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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just about to start construction on my 7-year-old tank, and I'd love some member input. Planning on R. variabilis southerns.

I'm going to attempt the great stuff background on the back and sides, and make "ledges" with rocks and driftwood and half-work rounds (which I think will hold up best). I'm guessing I'll need support for them, so I plan on adding supports in the form of more rocks, but suggestions on that is appreciated.

These are the rocks pieces I have. The rock is a piece of shale I found in my backyard and chiseled into a bunch of flat pieces, then boiled. I'm wondering if the edges are too sharp? If so, should I sand them?



I don't know how to use this one, but if you guys ahve suggestions I might just add it in.


This is the big piece of driftwood I have that I plan on angling up so that the broms have a place to grow and drain.


Smaller piece that I really want to use as a corner ledge:


Both were boiled and put in the oven at 230 F for 3 hours. I've had these two pieces for 10 years or so, and most of that time they were outside on a stone bench being bleached by the sun (back sides).

And finally, the tank. This is after I tried apple cider vinegar, mr. clean magic eraser, Bar Keeper's Friend, and lemon juice on it to get rid of the water stains, in vain. I had used it as a fish tank for 7 years and let a LOT of calcium build up. I'm giving up on cleaning it after 2 and a half days. This was rinsed 4 times after all of the vinegar and whatnot was drained.


I also ordered these plants plus a $20 plant package tailored to R. variabilis. Not going too crazy with plants right now, because I want to focus on keeping these ones alive.


Along with all of this, I have a coco hut, moss, monkey pods, and NEHERP substrate on its way in from NEHERP. I'll be starting the false bottom tomorrow night with some egg crate. Debating on a pond right now, since I have no idea how I'll drain the false bottom otherwise.

It might not be an impressive build, but I really just want any and all feedback.
 

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Ooooh I have the pepperomia pictured top left, its lovely but grows quite well, mines a god 9 - 12 inch diameter now, seems to have stabilized at that size. The frogs love it, they use the leaves like we use the giant mushrooms in mario racing :)

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's great to hear! I love the pepperomia, but it sounds like they ran out and have to send me something different. I told them to surprise me! :D

So I added the pvc pipe and eggcrate and mesh. I decided to go with a small pond. The big thing is, there's gaps between the bowed eggcrate and the glass. I've seen people fix this by having an eggcrate layer vertically, then fill itin with stones, but with the bowed tank that's hard to do. Does anyone have any suggestions here?



I also got a niece piece of cork round that I cut in half and plan to use as ledges in the background when I do my greatstuff. I have another cork round on the way as well that will be used for the same purpose, so I think I might avoid using those sharp rocks as much as I can.

 

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You can just run a piece straight to your pond from the corner and fill that in with rocks. Just cut off the curve you cut in the top horizontal piece straight with the new vertical piece. With substrate on top there will be no way to tell.

Another option is to run a bead of silicone around the false bottom once you wrap it with your screen and add contact paper or car vinyl to the outside to hide the false bottom. I also might make the pond a little larger because once you cover the egg crate in the pond area the pond will be almost non existent.
 

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How bog a gap? I've used rubber door strips glued to the glass in the past to create a lip over the top of my false bottom, that way it can be taken out easily as it doesn't need to be too tight, but the lip stops crap getting down there.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It was maybe half an inch. I was able to add loose aquarium filter that I had laying around the house, and it worked perfectly. I'll post updated pictures later tonight!
 

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Looking forward to see how this guy forms. Sub'd.

Some advice on the "pond". When deciding how big you want to water area to be, cut the egg crate back an inch or two. The reason being is that when the substrate is laid down, you need extra surface area to make the slope into the water look natural. That is unless you wanted to use rocks to line the sides of the water area and block the egg crate from view. If your tank is not drilled then a false bottom with a pond might be a hassle for you, but still doable.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Should have waited a bit longer! Eggcrate is currently in and pond area cut. It's small, but the purpose was really just to have a place to siphon water up. I'll have pictures up in a few minutes :)
 

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Lots of progress made since my last update. Siliconed the walls, siliconed the cork bark and plant holders to the sides, and siliconed the straws into the net cups for drainage. Once the monkey pods are drilled and siliconed, I'll be starting the background. The piece of cork bark in the middle is a nice round, with drainage in the bottom, pointing upwards. It looks awesome positioned on the background.

