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It looks great. You went above and beyond attaching egg crate to the background which I never had to do. When i build mine I silicone the driftwood in a few small places to the back. That will give the expanding foam some resistance for pulling away. Some people don't even do that. I would have used the egg crate on the bottom to take some of the weight out of it especially with how high the drainage layer is. The drain fitting you used forced you to have to make the drainage layer way higher than it needed to be. I cut my fitting down a little so I could drill the hole a lot lower. It didn't stop it from holding water and the water. I live alone so relocating the tank while I could do it would not be fun if I wanted to place it on the top level of my rack. Also with many tanks side by side I really want to take some weight off my floor since it isn't a basement level. You won't really be able to get a deep substrate without blocking the front vent also. It looks amazing though and the frogs won't know the difference.

Just edited post a little. It looks like the fitting was lower and drainage layer could have been brought down some.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
It looks great. You went above and beyond attaching egg crate to the background which I never had to do. When i build mine I silicone the driftwood in a few small places to the back. That will give the expanding foam some resistance for pulling away. Some people don't even do that. I would have used the egg crate on the bottom to take some of the weight out of it especially with how high the drainage layer is. The drain fitting you used forced you to have to make the drainage layer way higher than it needed to be. I cut my fitting down a little so I could drill the hole a lot lower. It didn't stop it from holding water and the water. I live alone so relocating the tank while I could do it would not be fun if I wanted to place it on the top level of my rack. Also with many tanks side by side I really want to take some weight off my floor since it isn't a basement level. You won't really be able to get a deep substrate without blocking the front vent also. It looks amazing though and the frogs won't know the difference.

Just edited post a little. It looks like the fitting was lower and drainage layer could have been brought down some.
Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it! I had seen people mention siliconing wood to the wall before using great stuff, but I had also seen some horror stories of the background completely separating. I really wanted to make sure I was doing things right the first time around so I didn't cause a headache a few months or years down the line.

I do agree with the drainage layer—right after I emptied my second bag of ABG mix I knew it was too high. I foolishly decided to use all of the clay aggregate, and I was debating four of the five bags ¯\(ツ)/¯ . Lesson learned for the future I suppose. I will say that I managed to get a little over 2.5" of substrate in the front and it gradually slopes up to a little over 3", so I'm not terribly worried about plants not being able to root in there.
 

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“The drain fitting you used forced you to have to make the drainage layer way higher than it needed to be. I cut my fitting down a little so I could drill the hole a lot lower.”

What do you mean by this?? I thought you were supposed to drill the hole at least one inch away from the edge to prevent cracking.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Amazing! Very inspiring and a treat to watch this stuff come together. Cant wait to see more!
Thank you, sparrow! I was supposed to receive my first batch of plants Friday, but the USPS seems to be really backed up. I'm hoping they don't delay my shipment much longer, otherwise I might be needing a replacement order...
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I'm still waiting on my order from Glass Box Tropicals since my package is held up by USPS... fingers crossed that arrives soon. In the meantime, I did finally get my first plant from a local orchid store actually. I picked up a beautiful Epidendrum porpax—I have been trying to only buy plants native to South/Central America, and it was the only one at the store that fit what I was looking for. I'm waiting to mount it until it finishes blooming, but in the meantime here's a shot of the new guy:

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I also bought some small computer fans to help move the air around so it's not too stagnant. I'll post a picture of that once I have them positioned the way I like. Lastly, I have a stand arriving next Monday, so I can hopefully get that assembled quickly and finally set up my MistKing.
 

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You might want to check out the plant database myself and some others have been working on setting up, one of the parameters is Provenance, and you could do a search by Central & South America. Still working on getting the most common plants into it but Epidendrum porpax is in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
You might want to check out the plant database myself and some others have been working on setting up, one of the parameters is Provenance, and you could do a search by Central & South America. Still working on getting the most common plants into it but Epidendrum porpax is in there.
Wow, this is an amazing resource. Thank you for spearheading this initiative; it will make the rest of my plant purchasing much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Well my package finally showed up after two weeks of shipping, and to my surprise everything still looked perfect! So here's my vivarium with its first plants:

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The fan is temporarily dangling in the back right, but that will most likely get moved up to the front right. The plants I bought are as follows:
Neoregelia 'Hobie Cat'​
N. 'Ounce of Purple​
N. 'Mo Peppa Please'​
N. 'Fireball' (2x)​
Cryptanthus 'Thelma O'Reilly'​
Philodendron 'Wend-imbe'​

In digging through my substrate to plant the Philodendron I came across a few dwarf whites, so that was reassuring to see. I am waiting to apply my moss slurry to the viv as well, which with some good misting should start sprouting within a week or two. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I am also waiting on my Epidendrum to finish flowering before mounting that—still thinking about where I may want to place it given its size. I need a few more terrestrial plants, perhaps something taller to go behind the coco hut, but overall I'm happy with the first batch!
 

