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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day folks, bout to begin my first frog habitat and I have a couple questions. What’s the better medium for the background? A painted/sealed pond expanding foam, coconut husk over silicone, or hygrolon covered foam. I think short term the painted foam background would look better, but perhaps the hygrolon would grow moss better and ultimately look better in the long run. Could I grow a moss or plant background just as successfully without the hygrolon? I’m struggling between the 2: hygrolon or non hygrolon? What y’all experts reckon?
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I've used 3d mesh which is basically the same for a 1/4 the price. I'm a tinkerer & I've messed with all kinds of methods. The hygrolon is not as good as it appears in videos.

Cork mosaic & compressed cork panel are the best imo at rooting plants. The simplest & cheapest method that I go to now is I order dark compressed cork board from grainger 1/2" to 1" thick. Then I carve it up with a screwdriver etc.

My simple setup recipe is I use 2" thick 15-20ppi foam filter for my drainage/ substrate level. Then I silicone 1/2" thick dark corkboard to the back/sides. I carve up the cork board to give it texture. I use gravel from lowes in the back or where I want plants Then put leaf litter across everything. Very simple, cost effective, & looks great when finished. Board is like $10 for 36x12x1/2 & filter is $9 per 24x18x2 pc, ge 1 silicone is $10

Here's some examples from another member & my current in progress uncarved.
Wood Twig Plant Trunk Driftwood
Flower Plant Petal Terrestrial plant Natural landscape
Brown Plant Wood Road surface Line
 

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I currently only have Leucs. I've kept aurotaenia, auratus, bicolor and imitator in the past
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Just about any background in a humid environment will eventually grow moss/algae/plants. It just takes time. Cork bark mosaic is an easy background that plants like that always looks nice.

The cork panel background can be super thin, or tiles can be layered thicker and then carved down the same way that foam is carved down. But the appeal of cork tiles is that it is quick and easy to install plus it provides surface area without taking up valuable space like a thick foam background would. Just make sure you use the darker, thermally pressed tiles, not the lighter, glued tiles.

There have also been clay backgrounds, which are as easy to sculpt as one would expect. Plants and moss grow readily on clay backgrounds. Some people created clays with specific formulas and some people made it work with kitty litter. A word of caution though, too much sodium bentonite causes the clay to slide off of the glass once it has absorbed too much water.

thanks, I’ll stay from the hygrolon, kinda pricey anyhow.
There are some cheaper options if you wanted to play around with it.

Use the search feature to find multiple examples of each type of background to see what would work best for you.
 

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Hygrolon does work awesome (within its limits). It wicks perfectly if given a reservoir or trickle from above, but dries out fast without the aforementioned.

I too have become fond of the pressed cork panels. You pretty much have all of the benefits of cork bark with the convenience of having them in uniform thickness and symmetrical pre-cut pieces.

It seems all of the building materials and techniques have their unique place and can outperform others in certain applications.
 

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ya gotta keep me updated with your cork board progress, im interested to see the finished textures. Thanks for the good info.
Here's the carved version. Also the sponge I use for my drainage & substrate layer. I should of used my wife's iPhone for pics. Not bad for a $9 piece of corkboard
Road surface Wood Asphalt Rectangle Office supplies
Automotive tire Rectangle Road surface Asphalt Wood
Wood Road surface Composite material Grass Flooring
Wood Rectangle Asphalt Automotive exterior Roof
Hood Rectangle Grille Wood Flooring
Table Rectangle Wood Floor Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's the carved version. Also the sponge I use for my drainage & substrate layer. I should of used my wife's iPhone for pics. Not bad for a $9 piece of corkboard
View attachment 310993 View attachment 310994 View attachment 310995 View attachment 310996 View attachment 310997 View attachment 310998

I like the “cork tile” background, do you have a finished tile background maybe you could post a pic of? I’m also trying to decide if I want to create sides in the same manner. I’m over thinking everything, staid I’m just going to have to roll up my sleeves and begin carving backgrounds, im going to waste so much money in the process. But to be honest with you, the construction is the funnest part, minus teaching my Darts back flips.
 

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I currently only have Leucs. I've kept aurotaenia, auratus, bicolor and imitator in the past
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My break time is over so this reply isnt as thurough as I would like. But here are some starting points. Look into the builds that the authors of these threads have made: Custom 60gallon build for A. pepperi 'abiseo'
 

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I like the “cork tile” background, do you have a finished tile background maybe you could post a pic of? I’m also trying to decide if I want to create sides in the same manner. I’m over thinking everything, staid I’m just going to have to roll up my sleeves and begin carving backgrounds, im going to waste so much money in the process. But to be honest with you, the construction is the funnest part, minus teaching my Darts back flips.
Honestly this is the 1st one I've taken pics along the way & once it grows in you can't tell what's back there. If it was a taller tank like a 18x18x24 then I'd probably throw some sides on. Your driftwood scape & plant selection placement is what's going to make your tank honestly. All I did was copy people like @Tijl. Here's his threads showing everything


 

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