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Old 02-11-2012, 02:16 AM
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Default 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Well I originally came on this site to find ideas for building a terrarium for my whites tree frog, but well I decided to get some darts too. I have a 29 gallon tank laying around from when I was quarantining stuff for my reef, and I'm going to turn it into a viv for a pair/trio of azureus frogs. I love the scenery in the movie Avatar, and since I'm going to have little blue skinned inhabitants in the tank I wanted to put a few Pandora influenced touches inside.

First off: glowing mushrooms
I think shelf mushrooms are cooler looking that normal ones, so I wanted to make some to stick on the side of the viv. I got air-dry modeling clay, acrylic water based paint, and marine grade epoxy resin (also for something else) to make the shrooms. I made the mushrooms out of clay, which I think turned out pretty well considering I havn't made anything out of clay since middle school ten years ago.




Then I tried to paint them. I put on a layer of light tan paint, then some brown lines to try and make them look like this.


But I didn't like it cause I couldn't get the lines thin enough, so painted over them again white tan. I then got the idea to make them blue, since I was going to paint the upper side with blue glow-in-the-dark paint. It didn't turn out so good.


Then my glow-in-the-dark paints came in the mail and I was too excited and figured I could try to paint the lines again after painting the glow paint on. The glow paint has a slight greenish tint. It took 7 coats to get the glow even and not spotty. After that I tried painting lines again but it didn't work, then I tried drawing lines on with a colored pencil but it didn't stick. So I got frustrated and painted over the glow paint with tan paint and started over. *make sure you like the paint job before wasting your expensive glow paints*

Next I tried to paint them like this pic I found.


And it turned out pretty good!



Kind of a burnt/brown orange with slightly purple edges. Then I did another 7 coats of the glow paint on the tops of the mushrooms. On the undersides of the mushshrooms I painted a yellow/green color and put some brown speckles on the stem. After that I did 7 coats of Green glow-in-the-dark paint. I took some pics in the dark but you can't make anything out...

And it's time for bed so more tomorrow.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandora themed)

Cant edit thread titles huh? Forgot the "a" in Pandora

Oh, got good pics of the glowing shrooms, a little blurry though.



Anyways, this post is going to show how I made a floating waterfall and some other floating rocks for my viv. The waterfall part was sculpted out of a big block of Great Stuff foam I made. I don't recommend doing this though because the foam shrinks over a few days, I didn't know that at the time. After sculpting it I covered the rock in three layers of Permastone that I got at Hobby Lobby. The rock is going to be siliconed onto the side of the viv, so to get water up to it I'm going to run a 1/4" tube up through a bulkhead in the bottom of the viv, and plug it into a John Guest fitting in the rock. I had a JG-> 1/2" threaded adapter laying around so I just screwed the adapter into the foam.

For painting I bought a bunch of different colors of water based acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby. I painted over the whole rock twice with a dark gray base color. Then I mixed up a watery lighter gray color and dry brushed that onto the sharp edges of the rock. Then another lighter gray, almost white, went on the edges to bring them out even more. To finish it off I splotched on some greens to make some algae/plant growth. Here's pics of the process.

Permatoned


Base Gray


Edge Details



Finished


I did two smaller ones out of clay that will also be stuck up on the side of the viv. Here's a pic of one.


These rocks as well as the mushrooms are going to be encased in expoy, because otherwise they'd melt. I just gotta find enough time to get all the coats on. The epoxy I got can be recoated without sanding between 3-4 hours since it was mixed so I'll need a whole day at home to get it done. I'll probably do it this weekend.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Nice! Can't wait for updates
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

To catch the water coming from the waterfall I made a basin and stream out of clay. I painted it dark brown to hopefully match the color of the substrate, but with a few rocks for accent. I used the leftover blue glow-in-the-dark paint on the stream bed.




I wanted a cork branch to silicone horizontally on the back of the viv and boy did I luck out! I stopped at a local pet store I hadn't been to in a year and found this awesome piece of cork that looked just right for another little idea I had.

