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Old 01-28-2011, 11:51 PM
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Talking My Vivarium built into a wall

This vivarium is not done yet. I still have some final touches to add and Im working on getting the alkalinity of the cement neutralized, but here is my build journal so far...
Near current picture, I took it after putting the vivarium on its stand:


I bought my house last spring, and it had a 30(?)gallon aquarium built into the wall at the landing of the stairs. The aquarium was in the laundry room, but there was a framed opening in the wall that made it viewable from the other side. The filters, lights, aquarium trim etc were out of view due to the wall, I really loved the idea. But seeing as I like vivariums better than aquariums, I quickly started imagining what it would look like with a vivarium instead of an aquarium... I wanted a bigger tank, and luckily 40 gallon breeders are the same height and length of the original aquarium, and thus the same size to fit into the wall. All I had to do was change out a few boards of the aquarium stand in the laundry room to accommodate the increased footprint of the 40 breeder vs the old aquarium.

I had never done a cement rock wall vivarium, but inspired by rock wall builds on this forum I decided to try it out. I started out with plain white styrofoam, but didnt like how it flaked off all those little white balls and I couldnt carve good details. So I gave up on using the styrofoam and got a sheet of pink insulation foam. It was easier to carve, didnt flake off, and dense enough to allow better detailed carving. I wanted to have an L-shaped water feature fed by a rock drip wall. I also wanted the opposite side of the tank to have a rocky outcropping to attach epiphytes to. I decided that the main background would be clay, which would give the vivarium the look of an eroded slope with rocky outcroppings being eroded away by water.

Here are some pictures taken early in the build. I carved the foam for three evenings, stacking up pieces, fiddling around with placement, trying out different layouts, etc before settling on this look and siliconing the foam together. To make sure it was water light, I completely covered the back and bottom of the foam stream section in silicone. This was done to make sure the water circulated through the whole tank as opposed to falling down the dripwall and seeping between the "rocks" right back into the filter area. After doing that (which was done to the first 2 layers of foam) I set the screened false bottom for the land section in and siliconed in the rest of the foam rockwork that rises above the waterline. The false bottom is now sealed in place, because some of the rocks overlap it to give the rock work a more 3D feel.



Here is a close up of the inside of the dripwall, notice the 4 holes where water will come out. The flash really washed out the color of this picture.

Another shot. Picture is sideways, sorry

Dripwall outcropping from above

Dripwall outcropping at eye level

Drip wall outcropping from inside tank, showing how I made it more 3D by jutting out over the false bottom. This picture also shows my numbering system so that I could stack the foam back up in the right order as I siliconed it into place.

The stream bank rockwork

I bought some underlay cement that can be used in applications as thin as 1/8 inch (W.W. Henry Flooring Adhesives - Substrate Preparation) at Home Depot as well as black, brown, and buff cement pigments. I made small batches of cement that were watered down to a runny consistency and started applying it with paint brushes over the course of a week. In between applications I would let the cement's surface set, then lightly mist the cement with a spray bottle of distilled water to help it cure. Every time I had to leave it over night or to go to work, I would spray it down real good and put the glass top on. Once every rock was covered, I started making thicker and thicker mixes of cement, each with varying amounts of black and buff pigments to keep the rocks from all looking the same color. I also staggered which rocks I cemented each time, to try and keep adjacent rocks from being the exact same color as eachother.
Applying the first runny coat to all the rocks





This is near the top of the opposite rock outcropping. It is a little cave that will be stuffed with sphagnum moss to mount a bromeliad

This is the bottom of the vivarium, where the stream ends

Filling in all the crevices inside the dripwall section was tedious...

Left side of tank

Right side


Once I had a few layers on every rock, it was time to start making different colored batches and painting the different rocks different shades of grey

The end result once cured was this. Not what I was expecting but not half bad for a first attempt, I think.

Here are a couple of pictures of the vivarium being held in place by my friend before the aquarium stand was rebuilt bigger.


