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Old 04-07-2010, 06:48 AM
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Default Viv projects begin!!

So I previously posted this in the beginner forum, but thanks to the helpful people here on dendroboard I've got some knowledge and think it's time to get started on these!

So here's what I've gathered so far..











I still need a few things to really get started, but I've began to work on the false bottoms tonight. Tomorrow I should have 3 done. After that happens, I plan on going driftwood hunting in hopes of finding some nice pieces and maybe saving some money.

This has probably been asked before, but if I find moss in the woods can it be used in the viv? I know a few companies sell "woodland moss" so I'm assuming I could use what I found? Trout season is close in Pennsylvania, so that means trips to the mountains full of moss will shortly be arriving.
If anyone has any info on this please let me know!
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:49 AM
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Couple of comments.

First, just to make sure you know, that Exo Terra "Coco Husk" isn't going to be the fine-grained coco fiber, but they're going to be large bark chunks. It's still okay to use, but I avoid it because I prefer the look of fine-graind coco fiber on my hardscaping.

It looks like at least most of your plants (I don't know because I haven't worked with them all) will thrive in the vivs, but you should look at getting some broad leafed plants as well. Broad leafed philodendron, upward growing pepperomia and pothos would be a good start.

I've never found using collected moss to be beneficial. Temperate moss is seasonal and even in the vivariums will die after some months. I don't know that it would hurt anything, though, if collected from a place that is sure to be free from pesticides. Might get lucky and introduce some interesting microfauna to your viv.... Might get unlucky and introduce a large snail population to your viv. It's really a judgement call.

Good luck with everything!

(By the way, love the hex tank. Perfect for thumbnails somewhere down the road!)
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Viv projects begin!!

Looks like your about to undergo a lot of projects. Take a trip to a bunch of your local nurseries and see what you can find that way plant wise. You'll be glad you did. Your HD/walmart plants there are fine and all but you can do better than that if you look around. You owe it to yourself as you've spent quite a lot already on everything as it looks.

I use only personally collected moss species in all my setups that I both sell and use. I have never had a single complaint or personal issue from using wild moss. Now, there are risks by doing this. I admit. But your options are limited. Getting a guaranteed quality that is packaged and cared for by yourself, or trust that the mail or the shipper doesn't screw up. I've dealt with a few guys both on this board and big well known names in the trade that sell "live moss". With the exception of a few guys on ebay, I've been unimpressed. So if you have the availability to collect your own, do it! Just be sure to put them into gallon plus clear baggies with no water, and flat with the soil side down in a single layer. This way it can get light and the water won't rot everything and smell like... I don't know, nothing quite smells like rotting moss really... The wet moss will have enough moisture to keep itself going for quite a while, especially if kept indoors and cool. Good idea to let the bags breath at least once a week too.

Lots of guys will be fearful of the bugs/diseases that the native mosses/soil can tag along. The nasty chichrid (sp?) fungus being one of those, but there are ways to reduce this. For bugs you can c02 gas your moss. Search that on this board for helpful hints on that. And there is always using a VERY dilute bleach solution to wash them. But again, that’s if your super paranoid. I don't have an expensive enough of a collection to worry about it, and so far have had no issues other than I feed less as the tag-alongs tend to become food.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:43 AM
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I was wondering if anyone has ever used this light by chance?
Lithonia Lighting 4 Ft. T8 Black Steel Shoplight - 1275B at The Home Depot

I haven't got a chance to go to home depot to check out their selection, but tomorrow I'm going to since I need more eggcrate and silicone to get more accomplished.

Since that is a dual bulb fixture, does that mean you can have one on independently? Also could two different bulbs be used to control the temperature better?

I got some wood today but didn't get around to taking pictures of it. False bottoms are rather time consuming..

I'll post some pictures of those tomorrow also.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:39 AM
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So I was wondering if anyone else has noticed the same thing I have..
Do you make a complete mess of almost an entire room with stuff still in other rooms while trying to get your viv started? (This doesn't include plants being elsewhere)

I was just gonna upload these tomorrow, but I'm bored so I figured why not.
There's some better ones than what I got last night..
I still have to get some shots of my driftwood I found today.












