Dendroboard banner

21 - 34 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #21
Background Substrate Methods: Test Samples

Ok, so I was going to do this as a separate post, but it pertains to the build so here goes.

I spent the last couple days preparing samples of a few ways to cover the great stuff foam based on results from others on the board here.


First was Drylok. The right side is painted on pretty thick with just 1 coat. The left was brushed on, then 'stippled' with a dry brush to help with creating a bit more texture. In the end, the finish is the same texture, however the right seems to be thicker. Surface is still a bit soft after 24hrs of drying.


Second was coco fibre spread and pressed over a fresh application of black great stuff foam. End result is less than impressive. The texture of the surface is uneven, but not imressed with the amount of fibre attached to surface, a few bald spots. Surface is soft like uncarved foam.


Third was the Titebond III and fibre slurry. I did the right side where it was more of a paste (about 1:1 ratio of fibre to glue) and the left was more liquid (2-3:1 of glue to fibre). In the end I covered it all with fibre and pressed it in. Both show the same type of cure with 1 coat each and the same finish and coverage. The surface still feels semi-soft but more firm than just fibre on foam.


Fourth was Titebond III painted onto the foam until no holes in the carved foam could be seen and fibre sprinkled on and pressed. Finish looks about the same as the slurry and paste mix, but a bit less firm than slurry and paste after 24 hours of cure


Fifth was Silicone 1 and fibre. Applied a decent amount of silicone with gloved hand and sprinkled and pressed in the fibre. Finish is even with no bald spots. Firmness is about the same as just fibre on foam, but good coverage.


Sixth and last is gorilla glue and fibre. I applied the glue until all foam pores were filled. Gave it a light mist then applied some damp fibre and pressed into surface. I then applied some dry fibre over the surface, gave a light press and let cure. This finish is now rock-hard and has alot of texture. The gorilla glue did add some bumps and texture to the surface therefore the fibre coverage is not even showing a few bald patches


Before I make my decision I am going to allow the samples to cure for 5 days then do a misting test (20 second mist) to see how each withstand it, then a soak test (submerge in water for a few hours at a time) to see how they also withstand that. So far the gorilla glue solution is out due to the hardness of the sample and the foam is out due to the uneven coverage.

Drylok will be used for the waterfall section, however 2 new samples need to be made where I apply silicone to the foam prior to drylok and second where I apply drylok then silicone overtop.

Hopefully some find the above info helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
Thanks! It's not as far along as I would like but doing some testing and making sure the habitat is built accordingly will be pivitol to the longevity and health of the future inhabitants
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #24
Progress: Glass Tops!!!

So very little progress due to being swamped with work.

However! The glass top pieces were completed a week early. The shop I use waterjet the holes for the fans and mist nozzles so I don't need to worry about it. I now need to figure out the hinge for it and get that purchased so then I can silicone the rear into place (clearances and all).


On a side note, my patience was being tested with the samples so I started the water testing last night. For sake of also simulating being trampled on etc I used one setting up on my pump sprayer from mist. So far the silicone is holding up the best with keeping a soft texture (top left in pic below). The 2 TB3 samples (bottom 2 in pic below) continue to loose fibre when I spray them and are extremely rough (like sand paper) when they fully dry out. I assume they are soft when wet because I didn't allow them the proper time to cure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Progress: Glass Tops and Ready for Background and waterfall finish.

This past week I have been finishing up the background testing, which I have concluded I will be using the silicone and coco fibre due to how it held up during testing, dryout time and softness.
Top right is the silicone and fibre option


The glass tops I have also siliconed in place, then bonded on the hinge with E6100 (yes I know not frog safe, but it is not in contact with any of that and external to the tank). You apply the product similar to contact cement, then bond both parts together while the 'glue' is still soft.



After getting that completed, it allowed me to finish filling the last of the gaps with the remaining foam I had. This project has used 5 full cans of foam!


Also, I've been working with Kurt to finalize the design of the light fixture. Due to me having the fans on the top, depth of tank, and wanting to feature certain areas, some custom design work was needed with the standard size lights he makes. Hope it all works out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
Progress: Fake rock work completed and circulation started

Quick little update. I have spent a few days completing the fake rockwork. The drylock is a fairly easy and low smell product to use. I used acrylic paints to tint it as the powder options didn't give me the look I was after. The drylock is only being applied to the waterfall area over the silicone base that I laid down

I did 4 coats of the base grey with no tinting color in semi-heavy coats.


I then mixed in about 2 ozs of black to about 2 cups of drylock to give me the dark tinted base coat. I did about 2 coats of this as the first coat missed some spots as I painted it at night under artificial lamps. Today I got around to trying some more artistic finishing using the dry-brush method. A friend of mine suggested to tint the water areas a light blue and the rock areas with greens and browns as rock have those colors. I am by far no artist and the cramped work space certainly made it challenging. For my first try I say I did alright. As the base of the paint is the drylock product I am under the impression I don't need to seal any of this as the drylock product itself is a 'waterproofer'.




One thing I would change is that I would spend a bit more time carving to look like riverside boulders rather than one large rock formation. For my first attempt I am content.

The other thing that I started to make this week are the external mounted circulation fans. I have a number of 2" PVC and ABS that I will use to create almost all of the circulation for the tank including one 'duct' to bring in and exhaust from outside the cabinet if things get too humid


Also this week I will be completing all of the silicone and coco fibre work for the background. I forgot to pick up some sphagnum, so will do that as I want to silicone it into some spots also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #27
Progress: Hardscape and circulation Complete

Last few days I've worked to complete the background and the fountain area and get all the circulation parts assembled.