This is also a shot of some plants I got in the mail from NEHERP. The net pots will hold the philodendron I received. Thinking of putting the logs on the moss, but I'm not quite sure about that yet.

 

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I was extremely close to getting a Bow Front or Column tank, but an offer came up on Craigslist i couldn't let go...

Looks good, looking forward to watching this build
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Long time no update! I was able to get this far with the tank:


Right now, I'm waiting for my shelf to be finished before I drag it upstairs and add the plants. The pond is almost nonexistent, and I'm kicking myself for not making it bigger. I also hate the aquarium filter, and might add some duct tape to the outside of the tank to hide it, unless someone else has any celver ideas. One of my ideas was to remove the aquarium filter and add tree fern fiber instead to prevent the frogs from getting down there. Any suggestions would be great!
 

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Long time no update! I was able to get this far with the tank:


Right now, I'm waiting for my shelf to be finished before I drag it upstairs and add the plants. The pond is almost nonexistent, and I'm kicking myself for not making it bigger. I also hate the aquarium filter, and might add some duct tape to the outside of the tank to hide it, unless someone else has any celver ideas. One of my ideas was to remove the aquarium filter and add tree fern fiber instead to prevent the frogs from getting down there. Any suggestions would be great!
Looks great so far! As far as hiding the false bottom, in the past when making fake rock walls for aquariums, I've used black acrylic craft paint. I got it at a meijer store. (Big box/ supermarket store). It comes in little plastic bottles with a squeeze top. Sorry, forgot the brand. Just buy cheap "acrylic craft paint". You can paint it on the outside, tape it for sharp lines. Works great, and is easily removed with a razor.

If you don't like that idea, maybe some contact paper or similar might work... the paint works great though

Sent from my C5155 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Looks great so far! As far as hiding the false bottom, in the past when making fake rock walls for aquariums, I've used black acrylic craft paint. I got it at a meijer store. (Big box/ supermarket store). It comes in little plastic bottles with a squeeze top. Sorry, forgot the brand. Just buy cheap "acrylic craft paint". You can paint it on the outside, tape it for sharp lines. Works great, and is easily removed with a razor.

If you don't like that idea, maybe some contact paper or similar might work... the paint works great though

Sent from my C5155 using Tapatalk 2
Do you happen to have any pictures?
 

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I used thin pieces of slate and slid it between the false bottom and the sides of the tank. I have also seen people cut out black construction paper and simply tape it over the false bottom in the front of the tank. Duct tape sounds unnecessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Was finally able to plant it last night!



As you can see, still haven't tackled the ugliness of the bottom yet. Lights are of course temporary until the shelf is built onto the wall and my electrician father figures out a clever light fixture for me.



Grabbed this venus flytrap from BJTS a while back when I went up to visit, before I even planned a terrarium. Let's see how it does in the viv!



In the pod is a Ionantha Mexican X Ionantha Fuego hybrid, Neoregelia 'Fireball' in the cork round, and Philodendron micans in the background.




Neoregelia Ampullacea in the driftwood (which I planned on doing something cooler with than just lay on the floor, but the back looked too crowded) and Tillandsia Myosura in the coconut.



I threw the Tillandsia Caput-Medusae up there because I have no idea what to do with it otherwise. Probably won't be a permanent home. The moss is on both logs. If moss won't grow on logs, please let me know so I can move it elsewhere.



So the watermelon peperomia I bought believing that it would trail up the monkey vine. I have no idea why I thought this, because I can't find any info on if it does or not. I'll probably move this in favor of an actual vining plant, and suggestions are welcome. I also have a lemon button fern and another neo in the rock cave I made out of slate.



I have another Tillandsia in the monkey pod up top and an empty monkey pod covering up some hard-to-reach great stuff background. All of the monkey pods have holes drilled in their bottoms for water drainage.


Just about everything is from NEHERP, and I was able to meet them in person at the Massachusetts Reptile Expo. I highly recommend them, I think they're wonderful.

And as for the tank inhabitants, I just ordered 4 Southern Variabilis from Tuckinrim8 that he's graciously holding for me until July when I get back from a small trip.

Any feedback on the layout is very much appreciated!
 

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Just a quick update with the new inhabitants!




5 total So. variabilis. They were everywhere last night, but hiding this morning.
 
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