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Hi Friends,

after reading the forum silently for a long time and finally joining DB last month, gathered enough courage to start my first Terrarium construction. It is going to be majorly planted terrarium which will house Tincs in future.

So without much ado, let me show what I have done so far.

It is a 24x18x36 Exo Terra Tall.

Goal is to have a drip wall and Waterfall inbuilt.

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After having the initial plumbing done, completed foaming the background. The plumbing is T shaped which will send the water towards both corner to maintain an even flow both side.

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Base of the hardscape is mostly Cork bark. Then I have attached the twigs top of it to create the branches. Used Silicon, Foam, Twisties, Superglue to get the job done.

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Then I faced the biggest challenge. Fixing the Hygrolon. I never thought it will be such a pain pasting it with Gorilla Glue . First time the foam didnt turn tacky as I was expecting after applying the glue. So I ended up using more glue and made the complete Hygrolon stiff with glue. Had to remove the complete piece. Next time, After applying Gorilla Glue I made few points using super glue which will hold down the Hygrolon at places. This method somehow worked and the Hygrolon background came out well. At the top of the tall bark, I was able to make a small reservoir, which will hold a fogger.

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Finally, I painted the exposed foam with Drylock (Used Brown and Charcoal) to make it waterproof. While the paint was wet, I sprinkled cork dust all over it to give it a more natural look. Also made the false bottom using Eggcrate and covered it with Filter Sponge. I have planned against keeping any kind of substrate so will coverup the sponge with moss.

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The exeterra cabinets are way to costly considering their build with particle board. So DIY a bit and converted the Home Depot kitchen cabinet to the stand. It is 18" high and the top is 30"x20" made of MDF board. The complete cabinet done below 65$.

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Pending work:
1. Modifying the top with Glass to retain moisture
2. Defining the bottom of the waterfall with few rocks (Currently the waterflow is coming down through side of the tall Bark and falling down at the middle between two branches)
3. Installing Mistking system (Will keep a dual nozzle at the middle to cover all the background)
4. Installing light (Jungle Dawn 40 Watt Pendant x2)

Will post a video with the waterfall and the fogger in action soon. Let me know what you feel. Also if I am making any mistake. Will look forward to see your comments.

Cheers!
Tirtha
 

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Looking good Tirtha but I do see one potential probem, I might be misinterpreting what I see in your photos but if I'm not you may live to regret not having easy access to that pump once the viv is set up. As you're putting so much effort into the build anyway you would probably save yourself hassle in the future by drilling a drain into the tank and having the pump outside or using an external canister fiter.
I've seen a lot of dripwall and water feature tanks built this way and pumps becoming clogged is the number one problem people tend to encounter. I have a similar setup that's been running for a few years but I would have had to tear it apart multiple times if the pump wasn't outside the tank for easy access.
Also how set are you on having Tincs in there once it's finished? A water feature tank with a moss floor like this is ikely to be too wet for them in the long run but something like mossy frogs, Theloderma corticale , would really love it and are also very visually striking.
 

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Looking good Tirtha but I do see one potential probem, I might be misinterpreting what I see in your photos but if I'm not you may live to regret not having easy access to that pump once the viv is set up. As you're putting so much effort into the build anyway you would probably save yourself hassle in the future by drilling a drain into the tank and having the pump outside or using an external canister fiter.
I've seen a lot of dripwall and water feature tanks built this way and pumps becoming clogged is the number one problem people tend to encounter. I have a similar setup that's been running for a few years but I would have had to tear it apart multiple times if the pump wasn't outside the tank for easy access.
Also how set are you on having Tincs in there once it's finished? A water feature tank with a moss floor like this is ikely to be too wet for them in the long run but something like mossy frogs, Theloderma corticale , would really love it and are also very visually striking.
Thanks a lot Louis for the valuable inputs. I already have taken care of that Pump. It is kept it in a separate chamber which has been walled with Sponge. I didnt click a picture of that. Let me quick video of it and I will show you what I have done. If you see any area of further improvements, let me know.

Currently I am really a noob, when it comes to the live stock. I will start reading more on Frogs once the initial planting is done. But Mossy frogs looks cool and I am ready to keep these guys if the setup is compatible.
 

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A pair of Azureus, two Theloderma Bicolor, 4 Santa Isabels
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I'd just like to add that mossy frogs are semi aquatic, so they would require a decent bit of swimming space.
 

