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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past summer my wife and I took a 5 year anniversary trip to Hawaii. While we were there we went on a 22 mile hike through the Hawaiian jungle to a remote camping spot on the ocean. There were many things that inspired me while I was there and while on this hike in-particular. I decided when I got back home and got the $$$ I would start a new build incorporating some of the things I saw.

I am still in limbo of weather to get a 100 gallon exo terra or the 67 gallon exo terra. I have access to either size tank on craigs list but the seller with the 100 gallon is looking to get over double what I would pay for the 67. Regardless I have already started to work on some things and I thought I would start my build log.

I have ordered some Guapiles that should be here shortly and that is what will be going in this tank when it is finished. From what I know Hawaii only has auratus and there may be some differences in the hawaiian jungle and the Costa Rica Jungle but I imagine ther are many simlarties and I am excited to start this build.

Feel free to give some input and ask questions at any time...there are many things I am looking to get input on!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Excuse my horrible Photoshop skills.
I plan on having a few different things in this tank. I live near lake Michigan and I plan on getting driftwood from the lake soon and making a tree built into the background of the tank. My hope is to somehow connect different pieces of drift wood together (that are similar color) and have them go up the side of the tank and out across open spaces. (These will create perches for the frogs and places to plant Broms. Hopefully these 2 poor Photoshop drawings help convey what I want to do.

Side View



Top View





I plan on having a uprooted tree that is down in the tank with roots sticking up in the air. (This wasent common in Hawaii but there were some trees that were down and it was cool to see the moss that was all over the trees and the roots out of the ground.) IT also seemed like everywhere you went there were roots.



I will be gluing various Dart frog safe roots to this stump with Gorilla glue and getting moss to grow all over it.



Finally something I notice was that there were many waterfall but not just that but the streams all seems to have a central theme. I plan on trying to recreate this theme in the tank. A friend of mine (James Wesley) makes some pretty awesome rocks and I hope he will help building rocks like this that water can rush over.;)

 

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I have owned both the 67 and 100 gallon exoterra. I absolutely love the 100 gallon (I love both of them, but the 100 more). The extra foot it gives you enables you to do a lot more stuff. I look forward to watching your build. Good luck.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have owned both the 67 and 100 gallon exoterra. I absolutely love the 100 gallon (I love both of them, but the 100 more). The extra foot it gives you enables you to do a lot more stuff. I look forward to watching your build. Good luck.


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Thanks for the input:) that gives me some encouragement to get the 100 gallon. The 67 gallon would be 3 feet long and 2 feet tall. IMO when they are 3 feet long it is better than 3 feet tall.

Also I'm hoping for more people to get connected to this thread. I'm wondering if gorilla glue and great stuff will hold the drift wood that hangs over the tank up, or if the wood will fall down over time.

I really want to have a canopy effect in this tank with drift wood but gravity is one of my concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ive gotten a lot of roots and gorilla glue for the uprooted tree and I'm starting to glue them down to the tree.



I can only do a couple at a time. After the glue starts to harden I can do a couple more.



More roots



After each root is glued and while the gorilla glue is still tacky I sprinkle a little bit of peat moss on top to cover the color. I will do some touch up with a silicone, peat, twig and leaf mixture.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For making sure the wood doesn't drift (lol :p), I would seal it on the roof of the tank and on the egg crate.
LOL Sooo I may not have been as descriptive as I could have with how this build is going up and I'm not sure exactly what you're suggesting. There wont be egg crate and I attached another amazing artistic photo of the tank plumbing etc. for better understanding

I can't seal the drift wood to the roof of the tank because I plan on putting broms all in the canopy that the drift wood makes. The idea is to make a tree (out of driftwood) that is built into the inside side of the tank. I then will take other pieces of driftwood and have them stretch from one side to the other. I am wondering if silicone and great stuff will be strong enough to hold up the wood arching across?

 

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If the branches have great stuff around them where they attach to the corner then the great stuff is pretty good at holding them up strongly. If the branches are being attached to the main stump you have, you could consider drilling holes into the stump and inserting the branches and then covering the insertion site with moss or something.

