36x18x36 ExoTerra build. Thoughts on mound clay, drainage, and ebay clay background? - Dendroboard
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Old 10-23-2019, 07:49 PM
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Default 36x18x36 ExoTerra build. Thoughts on mound clay, drainage, and ebay clay background?

I have had a 24 x 18 x 18 Exo going for 3 years now. I originally put it together for Darts, but never got around to getting them, and instead it has just been a really successful bioactive terrarium for my orchids, gesneriads, begonias, etc. I will probably never add animals to it, besides the springtails and isopods that are in there, because I have used a variety of fertilizers in there off and on and just am not sure about the salts levels. It's set up with the Josh's Frogs layered substrate method (false bottom grow-rock stuff that they sell/ABG/Sphagnum/leaf litter), cork panel background, Satellite-pro LED light fixture, glass top with 2" screen strip at back, and I hand mist the background every day or two (or three). It's been a good set up, maintains 70-80% humidity, has good airflow (I never deal with plants melting) and the substrate stays evenly moist with just passive wicking from the drainage layer, which I top off a few times a year with R/O water if the water level falls below 1/2" or so.


I have been planning a much bigger one for the last year, and finally went and picked up the big 36 x 18 x 36 Exo at NARBC in Chicago a few weeks ago. Now that I am getting ready to place orders for stuff to build it out, I am wondering if anyone has experience specifically with some of the things I am planning and if they have any feedback.

I have a few biases about the way I like to do things -I dont want a bunch of equipment in the tank, and I want to keep things as simple as possible, built for longevity, using natural materials as much as possible, and just generally take advantage of the bioactive/self contained eco-system aspect as much as possible.

I plan to house in it (later, I want the build to mature at least 6 months) a group of blue-back reed frogs, and possibly a group of Phelsuma klemmeri farther in the future yet. I know multi-species enclosures are a contentious subject, and I dont really want feedback on whether or not multi species enclosures are ok - I have done lots of research, and it's not a set in stone plan, so not something I feel needs to be argued about here and now. Mostly I just want to make sure my build takes the possibility into consideration, so that it doesnt preclude it later on if I decide I want to do it.

I need to be able to grow all of my fancy plants, in all sorts of ways, in it, and that has informed the design for my build primarily. But it also needs to be set up to be an ideal enclosure for its future animal inhabitants, so if I am potentially falling short there, I would like feedback on those points.

The build:

Equipment: Custom Spectral Designs LED Panel with added diode spots, UVB and basking lights can be added at the back of the tank later if needed. Repti-fogger with multi port (more on that later).

Water feature: nothing complicated, just a 1-2" deep pool at the front on one side

Substrate: I want to use a clay substrate for longevity, good microfauna populations and because I have heard really positive things about it for plant growth. At this point I think I have settled on using Valley Athletics Mound Clay (not Turface) as a substrate, topped with a thick layer of leaf litter. Is there any reason not to use a thin layer of ABG over the mound clay and under the leaf litter initially? It seems like it is just a head start on getting a layer of partially decomposed organic material for plants. I have read the ultimate clay substrate thread, and everything else on here I can find, but except for Emily Lisborg at In Search of Small Things, I havent seen anyone discuss using mound clay. Is anyone using it?

Drainage Layer/False Bottom: I am probably most hung up on this part, cause I find the discussions about it to be confusing, contradictory, or not really specific to what I am doing. My inclination is to do 2" of LECA, covered in screen, or covered in eggcrate then screen, with the screen siliconed in around the edges to keep the drainage layer isolated. The eggcrate seems redundant, but it seems easier to apply screen with eggcrate for structure than trying to corral the LECA with just screen. On top of the screen I am thinking about putting 1" of turface, then my 3 or 4" of clay substrate on top of that. I feel like putting the mound clay directly on the screen is just going to plug the screen and inhibit drainage. The turface seems like a good interim particle size between the clay and the screen. The water feature will be at the front, with rock covering the held back drainage layer, and the water feature level will just be the water level of the drainage layer. I can remove water from the drainage layer by just sucking it out of the water feature if I need to. So... too complicated? I guess I am a bit confused about how the the clay substrate and drainage layer interact. With my other viv, it wicks up and keeps the ABG moist, but does the clay substrate really wick? In the case of using clay substrate, am I just collecting excess water in my drainage layer (and providing the water level for the water feature) and wicking up is not as much of a consideration? I could just use 3" of Turface and skip the LECA /eggcrate/screen altogether, but is just holding back the turface drainage layer from my water feature with rocks sufficient? Anybody using clay substrate with a water feature and just Turface for a drainage layer, no screen or anything?

