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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
well w/ the addition of my frog wall, and the awsome petco sale, I decided to venture into this one.

Here's an excerpt from a post in the plants sections, kinda detailing where i'm going.

"'m in the process of constructing a 40B vert. and I think i'm going w/ a very loose oriental theme. i'm in the very early stages of construction. but my vision is this

Upper left corner is the water flow on a slow stream to the left side water fall into a pool on a ledge and from there trickles out to a rock out cropping and splashes down in to a pool (about a 1/4 of the size of the base)

I'm thinking I'm going to have a couple of "Landings" w/ hang out spots. some vines and some wood connecting them and maybe a few great stuff "stairs" not sure on that yet.

For some reason I'm feeling like doing an oriental theme, probably because I have a cute little bonsai I want to plant near the pool, w/ an oriental "gate" by the water. as well as a "miniture bamboo type forest plant" that I think a coco-hut nestled in them would look awsome, (but I think its got more of a tiki feel then orient)

I'd like for the bottom to be leaves, and a low carpeting plant. I have peacock moss but not thick enough to carpet but should grow in. looking for other suggestions there. something that'll create a somewhat meadow affect.

Along the walls I'm going to glue slate slabs and fill the cracks w/ clay/sphag/ecoearth mix to create a rocky wall look, w/ maybe some cork bark spaced in. I'd ultimately like that to be vine/moss covered and the various landings planted.

for plants i'm looking for an oriental "feel" (doesn't have to be orient) w/ mostly pinks/purples/whites (think cherry blossoms)

I have a polkadot plant, and a nice pink/green brom, also some african purple violets, (don't know which/if any will be used) but could use some suggestions that would help tie this together. also some orchid suggestions would be appreciated.

inhabitants: I have a group of leucs and bronze/green auratues, or maybe something else, would prefer to migrate one of these groups over if they're suggested.

I really know NOTHING about plants, i'm slowly learning, I know enough to keep 'em alive, but still learning tricks of the trades.

ANY suggestions for any aspect of this project would be greatly appreciated, as this is probably my last big project before I tackle my 100gal I have sitting in the garage. "



So here's some stage I and Stage II pics of the background build up.

StageI:
Great stuff laid down for framework of my platforms, the upper one contains a "cup" that hold a pool of water where the fogger is submerged. the pump from below will pass it into the cup when it over flows creates the waterfall. the moving water carries the fog w/ it creating a nice affect. Slate slabs have been siliconed along the wall. The gaps will be filled by my clay mix, as well as some GS "vines" running up it as well. The base shows my false bottom w/ the little "pond" as well. as mentioned in the excert this area will be a clearing of sorts w/ the dense foilage above.

StageII:
laying down the grout to get the rock affect to kinda go w/ the rest of it.
After this has dried everythings going to be sealed with some epoxy i found at HD thats geared for fish ponds.

my only problem right now is that if someones sharp they'll notice my pond is in the back left.. and the platform above it has the waterfall comming out on the right side.. I'm still trying to find a way to take the water from there to the pond.

Feed back/critiques/suggestions welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
You'll like the 40b, it's such a nice size to work with. What are you using for the brown grout mix?
actually its a slate grey, just looks a little off in the picture.
found this at lowes, (just used a grey color not mocha)

http://www.lowes.com/pd_6496-1295-24210_4294858194_4294937087?productId=1191613&pl=1&currentURL=/pl_Grout_4294858194_4294937087_?newSearch=true$ddkey=http:SearchCatalogDisplay

This is my first time working with grout, my only concern was the "bioblock" however I figured if its sealed by the epoxy then it becomes irrelevent. and I learned a 10lb bag wasn't enough, (or I need to mix a little less at a time)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice, that product is good stuff. I've used the mortar and grout in our house, just not in a terrarium. What kind of epoxy did you buy?
Good to hear about the grout, I loved it.