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I really enjoyed reading this thread especially since i will be starting my 24x18x18 build soon. It was a good Christmas for me. Looking forward to seeing the finished viv.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I really enjoyed reading this thread especially since i will be starting my 24x18x18 build soon. It was a good Christmas for me. Looking forward to seeing the finished viv.
Thanks, I'm glad you've enjoyed what I've put together so far. 24x18x18 is a really nice size, though I may be a bit biased. That's an awesome present—best of luck getting started with the build!
 

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It’s starting to look really cool with the plants in there now! I ordered a lot of the same stuff as you from NeHerp too and am just waiting for it to arrive. I think I’ll pick up some egg crate too so my background doesn’t fall off...worst fear ever! When you attached the egg crate did you silicone one side at a time and then press the egg crate into it right after? And did you do all 3 sides in one night? - wondering if the side with egg crate on it would need to be laying on its back while the silicone cures or if the whole tank can just sit upright with all 3 sides curing together.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
It’s starting to look really cool with the plants in there now! I ordered a lot of the same stuff as you from NeHerp too and am just waiting for it to arrive. I think I’ll pick up some egg crate too so my background doesn’t fall off...worst fear ever! When you attached the egg crate did you silicone one side at a time and then press the egg crate into it right after? And did you do all 3 sides in one night? - wondering if the side with egg crate on it would need to be laying on its back while the silicone cures or if the whole tank can just sit upright with all 3 sides curing together.
Thanks for the plant compliments! I can't wait to get my Epidendrum up, I love the little thing. I'm always eyeing what my next plant addition might be since I know some spots need stuff to fill out in. That's awesome though, so happy to hear you also went with NEHERP! I think you'll really like how convenient they make it.

I siliconed and pressed egg crate in one at a time—I started with the back and then went to the sides. It probably makes sense to do one side, the back, then the other side so the first side has longer to cure before it's upside-down, but I bought a box fan to help speed up to curing process (and so I wouldn't pass out from fumes haha). I also siliconed around the egg crate and in the corners once it was pressed in to make sure it was extra secure. I think you'll find that it cures rather quickly, but not too quick in that you need to rush to press in the egg crate.

Looking forward to seeing you start on your build!
 

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Thanks for the plant compliments! I can't wait to get my Epidendrum up, I love the little thing. I'm always eyeing what my next plant addition might be since I know some spots need stuff to fill out in. That's awesome though, so happy to hear you also went with NEHERP! I think you'll really like how convenient they make it.

I siliconed and pressed egg crate in one at a time—I started with the back and then went to the sides. It probably makes sense to do one side, the back, then the other side so the first side has longer to cure before it's upside-down, but I bought a box fan to help speed up to curing process (and so I wouldn't pass out from fumes haha). I also siliconed around the egg crate and in the corners once it was pressed in to make sure it was extra secure. I think you'll find that it cures rather quickly, but not too quick in that you need to rush to press in the egg crate.

Looking forward to seeing you start on your build!
Awesome. Thanks again for the advice - I feel a lot more confident going into my build thanks much in part to you! I’ll let you know when I get my stuff and I’ll start a build log too!
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Awesome. Thanks again for the advice - I feel a lot more confident going into my build thanks much in part to you! I’ll let you know when I get my stuff and I’ll start a build log too!
I'm glad that I was able to help out a bit, and definitely keep me posted about when you start your viv!
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Two updates to share today. First, my second batch of plants came in. They were just small keikis, but I mounted up 3 Restrepia on my ghost wood with some fishing line:

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I'm hoping they'll take well given my misting schedule and the amount of light they get. The other plant you won't be able to see since it's just a Sinningia tuber, but hopefully when that starts sprouting I'll post a picture. I believe I decided to mount my Epidendrum where the ghostwood forks in the background: it seems to be a large enough surface area for this huge orchid I bought haha. I think it'll fill that area in well. Also, I finally got my tank off the ground! Here it is resting on its new stand:

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Look pretty good there I think! It also made me realize I really need to put the black matte paper I bought to cover up the drainage layer. Regardless, having the stand means I can finally get my MistKing setup, which I'd like to do this weekend at some point, perhaps later today.
 

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Looks like a good start! Your drainage layer really only needs be to 2” thick, so maybe you could slope down in front more dramatically to get more use out of the space.

The Neoregelias don’t need sphagnum around their bases, and in fact it might cause them to rot. They only use roots to attach to surfaces, not to absorb water, so they don’t need anything to retain moisture around the roots.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Looks like a good start! Your drainage layer really only needs be to 2” thick, so maybe you could slope down in front more dramatically to get more use out of the space.

The Neoregelias don’t need sphagnum around their bases, and in fact it might cause them to rot. They only use roots to attach to surfaces, not to absorb water, so they don’t need anything to retain moisture around the roots.
I was debating that—it's the one thing I'm kicking myself about. I think I may just see it as a lesson to remember going forward... the hassle of removing substrate to get to the drainage layer may be more effort than it's worth for me unfortunately. Good to know about the neoregs, thanks for that! Can't trust everything I see online haha, I'll peel back the sphagnum and just leave my toothpicks in then.
 
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