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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oct.14th 2011

Construction Status: Stockpiling


Entry #1: I am beginning this journal as a way to better keep track of my entire construction process and get more detailed advice on construction. I plan on making this an entirely living vivarium with a small group of 6-8 frogs of either the Dendrobates Leucomelas or Phyllobates Vittatus variety. I have some of my materials on hand and will be placing an order tomorrow with New England Herpetoculture - Home tomorrow. I will post a preliminary list here but I will again post an itemized and categorized master list before I begin construction.

Current Materials Acquired:
90 Gallon Bow Front Aquarium W/ Glass Lid and Cupboard Stand
1 "Quadruple Bulb" (3 Sockets and 1 36" Fluorescent.) Fixture.
1 Large Piece of Composite Drift Wood.
1 Medium Piece of Composite Drift Wood.
1 Producing Fly Culture. (Just to observe) Melanogaster
1 Huge Bag Of Hydroton
1 Small Stone "Flinstones" Hide
5 Cans of "Great Stuff" (Window and Door)
1 Box Latex Gloves (50)
1 Stone "Stair" Corner Hide
1 Box of 50 Razor Blades
2 Tubes of "GE Premium Waterproof Silicone" (Kitchen Bath Plumbing)
1 Bottle Zoo Med Mite Off Spray (4.2 FL. OZ.)
1 Bag Zoo Med Forest Floor Cyprus Mulch (8 Dry Quart)
3 Pack of Various Size Putty Knives
2 Packages Zoo Med Eco Earth Coco Fiber (3 Brick Value Packs)
1 PETCO Hygrometer. NOTE: Being Returned! Thanks Neontra!
Odds and Ends (Probably wont be used so not log worthy.)

Shopping Cart For Tomorrow
1 Freshly Started Melanogaster Fly Culture
1 Freshly Started Hydei Fly Culture
1 Springtail Culture
25 32oz Deli Cups w/Vented Lids
1 Bag Organic Charcoal (2.5 Lbs)
1 Rep-Cal Calcium + Vit D3 Ultrafine Powder (4.1oz)
1 Rep-Cal Herptivite Powder (4.1oz)
1 Repashy Vitamin A Plus (4 oz.)
5 Pack Black Film Canister
1 Zoo Med "Forest Decorator" Pack
2 Gallons Substrate Mix
4 Assorted Terrestrial Plants
3 Vine/Climbing Plant
1 12x12 Moss
1 Selaginella Sp.
1 Zoo Med Precision Thermometer/Hygrometer
1 Bag Fruit Fly Media

Questions:

1. I have been considering partly constructing my background outside of the tank so I can carve detail into the great stuff to make it look more rock like, and then go to placing the background in the tank after that using silicone to adhere it. What is the best backing material to start building my GS background on? (Plexi, Styrafoam, Etc.)

2. Obviously I am going to need to acquire a larger quantity of substrate. I plan on getting the big bulk bag of sphagnum peat moss at Wal-Mart assuming it passes the additive inspection. ;) Are there any other products that the member here know about that would not necessarily to be sold for pet use but are still good to use in a substrate mix? (Bulk Preferable) In simpler terms; "Big bags of substrate components that would be sold at the big box stores at a competitive price."

3. I am going to go with a small water feature in this tank but it's not going to be anything spectacular. Obviously I will research all of this into much more detail but I plan on running a drip line up behind the background to a hole towards the top of the background and having it dribble water down some "rock grooves" i etched in and have it drip off into the middle of the pond on the left side of the tank. What is the best way to get a small amount of water running constantly up to the hole? I understand a pump will be involved but any suggestions on sizes brands etc? I was also going to place the pump in a plastic box with holes cut in it to keep the hydroton away from the intake. This would also make it easy to access in the left front corner of my tank but I can also disguise it under some attached moss etc.

Final Thoughts:Looking forward to this undertaking. I realize I am nowhere near stocked to begin this project but I plan to be ordering my frogs or receiving them in around 30 days. They wold of course undergo a 21-30 day quarantine before they would ever see the vivarium so I figure that gives me somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 solid months to get this thing frog worthy! Thanks so much for reading this thread and providing suggestions.

Signing off,
-FoxHound
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
OCT. 15 2011

Entry: Here is what I have going in the way of simple layout design. Obviously the finished viv will be a bit more cluttered so the frogs feel secure. I will include the pics in the order they were made. I will be editing this post in the morning to include a paint by numbers key so it is more understandable.