I originally planned on using the water dish where that portion of eggcrate it separated, well that didn't happen. I wanted that to be like 1 1/2" off the bottom and the other main part atleast 2 1/2" so it was a layered thing. I know I don't need a bowl to have a pond section, but I have it so I figured I might as well use it. Besides that, I really didn't have that many mishaps with all of this besides running out of supplies.

Any advice or criticism, please feel free to mention it!
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: Viv projects begin!!

Are you going to be building all those tanks at once? Can't wait to see them.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:49 AM
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Yes. Big mess. I just finished hardscaping my new veradero viv and the entire familyroom was a disaster. If you think you're making a mess now just wait until you get to the point where you have to silicone your hardscaping.

I don't know if you're planning on putting a water feature in one of those, but I've found that in the vivs that I use a water feature I need to go one square higher on that eggcrate.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogface View Post
Are you going to be building all those tanks at once? Can't wait to see them.
Unfortunately, yes. haha
It should be pretty interesting to say the least..

I'm pretty anxious myself. It's gonna be nice once I get past the eggcrate stage of things.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by SmackoftheGods View Post
Yes. Big mess. I just finished hardscaping my new veradero viv and the entire familyroom was a disaster. If you think you're making a mess now just wait until you get to the point where you have to silicone your hardscaping.

I don't know if you're planning on putting a water feature in one of those, but I've found that in the vivs that I use a water feature I need to go one square higher on that eggcrate.

I can only imagine. Plus the wonderful scent it has.. haha

I intended on doing so with the water, but I think I'm just going to save that for the larger tanks. I cut the bottom pieces for the big chunk too small. Once I realized that I wasn't too happy either. I ran out of it though, so who knows.. maybe I'll end up taking those off and doing it how I planned with the water in a 20 long.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:08 AM
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How are you going to cut the FB for the hexagon?
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:13 AM
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How are you going to cut the FB for the hexagon?
I don't know how he's planning on doing it, but I can tell you table saws make everything _so_ easy!
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:40 AM
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How are you going to cut the FB for the hexagon?
Either going with hydroton to simplify things, or those biggest wire cutters in the pictures. It isn't too bad to do angles with eggcrate depending on how you're holding them. A saw would make things much faster, but it's also much easier to cut an unwanted chunk out of it too. Plus this stuff can crack pretty easily it seems..

I need to reseal that tank though because there's algae or something and the silicone is lifting at a few spots. Honestly, it would just be cheaper to simply buy a new tank and save the mess or hassle. haha

If I can manage to get something going with that tank though, I have absolutely no idea how I'd go about the background. I guess it would be exactly half the tank. It's going to be tricky because that thing is pretty small.. It would be pretty sweet though since you don't see many of those on here. Atleast I haven't..
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:07 AM
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A saw would make things much faster, but it's also much easier to cut an unwanted chunk out of it too. Plus this stuff can crack pretty easily it seems..
The stuff can crack pretty easily. That's why I don't use the typical wood saw blade. I use a blade designed for cutting concrete to cut my eggcrate. The wood saws have those serated edges and those edges falling on the eggcrate cracks it. The concrete blade... it almost reminds me of sandpaper, but it's not serated and it seems to mostly use friction to cut, so it doesn't crack. I don't worry about taking extra chunks out either,you've just gotta have a steady hand.

Quote:
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I have absolutely no idea how I'd go about the background. I guess it would be exactly half the tank.
Only hardscape three sides of the hexagon tank, you'll use the other three sides to look into. It's a little tricky, but the end result is always fabulous.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmackoftheGods View Post
Only hardscape three sides of the hexagon tank, you'll use the other three sides to look into. It's a little tricky, but the end result is always fabulous.
I agree with this. I'll be hardscaping my hex (29 gallon) with 2 back sides covered in cork bark while the center back side will have a large cypress knee gorilla glue'd to it. On the knee will be a cluster or two of Neo. Zoe, Donger, or whatever looks good.