I breifly taped a rockwall aquarium picture background to the back and sides of the tank to compare the look of real rocks to my rocks. I also put a few real rocks in as well for the same reason. I took a few pictures during that stage



Here is the inside of the rock dripwall. It is sealed off from the rest of the vivarium and has an opening on the side for plumbing and tinkering with the plumbing. The vivarium was a Zilla "turtle tank" so the left side pane of glass is only half the height of the vivarium. I siliconed in a sheet of acrylic, leaving a small opening where the plumbing area is. There will be a small pump in the bottom left of this area pushing water under the dripwall to keep the water flowing in a circular motion around the tank. This area will also be plumbed with a ZooMed turtle canister filter, which will filter the water and run the drip wall. To divide the canister filter's flow into the four trickles for the dripwall, I siliconed four 1/4 inch tubes into a 3/4 inch tube to create a makeshift manifold. The canister filter's return will be hooked up to that.

I filled the tank up to where the water level would be and tested it. The makeshift manifold will have to be resiliconed because it leaks, and there was a gap in the back of the drip wall that stopped the water from circulating around the whole tank like I wanted it to. Since everything was already wet, I filled the tank up halfway, hooked up power heads, spraybars, and pumps with tubing to let the water run over all the rockwork for a couple days to start neutralizing the alkalinity of the cement. The water went from simply being Hard, to Off-The-Charts-Hard in that time.

Next I drained the tank and dried it out with fans so that I could fix the problems I found when it was filled with water. I used great stuff expanding foam to fill in any cracks where water could flow, as well as any way that frogs could get back into the plumbing area. Im still not done with that, but heres a picture.

As I neared the end of building this vivarium, I decided that I wanted a bolder, larger frog species in this one. I was going to put thumbnails in it and load it with bromeliads, but my imitators are almost never visible, and I didnt want to have a display to catch peoples attention as they enter my house if the animal life was hidden. (Thinking about a display in which the animals are not visible to guests, my mind kept going back to that scene from Jurassic Park where Hammond says “two no shows and one sick triceratops.”) Back on topic, I decided that I would get a bold frog that would use the floor area as well as the extra surface area created by the rockwork. That led me to pick Leucomelas. They usually do well in groups, climb more than the other terrestrial species, and dont hide 24/7 like my imitators. To give them more usable floor space I went looking at a petstore for driftwood and found a nice realistic resin cast root system. The texture of the bark is realistic, its painted to look real, and the way I oriented it allows for a slope of gravel under it to transition the stream area from water to land, and it provides an upper "land" area above the sloped area. Here are some pictures.



Full tank shot from the Left side

And the right side. That wall is new. When I bought the house, that wall went just past the right side of the aquarium and did a 90 degree turn. I added on to it to divide my basement into two rooms. One is the den, which has a big window, a fireplace, and a tv. The other is bigger, stays 68-72 degrees all year and is connected to the laundry room and a bathroom (maybe that room will be a frog room in the future...?)


View from inside the laundry room. The whole back section that isnt rock will be clay once the cement is neutralized. But for now its a window between two rooms.


Now Ive just gotta finish neutralizing the cement... Updates will be posted once that is done and I start working on the background.
Minor update: My MistKing starter kit arrived while I was typing this post! That was some super fast shipping!
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Last edited by Okapi; 01-28-2011 at 11:57 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Extra info regarding the stream that I forgot to include in the first post:
The false bottom land area is about the same footprint as a 20g high (maybe just a little smaller). The rockwork adds extra surface area for the frogs, as well as visual barriers. The stream will be mostly filled in by sand and gravel, with the deepest part being the left hand side against the glass infront of the resin cast driftwood. The gravel will then slope up under the fake driftwood and fill in the area between the left side rockwork and the false bottom.
I plan on mixing riccia, java moss, and green flame moss together and spreading that on some of the rocks and the fake driftwood. Which ever one is best suited to each niche will fill in. The stream area will have anubias and java ferns.

Any questions, suggestions, etc welcome
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

That looks awesome! Can't wait to see it finished.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Nice work! I really like the cement builds but they just seem to take so much time up
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Id love to have a viv in the wall maybe when I move out good job though
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Looks amazing! I'm just starting to get into artificial rock work for vivs and am looking for inspiration...this gives me a few ideas... Thanks for posting!
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:28 PM
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Can't wait to see it planted!
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:10 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Should look great when its all said and done. very cool
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Thanks everyone

Im still trying to get the dripwall to work right and the cement neutralized. I wish I could update more and get planting. Im too used to the instant gratification of the clay method...
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:51 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Im proud to say I read every word of that first post Really great stuff man. Really seems like you put a lot of time and effort into that background and it definitely shows.