Rough Sketch- When you see numbers those are like hotel floors. Never mind the big 0 in the middle that is actually supposed to be a 1. So 1 is first floor 2 is the second and so on.

Paint by numbers- If you look at it while thinking lighter colors are higher up it makes a little more sense. I did it to show a sense of depth and shadowing. It's also 4:00 AM here so I'm sure I can't fully articulate my intentions with all of this. That will have to wait for morning.

These are super rough but this is my first design. Plus I'm a photoshop newb.

Enjoy,
-FoxHound

P.S. Those grass looking things are supposed to be bromeliads. lolol :D
 

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You've got a few noteworthy issues that should be addressed.

First, you should not use peat moss as a substrate. Search for ABG mix on these forums and you'll see why.

Second, you need more wood. This is a 90g tank and you're only using 2-3 pieces? Going to look very empty. Also, consider cork bark.

Third, consider using the sponsors on these forums for supplies. You're not going to find the things you need at petsmart or petco. Maybe coconut fiber, but that's it

Fourth, return that corner hide.

Fifth, you can build the background outside of the tank, but if it gets covered in foliage, no one is going to see it. You might be better off covering the back walls with black silicone, letting it dry, and then applying GS. My advice: when you get more wood (and cork bark), arrange it with the pots that you want to put in the bg and just let it sit for a few days. Walk past it every now and then and see if you like it.

Sixth, consider a false bottom. If you ever need to move this tank for any reason, having a false bottom will cut down on the weight CONSIDERABLY.

Seventh, if this is your first tank, consider starting smaller. I'm talking 10g. Build a few of those before you move on to this thing. I know it sucks to hear, but you do not want to have to rip all of this down if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to turn out.
 

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I agree with dfrmav that you should consider a false bottom. How are you going to seperate the fond with your bottom?
You shouldn't use those premade corner hide. It doesn't look nice and is difficult to integrate in your viv.
you can use peat moss but it needs to be put above the waterline so it doesn't rot.
You can try to make the background outside the viv but it's difficult making a corner outside the viv and place it in afterwards. I made the background (corner) inside my viv.

You might be better off covering the back walls with black silicone, letting it dry, and then applying GS.
Why would you do that? Is it simply a way to make it look nice on the outside? GS stays on easily on every surface you just should spray water on the surface before spraying GS.
 

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Why would you do that? Is it simply a way to make it look nice on the outside? GS stays on easily on every surface you just should spray water on the surface before spraying GS.
I disagree, I have had bad experiences with GS where it peels VERY EASILY right off the bare glass. Although I've never done that water trick, but I don't see how that would offer any benefit...?
 

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If you GS inside the tank just be careful not to get any gs or silicone on the front glass. I hate the crack btw the side and front glass. You might need more than a month before putting any frogs in there, or do you have a small set up for the frogs in the mean time? Do away with the fake hide. Go with an EGG crate/pvc false bottom you wont go wrong, those balls are messy. You can drain all the water out with the egg create and its only $13, I'm sure you paid more for that bad of leca.
 

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Oct.14th 2011

Construction Status: Stockpiling


Entry #1: I am beginning this journal as a way to better keep track of my entire construction process and get more detailed advice on construction. I plan on making this an entirely living vivarium with a small group of 6-8 frogs of either the Dendrobates Leucomelas or Phyllobates Vittatus variety. I have some of my materials on hand and will be placing an order tomorrow with New England Herpetoculture - Home tomorrow. I will post a preliminary list here but I will again post an itemized and categorized master list before I begin construction.

Current Materials Acquired:
90 Gallon Bow Front Aquarium W/ Glass Lid and Cupboard Stand
1 "Quadruple Bulb" (3 Sockets and 1 36" Fluorescent.) Fixture.
1 Large Piece of Composite Drift Wood.
1 Medium Piece of Composite Drift Wood.
1 Producing Fly Culture. (Just to observe) Melanogaster
1 Huge Bag Of Hydroton
1 Small Stone "Flinstones" Hide
5 Cans of "Great Stuff" (Window and Door)
1 Box Latex Gloves (50)
1 Stone "Stair" Corner Hide
1 Box of 50 Razor Blades
2 Tubes of "GE Premium Waterproof Silicone" (Kitchen Bath Plumbing)
1 Bottle Zoo Med Mite Off Spray (4.2 FL. OZ.)
1 Bag Zoo Med Forest Floor Cyprus Mulch (8 Dry Quart)
3 Pack of Various Size Putty Knives
2 Packages Zoo Med Eco Earth Coco Fiber (3 Brick Value Packs)
1 PETCO Hygrometer. NOTE: Being Returned! Thanks Neontra!
Odds and Ends (Probably wont be used so not log worthy.)