Background: I want to Gorrilla Glue a cork and tree fern mosaic to the back glass, then fill in the cracks with that Terrarium Background mud/clay from eBay. I see people on this board have suggested it, but I havent seen a lot of discussion from people actually currently using it. Does anyone have experiences with it to share? Does it last? Do plants like it as well as advertised, specifically epiphytes? Do you find that it wicks well?

As far as the rest, a big ghostwood branchy tree on one side for mounting large orchids, liana and other horizontal branches up higher, dark caves behind the water feature (for my super low light begonias like dark vader and pavonina) fashioned out of big cork flats and rocks, held in place with gorilla glue and the background clay/mud stuff, playing with stone around the water to grow maidenhair ferns as epiphytes.

I will redo the exo terra top to add glass over at least the front half. I have been happy with the airflow/humidity on my smaller viv with just the 2" screen strip along the back of the top. I could just leave a 3" strip of screen along the back of this one. Does that seem like a lot of ventilation without a fan, or not a lot? I don't want to keep things dripping wet, I think it causes problems, and my humidity in my current viv is always just naturally high enough without spraying water all over everything. I am hoping it will be the same in this much larger enclosure.

I plan to hand mist, mostly just to keep the background moist. Will the clay substrate need to be watered beyond that? I am inclined toward using a fogger with three ports at the back to just pour fog down the background every morning right before the lights come on - wondering if I let it fog heavily for 15 minutes or so if it will moisten the background/mounted plants on its way down before settling at the bottom for awhile before it dissipates? I dont even find that my epiphytes mounted mid tank need much in the way of misting once some moss grows in around them, so I am hoping fogging will provide enough moisture for most things without a ton of hand misting (I will have to mist a lot at first, of course).

I would love to hear thoughts/experiences from anyone doing similar things!
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: 36x18x36 ExoTerra build. Thoughts on mound clay, drainage, and ebay clay backgrou

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
I have had a 24 x 18 x 18 Exo going for 3 years now. I originally put it together for Darts, but never got around to getting them, and instead it has just been a really successful bioactive terrarium for my orchids, gesneriads, begonias, etc. I will probably never add animals to it, besides the springtails and isopods that are in there, because I have used a variety of fertilizers in there off and on and just am not sure about the salts levels. It's set up with the Josh's Frogs layered substrate method (false bottom grow-rock stuff that they sell/ABG/Sphagnum/leaf litter), cork panel background, Satellite-pro LED light fixture, glass top with 2" screen strip at back, and I hand mist the background every day or two (or three). It's been a good set up, maintains 70-80% humidity, has good airflow (I never deal with plants melting) and the substrate stays evenly moist with just passive wicking from the drainage layer, which I top off a few times a year with R/O water if the water level falls below 1/2" or so.
First off, let me say that your tank is gorgeous and this thread is exactly how to solicit feedback from the board. Thanks so much for taking the time to do your research before asking extremely broad questions that would take hours to answer and would just be a rehash of what is already on the board!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
I have been planning a much bigger one for the last year, and finally went and picked up the big 36 x 18 x 36 Exo at NARBC in Chicago a few weeks ago. Now that I am getting ready to place orders for stuff to build it out, I am wondering if anyone has experience specifically with some of the things I am planning and if they have any feedback.

I have a few biases about the way I like to do things -I dont want a bunch of equipment in the tank, and I want to keep things as simple as possible, built for longevity, using natural materials as much as possible, and just generally take advantage of the bioactive/self contained eco-system aspect as much as possible.

I plan to house in it (later, I want the build to mature at least 6 months) a group of blue-back reed frogs, and possibly a group of Phelsuma klemmeri farther in the future yet. I know multi-species enclosures are a contentious subject, and I dont really want feedback on whether or not multi species enclosures are ok - I have done lots of research, and it's not a set in stone plan, so not something I feel needs to be argued about here and now. Mostly I just want to make sure my build takes the possibility into consideration, so that it doesnt preclude it later on if I decide I want to do it.

