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Hi all,

I am building a plywood tank for some tropical arboreal geckos, and I need to decide how I am going to seal the wood. I am going to have soil in the bottom of the tank with plants growing in it, but no standing water. Of course the tank is going to be humid, like 70-80% humidity on average.
My question is....do I need to shell out that $80 for the sweetwater epoxy stuff? Or can I get away with putting polyurethane the wood, or using some cheaper product? I'm just wondering if I need to use an expensive sealer if I'm not going to have standing water in the tank.
I was thinking of lining the bottom portion of the tank with a thin sheet of either plexiglass or regular glass--that way the moist soil wouldn't touch the wood. Then I was hoping I could get away with just putting some thick coats of polyurethane on the rest of it, since I would just be misting the tank a few times a day.
What do you guys think? Should I take the hit with the epoxy or be a cheapo?

Thanks!
 

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I use to use fiberglass resin (polyester resin) but both the resin and the catalyst are very toxic materials. When fully cured they are not as bad, but if not used properly it can release MEK, which is a super nasty material. I personally abhor polyester resin and will never work with it again if it is avoidable in anyway. It thermo-sets too fast if you're not careful, (set fire to my lawn once by accident using 1/2 gallon at a time) it stinks to high heaven, its flammable, and takes a long time to fully outgass. Its cheap and all, but it's best to leave it for repairing cars.

So instead, stick with a true 100% solids epoxy. There are all kinds out there, but make sure to use a 100% solids or else you're paying for a solvent that will just smell bad anyways.
 

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For wooden outdoor planters, on DIY network and such, they always use a thick pond liner of sorts. Why not do this for the bottom where the soil will be and if drylock will work, do the whole thing in white drylok. Then you could do a standard GS background on the three sides with a white ceiling for good reflectivity for the plants. Just a thought.
 

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They sale a paint used to waterproof roots I have used for ponds. Elastomeric or something along that. You can even add color to it as Lowes/Home Depot, they sell it here for about $20.00. I would suggest a few coats.

As for drylock, I've used it as well in ponds. Works well.
 
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