All I can suggest is to make wise plant choices and to continue taking your time from here on out. Stick with plants that will grow relatively slow and nothing to large that will over take the tank. Lots of small orchids on the wood outcroppings; mosses as groundcover and over the wood; acclimated anubias nana (or nana petite) for lower folliage; small leafed vines for the background (oak leaf or peperomia prostrata), and a few nice compact neos. I also suggest finding some pellia, or mini pellia (Riccardia graeffei) for the trickeling rock section. A local aquarium shop added some round leaf pellia to their dripwall a few months ago, now its a perfect low carpet covering everything wet.

Keeps those pictures coming as you finish! But dont hurry lol
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:36 PM
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I think I finally got the cement neutralized, it took longer than I thought it would, but that could be because my water is already hard straight from the tap. I switched to distilled water once I thought it would be done just to make sure. The hardness still climbed a little, but after a couple of weeks of changing distilled water, it stayed below hard when tested (40-50 ppm if I remember right). Ive since drained the tank and let the cement dry completely. I finished sealing up the pump area with great stuff and worked out the water feature. I couldnt get the makeshift manifold work for more than a few days at a time without leaking, so I bought a manifold at a Lowes that splits a 1/2 inch tube intake of water into multiple 1/4 inch output tubes with individual valves. What I used was similar to this, only a different brand:


During the neutralization process, I had alot of salt creep form at the highest points of both of the rocky outcroppings. The larger pieces of mineral deposits I could break off with my fingernails. The smaller parts I had to scrub at with a wet cloth. This worked, but I would also rub off cement. Even now, with the cement cured, neutralized, and dried I can still rub off cement if I try. I cant with a dry finger but if I get my finger wet and run it along any rock surface in the tank with a slight amount of pressure, my finger comes back with grey in all the recessed areas of my fingerprint. This has me worried that the rockwork wont last long term under traffic from the frogs and water movement.

Another issue that I have to deal with is the color of the cement. When dry, it looks like the above pictures in my first post. You can see the different colors from the different batches of cement I used. But when it is wet or if the tank is sealed up and made humid, all of the cement becomes a monochromatic brown color. I was more going for a grey look, with differences between the rocks. I think ill have to paint them with acrylic paints to get the desired look, which makes me wish I had made the rockwork removable. As difficult as it was to get the cement into the waterfall area, im really dreading working on applying anything that section again.

I wish I had discovered this guy's work before starting on my build:
How to make a waterfall (rainforest edition)
The last 13 minutes or so of his video are of particular interest to me. If you have the time, please watch it. Hes obviously got alot of artistic talent, and ill be borrowing some of his painting techniques. However, Im not so sure about sealing my cement work. For one thing, it would be impossible to get into every nook and cranny of my water feature without removing it from the tank first. My initial thoughts were that it would not need to be sealed because of the length of time I let it cure. But the above mentioned ability to rub off cement with my finger worries me. Im hoping that since the acrylic paints will form a layer over the top of most of the cement that painting it with watered down paint for the rock look that I am going for would be all thats needed. By the time the paint is rubbed off or breaks down, a biofilm of algae, bacteria, fungi, and plant growth will have covered every surface inside the vivarium. Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks for the kind words GRIMM, your vivariums have all been inspirations to me. The plants I have acquired so far for this vivarium include:
Broms: Neo. Sara head, Neo. Chiquita Linda
Orchids: Pleurothallis grobyi, Dinema polybulbon
Moss/liverworts: java moss, Green flame moss, riccia fluitans
Aquatic plants: Java fern, anubias nana
Vining plants: Oak leaf creeping fig, Pellionia repens, Peperomia prostrata, Monstera siltepecana

Other plants I own that might be going in this vivarium:
Ficus sp. 'Lance Leaf' (species from black jungle)
Peperomia puteolata
Scindapsus pictus
Hoya carnosa
Syngonium rayii
Dischidia ovata
"Mini Aroid Vine" (http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pla...d-vine-id.html)
Bacopa caroliniana
Cryptocoryne Wendtii "Red"
Hydrocotyle verticillata

Im waiting for the build to get closer to completion before I order more plants. I have looked into your suggestion of mini pellia and found that the guy I bought my green flame moss from also sells it. I was impressed with his plants the last time I ordered, but want to wait for warmer temps before ordering more aquatic plants.

