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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first terrarium build and I decided to do TWO at the same time..
Maybe crazy as a beginner, but it seems like a good idea at the time, I was thinking of an assembly line idea!!!!

As it's my first build, I welcome ALL advice and opinions, good, bad and ugly.
I'm a big boy and won't get my feels hurt!

First tank is 18x18x18 and I'm thinking of putting an Auratus in it.
Tank two is the 24Lx18x18 and I think either a green Auratus or a few Leucomelas?
Thought on those choices for a beginner?

Day one of the build was great, almost 90'f and I hoped to get a TON done...
I had huge goals for such a nice day, but of course I didn't get even 1/2 done that I wanted.

Here's a few photos from day one:

The two Brand spankin new tanks, shop all over town for the best deal.
build1.jpg

Out of the box getting hosed down
build2.jpg

Removed the front screen and silicone mosquito screen over them.
I tried two different way since I had no idea of how to do it. One is on the outside and the other is on the inside. hmmmmmm What do you think?
build3.jpg

Resealed the base
build4.jpg

Close-up of the Silicone, it's GE Silicone I clear, Yep, I returned the Silicone II and bought the Silicone I after suggestions from people here.
build5.jpg

A few pieces of Cork bark. OK the one on the far left is about 20" long, the smaller ones are about 8-10 inches. I just hosed them off. Seemed pretty dirty.
build6.jpg

The next two are egg crate in the corners. I put them at an angle and Have some Mini-Jet 404 pumps that easily fit behind them.
build7.jpg

The egg crate across the front was to hold the corner piece in place while the silicone dried.
build8.jpg

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, as a side project I worked on my tank vines.
These are almost 1/2" nylon rope (I think) I covered with silicone and rolled in coco fibers. I let them dry and put on another layer since one layer just wasn't enough. You could see some white from the rope on a few places.

It was a fun but very messy project - OK, not that bad with gloves. Without gloves, it would just be crazy!!!

build9.jpg

build10.jpg

build11.jpg

Steve
 

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Cool so far! How did you cover the rope exactly? Did you use toulene or just coat it by hand?
By the way, from my understanding GE II can only be an issue if you are breeding and the eggs come into some sort of contact with it, and will cause the eggs to have issues. Black silicone for aquarium use can be purchased from glasscages.com though. Looks good so far!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool so far! How did you cover the rope exactly? Did you use toulene or just coat it by hand?
By the way, from my understanding GE II can only be an issue if you are breeding and the eggs come into some sort of contact with it, and will cause the eggs to have issues. Black silicone for aquarium use can be purchased from glasscages.com though. Looks good so far!
For the rope vine, I just squeezed a bunch of silicone into my gloved hand and then pulled the rope through my hand a few times. After that I rolled the rope around in a container of coco fibers. I let dry then repeated for a second coat.

Yes, I read a number of threads here on the debate of using GE II and decided it's just not worth it, why take a chance on a $40+ frog. And I do hope to have baby frogs someday..

Thank you,
steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Next DAY: Day TWO

Time to blow some foam!! This is the Blue can or Windows.
Putting in some of the cork bark and net pots. The tubing is for plant drainage once I cover the net pots with GS.

The 24x18x18 terrarium
build12.jpg

The 18x18x18 terrarium
build13.jpg

I was looking for some base rocks and found this awesome deal.
build14.jpg

These are about 3 inch smooth stones, I know I will find a use for them someplace!!
build15.jpg

Is there a right way or wrong way to do the foam??
build16.jpg

Any advice?
build17.jpg

Thanks,
Steve
 

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That's correct, but I would cover up the pots with foam and do the top. Also, the 24x18x18 the foam is really thick, the 18x18x818 looks good. It would be worth your while to buy another can for the top.
 

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Looks good so far.

Foam over those pots. In addition to your tubing, you can always use a bamboo skewer to poke extra drain holes after GS sets up. I used a small, extra long drill bit as I wanted to avoid rotting broms at all costs.

With tanks this size, be sure to protect your floor space since the frogs you chose spend much time cruising around chasing bugs. Specifically, these are very small tanks to do water features. Perhaps a seep and some of those stones to provide a small soak. You'll have to design bottom (are you going false bottom?) to ensure that the substrate does not wick moisture or you will have a bog.

Very excited for you. Take your time and you will be very happy with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, I agree the foam is thick, I do plan to carve it down some with a steak knife. I'm not really sure how, I will just "Wing It" as usual. I guess if I take off too much I can add more.

I am now also getting the feeling that a water feature in the 18x18x18 will just
be too much. It's already seeming cramp in there. BUT I think I'll leave the corner egg crate so I can pump out water since I am not drilling the bottom.

So I'm wondering why Exo Terra terrariums do not have a hole in the bottom like my TetraFauna terrarium did. BTW I love my TetraFauna, I have the Deluxe, it have these awesome sliding doors and as mentioned the drain on the bottom and plug..

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looks good so far.

