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Discussion Starter #1
Maybe wrong way to do it but rather than have a load of threads (I do tend to ask a lot of questions) I thought maybe I could ask a few questions collectively using this thread instead

Been stalking and reading this forum for a long time so I hope these questions dont seem repeated, just a few minor details I havent been able to find (taken me a long time before able to even post this :p)

The mission impossible

Firstly I have an exo terra 24x18x24 viv bare and ready to go, original mesh top is damaged with holes so will be hopefully replacing then with plastic or glass, likely plastic due its ability to be drilled etc

I plan on keeping leucs, what do yous recommend maximum group size and ratio even for thisn 44 gallon tank? tips warnings welcome

This is my construction plan so far in which Ill be starting over the summer

1. SUBSTRATE, I love the idea of ABG but in Ireland no chance of it, cant be found, so making my own according to instructions(yes ive thread the topic on it) but what im asking is an alternative that youve found useful to replace tree fern with? all I can find is granules..any good? and for the charcoal a disposable bbq charcoal any good or what?

2. LIGHTS - The lighting, by far my biggest downfall, T5 seem the best and available to me through ebay, How many bulbs do yous recommend for me to have to light/maybe heat? and generally keep all happy, wattage etc or holders would be awesome

3. TOP/LIGHT CASING - I dont have a compact top for keeping the lights, i see exo terra sell them, and i presume could get one for my size...whats your experience, I reckon theyd be to close and then heat the viv maybe too much? anyone any other tips, why i dont know is basically havent a clue of wattage etc

4. BACKGROUND - Read the guides etc for making backgrounds, my plan is a UK version of great stuff and silicone, for pracital reasons more so over the clay im aware o teh guides but availability and my idea dont suit it) Really interested in trying my own fake tree/rock possibly to add, ive got a good bi t of playing space but just curious for adult leucs would you say climbing is important or whats the balance in arboreal/terrestial, ive read and aware they do climb when older..but obviously never seen them before so cant say other than books..

5. DRAINAGE - What I plan for more so simplicity is a layer of hydroleca on the bottom, in which I will simply drain when full, I have looked at the other methods but a pump etc is beyond my experience and skills, so if possible avoid. Any tips for making this simpler without having to tear or add unsightly tubes..I read here somewhere of adding the nozzle of a silicone tube and glue it down then attach the tubing..and syphon out with a baster?

6. DECOR - adding the basics of empty seeds for hiding and aesthetics, magnolia/oak leaves, film canisters are they more so for breeding yes? I had the idea of wrapping if possible a thing called epiweb around a piece of wood, and then sowing moss spore on it and letting it grow, its a man made version of tree fern sheets, would tree fern sheets wrapped and planted work too?

7. PLANTS - Right over my head, read the guides here and love the look of some plants, its more so the planting and care for them than anything that scares me really in terms of conditions etc each will thrive

Thanks you so much if you even bothered reading one of these, sorry its alot but I am very particular and like to be perfect as possible, sure theyve a name for it :p but even if you could answer even one of these questions it would be brilliant! All and any criticisms or help appreciated, this is really the only place I can talk about this, I know one other person in Northern Ireland keeps darts :p

Thank you, Chris
 

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Hi

Well i dont have any experience with Exo-Terra terrariums, so i cant offer any insight on that, but perhaps i can throw in a comment on some of your other questions :)

For a tank such as you describe, i would go with 3 or perhaps 4 Leucs, what i have found is that Leucs are quite arboreal for their size, and i find mine often spend more time using the vertical space than they do ground area, so a good mix of ground area and climbing space is ideal, in my experience.

For the substrate, you could use things like peat, bark, coco and similar things, there are hundreds of ways to put together a substrate.
Personally i use a mix of peat and cocofibre.

Drainage, i like the Leca method, has worked great for me but then again, i have never drained it since plants + evaporation keeps the water level from ever reaching the substrate.
It is much easier and cheaper than drilling drainage holes or installing pumps and what not.

Anyway, i suggest you just go for it! There is such a thing as too much planning, and a lot of things you will have to learn by trial and error, since only so much can be read from a book and a forum.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks man, really looking more of a criticism of my plan and a few little things that I dont understand with the lighting etc and experience, thanks for the shout though!
 

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Substrate - Tree fern isn't absolutely necessary for your soil. As for the charcoal, that's not essential either, but it functions similar to perlite and will help keep the soil loose and absorb some odor. A gardening center may have bags of the stuff for potting but if you can't find any, pure charcoal will work as well. Make sure to get charcoal with absolutely no added binders or chemicals.