Yet another super long post... Oops!
Any questions, comments, advice welcome
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:23 AM
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Pictures were taken with my new Iphone, which has a much better camera than my old blackberry, so hopefully the pictures are less grainy this time around.

I went to Hobby Lobby and got some acrylic paints to add some color and depth to the rocks. I got the ones rated for outdoor usage. It says they can be used on cement, flowerpots, bird baths, birdhouses, rocks, wood, etc and are weather resistant. They cost 50% more than plain old acrylic paints of the same brand, and are probably the exact same thing in different packaging, but I figured Id rather be safe than sorry.


I got black, white, yellow, red, blue, and brown, as well as a 25 pack of paint brushes, a water bottle, and a painter's paint holder thingy.


I mixed some squirts of the black paint with hot water in the spray bottle to water it down and sprayed down all of the cement. My poor man's paint sprayer Kept getting gunked up inside the spring that pushes the water, but aside from that it worked really well. The black ran into all of the little cracks and dried in all of the low areas (the tank was on its back for this). This gave depth as well as slightly darkening the entire surface.





I made sure to get multiple applications inside the drip feature because rocks under constant water flow usually take on a darker hue.


Ill post the rest of what I got accomplished after work.
Comments, questions, advice welcome!
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:39 AM
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Looking good! Can't wait to see it finished.
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Looks great!
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Next I mixed up a little white and black to make grey. I dipped the brush in it to get the color, then painted on a paper towel to remove most of the paint from the brush. When there was barely any paint left, I started dry brushing the rocks. This insures that they dont just look like paint on a rock, because the paint is only applied to the high points. This creates tones and depth.
My first attempt had too much white and looked almost looked silver when it dried.


Id let each application dry for about 15 minutes, mix up another batch of grey with different amounts of black or white and do it again. I ended up adding 3-4 shades of grey this way.


Since the cement had absorbed the moisture when I sprayed it down with the black paint water, the cement all took on its brown wet color. This was a good thing, because when dry it shows all of the different shaded of cement that I used, which would make painting harder. For once Im glad that it takes on a monochromatic color when wet. It makes the rocks look like they are all the same type as well as giving a background color for the parts of the rocks that dont get painted when I dry brush them


Two of the rocks in this picture have too much of a single shade of grey, but the rest look good in my opinion. Ive just got some touching up to do on the black on that center rock.


Here you can see how much depth the black wash added, even with the camera's flash on


My last batch of grey for that night, which was the 5th, had yellow in it to make the grey a "warm grey" to balance out the overly silvery and slate greys that were dominating the tank. After that I called it a night, but I still plan on doing at least another layer of grey, this time with red mixed in. Then Ill get out smaller brushes and do some spots of brown, greens, and yellows to give the rocks a more aged organic look.

Pardon the dirty glass, Its got some hard water spots from the cement curing process, and I had to keep spraying it with water to wipe off accidental paint smears and splatters. But here is a view of the water feature from the outside of the tank.


And here is the outcrop on the opposite side of the tank:


A close up view of the water feature, showing how I kept it darker than the rest of the rock to replicate how rocks under constant water flow get darker.


Thats all for now.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:02 AM
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Gettin close to the end. Im dead tired right now so im not going to be as descriptive as I normally am. But if you have any questions feel free to ask.