Also it seems your floor will have no barrier between the water and planting medium. If this is the case your floor will always be super saturated and really limit the type of plants you can plant there. That's why a lot of people do false bottoms.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Drilling holes is a great idea! I was hoping for a genius idea like that, that I hadn't thought of. THANKS!

I only have 3 years experience with dart frogs and have only done 4 different builds with this being my 5th. As far as my substrate layers go I have only ever done it this way. I dont know a ton but I think it eases my mind that any frogs can get stuck.(I wonder if egg crate gives the tank a cleaner look though.)

I have actually had a lot of success with all different plants getting planted on my tank floors. Changing the elevation of the sphagnum moss helps a lot. But I would be interested if the plants will grow even better with an egg crate set up.

If the branches have great stuff around them where they attach to the corner then the great stuff is pretty good at holding them up strongly. If the branches are being attached to the main stump you have, you could consider drilling holes into the stump and inserting the branches and then covering the insertion site with moss or something.

Also it seems your floor will have no barrier between the water and planting medium. If this is the case your floor will always be super saturated and really limit the type of plants you can plant there. That's why a lot of people do false bottoms.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went to lake Michigan and got some driftwood together. After coming back and looking it all over I may head back to get some more. I want everything to fit together perfect and figure the more I have to choose from the better. I will know for sure if I'm headed back after everything dries out and I can compare color and how everything fits.



For the most part I tried to get pieces that were around the same color that could be pieced together but I got a few odd pieces that I might want to use as well.



After bringing everything home I decided you can never be to safe and it's now soaking in water for a few days just to be safe. After soaking everything I plan on taking it inside to dry out and piece together.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JA very nice. I like the plant roots hanging everywhere and all that you have going on in the tank. I also like the wet look the tank has as well. I did feel a little weird turning my Mac upside down and sideways to see the pictures though.:p

But now that I have your attention. I'm happy you wrote cause one of my next posts was going to see if someone had pumilio that may be similar in boldness that had a 100 gallon. How much do you see the frogs? How many frogs are in the tank? As I said I will be getting a pair of Guapiles and am greatly leaning towards a 67 Gallon Exo Terra cause I fear the bigger of a tank the less I may be able to enjoy seeing the frogs. I have 3 different choices of tanks right now 100 gallon exo, 67 gallon exo and a 180 gallon tank. Don think I'm gonna get the 180 gallon (even though it is only $150) cause it will be such a hassle to get at everything and although the frogs may love it my wallet wont appreciate the cost to set it up. Anyways what are your thoughts?

Again nice set up.


Here is my 36x18x36 that i have some red basti's in
 

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Hello Simon
I need to pay more attention on how I hold my IPhone ;-)
There are 1.4 pumilio in there and I see them out all day, probably my most out going pumilio that I have. They have some froglets in there now and the male calls constantly. The tank is a 36x18x36 and I have drilled the bottom for a drain and the top center back for the return, I put a spray bar on the return and then stuck 1/4 irrigation nipples in it and then 1/4 tubing on that. Then taped the tubing up at various angles and plugged the ends with Q-Tips before I sprayed the back with spray foam, let it cure and then cut them flush with the back ground. The drain and return are hooked to a canister filter and that gives me a weeping wall effect that changes as plants grow in. I used High output LEDS from Todd at Light Your Reptiles and it has a dimmer on it if I want to reduce the amount of light!
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Regards Jerry A
 

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JA very nice. I like the plant roots hanging everywhere and all that you have going on in the tank. I also like the wet look the tank has as well. I did feel a little weird turning my Mac upside down and sideways to see the pictures though.:p

But now that I have your attention. I'm happy you wrote cause one of my next posts was going to see if someone had pumilio that may be similar in boldness that had a 100 gallon. How much do you see the frogs? How many frogs are in the tank? As I said I will be getting a pair of Guapiles and am greatly leaning towards a 67 Gallon Exo Terra cause I fear the bigger of a tank the less I may be able to enjoy seeing the frogs. I have 3 different choices of tanks right now 100 gallon exo, 67 gallon exo and a 180 gallon tank. Don think I'm gonna get the 180 gallon (even though it is only $150) cause it will be such a hassle to get at everything and although the frogs may love it my wallet wont appreciate the cost to set it up. Anyways what are your thoughts?

