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Discussion Starter #1
A few of you have seen my plethora of posts regarding Dendrobates Auratus 'Hawaii' and I figured I'd post up the build that I'm hoping to use for my upcoming captives. Initially, I was hoping to hop the CBB frogs elsewhere, but my concerns with contamination of possible parasites/viruses/disease in general have me thinking that I'll just use what I take from this build to build a whole new enclosure. Or I'll keep this enclosure setup without frogs until I'm able to get my wild caught individuals. Details on that will be posted down the line.

I wish I had more progress pictures, but alas I don't. I started with an off the shelf ExoTerra 36"x18"x18" and am working to set it up with a small water feature. Hear me out here, I know water features are controversial, but I'm doing what I can to make it safe. Due to the water feature, I've decided to try building a Viv without the raised false bottom that plenty people hear me harping about. Instead of going with PVC standoffs and a eggcrate floor, I've decided to test out Pond Filter Foam as my false bottom. The foam I chose was not Matala as I wanted to test out the method I saw Troy Goldberg use on one of his latest builds that had a similar water feature to what I'm looking to do. For reference take a look at this video (timestamp 18:16):

https://youtu.be/2G9HFqdZH4Y

The plan is to lay down the 1.6" high coarse pads across the bottom and double stack them to provide an overall 3.2" false bottom area. I plan on cutting a slope into the foam so that there is a pool somewhere in the front of the display, it might be in one of the front corners, or it might be in the center. The location is all up in the air because of the lack of hardscape. I've been hunting for wood locally at shops and finally decided to bite the bullet and order the "what you see is what you get" wood from a reputable planted aquarium site. I hope everything works out, but I'll see once it gets here. Besides the pool, I'm looking at flowing water in the Viv in order to prevent stagnation. Water will be pulled up from a cut out area of foam where a small pump will lay and then a hidden line will feed the water to a piece of wood so that it can drizzle down. If the wood comes in as it's shown, I hope that I can get the water to flow from the top of one piece down into the pool area. If not, it will just have to drip down to the pool.

As of right now what I've done to prepare is spread a layer of black ASI silicon across the back of the enclosure and across both of the sides. The back was done so I could mount a sheet of Hygrolon, which I've cut and mounted with Gorilla Glue Gel. The sides were done in preparation for mounting the wood. As I don't want things to shift, or the damp wood compressing my false bottom, I plan on mounting the wood to back and sides. This will not only provide depth, but so that I can angle the wood right for the planned water feature.

While I've been waiting to find the right pieces of wood I've been scouring places to find the right plants. Being that I'm trying to replicate the 'natural' habitat of these introduced species I'm taking a lot of inspiration from three locations I've personally found these Auratus. Those being the Lyon's Arboretum, Trail of Freedom and another I'll leave nameless as to prevent people from trespassing to look for frogs. As I'm originally from Oahu I've scoured many a photo from hikes and tours I've taken at the Arboretum and figured that I'm going to focus on a lot of Bromeliads in this build as well as some common ground cover in the area besides leaf litter. I'll be adding some other species of plants, but mainly I want to create a slice of the area that I've personally found these frogs. As the majority of the photos I have are in fact old photos, and I don't have a scanner, I'll throw some pictures I've found online to give you an idea of the inspiration.






http://www.trailsoffreedom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/lyonarboretum-1280x720.jpg

http://www.trailsoffreedom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/lyon-1-1280x720.jpg

For some reason two of the pictures wouldn't post, so I just provided direct links to them. One thing these pictures don't show is how wet that area truly is. Generally this part of the island gets regular rain and everything has that shimmering look of a post rain shower.

As for what I've got going on with the Viv... Well it's got a seed starting tray with a slew of pots and substrate in them to keep up the humidity for the plants as well as to give the Broms I have a place to stand up.



