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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first step in building and viv is to determine what species of frog the tank being built for. I decided I wanted tanks for breeding pairs/trio's of pumilio. therefore I would need a decent sized tank with good height and floor space. My first three tanks are 2 - 18"Wx18"Dx24H" Exoterra tanks and 1 - 24"Wx18"DX24"H. I bought a 72" x21" by 72" rack to accommodate the tanks. The tanks I bought locally at a really good price. The rack was purchased from global industrial Wire Shelving, Chrome, Stainless Steel, Epoxy Coated at GLOBALindustrial.com

I also had previously purchased some clipping at the tri state meet and some young plants at a local garden center. the plants at the garden center were $2/plant. Some pics of the plants:

The full package


Some close ups


Also picked up this girl
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The concept I want to use for the tank design is quite simple. Build a viv that the frogs will love but also make it as user friendly as possible. Therefore, the tanks would need drainage through a bulkhead and a misting system. Also, no water features no foggers. They are a waste of my time and money.

The general layout and construction I plan to use is this:
clay substrate
Clay background (for the most part, more on that later) on three walls
lots of broms and plants on the walls
completely open floor space with a thick layer of leafs.
The key for me is to leave most of the center of the tank open. I basically want to be able to have access to froglets when it comes time to pull them.

This is only my third-fifth construction so much of what I experience will be for the first time. The first step was to drill holes in the tanks. I used 1 1/8" bit for a 5/8 inch bulkhead. I got the bit from delphi glass Stained Glass Supplies, Fusing Supplies At Delphi
and the bulkheads from big al's Aquarium Supplies, Cheap Dog Supplies, Fish Supplies, Best Cat Toys
I discovered drilling methods by using the search feature found on the title bar found at the top of the page below the banner. I basically used Doug's (pumilo) method for drilling the glass. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/58594-how-drill-your-glass.html

Here are some photos
About 1.5 inches from the base is marked out

Add the playdough - sorry battery was running low

Start the drilling

Add the bulkhead

Place the tanks, connect the tubing and check to amke sure everything gravity drains
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The next step was the drainage layer. I like false bottoms. Well, truth be told I like most bottoms, especially ones that are tight and round but thats a little off topic.

I used 1.5" diameter PVC and cut to a length of about 1.75" Just above the drainage hole I had drilled in the tanks. Therefore my substrate should not be saturated. I cut and drilled holes at work because I have access to a table saw and drill press, making my life much easier.

Holes on top and bottom of legs so I can connect the riser to egg crate and allow water to flow through the pipe

Make sure you removing all the fines after cutting and drilling PVC

This photo shows the elevation of the false bottom in relation to drainage

Cutting eggcrate

Add screen

Connect legs to eggcrate
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great plants! What garden center did you go to? Id love to check out their 2$ plants.
Adams Fairacres Farms in Newburg. I was working in the area and needed a saw to cut some downed trees so I can get my truck to some wells in this wooded area. As soon as I started walking through the greenhouse I knew I was going to have to return again at the end of the day. great selections at hard to beat prices. All kinds of peperomia, ferns, some hoyas. I spent a little over $40 bucks for a dozen 2" potted plants and the pitcher plant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great plants! What garden center did you go to? Id love to check out their 2$ plants.
I should probably also point out that I bought the plants about 6 weeks ago. I've been slow trying to get the thread started. I doubt they have much stock left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looks great!!! Just out of curiosity why do you not like foggers?
First rule of fight club - build tanks for the benefit of frogs not the benefit of you.
Second rule of fight club - Don't talk about fight club

Seriosly:
A) you really don't need it. I sealed the viv's as best I could and i'll be adding internal fans to circulate the air so humidity will be a non issue.

B) Because its more aesthetic then anything else, installing one would end up costing me time and money. This is already going to cost a lot and in 6 weeks I still have a long way to go. Why slow down the process for cosmetics.

My first tank had a fogger and a waterfall. my second tank had a waterfall. The rest of my tanks will have neither. Call it learning through experience. I think I, like most new people entering the hobby, wanted the viv to be all "tricked out". I should have been following the KISS rule. Keep it simple stupid. Maybe someone should start a survey. I'd put money on most experienced hobbyist use neither a fogger or a waterfall.
 

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Mike- this looks like it's gonna be awesome! i definitely want to see final product shots!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm looking at getting some orchids from Andy's. I searched the website for miniature, easy growers. I also selected new world species. does any one have experience with any of these and any tips, especially on placement would be much appreciated. Oh...lighting will be HO t5 with 4 6,500 K bulbs.

Barbosella handori
Cischweillfia ellipticum
Masdevallia discoidea
maxillaria uncata
oncidium triquetrum
pleurothalis amporoans
pleurothalis ornata

thanks in advance
 

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First rule of fight club - build tanks for the benefit of frogs not the benefit of you.
Second rule of fight club - Don't talk about fight club

Seriosly:
A) you really don't need it. I sealed the viv's as best I could and i'll be adding internal fans to circulate the air so humidity will be a non issue.

B) Because its more aesthetic then anything else, installing one would end up costing me time and money. This is already going to cost a lot and in 6 weeks I still have a long way to go. Why slow down the process for cosmetics.

My first tank had a fogger and a waterfall. my second tank had a waterfall. The rest of my tanks will have neither. Call it learning through experience. I think I, like most new people entering the hobby, wanted the viv to be all "tricked out". I should have been following the KISS rule. Keep it simple stupid. Maybe someone should start a survey. I'd put money on most experienced hobbyist use neither a fogger or a waterfall.

ok.. if you have ever been to the Blackjungle.com retail store. ( most of theirs are simple with no water features) they have been doing this since 1994. so.. you guessed right!!! when I was a Newbie 4 years ago.. I was the same. DECK IT OUT!!! but water features always cause more problems than benefits.. ( pump breaks.. and other things.)
 

