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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would you use to waterproof the wood if needed at all? I am planning on building a terrarium with a plywood back and bottom with plexiglass on the sides and front. Will be placing a layer of silicone down on the wood and part of plexiglass before using the foam for backround and bottom. Plan on having all the wood cover with foam then sealing that with silcone and coco mix. Would I need to waterproof the plywood before doing any of this at all. I appreciate the help.

If you are wondering it will be almost a whole year before I finsh the tank if I decide to build it at all. As my money is tight and time is little will do some here and there when I get suplies.

thanks again
mike
 

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I am not sure if you would need to seal the plywood, but you will definitely want to use glass instead of plexiglass because over time it scratches and it also warps which will make gaps.
 

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I remember a page somewhere that had step by step instructions on how to build a viv out of plywood. They sealed it with sealant meant for swimming pools, I think. Anyone have the link?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This can easily be done by using 2 -3 coats of epoxy enamel and a lining of PVC foil.

-Bill J.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Howdy,

I must wholeheartedly agree with the statement to use GLASS instead of the plexi. My first attempt at building my viv used 1/4" plexi. BAD idea. :x Over time it warped, pulling loose the silicone seals along the bottom. This caused leaks which were only fixable by completely removing everything in the enclosure (putting the plants in temporary containers), and replacing ALL the plexi with glass. And let me tell you, that expandable foam stuff (I use Red Devil Triple Expanding Foam) is so damn strong (even after over a year in a wet environment) that just trying to pull it off the back piece of plexi required super-human feats of strength! :shock:

And remember, plexi is not really cheaper than glass. It is just lighter weight. My recommendation (and what I should have done in the first place) is to NOT cut corners (financially) when building your vivarium. I learned this the hard way.

Good luck and have fun!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just like to say that I appreciate the help. I did find a web site that might be helpful to others as well. It gives details on building differnt reef tanks wich could be modified for dart frogs. This is the web address; http://www.garf.org/howtodoinformation. ... nstruction
not exactly sure how yo make it a link so you could to copy and patse.

Thanks again
mike
 

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You will definitely need to seal the plywood. I glued my plywood together with marine epoxy and painted it with a two part epoxy paint used to paint bathtubs ($15) after numerous coats of fiberglass resin still resulted in a leaky terrarium base. Two years later, I am still leak free.

Here's a quick overview of my project:

http://www.frognet.org/gallery/album18

I would personally recommend using glass, as well, and you can usually get some nice pieces of glass at salvage yards (architectural salvage). I found three pieces of tempered glass with rounded edges that were the same size for $5 each and built my design around those, since plywood can be cut to size quite easily. I will be building 2-3 more with a slightly different design here very soon.

Best of luck,
 

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BillJohnson said:
This can easily be done by using 2 -3 coats of epoxy enamel and a lining of PVC foil.

-Bill J.
Personally, I think that using both epoxy paint and pvc pond liner is overkill. That's great if you have the extra money to spare, but if you're wanting more bang for the buck, I think you can get away with one or the other. I've not tried the pvc liner, but did consider it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Homer,

I agree with you for the most part on this, however a I believe a combination of both would be the best route to go for a long term vivarium. When plywood is used, there will difinitely be seams that epoxy enamel just may not be strong enough to seal off if and when even the slightest expansion takes place. The expansion is liable to break the thin seal that the enamal has created. One could possibly get by on PVC foil alone, but for actually water proofing the wood should condensation form under the PVC liner, epoxy is a must. Another budget-friendly option would be to replace the PVC foil with 2-3 layers of vinyl window covering. I have plans in the works on doing a panarama style viv in this fashion. So...just some of my thoughts.

-Bill J.
 

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Bill,

If the seams in the plywood are glued together with marine epoxy, then the inside is coated with 2-3 layers of epoxy paint, there should be no problems with seams separating and leaking. I know several cichlid breeders who have huge plywood tanks that are 10 years old. They made theirs this way without a PVC liner . . . no leaks. Remember, an aquarium will have much more pressure placed on its seams than a terrarium.
 

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Hey guys,

I'm using the plywood method as well, but on a rack, not jsut one tank. I should have pictures up soon of the wooden structure, as we just got the supplies to coat it. We have a friend at a local fiberglass company (repair on boats, showers, etc.) and he sold us a bunch of supplies including a fiberglass gel coat (white), wax (forms surface), etc. for $50. I'll get pictures up later this week.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Homer,

I see your point here on the marine epoxy. I was just taking this in stride and didn't consider actually glueing or chemically sealing the inner joint seams. That would definitely be the best route. I'm also very fond of the PVC liner method as it gives me a nice peice of mind in leak protection. I'll definitely consider all of this when I get started on mine...hopefully this coming fall when it cools down some as I wwill have to do all of the wood work and so forth outside. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Derek,

I remember your telling me about you project not long ago. Please do share pics once it's done!!

-Bill J.,
 
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