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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!! I'm new to this forum. I decided to join because I've heard from a lot of people that you guys know a lot about constructing terrariums! I plan on building a 500+ gallon terrarium, not for dart frogs, but for my hermit crabs! Crazy, right? Lol. It will have 24 inches of substrate (Play sand + Coco fiber) w/ a false bottom, of course. The tank will be approximately 48x40x70. I plan on using interior oak plywood, waterproofed (on the sides exposed) w/ aquarium epoxy and pond liner. I will also be using 2x4s (waterproofed as well) to construct a frame to support the weight that will be put into the enclosure. Hermit crabs live in tropical environments so the temp will be in the 80s along w/ the humidity, at all times. So I'll need to get some heat bulbs, possibly some heat cables, and automatic misters. I will be using crab safe plants such as parlor palm seedlings, ponytail palm trees, etc. The background will be made w/ Great Stuff Foam & Cork Bark. They'll be multiple levels made from the waterproofed plywood. For easy access & viewing, I plan on putting an opening glass door on the front. There's a lot more planning that needs to be done, but that sums up most of it. PLEASE give me any input/advice you may have. I've never done something like this before so it'll definitely be a challenge. *CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM IS WELCOME!!!*
 

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Welcome to the board!!

Its always sweet to see projects that are extremely out of the ordinary,
cannot wait to see how this beast looks when all planted and finished

be sure to keep the post updated with lots of pics
 

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I do not know if you can find here some expert in hermit crab, but I'm really curious to see your next huge viv.
Keep us updated!
 

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Finally! I have a 90 gallon tank with hermit crabs, and you are one of the only dart frog/hermit crab enthusiasts I've seen besides myself. Are you a member on hermitcrabassociation.com? They gave me TONS of info, and I know of one member that may their own plywood tank that was I believe 1,200 gallons. Let me find the link.
 

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I keep hermit crabs as well, and I would definitely recommend that you research whatever live plants you include to be sure they are edible and safe, because hermit crabs will mow them down!

I use the tortoise table to double check plant choices, going by the idea that if it's safe for a tortoise to consume, it's likely safe for hermit crabs. Also consider growing extras outside of the enclosure, because you will likely need to replant often as they eat them down down.

Watch the root structures as well, or keep them potted, as they can take up valuable molting space, once established.

Good luck, sounds like a fun project!
 

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I also remember that for tanks this size, it's really just more energy efficient to set the toom temperature to what you want rather than run several heat lamps that may not reach all the way to the bottom. I'm assuming lots of cholla wood, deep pools, and some fake plants mixed in with live?

Sent from my SPH-L720T using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome to the board!!

Its always sweet to see projects that are extremely out of the ordinary,
cannot wait to see how this beast looks when all planted and finished

be sure to keep the post updated with lots of pics
Will do! Hopefully starting this week
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I keep hermit crabs as well, and I would definitely recommend that you research whatever live plants you include to be sure they are edible and safe, because hermit crabs will mow them down!

I use the tortoise table to double check plant choices, going by the idea that if it's safe for a tortoise to consume, it's likely safe for hermit crabs. Also consider growing extras outside of the enclosure, because you will likely need to replant often as they eat them down down.

Watch the root structures as well, or keep them potted, as they can take up valuable molting space, once established.

Good luck, sounds like a fun project!
Already made sure to pick plants that are safe :) Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I also remember that for tanks this size, it's really just more energy efficient to set the toom temperature to what you want rather than run several heat lamps that may not reach all the way to the bottom. I'm assuming lots of cholla wood, deep pools, and some fake plants mixed in with live?

Sent from my SPH-L720T using Tapatalk
Yup, and REALLY deep sub!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay so I have no idea what to use to waterproof the wood. Today I got 3/4 Maple Interior Plywood (expensive stuff), some 2x4s, and some stainless steel exterior screws....

So questions about water proofing...
What should I use? Epoxy or Fiber glass? Both? What brands? Where can I get it? I also plan on adding pond liner over the cured wood & making a custom foam background over that. Another question...do I just need to waterproof the sides of the wood that will be on the inside???

Keep in mind, this is for my 500+ gallon hermit crab terrarium build, temp & humidity will constantly be 80+.

**The enclosure will be too big to move inside in one piece, will have to take apart and rebuild inside, any tips on how to go about doing this?**
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi guys!! I'm new to this forum. I decided to join because I've heard from a lot of people that you guys know a lot about constructing terrariums! I plan on building a 500+ gallon terrarium, not for dart frogs, but for my hermit crabs! Crazy, right? Lol. It will have 24 inches of substrate (Play sand + Coco fiber) w/ a false bottom, of course. The tank will be approximately 48x40x70. I plan on using interior oak plywood, waterproofed (on the sides exposed) w/ aquarium epoxy and pond liner. I will also be using 2x4s (waterproofed as well) to construct a frame to support the weight that will be put into the enclosure. Hermit crabs live in tropical environments so the temp will be in the 80s along w/ the humidity, at all times. So I'll need to get some heat bulbs, possibly some heat cables, and automatic misters. I will be using crab safe plants such as parlor palm seedlings, ponytail palm trees, etc. The background will be made w/ Great Stuff Foam & Cork Bark. They'll be multiple levels made from the waterproofed plywood. For easy access & viewing, I plan on putting an opening glass door on the front. There's a lot more planning that needs to be done, but that sums up most of it. PLEASE give me any input/advice you may have. I've never done something like this before so it'll definitely be a challenge. *CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM IS WELCOME!!!*
Update: due to the room I want it in not being able to hold the weight of a 500+ gallon enclosure, I will be downsizing to 300 gallons. I was upset @ first but then I realized, it'll be easier, cheaper, etc. And I won't have to worry about collapsing floors :)
 
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