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Pantman Mike, I just wanted to thank you for the links and info in your thread so far. I will be drilling some Exo's and am greatful you posted links to your drill bit source and bulkhead source.

keep up the good work, and keep us updated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Between frog day and making clay substrate I haven't had time to focus on this. The tanks are just about done. I need to wire the fans and mount some orchids. But I'll do my best to update this chronologically. After the false bottom I built the lid of the tank. For the front of the tank a used versa top backstrip like the one found here Aquarium Hoods & Canopies: All-Glass Versa-Top Replacement Pieces. I got mine at the local pet store where they well it by the inch.

I used this because its cheap and easy to drill. I also would have to drill several different sized holeson top (for the mist nozzle and fans) so I didn't have to want to spend the money on more diamond bits. My local hardware store cuts glass to size. the rest of the top is glass. On the Exo's its important to remember to cut out all the tabs so the glass fits in to place nicely. I did this with a razor blade. For the 18x18 footprint the glass top measured 16 15/16" x 15". The 18x24 foorprint cover measuered 223/4" x 15". the extra two inches up front are for the backstrip. So this is how it looks.

This is the backstrip. I had to cut the corners for the hinges.


Drilling hole for misters with my favorite drill bit.


In the tank with misting nozzles



Coming soon fan construction
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've had already had alot of post and PM's about the fans from a different thread. I'm going to try to elaborate on some modifications I made to my fan set-up. The original concept I used was posted by Doug (Pumilio) about 6 weeks ago where he refernced this link: DIY Air Circulation | GlassTropics

Because this was being mounted on the backstrip piece I needed it to be light weight so. So I cut the corners off the fan. Now the fan would fit in 1 1/4" x 1 inch pvc. However I used a very thin piece of acetate liner we use to collect soil samples using a macro core sampler and then I wrapped both sides with screen and connected with wire tires. This is the end result:



I also had a hard time finding a cap but I found a much nicer less expensive alternative, the spray nozzle for a sprinkler system:

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I had to drill a bigger hole and fit the threaded end of the elbow through that hole. Because I used the backstrip this was no problem. In fact I found this piece was perfectly designed for this application.




This is what it looked like from the top



the rest of the set up pretty much followed the directions in the link. I still haven't wired the fans to a controller that controls the speed on six fans. My buddy just dropped off a powersource this evening. hopefully it works.

Next up is the clay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pantman Mike, I just wanted to thank you for the links and info in your thread so far. I will be drilling some Exo's and am greatful you posted links to your drill bit source and bulkhead source.

keep up the good work, and keep us updated!
It was probably the most stressful part of this build by far. Its funny I was talking to Lou (Oddlot) about drilling tanks yesterday and how scary it can be for newcomers. I should mention exos's have very thick glass and I just went slow. It took a while to drill through the glass (~5 minutes) but now i don't have deal with turkey basters anymore. But man I was sweating bullets for a while.
 

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I feel you.. I drilled two 18" cube exo's for drainage and two 1/4" glass lids for mist nozzles for the exo's in the past week. For my first time drilling glass, it went really smooth and I am now confident enough to drill any non tempered glass. I even went and drilled a couple of my existing tanks for mist nozzles.

Hey, nice install on the fan. It looks nice and clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The next step was clay. For the substrate I used Matt Mirabello's recipe found on page seven of this link. They only difference is I used all red Fe oxide, no gelatin and I added some reptile sand. http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-discussion/22990-ultimate-clay-based-substrate-thread-7.html

My old man works at the YMCA in Kingston which is about three blocks from baileys pottery Bailey Ceramic Supply - Clay - Dry Clays and Chemicals which is where I got my supply. A couple days before Easter he picked it up and when i visited I had my clay and didn't have to deal with shipping (I bought enough clay for six tanks - substrate and background).
This is what I ended up with.



Totals are as followed:
EPK - 100 lbs (2 bags)
Betonite - 50 lbs (1 bag)
Fe oxide - 12 lbs
Al oxide - 5 lbs
CaCO3 - 3 lbs
sand - 5 lbs

Plus corn starch and sugar from supermarket. When you break it out you get this:
EPK 55.9%
Betonite 27.9%
Fe Oxide 6.7 %
Al Oxide 2.8%
Sugar & corn starch 2.2 % (total)
CaCO3 1.6%
Sand 2.8%

Matches up pretty well with Matt's recipe. I pretty much followed matts directions for substrate so just follow the thread for details. I will mention that I did find breaking up the clay into small pieces was a pain in the derrière. For the background I used the same recipe and mixed with spag moss, coco fiber and coco chips. If there are any other Italians here i'll let them explain the purpose of aggregate, forget about it:cool:
 

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I think you might be a little disappointed in Your Orchids.
Many Orchids require that they dry out between watering...Meaning since you are tightly sealing your exo's to maintain a High Humidity and have internal Fans to circulate the air they will not dry out and will rot and die. It is not just about Air Flow for orchids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think you might be a little disappointed in Your Orchids.
Many Orchids require that they dry out between watering...Meaning since you are tightly sealing your exo's to maintain a High Humidity and have internal Fans to circulate the air they will not dry out and will rot and die. It is not just about Air Flow for orchids.
So far so good on the orchids, even have one blooming. I've done a fair amount of research and the thread posted by Ed Parker was a huge help.
 
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