount of time.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Originally Posted by Okapi View Post
Use a connector to add some length to that tubing. Hang the end of the tube that is outside of the tank lower than the end inside the tank and add an airline tubing ball valve to it. You can keep the siphon primed between drainings by closing the valve before the siphon breaks. When not in use, the length of tubing outside of the tank can be coiled up and taped to the back of the tank to keep it out of the way. Just make sure that you have the outside end lower than the inside end before you open the valve or the siphon will break.
This is very close to what I had planned to do although I had not considered the option of keeping it primed between drainings. Thanks for the idea!
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Thanks! I considered the drainage hole but drilling it myself was a daunting task. This is something I would consider if I were to do a future build though. I typically hand mist, but I have the misters installed incase I am not going to be around for an extended amount of time.
Have you tried drilling a hole when the tank is full? I may have to do it, but only have done it with the tanks empty.
I never drilled horizontally before.

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Old 09-16-2019, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

Tank looks good and I would like to see what it looks like after a few months of grow in.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

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Originally Posted by 406miles View Post
Tank looks good and I would like to see what it looks like after a few months of grow in.
Thanks! Ill be sure to post an update after it grows in for a bit.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: First build progress pics and my afterthoughts

Greetings,

The new viv is off to a good start. You've used some sturdy and commonly available houseplants in this initial planting. Although they all will likely grow pretty well in your viv, I think you'll need to consider the long term prospects of many of them.

The Epipremnum vine is bulletproof but it is a bit too rambunctious for a viv of your size. I find them to be a problem even in large vivs - but certainly in small vivs they tend to be a bit of a bully.

Alocasia are beautiful plants but their form, which relies on a few leaves that are as large as possible, means they quickly become a problem in the viv. The plant will want to produce progressively leaves but you'll want the rest of the tank to get light too.

The Tradescantia is another beautiful plant but it will take over quickly in a viv. It makes a wonderful houseplant but it tends to be another bully in vivs.

Quick-growing plants are satisfying early in a viv's life when they help to fill-in quickly. I think you're viv will benefit long-term from a transition to slower-growing and/or smaller-statured plants like small ferns, some of the smaller philodendron and maybe some Sinningia or trailing African violet cultivars.

Your mileage may vary: If you are hobbyist who likes to get into your viv every few days anyway, the chore of keeping exuberant growth in-check might not be an issue. Clearing out some of them, though, would give you more room for Bromeliads which your eventual, Ranitomeya residents will appreciate.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:55 PM
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Greetings,

The new viv is off to a good start. You've used some sturdy and commonly available houseplants in this initial planting. Although they all will likely grow pretty well in your viv, I think you'll need to consider the long term prospects of many of them.

The Epipremnum vine is bulletproof but it is a bit too rambunctious for a viv of your size. I find them to be a problem even in large vivs - but certainly in small vivs they tend to be a bit of a bully.

Alocasia are beautiful plants but their form, which relies on a few leaves that are as large as possible, means they quickly become a problem in the viv. The plant will want to produce progressively leaves but you'll want the rest of the tank to get light too.

The Tradescantia is another beautiful plant but it will take over quickly in a viv. It makes a wonderful houseplant but it tends to be another bully in vivs.

Quick-growing plants are satisfying early in a viv's life when they help to fill-in quickly. I think you're viv will benefit long-term from a transition to slower-growing and/or smaller-statured plants like small ferns, some of the smaller philodendron and maybe some Sinningia or trailing African violet cultivars.

Your mileage may vary: If you are hobbyist who likes to get into your viv every few days anyway, the chore of keeping exuberant growth in-check might not be an issue. Clearing out some of them, though, would give you more room for Bromeliads which your eventual, Ranitomeya residents will appreciate.


Thanks for the thoughtful response! I find all of this very valid. I feel that in my initial planting I wanted to take up a lot of space so my tank did not look so bare. In the long run, some of these species will definitely be overbearing. I have already removed several species in my tank and am planning on picking up some slower growing species at an upcoming reptile show.

I currently donít mind getting in my tank for pruning, but it might become a chore after awhile.


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