I need to be able to grow all of my fancy plants, in all sorts of ways, in it, and that has informed the design for my build primarily. But it also needs to be set up to be an ideal enclosure for its future animal inhabitants, so if I am potentially falling short there, I would like feedback on those points.
I don't have any idea about geckos, so I can't comment. I do know that there are reasons that people recommend against multi-species enclosures and I am sure you have read them. I would just recommend that your guidance be the welfare of the animals first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
The build:

Equipment: Custom Spectral Designs LED Panel with added diode spots, UVB and basking lights can be added at the back of the tank later if needed. Repti-fogger with multi port (more on that later).
I have not been unhappy with my experience with all SD lights. I have specific experience with a light similar to what you are doing. I asked Kurt to put together a light with 2x 30watt spots in the front and I have 3x 10watt diodes in the back. Seems to work well. It's bright enough that I usually have the light turned down. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like my frogs avoid the top parts of my tanks when the lighting is too bright.

Sounds like you are going with the fogger in combination with misting. That seems viable to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
Water feature: nothing complicated, just a 1-2" deep pool at the front on one side
If you have to have a water feature, this is the most benign option. I don't know about the requirements for reed frogs, but dart frogs don't even need this. The only caution I would have is that you have a "ragged edge" where all of the layers of substrate are exposed and I have found it really difficult to maintain their separation when you have these sloped, exposed areas. You could cap it off somehow with silicone or a dam of some other material or something, but I have never once seen an example of these techniques that didn't look phony as a football bat. Maybe you have a novel approach that avoids this problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
Substrate: I want to use a clay substrate for longevity, good microfauna populations and because I have heard really positive things about it for plant growth. At this point I think I have settled on using Valley Athletics Mound Clay (not Turface) as a substrate, topped with a thick layer of leaf litter. Is there any reason not to use a thin layer of ABG over the mound clay and under the leaf litter initially? It seems like it is just a head start on getting a layer of partially decomposed organic material for plants. I have read the ultimate clay substrate thread, and everything else on here I can find, but except for Emily Lisborg at In Search of Small Things, I havent seen anyone discuss using mound clay. Is anyone using it?
This stuff looks super cool. I have never seen or heard about it. I will definitely look into it in the future. The cost is roughly what Turface is but shipping was rough and I couldn't even get an estimate for multiple bags. I am sure that could be worked out by calling them. My experience is mainly with Turface and I have had good luck with it for dart frogs, but I am sure your expectations for growing plants are far higher than mine. I don't plant a lot in the substrate, so I don't really care much about that aspect. Some plants grow for me in the substrate, some don't. I don't ever fertilize and I don't have an especially green thumb with some plants. I really like the durability of Turface and that it's cheap. The only thing I have to replace/add to in my tank is leaf litter. I like the simplicity. So, if the Valley stuff grows plants better and has the same upside that Turface has, I might be interested. VAMC looks much more attractive than Turface, but it also looks volcanic and rough (looks a lot like Eco-Complete, actually) and I wonder if it would be abrasive for terrestrial darts. Interesting stuff, though, for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
Drainage Layer/False Bottom: I am probably most hung up on this part, cause I find the discussions about it to be confusing, contradictory, or not really specific to what I am doing. My inclination is to do 2" of LECA, covered in screen, or covered in eggcrate then screen, with the screen siliconed in around the edges to keep the drainage layer isolated. The eggcrate seems redundant, but it seems easier to apply screen with eggcrate for structure than trying to corral the LECA with just screen. On top of the screen I am thinking about putting 1" of turface, then my 3 or 4" of clay substrate on top of that. I feel like putting the mound clay directly on the screen is just going to plug the screen and inhibit drainage. The turface seems like a good interim particle size between the clay and the screen. The water feature will be at the front, with rock covering the held back drainage layer, and the water feature level will just be the water level of the drainage layer. I can remove water from the drainage layer by just sucking it out of the water feature if I need to. So... too complicated? I guess I am a bit confused about how the the clay substrate and drainage layer interact. With my other viv, it wicks up and keeps the ABG moist, but does the clay substrate really wick? In the case of using clay substrate, am I just collecting excess water in my drainage layer (and providing the water level for the water feature) and wicking up is not as much of a consideration? I could just use 3" of Turface and skip the LECA /eggcrate/screen altogether, but is just holding back the turface drainage layer from my water feature with rocks sufficient? Anybody using clay substrate with a water feature and just Turface for a drainage layer, no screen or anything?
You have clearly thought about this a lot :-) I think any of the above will work. I used to use LECA and switched. It is shifty and heavy. Works fine, though, for some applications. Your tank, like mine, is going to be plenty heavy already without all that LECA in there. Consider that, if nothing else. LECA will also make that ragged edge around your water corner that much more difficult to seal off. Even I was to use LECA, I would still put a fiberglass screen layer over the top of it and silicone it all the way around (again, the water corner presents difficulty). If you did this all the way around, I assume that you would never have to worry about this again (If you abort on the water feature, I would recommend either a bulkhead drilled in the back of the tank or a stove-pipe of PVC where you can get down to the drainage layer to siphon).