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Thanks a lot Louis for the valuable inputs. I already have taken care of that Pump. It is kept it in a separate chamber which has been walled with Sponge. I didnt click a picture of that. Let me quick video of it and I will show you what I have done. If you see any area of further improvements, let me know.
Nice. I know other peope have found similar solutions that worked. I have my pump in a drainage reservoir at floor level while the tank is on an exo terra stand, it works but finding a pump that was quiet enough and that could also pump the water to the necessary height at the correct flow rate was tricky.
Currently I am really a noob, when it comes to the live stock. I will start reading more on Frogs once the initial planting is done. But Mossy frogs looks cool and I am ready to keep these guys if the setup is compatible.
This is always the best way. When you're building a beautiful display like this it's best not to become fixated on a specific aesthetic for the tank as well as a specific inhabitant species.
Often the two will not prove compatible in the long run despite the best intentions.
It works better to pick either a specific species, or a certain vivarium aesthetic, and then consider either what animal might thrive in that environment, or alternatively, how you might best recreate a chosen species' habitat within your enclosure.
This tank is shaping up to look great and I bet there's a few different things you could keep in there.
 

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This is always the best way. When you're building a beautiful display like this it's best not to become fixated on a specific aesthetic for the tank as well as a specific inhabitant species.
Often the two will not prove compatible in the long run despite the best intentions.
It works better to pick either a specific species, or a certain vivarium aesthetic, and then consider either what animal might thrive in that environment, or alternatively, how you might best recreate a chosen species' habitat within your enclosure.
This tank is shaping up to look great and I bet there's a few different things you could keep in there.
Exactly. Either you create the habitat based on the live stock you are planning to keep or keep the live stock based on the habitat you make. Depends on what you are trying to achieve. Learnt it from my fishkeeping experience. Here my primary focus is to create a rainforest kind of habitat. So once it is bit matured, I need to figure out the best possible live stock which will be compatible.

Here goes my Filter chamber. I was against of making a hole on the glass, so had to incorporate the complete plumbing inside the tank under the false bottom. But tried to keep it as simple as possible for the ease of maintenance.

 

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Sorry for not updating the thread for a while. Here goes the update.

Let me start with some crazy experiment, which turned successful. First I thought to use rocks as the base of the waterfall but the weight was making the false bottom sag. So had to look for some light weight alternative. Found some piece of foam from the shipment box of Mistking and made a initial structure out of it. Then added foam to give the waterfall the actual shape and size. While the foam was half dry, pressed it to create the waterflow line and few texture. Once cured, painted the structure with White and Charcoal dryloack. This is giving a more natural look to the overall structure and the waterfall is working perfectly. here goes a quick clip of the waterfall in action,

http://instagr.am/p/CKc6tEbAHqb/
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Next, removed the mess cover from the top of Exo Terra and replaced it with Plexi Glass. I have chosen plexi glass as it is easy to work with and drill holes. Made holes for the misting system as well as to take out the electrical cables out of the box.

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Next step was to install the Mistking and the Jungle Dawn (40 Wattx2) Lights. Misking system went in neatly at the bottom of the tank in the cabinet.

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In the mean time ordered the Mood moss to cover the bottom. Once placed the mood moss, the setup started getting alive.

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Internal Temperature and Humidity is steady
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Started introducing Bucephalandra, Liveworts, few selaginella uncinata and emmeliana. And completed the moss wall. This is how the tank look currently.

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Currently the lights are on for 10 Hrs and Misting is working for 15 Sec every 6 hrs. Let me know your thoughts. :)
 

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Hello, I would like to state my thoughts and while this is really cool, I feel like some changes need to be added. If you want your tank to be for dart frogs, then I suggest placing down a layer of leaf litter. This is really beneficial for the frogs as it can provide enough hide-outs plus the fact that some mosses have the ability to rot plant stems, leaves, and even for a long amount of time, foot rot. I know moss can look really wonderful in setups but what comes to the matter the most is general care. I would also like to add that your plexiglass sheet doesn’t seem to provide enough ventilation. This can affect plants and frogs. Usually, cutting an inch short of the plexiglass seems to be the minimum to most people. I would remove the plexiglass and then replace it with the Exo-Terra roof. After that, cut an inch off from it which then can be applied to the screen roof by taping it or gluing it. My personal thoughts.