You could probably do the same this, but use a smaller neo. Like ampullacea, Fireball, wee willy, etc...

Last edited by Deli; 04-08-2010 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:32 PM
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So I went to Home Depot, wow.. that place has so much more than Lowes it seems. I picked up a few more small plants and got the other things I needed.





I hope this is enough for a few tanks.. haha



I got the false bottom done on the hex tank, it wasn't as tricky that I was expecting.




Does anyone have any good/bad things to say about this instead of the GEII silicone? This costs half as much, and there's like .04 of an ounce more in it.




Here is the wood I mentioned yesterday, figures it has to be raining so I couldn't really get close. (too lazy to use the slr for 4 pictures) haha





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Old 04-08-2010, 08:47 PM
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Wow you are definitely going to have your hands full...so many projects, I am very jealous. Your selection of wood should make for some very nice vivariums. Can't wait to see these come together.

As for that DAP sealant, I would be careful with it. It seems to contain mold inhibitors which are generally not advisable for vivariums. Also, though I've never used it, I hear that it is more like a caulk than silicone. I know DAP has 100% silicone products that are considered "frog safe", but I am not sure about the one you pictured.

Anyway, good luck!
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:55 PM
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Wow you are definitely going to have your hands full...so many projects, I am very jealous. Your selection of wood should make for some very nice vivariums. Can't wait to see these come together.

As for that DAP sealant, I would be careful with it. It seems to contain mold inhibitors which are generally not advisable for vivariums. Also, though I've never used it, I hear that it is more like a caulk than silicone. I know DAP has 100% silicone products that are considered "frog safe", but I am not sure about the one you pictured.

Anyway, good luck!

Yeah this is going to be interesting once I can start making progress besides the false bottoms.

I couldn't find the 100% DAP silicone.
I know I seen that used before, but Lowes didn't have it either.
Well if I can't use that stuff, I'm pretty sure I can still return it.

I'd much rather use whichever costs less being it isn't cheap to begin with and you use a LOT from what I've found out..
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:05 PM
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I'd much rather use whichever costs less being it isn't cheap to begin with and you use a LOT from what I've found out..
It depends what you do with the silicone. If you use it to apply a layer between the glass and the GS you will obviously use a lot more. I dont do this, and just apply the GS to glass then cover the GS with silicone and coir. I go through about 2 of those GS II tubes per 18x24 background and roughly 1.5 for the 18x18 backgrounds. So I think you have more than enough to cover you for those tanks.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:11 PM
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I definately wouldn't use that sealant.

You want 100% silicone. That stuff is like peanut butter.

Sorry...

HD has GE II in brown.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:37 PM
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I definately wouldn't use that sealant.

You want 100% silicone. That stuff is like peanut butter.

Sorry...

HD has GE II in brown.
I second this. If theres no 100% silicone anywhere on the tube, I would never consider using it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:14 PM
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Do not use that caulk. It is latex based and will degrade very quickly. Mold inhibitors are not optimum, but 100% silicone is an absolute must.

It has been tried before here and I seem to remember a thread or two about it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:15 PM
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Don't waste your time with the "irish moss" or "scotch moss" either, it does NOT tolerate viv conditions well.



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Old 04-08-2010, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poimandres View Post
It depends what you do with the silicone. If you use it to apply a layer between the glass and the GS you will obviously use a lot more. I dont do this, and just apply the GS to glass then cover the GS with silicone and coir. I go through about 2 of those GS II tubes per 18x24 background and roughly 1.5 for the 18x18 backgrounds. So I think you have more than enough to cover you for those tanks.
I silicone the glass first and it rarely requires more than one extra tube for me (obviously it depends on the size of the tank). You don't have to glob it on the glass like you do for the coco fiber step, it just needs to be a thin layer of silicone. I don't even mind when I'm able to see a little light shining through it because when the great stuff and the rest of the silicone is applied it looks just as dark.

