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Old 07-10-2011, 07:27 AM
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Default custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Since the local glass store was giving away 20"x20"x1/8" glass panes, I thought I might as well use them for something.

Unfortunately I don't have much space left in the house and I didn't want another ugly wire rack. But I was giving some books to charity this weekend and decided I might as well keep the ikea bookselves and use them for something. So as of today I'm building 14.25"x10.25"x20.25" vivariums. That makes a nice 10 gallon for my thumbnails. I'm going to build one first, and then two more if it works out. Or maybe six total.

I admit I'm bad with glass, but I figured the space on the shelf isn't that big and I can use it as a template, so there isn't that many ways to mess up. I got an L, glass cutter, and a glass seamer, and got to work.

I made two 10x20 for the sides, two 10.125x14.25 for the top and bottom, and a 20x14.25 for the back. I put blue painters tape around the corners of the shelving space, then dropped the bottom glass in. I used clear GE silicone II on the edges, then put the back in. Added more silicone, then put the sides in. Repeated again, then dropped on the top. I finished off with a nice layer inside the tank. I used some shelves to put pressure on the top and one inside the tank to keep the sides from falling inward.

After a couple hours of hardening, I pulled out the tank from the shelf to make sure it could be pulled in and out, then removed the painters tape and placed the shelves properly on their pegs. Now I wanted to test out some lighting. I used three 110mm angel eye LED lights to stick between the tank and the next shelf. I also added a 9.5" waterproof blue LED strip for night lighting. So far they looked good, but I still need to drill holes in the shelving for hidden cables.

I wanted to give the tank a lip for glass on glass, so I added a 2"x14" on the top and 2"x13" on the sides. These were really hard to keep flat while the silicone dried.

After staring at the tank for a while I decided I wanted hidden vents at the top, and a euro style vent at the front. Since I'm bad with glass and cutting a shape is impossible for me, I'm opting for holes. I also plan for a hinged front. At the moment I just placed a recessed piece of glass at the bottom.

Work on progress. I managed to get a diamond drill bit. But I still need a new drill!

Justin
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Last edited by konton; 07-10-2011 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

This looks awesome can't wait to see more, how much free glass did you get I'm so jealous
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Score on the glass. This is going to look cool
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Travis, this place is literally at the end of the street from Charles. Take some next time you're here. They say take 50 free, but they leave them sitting out all day everyday and night for anyone to grab. Not only did I get a bunch of 20x20s, they have these tempered tinted 9x12s sitting there no one wants since you can't cut them.



So I started on the second tank, and cut the front glass with the hinge for the first tank. The hinge is great, but the glass on the hinge doesn't sit right because of the plastic and will easily let fruit flies in. So I'll have to either make the front glass the entire width of the front of the tank, or take off the front glass and try to redo it.



Hey Mike, as you can see, this is where I normally keep that cylinder vivarium, and these sit right next to my tropical ecos tank, so I thought I would make them in a similar fashion, except with a hinged front. I'm still debating moving the cylinder to have a nice row of three. What do you think?



If anyone is curious I love this hinge which costs me about $2.50 per tank. I decided to make some dark 5 gallon grow out tanks out of the dark tempered glass. I will need to cut glass for the front and back, but all the sides are black, and it fits nice in an EXPEDIT Bookcase from Ikea.



I still need to work on the vents, but I just need to drill the holes (since it's tempered glass, I'm stuck drilling in the back). As for lighting, since they are small tanks I'll probably use white 9.5 inch white waterproof LED lights inside the tank. $2.88 (I think the price went up) from dino direct with shipping!