I got it home and measured the inside diameter of the branch, 2.6 inches..... 60mm = 2.36", went on Tigerdirect.com and bought a quiet 60mm computer fan. When it arrived I took a dremel to it and sawed off the corners.

WEAR SAFETY GOGGLEs AND CLAMP DOWN THE FAN WHILE YOU'RE WORKING ON IT. A little more trimming and cutting out the cork a bit and ta da! fan has dissapeared.


I'll have to block off the smaller limb with great stuff and put screens on the ends of the larger limb, and also find a power supple that works.... I tried a 12v 100ma wall wart but it didn't run, a 9v 250ma worked but it was much slower than when I plugged the fan into my computer to test it.

At the same pet store there was also this small cork log. It's hollow and looked just the right size for a frog to hide in. The inside diameter is 1.5". And its got some nice moss and lichen on it to boot!



Well that's all for tonight
~~John
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Looks sweet, I really like the idea of using the cork for the fan vent tubes.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

John...you be trippin'.....can tell you be havin' you bad self a blast..
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:59 AM
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Mushrooms...amazing! Cork tube fan holder....you just made my day! Thats the idea that just got me out of a rut! Im loving this thread! subscribed
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandora themed)

Well, got the viv set up yesterday. Sorry I hadn't updated as I did things. First off here's the stand.



Its started as a 2x4 frame for a 2'x4' fish tank. I was able to cut it and join the two pieces together and end up with a stand 24"x31" and 25" tall. I put wheels on the bottom which adds another 2". The top surface is a two part acrylic epoxy I played with. I "drilled" a hole with a sawzall for the drain. The rest of the stand is coated with two layers of Kilz Original Primer.

When I drilled the hole for the drain there were a few small chips out of the glass that leaked, so I make a silicone gasket. I layed down silicone around the hole, put a sheet of wax paper over it, pressed it down with a circular saw blade, and plopped a paint can on top. After it cured I cut away the excess and turned out perfectly!



I added a smaller cork log onto the large piece you saw before with great stuff and gorilla glue. To seal off the ends of the tube that holds the circulation fan I cut circles of fiberglass window screen and siliconed them in. Here's a picture of the log, waterfall, and mushrooms siliconed inside the tank.



Then I made a false bottom out of eggcrate, zip ties, and window screen.



The corners are just folded under and zip-tied down.



To hide the false bottom I added gravel around the sides and another layer of screen.



For a substrate I made a mix based on ABG. Because I had this stuff laying around, my mix is:
2 part tree fern fiber
1 part coco husk
1 part cypress mulch
1 part sphagnum peat
1 part horticultural charcoal

I added plants I had bought before. I got the orchids from Andy's Orchids, 7 total. The rest came from Black Jungle and local froggers. Current plant list is:
Pleurothallis tripterantha
Bulbophyllum purpurascens
Bulbophyllum maquilingense
Masdevallia erinacea (horrida)
Dendrobium crutwellii
Restrepia trichoglossa
Ludisia discolor var. alba

Sinningia eumorpha "Saltao"
Sinningia regina
Oakleaf Fern - Quercifilix zeylanica
Fittonia verschaffeltii 'Minima'
Satin Pothos - Scindapsus pictus argyraeus
Suntan Begonia
Pilea?

FTS


Dendrobium crutwellii, love the color on the pseudobulbs


Begonia, hope it doesn't get too big. Anyone know scientific name?


Pilea's in back left corner. Anyone know what it really is?


Stain pothos, I love this thing.


And here are my 5 azurues tads. Have had them for a month, and they are just starting to get legs. No color yet though.




Next big things are making a top, setting up MistKing (in the mail), adding leaf litter, and watching things grow!
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Nice, i like how that came out. Are you planning to do anything to hide the cords?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

So far so good. You mentioned leaf litter, and that is pretty essential as I'm sure you've read. I'd add some more plants that the froglets could dart into to hide; the more stuff there is to hide in the more bold the frogs are.

