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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have finally started my first build. It's a small tank, an 12x12x18 going to house a trio of mourning geckos. It's just going to be false bottom, great stuff, and gorilla glue and peat. I did my first layer of gs tonight. Tomorrow, I will add some more.

I need to deal with a siphon tube too, forgot about that. Good thing it's not too late.

I am already regretting design decisions. Hopefully though, once I get all great stuffed, I will be less regretful.

Here is where I am as of today. I think tomorrow I will trim some before adding pots and more great stuff. I would like a four inch pot behind the horizontal branch if it will fit, a small pot near the juncture of the vertical branch on the right and the horizontal, and something to put a trailing plant in nearer to the top. I am considering peat mossing the entire sides of the tank in the European tradition, but it's so small, and it will make it difficult to enjoy the geckos, so maybe not. Opinions welcomed. I am in IT and have thick skin. Although it is too late to worry about that weird wood, but it may rot, I have no idea if it will or not, but I figured that the tank was cheap, I liked the way the wood looked and thought it would be easy to mount epiphytes to and this way I saved my overpriced mopani for the larger tanks.

My false bottom is screened with fiberglass window screen. I do hope this is the right stuff. Also, I see people reinforce support in the middle. My carpenter husband swears mine will hold without support but I am scared it will collapse into a plasticky heap. additionally, I lazily hot glued the screen to the frame. It was either that or sewing, what is the proper method of securing it?

 

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Window screen is perfect. Personally, I would add at least one piece of PVC pipe for a center reinforcement. It should be easy to add at this point. If your screen is wrapped all the way around it, just cut a small hole in it. Put some hot glue on the pvc pipe and glue it in. Since the hole is on the bottom you can just leave it.
Hot glue should work. What I usually do is to wrap the entire false bottom in window screen. Wrap it like a present. Then I cut a few small slits in and use a zip tie type tie wrap. You know, those little white or black plastic ones.
 

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I like the look of the wood you used. I have seen that type of wood at pet stores before but I have not ever purchased some to try it. I'm not sure how it will hold up in vivarium conditions but hope it does well for you. It does look like you could easily mount and plant stuff into it, creating some interesting design opportunities.
 

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I have finally started my first build. It's a small tank, an 12x12x18 going to house a trio of mourning geckos. It's just going to be false bottom, great stuff, and gorilla glue and peat. I did my first layer of gs tonight. Tomorrow, I will add some more.

I need to deal with a siphon tube too, forgot about that. Good thing it's not too late.

I am already regretting design decisions. Hopefully though, once I get all great stuffed, I will be less regretful.

Here is where I am as of today. I think tomorrow I will trim some before adding pots and more great stuff. I would like a four inch pot behind the horizontal branch if it will fit, a small pot near the juncture of the vertical branch on the right and the horizontal, and something to put a trailing plant in nearer to the top. I am considering peat mossing the entire sides of the tank in the European tradition, but it's so small, and it will make it difficult to enjoy the geckos, so maybe not. Opinions welcomed. I am in IT and have thick skin. Although it is too late to worry about that weird wood, but it may rot, I have no idea if it will or not, but I figured that the tank was cheap, I liked the way the wood looked and thought it would be easy to mount epiphytes to and this way I saved my overpriced mopani for the larger tanks.

My false bottom is screened with fiberglass window screen. I do hope this is the right stuff. Also, I see people reinforce support in the middle. My carpenter husband swears mine will hold without support but I am scared it will collapse into a plasticky heap. additionally, I lazily hot glued the screen to the frame. It was either that or sewing, what is the proper method of securing it?

Why such a gap between the background and the false bottom? o_O
Pumilo is right you should put a pvc support in the center...make sure to try to put notches on the bottom of the pvc so it can drain and doesn't fill up with water.
The water will sit and get stagnant...
I myself don't like using regular window screen cause too much substrate gets washed through it....I have this window screen made to keep even the smallest bugs from going through it and it drains well but holds your substrate in a lot better. The holes are no bigger than the width of a sewing needle but with regular window screen you could fit like 4 or 5 neddles in each whole.
 

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The wood is Cholla cactus internal skeleton stems. There are a number of species that occur in Mojave Desert in CA, as well as through AZ, NM, and into TX. After it dies and the spines and flesh are gone, you have this nifty wood skeleton. If you were to take a walk in those desert areas, you would see it all over. Not sure who sells it.