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Old 07-11-2011, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

This is such a great idea, the cylindrical tank in so awesome as well.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

sweet build, but be careful with that 1/8" stuff!!! it tends to shatter easly as a door, the sides since framed in wood will probably be just fine, but id be a little worried about the door construction. i suggest talking to them and seeing if you can get a piece of 3/16" its got a little more strength to it.

currently building some fun stuff with my 21 pieces of 3/16th
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Are you at all worried about the weight of the tanks? Ikea is not the safest bet for humid, heavy objects, IMO.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Good observation! Ikea stuff is always kinda "flimsy". I'm not thinking that it would be an issue though for tanks.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

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Are you at all worried about the weight of the tanks? Ikea is not the safest bet for humid, heavy objects, IMO.
im sure the dead load compared to books is less than a tank with a false bottom. also the load will be carried at the shelf mounts not in the middle of the plank. i think the tanks will be fine in there. if you want i can run some calcs for ya but off the hip youll be just fine with what you can see in delection in the self above loaded with books


ohhh and where did you get the magnets at?

Last edited by motydesign; 07-11-2011 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

how bright are the LEDs and are they the right color temp for plant growth?
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

In my experience, Ikea shelves can sometimes shift a bit when bumped into and things are placed or taken off. Be very careful that there is enough play between the glass and the wood of the furniture to avoid cracking that thin glass should the shelf flex and apply pressure to the tanks. The back might be particularly vulnerable since it could rapidly become a load-bearing structure if the shelf leaned a couple degrees. Otherwise they look pretty cool. Always fun to build with glass.

The tempered dark stuff is pretty cool too. I'd worry about using tempered 1/8" in this application as it will still be relatively vulnerable, particularly if the edges weren't well-smoothed before they fired it. One chip and you've got a pile of little glass chunks all over the place.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

I can't say the BILLY Bookcase, or anything from Ikea is great. But it works and my wife likes it. So she wants to keep them.

Ikea has their max load at 33lbs. for each shelf. I think that's fine with no water features. Now if there was a bunch of water sitting in it I'd be worried. Or if I was using rocks on the bottom and a clay background. But a false bottom even with hydroton and a expanding foam background usually are way under the 33lbs limit. My hard cover Harry Potter books are heavier! Thanks for the offer to do the calculations. The tanks are all on the center shelves at the moment, which I think are a littler studier than the ones with just pegs. So I'm considering 6 tanks.

3/16" glass would be HEAVY! I was actually thinking of going back to 3/32 or something.

The magnets are from APPLIED MAGNETS-Neodymium Magnets-Rare Earth Magnets-Ceramic Magnets-Industrial Magnets-Magnets Wholesale To The Public
I prefer the 1/2x1/2x1/8. But I ran out of those around the house so I'm using the 1/2x1/2x/14 which are really really strong. Too strong. But I might do a combination because I want a stronger hold at the top and bottom of the tank. I think if I add magnets near the hinge, it will solve my problem of space between the pieces of glass. However I think finish my build using the magnets to hold things in place might also work.

So far I've had the cylinder tank using 108 LEDs for 3 months and it's going fine. About as bright as a 9w CFL. but with the white sides for bounce, it's even brighter.

I agree if the tank it too exact to the sides of the shelf, this may be a problem. But I don't really use the shelves much so I'm less worried. And the books I kept will be below, not above. Maybe I'll put the fruit flies above.

The tempered glass was actually cut really nice. And for the record I broke one to see how much damage it would take. Yes, a bunch of little pieces needed to be picked up and tossed out slowly. Not fun.

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Last edited by konton; 07-11-2011 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

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Originally Posted by CVB View Post
In my experience, Ikea shelves can sometimes shift a bit when bumped into and things are placed or taken off. Be very careful that there is enough play between the glass and the wood of the furniture to avoid cracking that thin glass should the shelf flex and apply pressure to the tanks. The back might be particularly vulnerable since it could rapidly become a load-bearing structure if the shelf leaned a couple degrees. Otherwise they look pretty cool. Always fun to build with glass.

The tempered dark stuff is pretty cool too. I'd worry about using tempered 1/8" in this application as it will still be relatively vulnerable, particularly if the edges weren't well-smoothed before they fired it. One chip and you've got a pile of little glass chunks all over the place.
good point i didnt think about the lateral movement of the self! that would surely cause the glass to loose adhesion at the silicone(dumping the false bottom water) or worse shatter the glass.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Lookin awesome mane keep it up!
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

The main issue with the edges is that most tempered glass applications don't require them to be super rounded the way we like them for rimless terrariums, meaning any sort of impact at an angle that applies a shearing force to the edge is likely to result in a chip; this is why we round all the corners and smooth the edges on flats on the tanks we sell. Standard glass-shop finishes are often extremely susceptible to chipping on the racks and stands we commonly use (one reason we sell closed-cell foam protector pads as well), and the tempered panels are just a horrible disaster waiting to happen sometimes.