Again nice set up.
So, if you could get the 67 or the 100 for close to the same price.. go with the 100 if space is permitting.. And to be quite honest, you can build a viv as cheap or expensive as you wish. You can spend your money on hardscape and than go with cheap plants.. or the other way around.. If you would ideally like to have the 180 gallon in your house (i know I would) Just go for it.. Keep the pair of pums in a small setup until its done. You will see your frogs.. Build it so its viewable and not a big maze of branches and blind spots and you will see them. Give them plant cover and hides and they will feel more bold. I had a pair of pums in a 100 gallon and I saw them any time of day. The female actually became confident enough to not run when I got in their viv to feed. My preference is to go big.. I love big vivs.. gives you more room to play and use your imagination. I would build a 180 gallon for a pair or trio of pums no problem.. But there may be some people who question why you went to such lengths for "such a tiny frog" I take as much pride in my vivs as I do my frogs... And Both are equal feats to show off to family and friends. So, dont settle on a 67 gallon only because you are worried you wont see your frogs.. build it right and they will be out all the time..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just wanted to give an update with what has been going on. I have gotten a lot of encouragement to get the 180 gallon front opening tank. I plan on making a trip to Detroit to see if it is something I can make work.

The owner has told me it wont hold water but my hopes are that this is because the front door goes from the top to the bottom of the tank and I will need to put a small lip at the bottom to keep water in. Hopefully I will figure out soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I started working on my stand the other day. This is a stand I have already had but I am doing a complete make over.


Here is the stand before anything has been done.


I probably should have cut out what I wanted to use before I starting sanding but this gives an idea of what part of the doors I will be keeping. (all the sanded part except the middle, I wasn't thinking and sanded that on accident)


Sanding down the whole stand is really tough getting into all the notches



My brother has full access to the local high school shop and with his help I have been getting a lot of stuff done today. We figured it would be easier to cut out the top of each door frame and glue it back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got tank stand sanded down. I figured the inside of the stand would be pretty near impossible to sand properly and seems how there will be a Water reserve tank down there and no one will see it I decided not to sand it.

I plan on trying to start staining the stand tomorrow, picking out my bark and making sure my bark fits into the inlay properly. Excited for this part and getting some input on a couple things.


 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I wanted to make sure everything was structurally sound before I began to stain the stand so I am putting a few reinforcements in.

While this is happening I cut my bark out and am starting to fit it together inside the inlay cut out. But I am looking for some thoughts and advice.


QUESTION
As you can see there are some gaps in-between the bark. I am wondering what people think I should do. I have a few option. I can fill it with sphagnum moss or I can do a great stuff and peat moss on top or what I happen to be leaning towards is filling it with great stuff then mixing some brown silicone with twigs and leafs and applying it onto the great stuff...any other ideas? I would love some thoughts:)



 

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I wanted to make sure everything was structurally sound before I began to stain the stand so I am putting a few reinforcements in.

While this is happening I cut my bark out and am starting to fit it together inside the inlay cut out. But I am looking for some thoughts and advice.


QUESTION
As you can see there are some gaps in-between the bark. I am wondering what people think I should do. I have a few option. I can fill it with sphagnum moss or I can do a great stuff and peat moss on top or what I happen to be leaning towards is filling it with great stuff then mixing some brown silicone with twigs and leafs and applying it onto the great stuff...any other ideas? I would love some thoughts:)



Use Greatstuff Pond, Its black so it will blend and the empty spots can be less conspicuous.
You could also use regular great stuff and paint it over with black, and then silicone little chips and bits of bark on the empty spaces to fill in the void!
 
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