I don't know about the grain of the VAMC, but you might need to worry about the little grains going through a standard fiberglass screen. I recognize what you are trying to do with the different layers of substrate, but I am guessing it will all mix in the end, including the ABG layer. Maybe this won't matter, but it really negates the need for the Turface layer since the little VAMC particles will just go through the pore spaces between the Turface grains eventually. Again, maybe not an issue, especially if you go with egg crate instead of LECA (my recommendation). It allows you to be more simple with your substrate plans if you don't have to have so many layers. I use egg crate false bottom, Turface, leaf litter. Simple :-) Some equivalent would work for you, too.

The last thing that occurs to me is that you have a lot of depth planned with all those layers. No problem, but pay attention to how close to the front under-door vents you are getting. I have several tanks where I have the drainage/substrate combo too deep and I end up having to push the leaf litter back all the time to get air flow. This never works for long. Those tanks are the most condensation prone. I suggest that, when ALL layers are taken into account, you leave 1" at least (in the front) for the vents to work. You can also try to slope the substrate up in the back to down in the front, but my experience, again, is that this doesn't last long. Gravity does its work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
Background: I want to Gorrilla Glue a cork and tree fern mosaic to the back glass, then fill in the cracks with that Terrarium Background mud/clay from eBay. I see people on this board have suggested it, but I havent seen a lot of discussion from people actually currently using it. Does anyone have experiences with it to share? Does it last? Do plants like it as well as advertised, specifically epiphytes? Do you find that it wicks well?
I am a cork/sphagnum mosaic guy so I can't comment. Seems like it could work just fine, but it will be expensive and I know I wouldn't be able to hide the straight-edge seams to my satisfaction. Are you using Gorilla Glue as the adhesive to the back of the tank? Seems like that is a silicone job. Gorilla Glue expands and might push the panels away from the glass. Maybe I am misunderstanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
As far as the rest, a big ghostwood branchy tree on one side for mounting large orchids, liana and other horizontal branches up higher, dark caves behind the water feature (for my super low light begonias like dark vader and pavonina) fashioned out of big cork flats and rocks, held in place with gorilla glue and the background clay/mud stuff, playing with stone around the water to grow maidenhair ferns as epiphytes.
Seems like a sound plan. I am interested to see how the water margin ends up looking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
I will redo the exo terra top to add glass over at least the front half. I have been happy with the airflow/humidity on my smaller viv with just the 2" screen strip along the back of the top. I could just leave a 3" strip of screen along the back of this one. Does that seem like a lot of ventilation without a fan, or not a lot? I don't want to keep things dripping wet, I think it causes problems, and my humidity in my current viv is always just naturally high enough without spraying water all over everything. I am hoping it will be the same in this much larger enclosure.
Never worry about too much ventilation. Just cover some of it with plastic wrap if you fell like it's too much. If you are going pure passive ventilation, you want to err on the big side for ventilation :-) Also leaves you options for UVB in the future since UVB won't penetrate glass. I have about 2-3" of vent all the way across the back of my 36x18x36 but I have a fan inside the tank for re-circulation. A fan will be handy to fight off condensation on the front, depending on your external conditions, but it isn't 100% necessary. Gives you a lot more options to dial things in, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
I plan to hand mist, mostly just to keep the background moist. Will the clay substrate need to be watered beyond that? I am inclined toward using a fogger with three ports at the back to just pour fog down the background every morning right before the lights come on - wondering if I let it fog heavily for 15 minutes or so if it will moisten the background/mounted plants on its way down before settling at the bottom for awhile before it dissipates? I dont even find that my epiphytes mounted mid tank need much in the way of misting once some moss grows in around them, so I am hoping fogging will provide enough moisture for most things without a ton of hand misting (I will have to mist a lot at first, of course).
If you are hand misting, you can catch anything that the fogger is missing. I don't think fogging is a substitute for misting, but that's not what you are trying to do. You will just need to do some experimentation early in the tank's life to dial all that in. That would have to be done regardless of how you set your tank up :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hespera View Post
I would love to hear thoughts/experiences from anyone doing similar things!
Can't wait to see how this tank pans out, especially having seen your first tank. Best of luck in the build!