Edit: realized that you aren’t done with the tank completely. If you were going to place down leaf litter then take that back.
 

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Hello, I would like to state my thoughts and while this is really cool, I feel like some changes need to be added. If you want your tank to be for dart frogs, then I suggest placing down a layer of leaf litter. This is really beneficial for the frogs as it can provide enough hide-outs plus the fact that some mosses have the ability to rot plant stems, leaves, and even for a long amount of time, foot rot. I know moss can look really wonderful in setups but what comes to the matter the most is general care. I would also like to add that your plexiglass sheet doesn’t seem to provide enough ventilation. This can affect plants and frogs. Usually, cutting an inch short of the plexiglass seems to be the minimum to most people. I would remove the plexiglass and then replace it with the Exo-Terra roof. After that, cut an inch off from it which then can be applied to the screen roof by taping it or gluing it. My personal thoughts.

Edit: realized that you aren’t done with the tank completely. If you were going to place down leaf litter then take that back.
Thanks a lot pointing 2 major points out.

I am planning to run the tank for next few months only with the Plants and want them to fill in, before I bioactive it. Before Bioactive it, I will add the leaf litter.

Coming to the next point, I already have ordered the fans and waiting for them. I will be using them for internal Air circulation but planning to make 2 holes at the back (4" Diameter) for the ventilation. Right now, I can feel the humidity and the condensation is too much.

Thank you again for pointing these out. :)
 

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Looks great! What liverworts do you have and where did you get them? I’ve been looking for something similar :)
 

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Thanks a lot pointing 2 major points out.

I am planning to run the tank for next few months only with the Plants and want them to fill in, before I bioactive it. Before Bioactive it, I will add the leaf litter.

Coming to the next point, I already have ordered the fans and waiting for them. I will be using them for internal Air circulation but planning to make 2 holes at the back (4" Diameter) for the ventilation. Right now, I can feel the humidity and the condensation is too much.

Thank you again for pointing these out. :)
You’re definitely welcome!
 

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Two more points that you'd figure out on your own with time: (1) the plexi will warp from moisture uptake (the edges will curl upward) and the viv will not hold animals. (2) the hygrometer will fail if left in a condensing environment. They're best used for periodic spot checks, or even better not used at all.

Another issue that can take more time to figure out -- most plants and all animals need ventilation. For dart frogs, that is a minimum 2-3" strip of screen in the top across the whole top (so, 48 - 72 sq inches). Though based on plant choices it doesn't look like you're aiming for this to house dart frogs, it would be advisable to research the animal species to be housed in there to determine how to vent the viv.
 

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Two more points that you'd figure out on your own with time: (1) the plexi will warp from moisture uptake (the edges will curl upward) and the viv will not hold animals. (2) the hygrometer will fail if left in a condensing environment. They're best used for periodic spot checks, or even better not used at all.

Another issue that can take more time to figure out -- most plants and all animals need ventilation. For dart frogs, that is a minimum 2-3" strip of screen in the top across the whole top (so, 48 - 72 sq inches). Though based on plant choices it doesn't look like you're aiming for this to house dart frogs, it would be advisable to research the animal species to be housed in there to determine how to vent the viv.
Very Valid points. Duly noted.

1. I could not go for the glass top for time crunch but after seeing your suggestion, will replace the plexi glass in a while. for time being, I made two 4" ventilation holes at the top and it cut down the condensation a lot ( Almost 75% compare to yesterday). Hope to get a better result after installing the fan by this weekend.

2. I was also wondering about the life span of these digital meters. Any good hygrometer suggestion in mind?

Thanks for the inputs!
 

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No consumer hygrometers will last in a condensing environment -- the sensors don't tolerate water on them. To answer your question, though, I've found various ThermoPro and AcuRite hygrometers to work decently in non-frog applications. Just don't get them wet, and have a few to test against each other so that when one goes off the rails in relation to the the others you can discard it. Also, know their limitations -- none are accurate better than +/-5%, and since humidity is relative to temperature, small variations in temperature can lead to misleading variations in measured RH.

Care of any plant or animal that prefers saturated air doesn't need a hygrometer, since that much moisture is easily visible. Care of dart frogs and the plants that are typicially kept with them -- both of which need damp substrate, dryish surfaces, substantial ventilation and only moderate humidity -- shouldn't involve targeting humidity (since it can and does lead to harm), and so doesn't require a hygrometer.
 
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