With tanks this size, be sure to protect your floor space since the frogs you chose spend much time cruising around chasing bugs. Specifically, these are very small tanks to do water features. Perhaps a seep and some of those stones to provide a small soak. You'll have to design bottom (are you going false bottom?) to ensure that the substrate does not wick moisture or you will have a bog.
Thank you for the awesome advice!
I am doing a false bottom and started it tonight, I have a feeling I made a mistake by not having that in the terrariums already since I didn't know how low to spray the foam and also put some cork bark too low.. Images coming on that..

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Next Day: Day Three..

I only have about 45 minutes of light left when I get home from work, so this is definitely turning into a slow project, but fun..

So Now I'm using the Pong Great stuff, I just wanted to try it and see if I like the Windows GS or the Pond GS stuff?? I really don't know yet which I like better. I like the Black color better, BUT it seems like you get more in a can of the Window GS, maybe because it expands more?

Next group of photos:

Added more Cork bark on the side wall
build18.jpg

Covering some pots and I have an idea!!!!!
build19.jpg

Back to the 18x18x18, I stuck a rock in there. BUT it didn't want to stand up for very long. I also put a few single strands of foam on the side, I thought it looked interesting..
build20.jpg

build21.jpg

The 18x18x18 upright finally, I still need to cover the net pots.
build22.jpg

Steve
 

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I just noticed i posted the stupidest thing ever on here, lol, but if you want, you can. I did, it makes it look more even, but if you want you could just spread silicone/peat onto it to blend it if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK, here's my idea of a water feature in the 24x18x18
I want to run a small stream across the back of the tank and have to stepping down towards the left. When it reaches the left side it will go off the back and towards the front. It might be like a pond or a beach so the frogs can get out easier. I'm not sure yet. So I put on a ton of extra GS in hopes that I can cut it into the shape I need. Could I line my little stream with silicone or would small pebbles, or both be better??????

Water flow idea?
build23.jpg

Another view
build24.jpg

OOPS, The cork bark was almost touching the bottom.. Maybe I should have out in my false bottom first.. Well I will next time. So I got out my rotary tool and carefully cut off the bottom..
build25.jpg

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well it's Saturday and finally have some time (or should I say a break from taking my wife shopping, spending my $$$, etc) to work on the terrariums again.

So I bought another sheet of egg crate for $12 today. I had just zip tied two small pieces together, but decided that I would rather have a solid piece in the long run.
build26.jpg

So I notched my PVC connector with a Robozip, man they get messy, I'm still picking curly white plastic stuff from my hair, arms and chest. OK, so I notch these so that water would get stuck in them. read that someplace here.
build27.jpg

Also drilled holes for the zip ties to pass through. Used my Robozip for this also. Also wore big leather gloves since I was just holding them down with one hand and using the Robozip in the other.
build28.jpg

Before using the Robozip I tried to use these cutters, but OOPS, didn't work, it cracked the PVC.
build29.jpg

And here's a Dremel hot knife I bought for $12 to use to crave out some of the foam. And let me tell you this, it was like a HOT KNIFE through butter.
But it was really a Hot knife through foam.
build30.jpg


Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SO then in the dark, I think I finished my false bottoms.
My I hate the shorter days. In the Summer it stays light until almost 10pm here in Spokane, but no today 6:30pm.. I'm doing my build outside on the back deck.

This is the 18x18x18 with the PVC connectors on, I hope I used enough of them, so that it doesn't collapse.
build31.jpg

Here's the FB in place and then I added a little extra GS, I think I want to add a little more to make a little slope. MAJOR LESSON - put in the FB FIRST. I will always do that in the future!
build32.jpg

Next was the 24x18x18. Notice the complete DARKNESS at the top of the photo. I was thinking about some places at that stay light till midnight and how cool that must be!
build33.jpg

Here's the FB in the 24x18x18. I do plan a water feature in this one.
build34.jpg

The same terrarium, here I again had to add more GS - Remember FB FIRST!!!! Beating it into my head!!!!
build35.jpg

Comments????
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The build continues in the house:

Moved some aquariums to make room for the terrarium.
build36.jpg

So I put long fiber sphagnum moss in front of my false bottoms. I saw someone else here do it, and liked the look better than gravel.
build37.jpg

Added a like Hydroton, since I have lots of it.
build38.jpg

Next a bag of ABG mix.
build39.jpg

The ABG mixed up and into the terrarium. I think I really need about 1-1/2 bags for this 18x18x18.. I do have more here.
build40.jpg

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I dug out my old RO unit that I used in my Salt Water tank days.
It's a Kent Marine with a Hi-S filter.
build41.jpg

Test my Total dissolved solids and get 002ppm from the RO unit. It's around 120 from the tap. Also still takes my PH down from 7.8 to 7.0..
So the RO unit may be a little old, but still working..
build42.jpg

I didn't know where to plant this Bromeliad, is this OK??
build43.jpg

Here's a few more plants. Man I do NOT know what to put in that upper left hole. I might just fill it in??????
build44.jpg

Oh yea, I do have some leaf litter, it's coming next.

Steve
 

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wow you made a ton of progress!!
I think the false bottom went in terrific!!

What was your verdict on the black vs yellow GS? I think the yellow is easier to work with but so fugly.
 

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Really nice viv its coming out great but I would move the bromeliad out of the soil and onto the background:D
 
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