Shopping Cart For Tomorrow
1 Freshly Started Melanogaster Fly Culture
1 Freshly Started Hydei Fly Culture
1 Springtail Culture
25 32oz Deli Cups w/Vented Lids
1 Bag Organic Charcoal (2.5 Lbs)
1 Rep-Cal Calcium + Vit D3 Ultrafine Powder (4.1oz)
1 Rep-Cal Herptivite Powder (4.1oz)
1 Repashy Vitamin A Plus (4 oz.)
5 Pack Black Film Canister
1 Zoo Med "Forest Decorator" Pack
2 Gallons Substrate Mix
4 Assorted Terrestrial Plants
3 Vine/Climbing Plant
1 12x12 Moss
1 Selaginella Sp.
1 Zoo Med Precision Thermometer/Hygrometer
1 Bag Fruit Fly Media

Questions:

1. I have been considering partly constructing my background outside of the tank so I can carve detail into the great stuff to make it look more rock like, and then go to placing the background in the tank after that using silicone to adhere it. What is the best backing material to start building my GS background on? (Plexi, Styrafoam, Etc.)

2. Obviously I am going to need to acquire a larger quantity of substrate. I plan on getting the big bulk bag of sphagnum peat moss at Wal-Mart assuming it passes the additive inspection. ;) Are there any other products that the member here know about that would not necessarily to be sold for pet use but are still good to use in a substrate mix? (Bulk Preferable) In simpler terms; "Big bags of substrate components that would be sold at the big box stores at a competitive price."

3. I am going to go with a small water feature in this tank but it's not going to be anything spectacular. Obviously I will research all of this into much more detail but I plan on running a drip line up behind the background to a hole towards the top of the background and having it dribble water down some "rock grooves" i etched in and have it drip off into the middle of the pond on the left side of the tank. What is the best way to get a small amount of water running constantly up to the hole? I understand a pump will be involved but any suggestions on sizes brands etc? I was also going to place the pump in a plastic box with holes cut in it to keep the hydroton away from the intake. This would also make it easy to access in the left front corner of my tank but I can also disguise it under some attached moss etc.

Final Thoughts:Looking forward to this undertaking. I realize I am nowhere near stocked to begin this project but I plan to be ordering my frogs or receiving them in around 30 days. They wold of course undergo a 21-30 day quarantine before they would ever see the vivarium so I figure that gives me somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 solid months to get this thing frog worthy! Thanks so much for reading this thread and providing suggestions.

Signing off,
-FoxHound
Repashy calcium plus will replace the herptivite, calcium, and vitamin a, plus more.
Now for substrate. I think you'll need about 6-8 gallons of it. You can get 5 cu. feet of peat moss at HD for 10 bucks, compressed bales of sphagnum moss (long fibred), HD also sells large amounts of orchid bark (Douglas fir), big bags of natural charcoal, but tree fern fibre is only available online.
Also, 1 16oz springtail culture probably isn't enough to start a 90 gallon. I used one in a 29g, and could of used 1 more. Maybe 4 cultures for a tank that size.
I'
m not sure what the best thing would be in the ways of a water feature would be for your tank, but you do not want anything to strong or too weak.
 

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I disagree, I have had bad experiences with GS where it peels VERY EASILY right off the bare glass. Although I've never done that water trick, but I don't see how that would offer any benefit...?
Actually if you spray it on thick enough, it's almost impossible to peel off if you let it dry for a long time outside...
 

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Repashy calcium plus will replace the herptivite, calcium, and vitamin a, plus more.
Now for substrate. I think you'll need about 6-8 gallons of it. You can get 5 cu. feet of peat moss at HD for 10 bucks, compressed bales of sphagnum moss (long fibred), HD also sells large amounts of orchid bark (Douglas fir), big bags of natural charcoal, but tree fern fibre is only available online.
Also, 1 16oz springtail culture probably isn't enough to start a 90 gallon. I used one in a 29g, and could of used 1 more. Maybe 4 cultures for a tank that size.
I'
m not sure what the best thing would be in the ways of a water feature would be for your tank, but you do not want anything to strong or too weak.
Whats the charcoal for? Im thinking about using eco earth, crushed LL, and orchard bark: I think I can get mushrooms with this.
 