I finished my last painting session today. I did two batches of grey, then green, then brown. For the grey I mixed red, black, and white to get a warmer shade of grey and dry brushed it all over. I then mixed some blue and yellow to make green, but wanted to make it darker so I added black. That turned out looking kinda grey as well, so I dry brushed that around too. I then mixed up a new batch of green, which turned out kind of muted. I mixed that with the last batch of grey to get a color that I would call grey-green. Under dim light it looks grey. Under bright light it looks like a grey with a greenish tint. I dry brushed that all over the inside of the water feature and along the rocks that will be submerged. I also dabbed it here and there in tiny spots all over the tank. Next I took brown and attempted to dry brush it but ended up not drying the brush well enough by accident. When I went to wipe the brown off of the rock that I had gotten too much brown on, it removed most of the brown, but left brown in some of the low areas of the surface of the rock. That broke up the grey and made the rock look like it had been dirty. I liked the look so I redid it randomly throughout the tank. The brown wipes and the greenish grey in the water area really made the tank look more organic than the previous painting session. Im very pleased with the results. Unfortunately, the greenish color didnt show up in the pictures. I tried multiple times to get it but couldnt. The brown areas show up pretty well in the pictures though.

















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Old 03-12-2011, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Tank looks great so far... Great work
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Nice work and great job on the painting. I was thinking about saying something about wiping the rocks after painting them and then read that you did that. Looks terrific.
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Ya that's called a "wash." Basically the idea is to paint a light color then dark on top and wipe off the high areas you can get to with a rag. That way the dark colors are left in the cracks and low places and the rocks have the lighter color with dark cracks. A lot of prop building industries use that technique. It's pretty simple and is a really cool effect rather than painting the dark cracks as the transition from dark to light is made more natural with a wash.

Another good technique to break up colors on the high areas is to cut a 1inch chip brush halfway down so that the bristles are really stiff. Then you mix a few different color shades off from the rock and you speckle the rock by basically flinging the paint by running your finger across the bristles. Makes another cool effect to break up solid colors.

Nice work all around!!!! Wish I had the time for something of this scale. I'm doing a rock background for a 20 tall conversion. Just finished sculpting the foam tonight and doing a cement layer tomorrow. Trying to at least do something realistic even though it's not as extensive.

Looking forward to seeing the rest.

D
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

That rock work is really epic. I think I'm going to try this technique with my fake rocks.

Really lovely vivarium you're building. I can't wait to see more progree.
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarly View Post
That rock work is really epic. I think I'm going to try this technique with my fake rocks.

Really lovely vivarium you're building. I can't wait to see more progree.
Thanks. I havent done anything else with it yet. Ive been in training for my job the past few weeks. Getting up earlier than normal, driving an hour to corporate buildings, spending 8 hours in meetings/training sessions/touring places, and then driving 1 hour back home daily is killing me. If it wasnt for my Iphone i would have gotten lost so many times these past few weeks. At least they are compensating me for gas mileage.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

I finally got a chance to work on this. Yesterday I mixed up some red art clay for the background and substrate and started my first round of planting:


Today I finished planting and started up the waterfall.

FTS left angle:


FTS right angle:


Left side:


Middle:


Right side:



The waterfall:


Here is the back side:


View from the top looking down:


Ill still be tinkering with plant placement, but I figured it was time for an update.
Next on my to do list is get better lighting and a fan to keep the front clear.
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Last edited by Okapi; 04-15-2011 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Looks awesome.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Wow. Just wow. Love the in wall look. Love the layout. Love the small water level. Looks great. What do you plan on keeping in this?
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

I plan on putting my three Leucs in there once the plants get a chance to establish
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

you need a big brom on that left wall...like 8-10" across.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

I have a hanging basket of Fireballs with pups, so I may add another fire ball to the tank later, but for now I think im done planting broms. Its kind of hard to make out in the pictures but there is a Neo ('Sarah head' I think?) with long leaves that is pupping on the left rock wall. With the length that their leaves get, once her pups start pupping, that side will be a wall of broms. I learned from one of my verts that if you plant too many types of broms too close together, when they all start pupping it becomes a tangled mess. The plan is to let that one side fill in naturally with a little colony of all the same broms. That should only take about 6 months and will look pretty good.
Counting the pups, the tank has 3 'Sarah head' Neos, 2 fireball Neos, and 2 chiquita Linda Neos.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Was just wondering how your cement dripwall was holding up? I'm getting ready to use the same product and was curious if you ended up sealing the wall or not?
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Very nice.. come over next week to start on my wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by Okapi View Post
I finally got a chance to work on this. Yesterday I mixed up some red art clay for the background and substrate and started my first round of planting:


Today I finished planting and started up the waterfall.