Thickness and weight wise, we always work with 1/4", even on tiny tanks, so I tend to immediately think even a small tank might be capable of bowing a shelf a bit, but at the same time I can't imagine working with something thinner since our 1/8" seems so fragile (we use it only for doors). Being totally enclosed by shelf and not in contact with metal, your application might work just fine with 1/8", but I think I'd be sweating pretty hard if it came time to move it. There's a lot less silicone contact and a lot less resistance to cracking from torsion in glass of that thickness.

That said, looking real good. Kinda wish we had easier access to some of that tinted stuff for special applications.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Well so far I'm it's pretty easy to take the tank off the shelf. It's only a 10 gallon and even 10 gallon aquariums are made with 1/8" glass. We'll see once the tank is complete on the inside. I think I may do a set of three and leave it at that.



Anyway it's free glass, so who am I to complain. All the parts cost me about six bucks. Also everything is the first time so nothing is perfect. For example I just cut the holes for the front with a 1" diamond head drill bit. I did a few test before, but that didn't stop me from making a bit of scarring on the front of the tank. Live and learn. I took a 3/4" snap in grommet to the hole and surrounded it with no-see-um mesh.



Not sure how this hinge or the magnets are going to work out. But 1/2x1/2/1/4 magnets on the back and 1/2x1/2x1/8 magnets on the front seem to be enough to make a tight seal. As for the second glass inside the tank, we'll that's going to be interesting unless I find a good way to keep the hole closed. But It's mainly to keep the water out. I think I may even put rocks in to hide the actual false bottom.



While I generally don't make additional holes, just to be safe, I'm adding two more at the top about three inches from the back. This way there is some air flow. I would have shown you the finished version, but the drill ran out of battery power. I really need a new drill.

Justin
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

The slow build continues with #3. I'm going to stick with three for now.



The hinge works better than expected and with the ends of the glass now connected to the hinge with silicone, everything is nice and tight even without the magnets at the bottoms. Still they seem like a nice safety measure.



I also added a handle for the door, finished drilling the holes on top, and decided to put in a 12 volt rocker switch on the front of the tank. How I'm going to build internal wiring, I'm still not sure.

But I had this crazy idea to place a heat sink fan for a video card on the inset glass behind one of the vent holes. I figure it will pull the air from the vent, and push it out into the rest of the tank. Not sure if it will really work how I'd want by design. Maybe I need to try a different fan.



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Old 07-15-2011, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Yo Konton!

Looks good so far. I will say that the vents on the bottom could be absolute genius or the bane of your existence. I can see them becoming an issue for several reasons.

I'm going to have to swing down to SJ this w/e and get some of that glass before it's all gone (if it isn't already).
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:52 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

What reasons would they be a problem? I ended up going with three vents at the bottom because I didn't really want to try to build electricity into the tank. So far they seem good to me. I'm just finishing up the last two tanks tonight to get my trio complete.



I did some tests and I think only 66 total LED's will work per tank if I get the circuit in parallel and up the voltage to 15. I thought the LED's were in parallel, but I'm getting a noticeable dimming of the lights. So I guess not.

For those curious, the hinge works great, although I do a messy job with silicone. The bottom glass with the vents is 5-3/16" x 14-1/4" and goes over the edges to so three sides are glued right to the ends of the tank.

The other pieces of glass that make up the front of the tank are inset, so the 12"x13-3/4" cover sits on top connected to the hinge. The top is 14"x2" and both sides are 2"x12-3/4".



The hinge is cut so it fits right over the edge on the ends, and then 2" are cut off either side of the part that holds the cover. That way the cover and the sides can overlap, The 2"x12-3/4" side pieces of glass sit nicely on the lip of the cut hinge, and I added a line of silicone to make sure the fruit flies don't get through.