Also, I'm not sure if you've done this already or not, but now would be the perfect time to add MICROFAUNA. That way you can have a nice established population when your froglets emerge and they can go to town =]
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

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Originally Posted by InHoc1855 View Post
Nice, i like how that came out. Are you planning to do anything to hide the cords?
what i like to do is cover the cords in silicone and cover with peat, this way they look like vines and can easily be removed as they are not attached to anything.

BTW the tank came out pretty cool. maybe you can find a cool looking fish tank background to put on the back that will make it look like its high in the treetops or something hah
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

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Originally Posted by InHoc1855 View Post
Nice, i like how that came out. Are you planning to do anything to hide the cords?
Yup I already got some brown silicone and peat to put on the cords inside the tank. The cords off the back will be hidden by a background of some sort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hypostatic View Post
Also, I'm not sure if you've done this already or not, but now would be the perfect time to add MICROFAUNA. That way you can have a nice established population when your froglets emerge and they can go to town =]
Already added tropical springtails and dwarf white isopods, any other good things I could throw in there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shibbyplustax View Post
BTW the tank came out pretty cool. maybe you can find a cool looking fish tank background to put on the back that will make it look like its high in the treetops or something hah
I think I am going to do that. I was originally going to paint the back black, but I wanna get one of those plastic stick-on backgrounds with rainforest foliage and see how that looks on it.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

I think this is the second tank with an AVATAR based theme, and I whole heartedly LOVE the idea(that person also used D. t. azureus!) -- GREAT creativity and imagination. Kudos to you
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

i love the mushroom ledges - so very cool!! and the floating waterfall is even cooler.

I'm going to need your help figuring out plumbing.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

The azureus blue matches the theme perfectly...not sure it would work as well with any other frog. Love the fan in the cork tube.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Is the waterfall flowing? As Beth said..Where is the tube feeding it? Can't see it in the pic.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:19 AM
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I wouldn't mind seeing a video of the floating waterfall in action with and without the lights out -- I'm just sayin'
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yours View Post
I think this is the second tank with an AVATAR based theme, and I whole heartedly LOVE the idea(that person also used D. t. azureus!) -- GREAT creativity and imagination. Kudos to you
Thanks! I just can't wait for these orchids to flower. Picked out ones with real wacky flowers to make it feel more alien. Like the Masdevallia erinacea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BethInAK View Post
i love the mushroom ledges - so very cool!! and the floating waterfall is even cooler.

I'm going to need your help figuring out plumbing.
Ya I'm very happy with how the mushrooms turned out. The waterfall is not running yet, I need to pick up some parts to connect the feed line to the pump. I have a maxi-jet 900 that I'll be using to power the waterfall. I have a bucket in the stand which will catch water draining out and have the pump for the waterfall. The tube coming up is just regular air-line tube for fish tanks, it fits in 1/4" john guest tube fittings. The tube goes up through the bulkhead in the bottom of the tank and through the false bottom screen.



Here's where the tube comes out, behind the begonia.



Here it is plugged into the waterfall. I'll be covering the exposed part of the tube with silicone and peat so it looks like a vine.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Erikb3113 View Post
The azureus blue matches the theme perfectly...not sure it would work as well with any other frog. Love the fan in the cork tube.
Thank you, I kept in mind what frogs were going in here so tried to stay with darker colored foliage. I still want to add a few red leaved plants on the ground. Azureus would really pop against a red background.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erikb3113 View Post
Is the waterfall flowing? As Beth said..Where is the tube feeding it? Can't see it in the pic.
Answered above.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:10 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Quote:
Already added tropical springtails and dwarf white isopods, any other good things I could throw in there?
I think that's good enough. I know that there are some people that like seeding with every kind of springtail and isopod species available in the hobby, but in the small confines of our vivs I don't think that they all end up surviving.