All this is to say that that one extra step, for me, doesn't require a lot more. Just a little more.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:17 AM
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Well I got four tubes of the GEII in black and brown, so I'll return the rest and see if I can find the 100% DAP stuff somewhere because I'm sure it will cost less also. But I guess for the time being that the GE stuff I have I can start with, so later today I'll start working on that.

Thanks for the info on this everyone.

Any ideas on how I should try cleaning or making this wood safe?
I've searched threads and know what to do, but the size these things are make it impossible to soak anywhere completely with bleach and water and the boiling and baking aren't possible either. If I cut it and somehow screw/glue it together will that work? I'm going to a show this weekend and hopefully bringing a chameleon home, so as soon that I can get this done the better it will be.

I figure I can atleast occupy myself with one of those guys through this whole building process since they only need a screen enclosure which I've found and numerous stores not too pricey either.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:33 AM
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Chameleons can be tricky because they need huge ventiliation but they still need high humidity. Be careful.

If those pieces of wood are too big to fit in the over or in a bucket of bleach water then how are you going to fit them in your vivarium? I'd say you should cut them to the size you want so they'll fit in your vivarium and then take to sanitizing them. If you've still got a piece that's too large get a large bucket and fill it with your bleach solution and do one side of the wood and then the other side of the wood.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:46 AM
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Chameleons can be tricky because they need huge ventiliation but they still need high humidity. Be careful.

If those pieces of wood are too big to fit in the over or in a bucket of bleach water then how are you going to fit them in your vivarium? I'd say you should cut them to the size you want so they'll fit in your vivarium and then take to sanitizing them. If you've still got a piece that's too large get a large bucket and fill it with your bleach solution and do one side of the wood and then the other side of the wood.

Well I already had most of the wood for the vivs I have planned, but the main use of all the large pieces was for a chameleon of some sort. I didn't realize they needed high humidity, I thought it was high temp, low humidity.. Guess I mixed that up somehow.

If I used some sort of fogger or something of that nature, would that help out with the increased humidity? My house isn't air conditioned, so this time of year it is rather humid. Well besides days like today where it rains all day and is freezing in the night.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:22 PM
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For larger pieces I just either use a giant rubbermaid if that doesnt work try the tub.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:27 PM
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Im off to class in a minute so I dont have time to read through your whole thread. I will when I get home though. But basicly chameleons do not do well in glass aquariums at all. Other then air flow problems. The reflections stress them out. And Often times they will sit in the corner and just paw away at the glass. I would not put a chameleon in a glass enclosure. A ll screened cage is a must.

There is a guy out here that makes chameleon cages and for the back uses black pvc. The rest of the sides are screen. They are great for chameleons.Something along those lines would be a good choice. Bare bottom with a potted ficus tree , and some vines, ussually works the best . . .
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:39 PM
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Wow jump right in!!!
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:12 PM
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Im off to class in a minute so I dont have time to read through your whole thread. I will when I get home though. But basicly chameleons do not do well in glass aquariums at all. Other then air flow problems. The reflections stress them out. And Often times they will sit in the corner and just paw away at the glass. I would not put a chameleon in a glass enclosure. A ll screened cage is a must.

There is a guy out here that makes chameleon cages and for the back uses black pvc. The rest of the sides are screen. They are great for chameleons.Something along those lines would be a good choice. Bare bottom with a potted ficus tree , and some vines, ussually works the best . . .

I was thinking about maybe getting one of these. ReptiBreeze®

I'm not sure which size to get being I don't know for sure if I'd get two or not. Either the large or extra large probably if that would be the case.

Shortly I'll be going to return the DAP silicone and hopefully finding something else I could use.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:38 PM
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a humidifier, a fogger in a very large bowl just above the chameleon cage, anything to keep the thing in high humidity.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:44 PM
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I couldn't find any DAP products that said 100% silicone ANYWHERE on them, so I just went ahead and got 14 tubes of black and 6 tubes of GEII. I usually never try saving money, so why should I with this right? haha

I picked up another Exo-Terra 24x18x24 screen terrarium for a medium size enclosure for a chameleon. I know I need a taller on, but it was on sale for 90 so I figured I might as well go for it..