As you can see the collection is growing, and I have more plants on the way and to be picked up locally. Forgive the odd angle of the enclosure as it's sitting on it's back waiting for the wood to arrive and be mounted. The only last step I plan on doing is to spray the underside of the enclosure with a couple coats of plastidip to black out the base. Since there will be a water feature that goes down to glass and no substrate, I want to reduce light bleeding out from the base.

I'll have updates in a bit. Again, more plants on the way that are either found on the island or simulate some that do. Plus, I'll have a hardscape hopefully arriving in a week or so.
 

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The waterfall, if 'replicated' in ultra miniaturization will not be a relevant feature to the animals experiance, but only in a human visual aesthetic.
 

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It actually would be more relevant to apply whole wavelength lighting if one is going for perceptual realism. Does Anyone out there get my point?

Scientists have.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The waterfall, if 'replicated' in ultra miniaturization will not be a relevant feature to the animals experiance, but only in a human visual aesthetic.
I'm not replicating the waterfall pictured. I'm only adding a slow stream of water that will be going down a piece of driftwood.

As for full spectrum lighting. I've considered it, but I have yet to see the pro's of full spectrum be that beneficial for Darts. As long as supplementation is done correctly it shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Little bit of an update. Wood came in! I specifically chose spider wood to due to its natural branchind structure to which I will be mounting a the various Broms and Tillsandia Stricta. I've been tinkering with a layout and can't decide what I'd like to go with before applying great stuff. Take a look and let me know. Forgive the chunk of foam missing. I need to order another sheet of foam to trim and fit in place.

Option 1:
Front View


Top View


Option 2:
Front View


Top View


Option 3:


Top View


I started to tinker around with dry fitting the plants as well, and realized with the Brom sizes that Options 1 and 2 allow room for them to grow, where as Option 3 has them very bunched. Trying to find the most 'natural' layout of the wood. Regardless of the options it looks like the frogs will have a ton of shaded hiding places!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Both options look great.
Thanks! Still a lot to be done, but now I have hardscape materials so I can conceptualize. At this point I just need to settle on a layout and get the hardscape fitting in place with GS. I have a bit of a concern with GS foam being able to support the weight of the larger piece of wood. I plan to secure the wood not only to the back, but the side that I decide to place it, the main issue there is that the piece will be somewhat hovering when it's flipped into its display orientation. I may have to put a few pieces of PVC filled with GS under it to support it. We will see.
 

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I like option 2 the best personally, although obviously it depends on what else you do with things. I like it best in the plant test fit also, though.
 

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I happen to like the missing foam piece actually. I like a slight slope or variations in the substrate, as opposed to being flat across the entire bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I happen to like the missing foam piece actually. I like a slight slope or variations in the substrate, as opposed to being flat across the entire bottom.

Keep in mind ill be cutting an area for a pool that will slope all the way down to the glass. With that in mind, nothing will just be flat. I also have some other hardscape materials to add to take away the flat ground look.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Finally got around to GreatStuff'ing my background together. Decided that I'll leave the right side loose and not foamed into place as the pieces are small and I didn't want the GS taking up more area than it needed to. Originally, I was going lay everything down with the enclosure on it's back, but I didn't want to mess up the height of the large piece on the left. So what I ended up doing was placing some wax paper under the wood so that the GS didn't expand into the false bottom foam. From there this is what I got after the GS set and was trimmed:




Once I had everything trimmed to where I wanted it, I worked on painting the GS with some Drylock that I tinted using Quikrete concrete dyes and went to match the look of some dirty lava rock. I have to say, I'm not used to painting stuff within enclosures, so this was kind of fun. Sadly, while I was waiting on the Drylock coats to set, I started to notice the GS peeling from the left hand side of the enclosure. Seems that it doesn't like sticking to ASI silicon... So after the paint dried I went and filled the gaps with more GS, so I apologize for the non complete background shot. I included some Lava Rock in the picture to compare the tones to see if I got them close enough or if I would need a touch up.