Top/Light casing - I use an Exo-Terra hood on my 18x18x24 Exo and it works fine. I use small pvc spacers to raise the fixture off of the enclosure.

Background - Not quite sure what you're asking but from what I've read, leucs will use all of the space you provide them.

Drainage - In my exo-terra, I used a false bottom but my solution to drainage should work for you as well. I siliconed a pvc tube with holes drilled in the lower portion to the bottom of the exoterra. An aquarium filter sponge was wrapped around these holes and rubber banded in place. The tube extends so that its top is just level with the substrate. I used a pvc end cap to cover up the tube and whenever I need to drain the excess water, I move the leaf litter that conceals the tube and siphon it out.

Frogs will sleep in film canisters on occasion but they're typically used for egg deposition sites, especially with thumbnails.

I wouldn't recommend wrapping epiweb on the wood. moss will grow eventually when provided with enough light and moisture.

As for plants, there are many suitable species. I'm not quite sure about the availability in Ireland, but skim through the sponsors page to find vendors that sell plants and write down some that you like. You should be able to find some philodendron or pothos, ferns and other plants near where you live. Bromeliads aren't necessary for tadpole deposition but they do look nice so try to find some smaller species of Neoregelia.

Good luck!
 

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Thanks alot ross! little tip on the hood is a great Idea, can I ask wat bulbs you use? as the bulb fittings in them seem to have a somewhat2designated2 size as in only certain sized bulbs will fit in them, so if I went that route what wattage or bulb manufacturer do you use?

Yeah was wanting to try and replicate the ABG but without any supplier of the tree fern I may need to give it a miss, was curious as to a good replacement, but possibly increase the amounts of the other materials

great idea for the drainage mate! thank you thats what Ill use!

My plan also, take a check of possible plant names I like and see if I can find them, in the states yous seem to have a great selection such as home depot and walmart and the sorts for materials, we have nowhere the same variety so prices can be dear

thanks again for the reply much appreciated
 

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Thanks alot ross! little tip on the hood is a great Idea, can I ask wat bulbs you use? as the bulb fittings in them seem to have a somewhat2designated2 size as in only certain sized bulbs will fit in them, so if I went that route what wattage or bulb manufacturer do you use?

Yeah was wanting to try and replicate the ABG but without any supplier of the tree fern I may need to give it a miss, was curious as to a good replacement, but possibly increase the amounts of the other materials

great idea for the drainage mate! thank you thats what Ill use!

My plan also, take a check of possible plant names I like and see if I can find them, in the states yous seem to have a great selection such as home depot and walmart and the sorts for materials, we have nowhere the same variety so prices can be dear

thanks again for the reply much appreciated
I'm not sure on the brand of the lights and I can't take them out right now but they're 42watt (150w incandescent equivalent) spiral compact fluorescents @ 5000k color temperature. You might be able to get away with 23w spiral compacts. I used the 42w because there are only 2 bulbs per fixture. I think the 24" fixtures may fit 3 bulbs(?)
 

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I would try to make something that is as close to ABG mix as you can. Look around and get all the ingredients you can. Since you can't get the tree fern fibers, which if I am right, are the little twig looking things in the ABG mix, maybe try to find a hardwood tree that takes forever to rot, and snap a bunch of twigs off of it about an inch or so long. Bake them dry and add them to your mix instead of the tree fern fiber. Also, you can almost do anything with lights. Im sure you have a hardware store or home improvement store somewhere? They should sell fluorescent light fixtures. Even 2 compact (the little swirly bulbs) that are 6500k would work fine. Leucs DO climb. Try to mount some wood or something in your background to give them something to climb around on. Don't make your background 2 dimensional if you can help it. Make your background seem like a part of the main tank and they will use it more. Get some plants with big leaves, or Broms if you can get them. They will climb on any plant that can support their weight.
 

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Thanks guys, Im trying to incorporate the background coming forward like a slope to then allow for even more space for the leucs to climb and maximise their use of my tank, I wont be using a water feature

Cheers it was just the fact of what bulbs are needed and this colour thingy, basically what would I need for such a tank that would give my plants the best plant growth, which I presume of course these will do, ill keep an eye out and see what they have available just

seen hagen glo have t5 light bulb fixtures, ebay selling them for 45 which is steep enough but look well and seen others use them, so with them and possibly t5 bulbs be grand yes? otherwise just get a compact top and the bulbs yous described, any company make decent one, like should i look at many make yous find successful?

thanks guys its the main bit throwing me as i want it right and get the right bulb and growth
 
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