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Old 11-09-2009, 05:26 AM
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Default Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Let me start off by saying hello. I've been reading the board for a while now, but this is my first post. About 5 months ago I started on a new terrarium in my garage. It has been a very slow project and I wanted to get fairly far along before I started posting about it. The dimensions are roughly 7' x 9' all the way up to the ceiling in the back corner of my garage. I have some pictures and can tell you a bit about the process up to this point, but I feel like I'm just getting to the exciting part.

This picture is my before shot. I cleaned up the space a lot from how it was when I first moved in, but is shows the area well.


My first project was to open up the walls and install some insulation. As this is being built in the garage, my biggest hurdle will be getting the temperature normalized in the correct range. For this reason, my build process will be a long one while I monitor temps and make adjustments.


I used ultratouch insulation, which is made from recycled jeans, hence the blue color.


I then closed the wall back up and started framing in the rest of the room.


For paneling, I used concrete backer board as moisture and leakage is a concern for me. I'm sure I overbuilt this, but the last thing I want to do is tear it up to repair water damage. (the pictures got a little distorted when I combined them)


At this point I took a break from building to gather some more supplies. I spent the weekend at Lake Tahoe, and just happened to be next door to a lot where the park service was clearing manzanita bushes for a fire break. I was able to gather a bunch of branches and found one nice trunk piece.


Since I started this project, I'd been wondering what to use for a door. In a previous enclosure I build for an iguana in my closet, I used a shower door. I was planning on doing the same, but new doors were ridiculously priced at the store, and fairly small. I decided to call around to some glass shops to see if they had anything laying around and I hit pay dirt. One of my local shops had just redone the doors for a 7-11 and still had the old doors on hand. They let one go at $40 which was a great deal. It is an aluminum, weatherized door, with some great windows in it.


Here is a picture of the door installed.


With the door installed, I made a push to finish the paneling so it would actually resemble a room.


At each of the joints in the panels, I used some mesh and fortified thinset mortar. This took a bit of time, but added a surprising amount of strength to the walls. You can't shake them at all after this step. In this picture, you can also see the rafter going through the area and above that, the holes I left for my lighting.


With the walls finished, the next thing I did was to actually waterproof them. I used RedGard waterproofing. You paint on the membrane and when it dries, it is waterproofed. I did the seams first.


I got tired of painting that stuff on, so I did a little more work on the lights. I finished up the electrical, and turned them on for the first test. There are only a few bulbs in this picture, but the "hood" holds 8 bulbs. I'm planning on having 5 of them be the daylight bulbs, and the other 3 be a lower spectrum for flowering. These lights are in addition to two 2' square skylights I installed in the center of the terrarium.


Here is the room, first coat of waterproofing done. After the second coat, it looked much more uniform. The line coming out of the wall is for my misters which will be connected to my yard sprinkler system and timer. You can also see the rafters which I wrapped with plastic and sealed to protect from water.


My plan was to build a tree up one wall and across the rafter. Here is the frame of the trunk with a bit of great stuff on it. I built the frame with chicken wire and had quite the time getting the great stuff to stay on it.


And the rafters on their way to becoming branches.


I finished up the great stuff, did a bit of carving, and here is the first coat of grout on the tree. I used standard sanded grout with some concrete bonding fortifier added. You can also see the pond liner I installed underneath the tree on the floor to make sure there were no leaks. (Told you I overbuilt it.)



Two coats later, it was starting to look something like I had planned. I still will need to do some coloring and touch up as it gets dinged from working around it.


Here is the full tree. You can also see the extra liner I have added to the back wall which will become a bit of a waterfall.


From inside the terrarium looking out, I decided to make the wall look like some temple ruins or similar old stone building. Here is the shot of the Styrofoam placed on the wall before any coats are on it. The stack of bricks will end up looking like a fallen stone, which I intend to use as a seat if all goes according to plan. You can also see the window that lets light into the front part of the terrarium.


And my last picture for now, is the start of the other side wall, which will be a rock wall with ledges. I still have a lot of work to go, but it is a start.


So that is it in a nutshell. I obviously still have a lot to do, and as I seem to only be able to get anything done on weekends, it has been slow. Plus, when I do work on it, it is kind of big so it will eat up 8 hours of work like it was nothing. Let me know what you think so far, and as I get to some of the more technical parts of construction as far as designing for inhabitants, I'll have a bunch of questions.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:30 AM
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I'm watching. *subscribed*
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:44 AM
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::jaw just dropped::


speechless.......
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

They should put you in jail. Just kidding check this thread out you might be able to snag some ideas from it: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...onst-jrnl.html
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:41 AM
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This is going to be good. Don't leave us hanging.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

OMG

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im pretty sure you should take a leave of absence from work , shut your phone off and stock up on beer or pop or whatever it is you prefur and lock yourself in your garage untill its done . . . . Im sure all of us who see this thread dont want to be left in suspense !!!
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Wow! That door is awesome! I just hope whatever you plan to keep in here doesn't ever learn to read and actually "Push" the door open!