Once the filler GS is done drying I'll trim and touch up the finish with more tinted Drylock. Luckily I made extra of the two tones I mixed so I shouldn't have too much problems getting it to match.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As everything has been sitting overnight, I started staring at the open area that still needed the additional filter media foam. I think what I may do is leave that area as it's seen. I'll surround the area with lava rock to bring in more natural aspects of the scape I'm going for and then keep the water feature to the left. Since I don't have a piece of wood to give off the effect I was after for the water feature, I'm going to have the left area as a partial pool to simulate the puddles in the areas that I've actually seen these Auratus. Only thing different about these puddles is that I plan on putting some floating plants as some coverage to keep down algae as well as escape floaties for any frogs that may hop in. The water feature I don't plan on running 100% of the time. I'll tie it into a timer and have it run a few times a day to keep the water from being stagnant. Here is the path I'm looking to place the outlet of the pump...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Update:

Been meaning to post up an update here, but been slammed with other things going on. Finally, I've gotten a chance to start working on my active ventilation system. Initially, when I drilled my glass tops for the misting system I went through and drilled additional holes in for ventilation with the same sized bit used for the MK nozzles. The glass panes I retro fitted into the ExoTerra's top (removed the screen and glued the panes in with silicon) have a single hole for a MK nozzle in the front pane, as well as three additional holes that I'm using for ventilation. The ventilation system I'm going with will be both active and passive. When the system isn't powered on, normal convection from the heat of the LED lights will normally cause a draft of air through the Viv, but I'm also adding 40mm PC fans to a 3D printed mount to pull air from those vents that I'll end up controlling with either a RaspberryPi or an Arduino. I have not gotten around to taking any pictures, but I hope to have some up in the next day or so once I've gotten more parts printed.

For a little specs on the printed parts, I'm going with PETG material to makeup the bushing I'm using to mate the external exhaust housing. Again, I'll have some pictures up soon.

Edit (Pictures):

Here are the left bank of fans mounted to the pedestals:


Here is a top view. The tape you see currently is covering the MistKing nozzle hole.


Right now I'm trying to see how much airflow I'm getting so I'm blocking some of the vents and running a smoke test (foggers have a use in the Frog hobby, just not to be used in enclosures!) and from the 3 fans so far I'm getting a decent amount of vacuum from them so even though I'm not getting cross flow, I'm still getting decent amounts of air coming in. Also, don't mind the wet glass, I had just manually sprayed the plants down not too long before I took the picture. Just waiting on the printer to finish some more of the pedestals and waiting on a delivery of more fans. For those interested in the technical side of this, I'm currently using 12VDC 40mm 2-wire fans. 2-wire fans currently limit me on having the fans only run in a single direction, if I can source the right size fans, I'd like to get some that I can run both as vents as well as intake fans. That would mean I could take atmospheric air outside of the enclosure and be able to circulate it into the enclosure from the top. Ideally, the plan would be to run the fans as an intake right before, during and right after misting in order to just get a bit of fresh air in. I need to do some more tests to see when and how long I'd like to run the fans as exhausts. I'll probably run them at 90% speed for a few hours a day. This would compensate for the lack of larger vents on the lid of the enclosure. Keep in mind, when the fans are off, air can still pass through the vents through convection. Yes yes, I know "You should have just put larger passive vents." Yes I could have, but my HVAC system pulls out a ton of moisture out of my home. I actually have a larger than normal dehumidifier as part of my HVAC system due to the humidity the plethora of my Aquariums kick out around the house. Due to that I decided rather than mist more often, I'll regulate the airflow when it comes to the Viv. So far with only half of the fans setup and if I run them at 100% for a little over an hour and a half, the surfaces within the Viv get dry so I think I'm on a good path.

As for the PETG printed parts, here are some images from the sketches. Normally I use Autodesk Fusion360, but since I was just toying with the venting idea I just threw something together on TinkerCad.

Here is the pedestals that the 40mm fans mount to that allow the air to be pulled from significantly smaller area:



Here is the bushing that connects to the pedestal, these mount from the inside of the enclosure and connect to the pedestals with a firm press fit:
 
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