Many also like feeding the microfauna by sprinkling some yeast into the substrate or putting some veggie table scraps under the leaf litter. Oh and the isopods will also munch on the leaf litter if there's nothing else around to munch on.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Ya I will add a little yeast and veggie scraps in there. The bugs have got 2 or three weeks yet until the tads morph, and by that time I want them covering every inch of the viv!
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Oh, I also wanted to comment that a 29G might be too small for all 5 of hose frogs once they reach maturity. The females are very territorial.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:38 PM
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Oh, I also wanted to comment that a 29G might be too small for all 5 of hose frogs once they reach maturity. The females are very territorial.
I don't plan to house all five in there forever. I'll separate them once I can sex them or they start picking on each other. I hope to end up with a 2.1 trio, and sell/trade the other two.

In other news I got the cover make and the MistKing hooked up. I made a screen strip and cut a piece of aluminum angle the same length.



Here is the screen and aluminum siliconed into the top rim.



The aluminum is to hold the pieces of glass. I got three pieces of 1/8" glass cut, and drilled a 5/8" hole in the center one for the Mist nozzle. My bit must be a little small, cause the MistKing bulkhead didn't quite fit. So I whipped out the dremel and used a sanding bit to rout out the hole until the bulkhead did fit. Whenever you drill on glass make sure to do it under running water to keep the bit cool and flush away the glass dust! I did this in a utility sink with the faucet barely on.

To get into the viv I just pull out one of the side panes of glass and I have pretty good access to the entire inside. I do need to put handles on the glass pieces to make them easier to get out. For a canopy I want to make something that slides on the tank rim. Then I can just slide the canopy over and pull out a glass door, and not have to take the whole canopy off.

My waterfall works but I don't leave it running all day. The flow is too much right now, so I have to put a valve on the water line. I have one I just need to find the time to do it. Also the water all runs in one stream off the edge of the waterfall, and splashes too much when it hits the pool below. I might stuff a wad of java moss in the waterfall, and let the water run down the strings of moss into the pool.

I made a video of the waterfall running but my stupid slow internet won't upload it. I'll try again later tonight when it's not so busy.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: 29 gal viv build for azureus (kinda pandor themed)

Got the video uploaded

29 gal Azureus :: Watefall video by Jdwachsmuth - Photobucket
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:27 PM
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Everything's going ok in Pandora Still have all 5 froglets and they are all still getting along fine. Most of the plants are growing great, and I've had a few flowers. Here's the two good pics of the frogs I got:



This is the bud and flower of the Restrepia trichoglossa orchid:



Flower pic of Bulbophyllum maquilingense:


Sinningia flower:


New growth on Bulbophyllum purpurescens:


Cont.....
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:41 PM
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I threw in a Coleus plant from the garden center:


Polkadot plants from somewhere:



The end of the stream, cozy little spot:


Full tank shot:


Looking in the end:


I've cut back the Pilea plant and put a small New Guinea Impatien in its place, which isn't doing much yet. There have been lots of 1/2" long pink worms on my glass, and looking around on the internet I've found they are nemetarian (sp?) worms, which are harmless to the frogs but prey on the microfauna in the tank. I still have the waterfall running, but planted the output with java moss so the water runs down the moss strands and doesn't splash into the pool below. I haven't seen the frogs use the water feature at all.

My orchids are doing so-so. There's not as much growth in some as I would like. The jewel orchid is doing well, but a slow grower. The B. purpurascens made a growth just after planting, which rotted off, and now is putting out a new one. The B. maquilingense has been doing very well. It has put out 7 flowers since being placed in the tank, and 2 new leaves. The Pleurothallis tiperantha has put out about 4 new growths, and just started a flower spike a week ago! Dendrobium crutwelli doesn't seem to like the humidity much, most of the leaves got spots and dropped. The Masdevallia erinacea made three flowers and 3 new leaves after planting, but hasn't done anything the last few weeks. And the Restrepia trichoglossa has put up 2 new leaves and 2 flowers.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:27 AM
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Nice looking build. I will be taking a road trip to see this and pick your brain.

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