FTS left angle:


FTS right angle:


Left side:


Middle:


Right side:



The waterfall:


Here is the back side:


View from the top looking down:


Ill still be tinkering with plant placement, but I figured it was time for an update.
Next on my to do list is get better lighting and a fan to keep the front clear.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluestar View Post
Was just wondering how your cement dripwall was holding up? I'm getting ready to use the same product and was curious if you ended up sealing the wall or not?
Its holding up good, ill try to get some pictures soon. I cured it for a long time and then painted it with acrylic paints. That was good enough for me. If I hadnt cured it for so long, I would have sealed it.
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Could you provide some insight, please?

I'm getting ready to apply the cement, but it's only going to be in a few spots in the tank, with the rest of the foam being covered with gorilla glue/coco. I was planning on applying the cement, then curing/leaching, and then applying the gg/coco to the still exposed gs foam. My concern is in the curing, could I fill the tank to cure/leach with the gs foam being exposed to the soak? Or should I use a spray bottle with water, then switch to vinegar? I'm concerned with the exposed gs foam becoming waterlogged.

By the way, I can only hope my tank comes out half as good as yours did.

thanks
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

I only used GS foam to fill in the gaps around the open back service area to keep frogs from squeezing back there. This was my first cement build and I had read that cement didnt bond to GS very well which is why I went with the pink insulation foam instead. The cement seems to soak water into it as it is curing and water would definitely make its way back into the GS if its surface was cut prior to the cement being applied. I dont know if the GS would absorb water or not. That would be a question for a new thread so that it gets the attention of people that might know.

As for curing it, I filled the tank half way with water, put in submersible pumps, and ran water over every cement surface in the tank for a couple months. At first I was using tap water, which I was changing twice a week, but my water out here is hard, so my test kit wasnt very useful in determining if the cement was curing. So I switched to store bought distilled water. The alkalinity, ph, and hardness kept going up, so I started adding a gallon of vinegar every water change for a few weeks. I then rinsed with more distilled water for a few weeks before letting it dry out and painting it. I refilled it with distilled water, hooked up the waterfall and started doing 1 gallon a day water changes with water from my aquariums to cycle the tank and add bacteria. After about a week of that, I finished setting up the tank. It was a long process, but worth it in my opinion.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Looking really good buddy. I like the contrast between the clay, dark rocks, and splashes of colour. It'll look even better once it fills in surely.

Even though you didnt ask, the only thing I would change is the water section substrate. I think changing it to very dark brown, or preferably black substrate would make everything look much cleaner. Plus the submerged plants would POP much better instead of being washed out by the tan colour.
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Old 07-22-2011, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Time for an update! Pictures taken today (7-22-11). Still no frogs in it yet. I upgraded to a 2 t-5 fixture which unfortunately only lights the front half of the tank.

Full tank shot:


I had a little land slide on the left side:



Male guppy showing off:



Lots of duckweed growing on the waters surface, and a weird maroon fungi growing on the cement work:


Volunteer moss that must have come in on the oak leaves:


The fake driftwood with a few orchids that arnt doing much growing:



Back corner of tank looking down:


Back center of tank looking down:


Inside of the tank:


Nice plant growth filling in right side of waterfall:


Nice plant growth filling in left side of waterfall:



The jewel orchid is growing some interesting roots:



Prayer plant isnt liking conditions in the tank. First it grew alot of leaves, then started to decline:


Can never get enough of that waterfall:






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Old 07-22-2011, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

holy crap man that's awesome!! great work
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Totally awesome, great job!
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

you have great rock sculpting skills!!
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Excellent job! I really love the hardscaping, especially.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Very Nice!!!
I don't remember if you mentionned, but are these anubias in the waterfall?
I have a similar orchid that is having a hard time too-_- I love those small leaved orchids tho
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: My Vivarium built into a wall

Very nice, especially with the your touch on the sculpting. I like how everyone tries something new with painting there waterfalls. Has anyone tried using different color non sanded grout? I personally used it for myself and it came out great. Any thoughts?
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