Justin
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

That is a great looking set up......Very nice.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

If lateral movement is still a worry of yours you could put some ply wood on the back to stop the movement. Eather 1/2 or 3/4 A.C. if looks are a consern mapel louan (not to shure on the spelling) will work just do the whole back of the bookcase. If the bookcases are not going to be moved you can also mount them directly to the wall eather threw the top support or L brackets on the sides.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Great build! I love your black grow-out tank, that's a smart idea!
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

My primary concern would be occasional water through the vents. I guess as long as the vents are above "ground level" in the tank you'll be fine. As I was looking today the bottom front may be constructed different from what I thought.

Quote:
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What reasons would they be a problem? I ended up going with three vents at the bottom because I didn't really want to try to build electricity into the tank. So far they seem good to me.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build



Well I tested how water tight the tanks were. They were not. So I had to add a little more silicone to the bottom and while I was at it made a few more touches. One was to add some silicone on the back to allow the expanding foam I plan to put in an additional place to attach.



I thought at the top a glass handle would be nice. There are 4 magnets behind the glass that keep everything safe. Behind the glass all the magnets are 1/2"x1/2"x1/4". But on the cover only the bottom magnets are the same size to keep the pull force at 22lbs. The ones at the top are 1/2"x1/2"x1/8" to lower the pull force to more like 18lbs. This makes the tank harder to open, but also safer in the long run (to keep prying kids out) and more fly proof. The glass handle survives the strength necessary to open the tank, so I'm happy. The magnets at the bottom can be stronger because they are right near the hinge and there is more leverage there against the pull force.



I noticed that the hinge area's right below the bottom magnets were the only openings left for flies to get out. So I added a thick layer of silicone, let it dry for 45 minutes, then closed the lid to squish the silicone into a shape. After another 45 minutes I opened the lid and cut off the excess silicone.

As you can see from the picture, there is another piece of glass about 3/4" behind the front. I think that's what was confusing before. So there is a piece of glass 5" high to hold the substrate. And then a 3/4" space in front of it to where the lower vents are. To add a little touch, I placed a black plastic spine for paper from Office Depot over the top of the back piece of glass. I think it adds a little something extra.



I found out my light dimming problem before was not voltage, but amps. The blue lights for night are not much of a problem and I only put 4.5 volts through them and they only need 66 milliamps each, or 198 milliamps total. The white lights use around 150 to 175 milliamps each. That means I'll need at least 1000 milliamps or 1 amp to run all my lights. My transformer was only made for 500 milliamps, so I was overloading it. I've switched to a 2 amp transformer and now everything is bright and fine.

Next I need to decide if I want to use clay or foam for the background. Both have advantages. Clay is easier to work with and add onto after you're done. But it's heavy. So I'm considering foam just because these are for bookshelves and want to make sure I stay in my 33lbs limit.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

very nice build very clean an neat looking. great job!
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Quick light parts list for the daylight LED setup:



Two light rings are above each tank. I added some touch 'n foam to the back, and will add more later to make ledges and maybe a few places for planting. Usually I'd also put in drift wood and cork bark, but I'm finding the plants over time take over until you can't see anything.



Just to compare the LED lights to the florescents in the rest of the room.



The tank to the left has two 14w CFL's. The rack has two 40w lights for each level, and the side tanks keep a 9w CFL within the tank.
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

The light rings look like they put out quite a bit of light.....Have you had them on a planted tank though? Wonder if they put out enough to keep plants growing? If so that is a pretty cheap way to get LEDs....Nice idea.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Yep. I have a cylinder tank I was testing with before. Worked great, but as a cylinder you don't get much spill light for the plants at the bottom.



Having a 10"x14" rectangle makes a difference compared to the 10" diameter I was working with.
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Last edited by konton; 07-19-2011 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Nice find! We've experimented with HID lighting for cars - but never the LEDs... And never for that cheap.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Those lights are great! That was the cheapest place I could find them and that $9.11 price for 2 includes shipping.

I've had 6 of these canopy sections left over from a CFL systems I've tried to build.