So what ARE you planning on keeping in here? (Sorry if I missed it above)
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:21 PM
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That is awesome. If it were mine I would put either basilisks or chinese water dragons.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

That is going to be cool!
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

I, too am in awe, speechless. You're on my list of heroes!!!! That is amazing!!!
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

When I first opened this up, I thought you were cleaning out a corner of your garage to create a room, mount a few shelves and place a few tanks in there. Little did I know...when I saw that tree start to "grow", I knew I was in for something unique!
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:10 PM
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I love your idea keep us up to date with the latest development thanks
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Thanks for all the great compliments. At this time, I'm thinking of putting leucs in there. It seems they will be best suited to use some of that height and I might actually see them in the terrarium. I'm open to suggestions though. Due to the size, I'd like to stick with easier frogs as it probably won't be possible for me to monitor every frog in there to see how they are doing.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:16 PM
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Awesome! Whats the lighting plan? Tree looks good!
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

My main comment is ........let me know when it's finished. I live in the foothills right above you and would love to come and see this in person!

Great job so far.

Deb
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:06 PM
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This is going to be amazing make sure to keep us updated!
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:09 PM
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wow, this is a great project!!
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

When I read "terrarium room" I just assumed....wow. I thought you were really overbuilding until I saw the tree and realized the scope of what you were doing. Crikey, thats a project! I can't wait to see how it goes.

Also, It's nice to see another NorCal frogger. Good Luck.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:37 PM
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Excellent! I thought this was going to be a frog room like the standard ones. Shelves and tanks! I'm definitely going to watch this as I always wanted to build something like this for some kind of aboreal snake. Very very cool!
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:49 PM
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Very cool.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

I think if I built that room I would put basti's in there I have two proven pairs and they are always out and with the size you won't have to worry about competition and put a lot of broms in there and you will see them breed just put lots of springtails in there. I love my basti's also you can mix up the colors and wont have to worry about in breeding because they can throw yellow, orange, red, white even if you only breed two of the same color. So you should check them out.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

This looks incredible. Are installing a mist system? Is there a drain in the room?
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)




I think something like that would be a dream come true for a group of
green tree monitors.

I think I remember someone here talking about putting a hamock in a walk in
viv awhile back
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:27 PM
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1. I'll be back in CA for my winter break. I live in Contra Costa County, can I stop by?

2. I love it.

3. Subscribed

4. I love you.
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:29 AM
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You are NUTS!!!! and by nuts I mean Totally Freaking Awesome! lol, I love it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:15 AM
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WOW! And I thought I designed large vivariums.... I now have something new to try and convince my wife to let me do.... Going to look awesome, and you have some room for some nice size plants!
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:31 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

RADICAL! I'm lovin' it, I cant wait like the others to see it finished.


Though, a lot of these awesome vivs never get finished..


Like others have said, DONT LEAVE US HANGING!
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:07 AM
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I do have misters in there. I put the system together from Home Depot parts. Depending on how it holds up, I'll look more into the Mist King system. I also purchased an ultrasonic humidifier to set up as a fogger per some of the other posts on dendroboard.

Unfortunately, I don't have a drain due to the concrete slab I built over. My plan is to make a bit of a slope with the drainage layer so I can siphon out any excess water buildup. I'll be testing the system a bunch to keep the humidity up while avoiding too much excess water.

For the lighting, I'm just using 8 CFLs in addition to the two skylights and window. I believe the space is large enough that there won't be much heat gain from the window, it faces east, but I'll be watching. Three of the bulbs are 2700k and the other five are 5500-6500k (can't quite remember off the top of my head).
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:20 AM
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I'm wondering if 8 CFL's will be enough. For most systems this size, I've seen metal halides exclusively. Haven't seen any that combine window light and skylights, though.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Currently, with 4 on during the day, it is pretty bright in there. I haven't actually metered it though. I have to figure out how to do that with my camera. With all 8 lights, I'm sure it is plenty bright for most of the common houseplants and whatnot. I'll have to see how orchids and broms react in there though. I'm trying to avoid and of the big lighting systems as they tend to be expensive to set up and run, not to mention the heat they put out. As most of the intense lighting is for the plants and not the frogs, I might just have to be very careful where I stick everything. I'm about to start experimenting with some potted plants on the floor though which will tell me how it works at the darkest spot.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:52 PM
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Default Measuring Lumins with an SLR

OK, I did a bit of research online, and my project for the weekend will be to measure the light the light in my terrarium. I'm posting the directions here in case anyone else reading this is interested.