Mark
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Hespera (10-24-2019)
 
Old 10-24-2019, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: 36x18x36 ExoTerra build. Thoughts on mound clay, drainage, and ebay clay backgrou

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
First off, let me say that your tank is gorgeous and this thread is exactly how to solicit feedback from the board. Thanks so much for taking the time to do your research before asking extremely broad questions that would take hours to answer and would just be a rehash of what is already on the board!
Well thanks for that, I admit I was feeling a bit insecure about writing what felt like a book for this post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
I don't have any idea about geckos, so I can't comment. I do know that there are reasons that people recommend against multi-species enclosures and I am sure you have read them. I would just recommend that your guidance be the welfare of the animals first.
Agree completely. The welfare is important to me, which is why my first viv is uninhabited. This time, I am trying to avoid precluding any options later on by planning well now, but when the times comes to consider adding geckos, I will reach out to the gecko people and get more feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
I have not been unhappy with my experience with all SD lights. I have specific experience with a light similar to what you are doing. I asked Kurt to put together a light with 2x 30watt spots in the front and I have 3x 10watt diodes in the back. Seems to work well. It's bright enough that I usually have the light turned down. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like my frogs avoid the top parts of my tanks when the lighting is too bright.
So, do your lights just consist of the 2 x 30 watt diodes and 3 x 10 watt diodes, or do you also have strip lights in the center? What Kurt and I have discussed so far is 2 x 30 diodes in the front (sort of a "sun shaft" situation is what I am going for) and then 5 LED strips for more even lighting at the back. Do you find the larger diodes give you a shaft of lights, or is the spread pretty wide in such a deep enclosure?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
If you have to have a water feature, this is the most benign option. I don't know about the requirements for reed frogs, but dart frogs don't even need this. The only caution I would have is that you have a "ragged edge" where all of the layers of substrate are exposed and I have found it really difficult to maintain their separation when you have these sloped, exposed areas. You could cap it off somehow with silicone or a dam of some other material or something, but I have never once seen an example of these techniques that didn't look phony as a football bat. Maybe you have a novel approach that avoids this problem.

This stuff looks super cool. I have never seen or heard about it. I will definitely look into it in the future. The cost is roughly what Turface is but shipping was rough and I couldn't even get an estimate for multiple bags. I am sure that could be worked out by calling them. My experience is mainly with Turface and I have had good luck with it for dart frogs, but I am sure your expectations for growing plants are far higher than mine. I don't plant a lot in the substrate, so I don't really care much about that aspect. Some plants grow for me in the substrate, some don't. I don't ever fertilize and I don't have an especially green thumb with some plants. I really like the durability of Turface and that it's cheap. The only thing I have to replace/add to in my tank is leaf litter. I like the simplicity. So, if the Valley stuff grows plants better and has the same upside that Turface has, I might be interested. VAMC looks much more attractive than Turface, but it also looks volcanic and rough (looks a lot like Eco-Complete, actually) and I wonder if it would be abrasive for terrestrial darts. Interesting stuff, though, for sure.

You have clearly thought about this a lot :-) I think any of the above will work. I used to use LECA and switched. It is shifty and heavy. Works fine, though, for some applications. Your tank, like mine, is going to be plenty heavy already without all that LECA in there. Consider that, if nothing else. LECA will also make that ragged edge around your water corner that much more difficult to seal off. Even I was to use LECA, I would still put a fiberglass screen layer over the top of it and silicone it all the way around (again, the water corner presents difficulty). If you did this all the way around, I assume that you would never have to worry about this again (If you abort on the water feature, I would recommend either a bulkhead drilled in the back of the tank or a stove-pipe of PVC where you can get down to the drainage layer to siphon).

