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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys, time for a new build!
last one was a custom dry desert build for a leopard gecko. this one is going to be a tropical planted viv for either just one male crestie, or maybe a pair of female cresties.
after surfing CL for months looking for a deal on a terrarium or appropriate aquarium i said screw it & just bought everything new at the evil empire of petsmart. so after dropping about $200 at petsmart, wally world, & lowes here's what i came home with:
- 18x18x24 zoo med terrarium (wanted the exo terra b/c they seem a little higher quality, but with a price difference of $100, went w/ the zoo med)
- 18" exo terra compact light topper.
- 2 6500K CFL's
- brick of coco husk
- 3 cans of greatstuff big gap
- 4 tubes of GE silicon II (brown)
- 1 large chunk of craft styrofoam (prolly going to need more)
- 10lb. bag of dark color non-sanded grout
- 3 foam paintbrushes

so my vision is to do a hybrid DIY backround of both the styrofoam/grout stonework & GS/silicon/coco fiber BG. leca balls, mesh barrier, & organic mix of some sort covered with leaf litter & moss cover for substrate. planted with live plants.

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ok, went to the evil empire again and got a nice piece of mopani that will bridge the backround with a rockwall food dish ledge. also got a grab-bag of what i thought was a bunch of malaysian driftwood, didn't read the packaging well enough & turned out to be grapewood (which from what i've read doesn't hold up well in wet vivs). so . . idk.

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i just ordered a kaz coolmist humidifier, so i'm going to have the fog thing going on (on a timer prolly 1-2 times a day for a minute or two)
was thinking of carving up an easter island head thingy, embed it in the bg, and have the fog pour out of his mouth-



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siliconed in all the pvc connectors & what-not for the fogger:



started carving up my statue guy. turned out kinda creepy looking. gonna have the fog come out of his nose (was toying with the idea of having green LED's in his eyes):





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not alot of progress, but have one cool pic testing out the fogger through the statue head-





in the process of applying gs & carving. question:
need a way to seal the grout faux rock wall portions. i used mod podge in my previous build because it was a dry desert style viv, but i've noticed mod podge doesn't hold up well to moisture. i do have some polyacrylic that i bought recently for a furniture project (i believe minwax). toying with using it. i tried reading the msds sheet on it, but honestly i just don't understand all that technical mumbo-jumbo.
anybody have any experience using this stuff? any horror stories? successful attempts?

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grouting-



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this is Eros, the future inhabitant of this viv:



she is being held by Samantha of Crestopia Reptiles until i get the 10gal temp tank set up & my CGD comes in the mail. thanks Samantha!

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fogger test-



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decided not to paint the grout, so just going to forgo the sealant. would rather have painted it to make it look more stone-like & give more depth, but too much of a pain in the arse to locate a critter-friendly sealant. plus i have already completed the silicon/cocofiber portions, got my hydroton locally, & placed & am awaiting delivery of my plants & substrate. now i just want to get it all done. silicon/cocofiber is curing so alot of cocofiber piled up & not too pretty to look at, so no pics right now. plant list:

Sanseveria 2.5" Pot
Item# $3.95 USD 2 $7.90 USD

Selaginella Kraussiana "Spike Moss" 4" pot
Item# greenspikemoss $4.95 USD 1 $4.95 USD

NE Herp Vivarium Substrate Mix
Item# NEHSSUB $9.50 USD 3 $28.50 USD

Peperomia Japonica 3-4 clippings
Item# $4.95 USD 1 $4.95 USD

Selaginella Kraussiana Variegatus "Frosty Fern"
Item# $6.95 USD 1 $6.95 USD

Neoregelia "Eoz"
Item# $9.50 USD 1 $9.50 USD

Neoregelia Olens
Item# $9.99 USD 1 $9.99 USD

Standard 20G Viv Kit - 6 Tillandsias, 2 Wandering Jew Clippings, 2 Asst ivy clippings, 2 qty 12X12 Moss
Item# 20gkit $42.95 USD 1 $42.95 USD
 

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wow your cresti is gonna love that im doing a tank like that only for P. Klemmeri (neon day gecko) other then that the tank looks good I love the fog coming out of the tikis mouth
 

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On this guys site
How to make a waterfall (rainforest edition)
he makes a rainforest type waterfall using the foam / grout / paint / sealer method. He uses a sealer called "Shields All."
I thought there was a link to where he gets it but I can't seem to find it. It also says that it is important to seal the grout even if you don't paint it.
Hope that helps! I would love to see it painted.
 