You can use the light meter built into a 35mm camera that has manually adjustable settings. To determine the number of footcandles of light reaching an area, prop up a large sheet of white paper or cardboard at a 45-degree angle. Set the camera’s ASA dial at 100 and the shutter speed at 1/15 of a second. The f-stop reading you get can then be translated into the approximate footcandle level, as listed below.

At ASA 100 and 1/15 second:
f/1.4 = 1.25 footcandles
f/2 = 2.5 footcandles
f/2.8 = 5 footcandles
f/4 = 10 footcandles
f/5.6 = 20 footcandles
f/8 = 40 footcandles
f/11 = 80 footcandles
f/16 = 160 footcandles
f/22 = 320 footcandles

Lumens = Footcandles x 10.764
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TysonUnderwood View Post
OK, I did a bit of research online, and my project for the weekend will be to measure the light the light in my terrarium. I'm posting the directions here in case anyone else reading this is interested.

You can use the light meter built into a 35mm camera that has manually adjustable settings. To determine the number of footcandles of light reaching an area, prop up a large sheet of white paper or cardboard at a 45-degree angle. Set the camera’s ASA dial at 100 and the shutter speed at 1/15 of a second. The f-stop reading you get can then be translated into the approximate footcandle level, as listed below.

At ASA 100 and 1/15 second:
f/1.4 = 1.25 footcandles
f/2 = 2.5 footcandles
f/2.8 = 5 footcandles
f/4 = 10 footcandles
f/5.6 = 20 footcandles
f/8 = 40 footcandles
f/11 = 80 footcandles
f/16 = 160 footcandles
f/22 = 320 footcandles

Lumens = Footcandles x 10.764
How do you do this with a digital SLR?
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:30 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

I'm using a Canon, but basically set the camera to shutter priority mode (TV mode on mine), then set the iso to 100 and crank the dial to 1/15 seconds. Looking through the viewfinder, whenever you push down to take a photo, the display lights up and shows the f-stop. You can see it changing as you move the camera around to other targets. Aiming at my monitor, I get 7.1, so that is somewhere around 30 footcandles. 30x10.764=323 lumen/sq meter of light hitting my monitor. It is a very rough measurement, but it is a start if you don't have an actual meter.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Awesome Build! Can't wait to see the finished product!

Thanks Erik
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

I am now subscribed as well... Very cool.
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Quick update...

I put a couple coats of grout on one of the walls. I still need to do at least one more to get the final stone color I'm looking for. Currently, the grout is fairly strong, but I can push my finger through it if I try. Hopefully the 3rd coat will make a difference in this.


I also took some light readings this morning. They are obviously low, so I'll have to see what they look like later on today. Here are my readings so far (Roughly measured in lumens with my camera.)
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:50 PM
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Default Pump Question

I have a quick pump question. I'm looking at getting a Via Aqua 1300 to power my water feature. The head of the outlet is about 5 1/2 feet high, although it is still adjustable. I'm hoping to be able to get a steady stream of water coming down the wall without it being overbearing/dangerous to frogs. Does anyone have any experience with these pumps or any other suggestions?
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Pump Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by TysonUnderwood View Post
I have a quick pump question. I'm looking at getting a Via Aqua 1300 to power my water feature. The head of the outlet is about 5 1/2 feet high, although it is still adjustable. I'm hoping to be able to get a steady stream of water coming down the wall without it being overbearing/dangerous to frogs. Does anyone have any experience with these pumps or any other suggestions?
According to the link you provied the maximum head height is 6'. The output is 370 gph but that is probably at zero head height. At 5.5 feet I would guess you will be getting maybe 50-100 gph.

Find a chart on it. Are you familiar with head height charts? Most pumps have them and if they don't- then avoid that pump.

The chart will tell you how many gallons per hour it will pump when the output is anywhere from 1-20 feet above the pump.

Mag pumps are very reliable and can be either submersed or out of the water which makes them versatile. They also have a fairly good head height output ratio. I think they are one of the best "multi-purpose" pumps around. They come in a variety of sizes that all relate to their output. For instance a "Mag 9" will generally output 900 gallons per hour at zero head height.
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Pond & Fountain Pumps: Pondmaster Mag-Drive Pumps

Here you go.

There is a flow chart under"more information" according to it a mag 7 will pump about 400 gph at 5.5 feet of head height.

hope that helps.
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Terrarium Room Build (Pic Heavy)

Mag-Drives hold up really well also. We use them at work in our service trucks and they hold up to all sorts of abuse.
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