Final land-scape. Pond-scape to be completed when up in it's final location.


Yes, there is a missed spot in the pic above, but I got it right after:


Hardest part with the background was doing the coco fibre around the fog outlet. I can't even seem to get a good picture of it now. In the picture above it is to the right of the background cork in a 2" deep hole.

Vacuuming up the loose fibre from under the false bottom was definitely an ordeal. Tilting the tank back and onto its side and back and forth. Had to uninstall one of the bulkheads to get a straw contraption I made in to vacuum it all up. Quite the challenge since the tank is nearing 200lbs already.



Final Circulation assembly with mesh in place. 2" ABS is used here. I lucked out when both assemblies leaned up against eachother in this configuration and it holds the lid open very well. The Y from the rear will be connected to a louvre of some sort that will allow in/out fresh air. Still not 100% sure on this one yet.




Next steps are to build the frame that will support the tank and allow the install of the exterior panels that will cover the tank and equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #28
Progress: Cabinet Complete!

Gotta say it's been a long 12 days with building this cabinet.

I spent a few days trying to figure out how to build the frame in a way where I could assemble and paint everything in place. Once I had a plan, made a trip to HD to buy about $450 in wood and supplies that would become the main frame and cabinet.

First battle was to get it into place. Tank I remembered was about 160lbs empty. With everything in it and the lid, my scale was showing 225lbs. My brother, his girlfriend and I wrangled this thing onto it's stand 34" up and got it resting where it will live.


Next I got all the panels test fitted to see if any trimming was needed. I needed to plan all my cutting and router work as I am in a condo and like to keep the dust out of here as much as possible, so it required me to lug all the parts to a stairwell or in the parking garage to get what I needed complete.


Also decided when building the frame that I wanted a 3" deep drawer below for storage of supplies etc.


Viewing panels framed in and routed out. Flush cut to the "frame" and then 1/8" roundover.



Alot of sanding and finessing and ensuring everything would fit along with the equipment etc and I was happy. I originally was going to hinge 2 front doors on the front, but due t the frame etc, the hinges I had wouldn't work without a decent amount of work. I decided to join the pieces I already had cut to make it look like a false double door, however I have it hinged on the top with some actuators.

I also then decided that I was going to make the inside of the cabinet black and the outside white. Other colors would clash with the rest of what we have going on here and I have a 5 gallon pail of semi-gloss white from when I did some other cabinetwork. The interior got 2 coats of black and the exterior got 4 coats of white. I decided early on that I still wanted the side panels to be removable just in case so some holes will be covered with stick on covers.

FINAL CABINET PHOTOS





Next up is working on getting all the equipment setup and plumbed in. Already have in my switch controller, fan controllers, humidity and temp controllers. Still on the hunt for a slim water reservoir for the mistking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
Thanks Tanks!

Progress: Almost ready for plants!!!

I have the tank now at about 95% and almost ready for plants. I am ready for microfauna, but trying to source somewhere that the shipping isn't more than the buggers is my issue.

The cool mist is plumbed in, all scaping in the pond completed and a simple 5L plastic container was used for the mistking. It sits ontop of the cabinet so it can gravity feed the pump.

Lights from Spectral ship out tomorrow so hoping to have it installed by weeks end.

I'm also monitoring conditions in the tank to see how the temp and humidity fluctuate during the day without any heating or cooling running. Outside temps are hovering around the 0deg C mark (32F) so it'll give me a good base point. I've also tested what effect the cool mist has in 10, 20 and 30min intervals along with the misting system at 30, 60, 90 and 120 second misting lengths once daily.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #34
Paludarium Build Complete!

So the day finally came where Spectral finished the lights! Kurt was very patient and worked through all the custom parts of the plan. These things are crazy bright and I am very impressed.

Lots has happened since the last update personally, but a few things with the tank. I am thinking now that I am into the planting stage I am going to move tracking of future progress in the Member's Frogs and Vivariums section of the board.

First set of plants came in from Integrated Exotics. Everything got a 10min soak in room temp RODI water to rid of anything on the surface and to rehydrate the tillandsias. Then got the CO2 bomb implemented (no pictures during) and left for 24 hours. No signs of pests of any sort.


Went through the standard process of placing plants, then fogging and misting to check what got wet etc and adjusted accordingly.


Early this week the lights came in. Kurt typically doesn't ship to Canada anymore so I kept my fingers crossed for customs to go smoothly. Luckily Shipping from USPS and COD were still under $100CAD. Well packaged and tested perfect.




Finally getting the lights with the controller etc meant I could finalize the equipment in the cabinet.


A few days ago my Orchid order also came in. I was pretty excited as the supplier was on the west coast and had some pretty expensive rare species. List of what I got is below also.



As I have been going through researching how to properly acclimate, mount and deal with the epiphytic roots on the orchids (some have roots almost 24" long!) I decided to turn a little focus towards the water area. Picked up some Cherry Shrimp, Nerite snails and 3 Gold long fin Danios. Also grabbed some flame moss, nana petite anubias and Elatine hydropiper.





Started to see some of the isopods I added (orange Porc Scaber)


And in the end, the one who seems to enjoy it the most has given her approval :)
 
21 - 34 of 34 Posts
Top