More updates/pictures later tonight.

Going to pick up a 55gal with stand right now.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
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I couldn't find any DAP products that said 100% silicone ANYWHERE on them, so I just went ahead and got 14 tubes of black and 6 tubes of GEII. I usually never try saving money, so why should I with this right? haha

I picked up another Exo-Terra 24x18x24 screen terrarium for a medium size enclosure for a chameleon. I know I need a taller on, but it was on sale for 90 so I figured I might as well go for it..

More updates/pictures later tonight.

Going to pick up a 55gal with stand right now.
Sounds like you're trying to accumulate tanks more than you're trying to get started on the ones you already have :P Time to pick a tank and start working on in :P
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:47 AM
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Unfortunately I didn't get to start the silicone process on any of the vivs due to it being rather cold out.. colder than the labels say it should be to work properly. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 60s so I'll try getting up early and making serious progress. Depending on how much of a mess I make with that I'll probably get some pictures while doing it. I need to scrub 4 tanks out also since I haven't got around to that yet, which will put things on hold a little.

I figured out the lights I want to get from HD today as well. They have this pretty sweet rack there for 200, it's 77"x24"x77". I'm sure wood is more inexpensive, but as much hassle there is involved in building it, it almost seems more practical to get the metal one. Plus it's already black, it has grille type things for the base which would make the light mounting much easier, and same deal with the misting system if I decide to go with that.

However, I did get the 55gal false bottom almost done and I'm reading up on what I have to do with the screen exo for a chameleon. chameleonforums.com really is nothing like dendroboard. Finding things out on here is much easier from what it seems.. There isn't a "beginner" section. haha

I guess I'll figure it out though. Unless I learn some more crucial information in 2 days I may not be getting one so soon or at all.

Anyways, here's some shots of all the things I picked up today. (for the record, I'm done buying tanks unless I can get a 100+ gallon for under $250)





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Old 04-10-2010, 09:56 PM
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I got the first layer of silicone on all of my tanks today and I'm starting the foam shortly on a few of them. How long should the foam sit before I start carving it out? Also once that happens, can I begin to put the silicone on top of it to start with the coco fiber and dirt? I'm definitely going to have to get a LOT more of this stuff because I used 10 tubes just for a thin layer due to working on so many tanks all at one time.. haha

Flikr is taking forever to upload my pictures so I'll post them a little later tonight.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:08 AM
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I'm almost out of supplies again.. haha

It's amazing how fast silicone and foam get empty when it comes to this..

But I got some foam on most of these things today.
I have some wood in the foam, but I think for most of it I'm just going to carve out the foam so it can fit in it. These pieces are so heavy that I don't really know how to hold them in place while it cures.. It obviously takes too long to simply hold them in place, but I have some wire holding them up right now. Hopefully when I bring them inside nothing falls out.

I got some pictures of how I started to shape the backgrounds with the foam as well. Again, flikr is taking forever to upload these things so I'll post them shortly along with the rest I took earlier.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:17 AM
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:39 AM
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Wow! This is going to be a treat to watch.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogface View Post
Wow! This is going to be a treat to watch.
I hope so.. this is a little more than I was expecting, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I wish I found another thread that someone was crazy enough to do 9 tanks at once. haha
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:10 AM
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Here are some better pictures to get an idea how the backgrounds are going to be. I need to do a LOT of trimming on the one 20g, but besides that I'm pretty happy with them. I might make some more ledge type things on the 55g but I'm not certain yet. I don't think this is too bad for a first attempt at all of this. If I'm wrong please inform me. haha

I'm really starting to need some racks or shelves for these things because the room is so cluttered and there isn't anywhere else to put these things.
I have a horrible headache from smelling that silicone and foam all day, my eyes are all crazy too.. haha

Good thing I should only need to experience that for another day.. The respirator really did help, but these things just sitting in here smell terrible. I wish it was warmer so I could open some windows up..








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