The 110mm Angel Eye Light fits right in. That's what's upside down over the tanks. I also placed a Blue Flexible Ribbon LED Strip right below it, and because the strip is translucent, it doesn't effect the lights, so at night when they shut off, the LED strip continues to run, for night lighting.



24cm 9.4in 12V 24LED Flexible Ribbon Strip Light Blue - DinoDirect.com

For $2.66 each with shipping, I'm considering getting some white ones to place inside my 5 gallon grow out tanks.

I know people say CFL's are cheaper and brighter, but when you price it out with the fixture, I'm liking LED's more and more.
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Last edited by konton; 07-19-2011 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

I did end up adding just a little bit of drift wood and cork bark. I also added more form so I could cut out ledges and areas to plant. Something new for me. I've noticed recently some of my imitators do use the ledges once they are planted in so the can hide.



I actually like the rock look of the touch 'n form landscape. I'm considering keeping the rocky background and adding a little bit of clay and moss at places to keep humidity in. Usually I'd glue coco fiber to everything. But that look has been done to death.

To test out placement with my broms, I added the substrate and placed the broms how I would imagine them.



I like how the 10 inch depth just leaves enough room for the plants, but the 14 inch width really gives me space to work with broms. The more width the better! Allows a little more light for the plants at the bottom.



The night lighting is looking pretty good too. Later this week I'll add a little bit of coco fiber, mud and moss for ledges and around the roots, and then plant the figs and other things that will climb and cover the back wall.



Justin
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Last edited by konton; 07-20-2011 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Quote:
Originally Posted by konton View Post
I really like the euro design and overlapping door/hinge, really clean! Are you planning on meshing over this area above the vent so that nothing can get in there or are you leaving it as is? Thx.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Thanks Fitzy, Since I'm working with imitators who won't get stuck and can easily climb out, I have no plans to mesh it in. Since there are three holes in the front with mesh already, there is no need. Fruit flies can't get out. I tested that already.

I'm actually thinking of adding Feng Shui Black Pebbles into the space to hide the hydroton and substrate. These will also help accent the rock wall look.

Justin
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Last edited by konton; 07-20-2011 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

I'm going to let these sit for a while and fill in. But I'm not all that happy.

I started out removing the plants and adding the glue to place the coco fiber. But I have to say, it's a pain. So I just took some clay I had from prior builds and tossed it on the back instead. Clay is nice since it sticks into all the cracks of the foam and keeps the vivarium humid. It's also a great way to attach things to the foam and nice to place around roots for growth.



The clay looks nice, like earth on top of rock. And after adding the plants I know the tank will fill in well. But I was really enjoying the black rock background over the earth tones.

I decided against leaving it black because I cut ledges out of the foam, and they needed to be covered with something. Plus touch 'n foam really shrinks after a day or two and clay is an easy way to fill in the gaps. I don't know if this is the best move, but hopefully the imitators will approve.



Since the front well with the air vents was getting so well lit, and also starting to collect substrate, I thought it best to toss in the rocks. Since the background was not black anymore, I kept the rocks to earth tones as well.



Stick a fork in me. I'm done for now.

Justin
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:43 AM
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Thumbs up Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Nice job! I know how you fell though, I have taken the time to make some great build and then once you get to the final product you are not at all satisfied. I hope you end you liking it in the long run though.

Last edited by gootswa; 07-22-2011 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Looks great! Might be time to ask the wife if I can use our book shelves for that... What's the wattage ( or amps ) on each of the 36 LED circles? I'm trying to decide to build/buy LEDs for my new tank. Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

No idea on wattage. Sorry. It's 12v and around 150ma. I hope that gives you an idea. Now that broms are in there I'm feeling like 3 would be better to make sure some rays make it down to the ground.

Justin
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Very nicely done~ I think it looks much better after covering the background with clay.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Justin, those shelves look killer! It's nice to have tanks flush and combined with everyday furniture. Kudos on the builds. They look fine, don't beat yourself up.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: custom glass ikea bookshelf vivarium build

Those shelf's look great, I wanted to do something just like that. Great job
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