The epoxy, I just found out is junk.
I open it up, give it a mix, and start applying it everywhere, spent about an hour doing so. It went on white... and stayed white. I've used products similar where they will dry clear.. So didn't think nothing of it until an hour later where its still a heavy white. I scoured the can looking for any type of coloration indicator, in the very upper left corner, almost under the lip of the can in little letters, "White/blanco" ... SOB! well good news is its sealed.. but its white, I think I will go back over it with my acrylics and then attempt to reseal w/ a different product.. can't have to much sealer eh? :D

can anyone recommend a good epoxy/sealer from HD/lowes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
If that's your first vivarium, I'm really impressed.
Jimo, thanks for the compliment, this isn't my "first" vivarium. My first was a 12"x12" cube that I glued a Cork hollow in a corner to Hide a pump w/ a false bottom, and the water comming out a cork log. Nothing special it was pretty much a pre-emptive test for various ideas.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/me...5-quick-weekend-test-project-12-zoo-cube.html

This is my first on this scale and first incorporating various designs.

The epoxy, I just found out is junk.
can anyone recommend a good epoxy/sealer from HD/lowes?
SO i goto HD, ask around, consensus was that Paint wouldn't hold to the sealer, they recommended stripping it. and Using a pool type sealer from another store. I was kinda iffy on this method. I did by the stripper and after debating am currently in the process of removing the epoxy sealer, We'll see how it turns out. I wish I had pictures of the painted Grout before I messed up and painted it white, it did look fairly nice IMO.

So here's a question, Should I even bother putting anything over the acrylic paint? I'm thinking of just letting the grout cure in water for a week and calling it a day.
Also still looking for a recommended epoxy, I've ran various searches and I don't think any two threads share the same info lol. At least an epoxy that would be good for this application.

There's pictures of it painted white, I blame it on sleep deprivation, I really shoulda figured something was wrong before I got so far. The thought crossed my mind that it was indeed white, but I saw no obvious indicator, plus I've used similar and they go on "hazy/white" and dry clear.. NOPE not this. So i'm stripping everything laying down a new layer of grout and starting over.
 

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You can paint the white with an acrylic paint and Michaels has acrylic sealer in a small can that goes on opaque and dries clear. The can says its non-toxic but I can't remember the brand.

I'm actually thinking of using a brush-on grout sealer...dries hard and is foodsafe once dry. It has to be because it's used on kitchen counters as well as floors.
 

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This is the stuff from Michaels. It's a non-toxic acrylic varnish that goes on milky and dries clear. It comes in matte, semi gloss and high gloss and is flexible and completly waterproof when dry. I picked up a 12 color assortment of the acrylic paints so I can have the black, green , amber etc.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
This is the stuff from Michaels. It's a non-toxic acrylic varnish that goes on milky and dries clear. It comes in matte, semi gloss and high gloss and is flexible and completly waterproof when dry. I picked up a 12 color assortment of the acrylic paints so I can have the black, green , amber etc.
L._SL500_AA300_.jpg[/IMG]
Thanks for the info Jared, I've looked through Michaels and didn't see anything like that. I might have to look again, the only "sealers" I saw at michaels had like a 4week cure time.. sorry Can't wait that long. Also do you think w/ water being a factor in something like this that it might wear off over time?

Here's pics of the potential inhabitants of this new viv. My 3 new Green/bronze Aurats that i got from Dblock.

for this type of setup, would 4 leucs or 3 Aurats be better suited?
 

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I think that will depend on how you fill it in. My leucs climb more, my auratus like more cover. I've heard that leucs like water features, though, I don't know from experience (I'm a noob acting like I know what I'm talking about).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think that will depend on how you fill it in. My leucs climb more, my auratus like more cover. I've heard that leucs like water features, though, I don't know from experience (I'm a noob acting like I know what I'm talking about).
My leucs RARELY get on the background or even the high points in their current viv. The Auratus from the whole 24 hrs I've had them have either been hiding in the thickest brush the could find. or scaling my glass lol.