I don't know about the grain of the VAMC, but you might need to worry about the little grains going through a standard fiberglass screen. I recognize what you are trying to do with the different layers of substrate, but I am guessing it will all mix in the end, including the ABG layer. Maybe this won't matter, but it really negates the need for the Turface layer since the little VAMC particles will just go through the pore spaces between the Turface grains eventually. Again, maybe not an issue, especially if you go with egg crate instead of LECA (my recommendation). It allows you to be more simple with your substrate plans if you don't have to have so many layers. I use egg crate false bottom, Turface, leaf litter. Simple :-) Some equivalent would work for you, too.
Good point about the LECA being shifty, I think I can just ditch the LECA idea. Even in the case of just using eggcrate with no LECA or Turface, I wonder if the clay is just going to plug/pass through the screen over it anyway?

I also wonder if I am overthinking this entire part... which sucks, because this part will be hard to change my mind about later. I know some people use clay substrate with no drainage layer at all, which is hard to wrap my head around, because clay seems so prone to compacting into a solid mass that its hard to imagine it draining well at all (the mound clay also comes compressed in bricks, which look a lot like potters clay, so I think the particle size is actually quite small, it just tends to clump and look bigger, like a pure, unfired clay would). I get that mostly its being done with a permaculture/no-till sort of mentality (air pockets and bio-activity are created and maintained by microfauna, plant roots, etc and should persist if you dont mess with it too much), so maybe in theory a mature bed of clay is solid but holey and drains and can just stand alone. In the case of (simple) water features in pure clay set ups, people seem to talk more in terms of "flooding", which I don't object to in principle. Reed frogs like a bit of standing water, and it sounds like they really like it when it the water has a settled clay bottom. Having just a bed of pure mound clay (no separate drainage layer), holding it back from the water area in front as much as possible with rocks, letting it mature and harden a bit, then flooding the bottom inch or two of the front of the tank (and just letting the sediments that wash into it settle) seems elegant and simple. But also, scary! Can anyone embolden me on this approach with their fabulous experiences??


Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
The last thing that occurs to me is that you have a lot of depth planned with all those layers. No problem, but pay attention to how close to the front under-door vents you are getting. I have several tanks where I have the drainage/substrate combo too deep and I end up having to push the leaf litter back all the time to get air flow. This never works for long. Those tanks are the most condensation prone. I suggest that, when ALL layers are taken into account, you leave 1" at least (in the front) for the vents to work. You can also try to slope the substrate up in the back to down in the front, but my experience, again, is that this doesn't last long. Gravity does its work.
I do have 9" up to the vent on this huge beast, but noted. I was planning to slope the substrate some, but interesting that you have found it moves over time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
TI am a cork/sphagnum mosaic guy so I can't comment. Seems like it could work just fine, but it will be expensive and I know I wouldn't be able to hide the straight-edge seams to my satisfaction. Are you using Gorilla Glue as the adhesive to the back of the tank? Seems like that is a silicone job. Gorilla Glue expands and might push the panels away from the glass. Maybe I am misunderstanding.
I was originally just going to use silicone, but after reading people rave about the strength of gorilla glue for gluing on the background, I thought maybe it would be better for holding irregular pieces on? I am using cork pieces on this one, not panels, but the tree fern is panels. I want a strong bond because I do not want to count on the clay to hold the background up, I feel like that is inviting failure. I do have both glue and silicone though, so I can play with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
Never worry about too much ventilation. Just cover some of it with plastic wrap if you fell like it's too much. If you are going pure passive ventilation, you want to err on the big side for ventilation :-) Also leaves you options for UVB in the future since UVB won't penetrate glass. I have about 2-3" of vent all the way across the back of my 36x18x36 but I have a fan inside the tank for re-circulation. A fan will be handy to fight off condensation on the front, depending on your external conditions, but it isn't 100% necessary. Gives you a lot more options to dial things in, though.
That makes me feel more confident about the 3" screened strip that I was considering, and I can always add a fan if needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
Can't wait to see how this tank pans out, especially having seen your first tank. Best of luck in the build!

Mark
Very helpful feedback, you have definitely helped me settle some of my issues. And thanks so much for reading through all of that and responding so thoughtfully!
 
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