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Whats the charcoal for? Im thinking about using eco earth, crushed LL, and orchard bark: I think I can get mushrooms with this.
I use both activated charcoal nand natural charcoal. The activated removes toxins + all what regular charcoal does. The natural charcoal gives springs/microfauna breeding room and also helps with drainage. Just eco earth/ll/orchid bark with compress. Substrate is one of the most important (and sometimes expensive) parts of the build.Here's what will happen.
3 months later you open the tank. You're wondering, "what's that smell"? you look into the substrate and discover a compressed mud.
That's the next worse thing to losing a frog.
 

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I use both activated charcoal nand natural charcoal. The activated removes toxins + all what regular charcoal does. The natural charcoal gives springs/microfauna breeding room and also helps with drainage. Just eco earth/ll/orchid bark with compress. Substrate is one of the most important (and sometimes expensive) parts of the build.Here's what will happen.
3 months later you open the tank. You're wondering, "what's that smell"? you look into the substrate and discover a compressed mud.
That's the next worse thing to losing a frog.
Activated charcoal in the substrate? Are you planning on digging it up every few months? I have a feeling that all of the different compounds in a viv will quickly neutralize the effects of activated charcoal. I think it's better to establish a good microfauna population and they'll handle most of the waste clean up. That on top of regular water changes/drainage for excess water and I don't think you really need to worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for your responses! Glad to see this thread won't just be me spouting off plans . Speaking of plans they have changed slightly...

1st I am going to slow the 90 gallon construction down while I make it amazing. I have Bern given this advice before but its not because I am at all timid believe me I just want it to be something I can take a lot of pride in. My plans changed when I decided that I wanted to hopefully breed my group for this monster tank personally. I have decided to go to a simple 20 gallon setup to keep a proven pair in and then when they acclimate and start breeding I will have the pick if the clutch to raise all the way from tads.

I am going to continue this construction journal so don't be too sad. Lol
I will probably start another construction journal on the 20 as well.

If anyone wants to cut me a deal on a proven pair of frogs let me know what you want for them through PM.

I just sat back this morning and thought "this set up could be awesome if I take a lot of time to do it right.

This also allows my budget for the 90 to accumulate to a nice number by the time I raise the froglets for it.

Let me know what you all think,
-FoxHound
 

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As far as getting driftwood is concerned, my advice is NOT to buy it online. I have a bad experience with it, where I get pieces that suck. I would try to go to shows or stores to see the wood first-hand so you can get an idea of where you want to put it. I use malaysian driftwood; others here use cedar, and there's two African varieties, one's lighter (which I hate) and one's darker (which I love). The trick is to get things that hold up to the humidity and moisture. I personally hate the look of grapewood or grapevine or whatever the hell it is. In my opinion, the tank revolves around the wood (in most cases - there are people who don't use it - see Raf's build) and if you start with that as your foundation for design, the rest will fall into place. But it has to be a strong foundation.
 

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Theres also another route that you could take insted of using the wood that also is very cheap and looks amazing. You can make your own design of trees stump thats coming from the background using PVC pipe heated with a torch and then bent to whatever you want it in differant sizes then and silicone and whatever you want to cover it with. I have done this before and looks great! I also wrapped differant sized ropes that had silicone and peat on them for vines. Doinf this you can make you own hides, levels for them to climb as 3 dimensional as you want and just use your creativity to the max!!
 

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I haven't bought from here because shipping is kinda pricey (thery quote your shipping via email depending on weight and size) but i've heard some good things. You might wanna check them out.
The Driftwood Store
I second this. The owner is pretty quick to reply, and he'll send you multiple angles of pieces as well so you get a good idea. If you're going to buy online, this is the way to go for sure.
 

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I second this. The owner is pretty quick to reply, and he'll send you multiple angles of pieces as well so you get a good idea. If you're going to buy online, this is the way to go for sure.
Have either of you guys received driftwood, or even an email reply from them within the last 3 months? Im having trouble getting a reply. I need more wood!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'll have to give that site a look. I already purchased my 20 long to put my pair or trio in and with the mopani I just got I think I will be okay on wood. I'll post a pic of the 20 on here so I can get confirmation on that.

You guys rock,
-FoxHound

Pics to come in minutes, I can't post them from my phone.
 
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