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Very cool idea with the fog!!! I was thinking of getting an Easter Island Head, never thought of making one.... haha DUH!! Looks very cool though, looking forward to seeing what plants and bottom you get.
 

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So awesome, haha! The nose mist made my day. xD
 

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Sheilds All sealer will work for sealing the grout.
It's exspensive but when it dries it will be safe
I've been looking into other cheaper sealers that might be safe
I know that if you do a vinegar soak it neautralizes the pH and you won't really need to seal it
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sheilds All sealer will work for sealing the grout.
It's exspensive but when it dries it will be safe
I've been looking into other cheaper sealers that might be safe
I know that if you do a vinegar soak it neautralizes the pH and you won't really need to seal it
i know the whole vinegar soak trick, but i thought that since cresties don't have semi-permeable skin like the darts that you guys keep, the PH shouldn't be a big concern, especially with no standing water.

QUESTION:
so this is my first time doing the silicon/cocofiber action & i am noticing that some of the silicon refuses to cure properly. it just stays kinda mushy. has anyone ever experienced this before?
-starting to regret not doing clay/kittylitter BG-
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
looks good. what type of plants are you getting
looking forward to seeing what plants and bottom you get.
substrate will be a layer of hydroton, fiberglass mesh barrier, & NEherpetoculture's equivalent of ABG substrate mix
& again, the plant list:

Sanseveria 2.5" Pot
Item# $3.95 USD 2 $7.90 USD

Selaginella Kraussiana "Spike Moss" 4" pot
Item# greenspikemoss $4.95 USD 1 $4.95 USD

NE Herp Vivarium Substrate Mix
Item# NEHSSUB $9.50 USD 3 $28.50 USD

Peperomia Japonica 3-4 clippings
Item# $4.95 USD 1 $4.95 USD

Selaginella Kraussiana Variegatus "Frosty Fern"
Item# $6.95 USD 1 $6.95 USD

Neoregelia "Eoz"
Item# $9.50 USD 1 $9.50 USD

Neoregelia Olens
Item# $9.99 USD 1 $9.99 USD

Standard 20G Viv Kit - 6 Tillandsias, 2 Wandering Jew Clippings, 2 Asst ivy clippings, 2 qty 12X12 Moss
Item# 20gkit $42.95 USD 1 $42.95 USD
 

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Looks great how did you get the grout to stick so well. I tried it once and the grout flaked off thanks
 

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When you're done I think my crestie's gonna be super envious of your crestie... xD
 

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QUESTION:
so this is my first time doing the silicon/cocofiber action & i am noticing that some of the silicon refuses to cure properly. it just stays kinda mushy. has anyone ever experienced this before?
I've never had an issue with it not curing....it will take a few days for it to fully cure.
I used clear silicone. I think I might try the brown silicone.
Also I didn't use cocofiber.....I used just peatmoss
 

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Yeah silicone never worked for my backgrounds try gorrila glue the one thats in a clear brown bottle not the elmers glue looking one it worked 100 times better for me.
 

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Yeah silicone never worked for my backgrounds try gorrila glue the one thats in a clear brown bottle not the elmers glue looking one it worked 100 times better for me.
Does the gorrila glue hold up better than the silicone?

When I did mine I didn't have a silicone issue.....
If you caked it on there then you might have that issue.
What I've learned is that if you do a thin layer, after drying take a brush and try to brush off all the loose stuff and do another layer.
Think about it....if you seal a layer silicone what's behind the dry layer won't dry...like how it is in the tube...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you caked it on there then you might have that issue.
What I've learned is that if you do a thin layer, after drying take a brush and try to brush off all the loose stuff and do another layer.
Think about it....if you seal a layer silicone what's behind the dry layer won't dry...like how it is in the tube...
good call. that may be part of my problem. i definitely did a very thick layer of silicon. i think that contributed to my problem as well as the bad batch of silicon. thanks dragon-
 
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