Mike in Helotes


I like the look of the wood you used. I have seen that type of wood at pet stores before but I have not ever purchased some to try it. I'm not sure how it will hold up in vivarium conditions but hope it does well for you. It does look like you could easily mount and plant stuff into it, creating some interesting design opportunities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i got the wood at the craft store next door. I was looking for driftwood, but they didn't have any- i thought this stuff looked visually interested and it was cheap, so I thought I would try it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's gonna be a lot of substrate.....I usually on make mine like a few inches that looks like a pretty big gap like above the doorway...


Yes, I agree, I need to go lower. Was nervous and conservative.
 

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I'm from az originally that cholla (aka jumping cactus) will decompose in less than a year. I would def reconsiders the use of that :(
 

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The setup looks great. I have used chola wood and find it could be very soft when wet. You can also use most any old natural wood you might find in the woods, just make sure it's a pesticide free area. Since this is your first viv. Let it be. You'll need to see how everything works for you. 10 gallons are cheap and you can get a lot of practice making vivs. It can also be very forgiving once the plants have filled in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I may "seal" the cholla with waterproof acrylic spray then. (This is not a concern for geckos). It might not last forever, but it will last longer.
 

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The setup looks great. I have used chola wood and find it could be very soft when wet. You can also use most any old natural wood you might find in the woods, just make sure it's a pesticide free area. Since this is your first viv. Let it be. You'll need to see how everything works for you. 10 gallons are cheap and you can get a lot of practice making vivs. It can also be very forgiving once the plants have filled in.
I agree with letting it be. Once you put the plants/broms, that background will be fine... don't spray anything on the wood, just let nature take its course... who knows, maybe the decomposing wood will turn out looking nice on the background. ;)

Also, you can slope the substrate as stated earlier.

Overall, don't tinker too much with it the build. Once everything grows in, etc, it'll look good.
 

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Yes, I agree, I need to go lower. Was nervous and conservative.
Yeah I understand.
It shouldn't be too late tho to spray a little more GS and make it a bit longer.
You could slope it but as the substrate settles you might wind up seeing the glass lol.
I would definently spray somemore GS in there so you don't have to use so much substrate but still keep some of the slope to add depth.
That's just what I would do :p
Like I said earlier tho about the window screen you might loose a lot of substrate...
I had a good 1" of substrate and it setlled and washed through the screen and then I had about ¼". This is another reason to make the background go lower and not use so much substrate.

I agree with eos the decaying wood look would be cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Crap, Drainage. I forgot drainage. I was soo busy ordering plants I forgot drainage.


i can maybe slide some aquarium tubing down the chola on the right and stick it under the false bottom. Would that work?
 

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Crap, Drainage. I forgot drainage. I was soo busy ordering plants I forgot drainage.


i can maybe slide some aquarium tubing down the chola on the right and stick it under the false bottom. Would that work?
I'm not sure what you mean lol
Do you mean drainage for your planys you're gonna put in the bacground or draining the water under the false bottom?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
do I need a tube to siphon out excess water from under the false bottom?
 

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With the siphoning, I just stick airline tubing in the very front when I need to siphon. I don't get why people have to add tubing in the GS, but maybe it's because they don't want to disturb anything. Now for your other question. From all the holes in that wood, drainage will not be an issue. Also trust me on the substrate sloping. I left a 4 inch gap from the FB and bottom of GS in my tank, only used 1 inch of substrate in the front, unnoticeable sloping to the back. It won't settle too easily, and with plants and leaf litter, do you think anyone will notice? Hope this helps clear things up.
 

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I cut 1" plastic tube (kids toy) so its right to the height of the substrate. I place it so it works with the environment. Under a rock, along a branch, get sneaky. You should have the "cap" be inconspicuous. When i need to drain, i just move the "cap" and use tubing (easily purchased from your local home depot) to siphon out the water.
Ive gotten really good at syphoning. I used to get so much nasty water in my mouth. I considered it a rite. I drink what my frogs drink!


ll <rock, chunk of cork bark, branch
V
l l --- <substrate level
l l
l l
l l -- <false bottom
l l
;;;';;'; <water
-------- <bottom of tank

Enjoy
!!
 
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