Didn't know about leucs liking water.. although they do come running out everytime i mist, but I always figured it was they knew that FF's come shortly after a misting :D
 

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Thanks for the info Jared, I've looked through Michaels and didn't see anything like that. I might have to look again, the only "sealers" I saw at michaels had like a 4week cure time.. sorry Can't wait that long. Also do you think w/ water being a factor in something like this that it might wear off over time?
It's in the aisle with the artists paints. I done know about wear but once it fully dries it's flexible and waterproof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think that will depend on how you fill it in. My leucs climb more, my auratus like more cover. I've heard that leucs like water features, though, I don't know from experience (I'm a noob acting like I know what I'm talking about).
Ahhhhh I know where you're talking about. I was in the aisle w/ the acrylics.. Damn guess I know where I'm going tomorrow. Thanks ;) actually.. no rush right now.. Got the terrarium filled w/ water curing the grout. Maybe some pics tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay Updated with pictures.

Went ahead and regrouted the whole project, started w/ a lighter color as well. then I had it sit in water for about 48hrs (yes its short I know) drained and dried. and then painted. Currently Sealing w/ that Matt Varnish from michael.

So here's pics, of the Base grout, and then Of the painted product. So close to moving this inside.

btw, how Can I update the thread title to reflect dates of ACTUAL updates?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
UPDATE: X2

Okay got my foam laid down, siliconed it and covered w/ eco-earth. For some reason the eco-earth didn't adhere to well, I tihnk its due to the fact that it was still slightly damp I had it sitting in a bucket after it soaked so was still mostly damp. I think I'll wait for it all to dry out and patch some of the spots where the silicone is shining through.

I let it set for 24hrs and in the mean time mixed up my clay mix(special Kitty, eco-earth- sphag moss) didn't quite get the consistency I wanted, but it worked well enough, ultimately i hope it'll dry out just a little, and shouldn't matter to much as ideally plants will be covering it.

next step is to start looking at branch placement, start doing some test runs w/ the water feature.. (i'm scared to do, I realized after I had the clay and the eco earth in that I hadn't done a run since the foam was grouted. Here's hoping) once tests turn out good and I figure out some specifics. the False bottom will go in and we'll start planting. give it a couple weeks and introduce the lucky occupants.


thoughts comments on project so far. As well as some good plant locations lol. they're will be 1-2 IN TANK circulation fans towards the top. The top will also have about a 2" gap for outside air, to be introduced to control humidity via a plexi slider. I have a pot full of basic broms I got from home depot (like easily 10+ broms including pups for 10$) I'm interested in what mosses would work good ideally around the "bowl" in the middle level, and I'd like some good orchids to put in here, recomendations?
 

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hey wondering if there are any updates on your project?? I started building a waterfall that i have covered in grout and was looking for a sealer too. I was wondering if your test runs turned out or not and if that sealer from michaels worked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
lol I had been posting updates, not to many responses lol so was leaving minor details out mostly documenting at this point for myself :D

The water tests... not so good.
Everything's sealed great.. just the alignment and flow rate wasn't what was expected.

The first water fall, the stream was slowed down as I need as before the grouting it was shooting out and hitting the left side wall. Now its a trickle that kinda drips from UNDER the fall and along the edge and not into the pool as I wanted.

And the 2nd fall if you look there's a channel halfway on the ledge.. well the trickle is small enough where the water actually drips from the point.

and none of this is consistent enough to try and fix accurately, so working on it atm.

The michaels sealer has worked great so far. Haven't noticed anything negative about it so far, I've got about 4 days cure time on it before water touched it. THe only thing is you REALLY need to put light coats on and build up. I got a little rushed and there's some spots where it was globbed and pooled that there's white patches here and there. Other then that worked great so far.
 

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cool man thats good to here! I'm going to go pick up some of the sealer tomorrow and finish my waterfall. As for your pool that you have you might try drilling a small whole in your hose and then attaching a piece of small hose to that hole and seal around it so it doesnt leak and run that piece of pipe to your pool so that it fills up. That's what im going to do for my tank except mine is going to run to a stream that will run across my whole tank that i will hopefully have some small pools in for the frogs to lay eggs. :D

I really like your build so far and hope you post some more updates.
 
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