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Hey folk, so I'm in the process of building my first vivarium. It's a rather large and ambitious project, roughly 50cm deep, 80cm across and 110cm high.

One of the things I want to do with it though is have some sort of horizontal or slanted branches crossing it at one or two levels with a lot of the broms, epiphytic orchids and the suchlike growing on those rather than concentrating everything on the back walls.

So, what I'm looking for though is some inspiration, there's plenty of photos of naturally occurring branches with epiphytes but I want to see what you folk are doing in your vivs.

What have yous done in yours like this or do you remember any beautiful vivs like that?

Thanks.
 

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Looking for and picking out plants for my viv’s is probably my favorite part of the process. If you are looking for inspiration I think the best advice to give would be to check out the many pages in ‘Members Frogs & Vivariums’. There have been more than a couple people that have done ‘epiphyte branches’, and many of us regularly mount epiphytes to sticks as well as the backgrounds and side walls of our enclosures.




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Looking for and picking out plants for my viv’s is probably my favorite part of the process. If you are looking for inspiration I think the best advice to give would be to check out the many pages in ‘Members Frogs & Vivariums’. There have been more than a couple people that have done ‘epiphyte branches’, and many of us regularly mount epiphytes to sticks as well as the backgrounds and side walls of our enclosures.




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Aye I already collect epiphytes, my plan is to keep it to a relatively small number of brom species (Catopsis morrenia, Neoregelia "fireball" and I'm thinking maybe Vriesea racinae), got a couple of mini orchids, and some pepperomias, but my plan is to keep it to multiple individuals of a few species.

I'll look through some more posts, I've been lurking this forum for years at this point but aye, somehow my searches aren't turning up as much as I'd hope.

I guess it's more I'm looking for ideas on how to place them in the viv for best effect, guess I'll buy pieces that I like and see how they fit in the space.
 

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For what it’s worth I attempted having vertical branches with epiphytes in my tank. I keep some moss, tillandsia and fireballs on them. Definitely keeps the bottom of the tank darker making it harder to grow plants in some places.



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I don't have any recent shots to show it planted, but here is a branch feature I made with Vivarium Works casting epoxy over a foam core and with Hygrolon glued in place as a planting surface...





Rather than using a branch with epiphytes in front of a regular vivarium background, think about designing it as the main feature in front of a black or open background. This will give you negative space in the layout and a much more dramatic effect.
 

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I don't have any recent shots to show it planted, but here is a branch feature I made with Vivarium Works casting epoxy over a foam core and with Hygrolon glued in place as a planting surface...





Rather than using a branch with epiphytes in front of a regular vivarium background, think about designing it as the main feature in front of a black or open background. This will give you negative space in the layout and a much more dramatic effect.
Eyy, that's a brilliant one, thanks!

I was thinking about the idea of epiphytes on branches and having the back darker/maybe a few Marcgravia and some moss, so thank you.

Or possibly trying to go a kinda...buttress root effect going across the back? Very dependent on if I can make one that doesn't look terrible though.

I might try and set it up so the back is a bit shaded and light is more concentrated towards the front and middle of the viv to give more of a "fade into the distance" look. With fishtanks my favoured background has always been just taping black bin bags to the back rather than anything photorealistic. Draw the attention to the content and build an idea of space rather than defining the bounds of the space.
 

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For what it’s worth I attempted having vertical branches with epiphytes in my tank. I keep some moss, tillandsia and fireballs on them. Definitely keeps the bottom of the tank darker making it harder to grow plants in some places.



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Thanks for that. What are those branches you're using there? I like the colour.
 

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What are you attatching the bromeliads and moss with. Also what kind of moss are you using and where did you pick it up or order it at. Those look awsome.
 

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Sorry, I don’t know what that moss is.

I grew some of the moss from my greenhouse out and harvested that so it was free of pests, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Attaching moss to branches isn’t an issue. Given enough light and adequate humidity/misting the stuff will grow very quickly.

Attaching Neoregelia to branches is easily accomplished by securing the stolon to a branch with whatever you prefer. Some people using zip ties, which is probably easiest. I like using thin strips of panty hose. Fishing line could work and so on.

If you’d like some mosses, pm me.
 

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I don't have any recent shots to show it planted, but here is a branch feature I made with Vivarium Works casting epoxy over a foam core and with Hygrolon glued in place as a planting surface...





Rather than using a branch with epiphytes in front of a regular vivarium background, think about designing it as the main feature in front of a black or open background. This will give you negative space in the layout and a much more dramatic effect.
Pardon me, I'm not quite sure I understand what I'm looking at. Is that a real branch, covered with the epoxy, then with hygrolon attached to it? Or is that epoxy just a mold temporarily around a branch (which is peeking out at the end), in order to look like the branch? Or is it something else? It sounds like an interesting idea, whatever it is.
 

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This isn't as grown in as I would like right now, but this is the main driftwood piece in my 24x16x24 R. Fantastica True Nominal viv. It is covered with various epiphytes and byrophytes, give it a few months to hit its stride and it'll look really good I think. My next big project will hopefully be a size similar to what you have, there's so much you could do with the space. Best of luck.

 

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This was before I knew much about vivs or had been on Dendroboard for long, but it does show sort of what you're looking for:


^The glass is fogged, but I can't take a better photo, because this viv doesn't exist anymore! It's possible to see the neoregelias fitted into the ghostwood and the crossing point between the ghostwood and some random branch.
 

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The point has been made already about shading below - don't ignore it.

I have played around some with branches at several levels, mixing full-width and partial-width spans (e.g., front of left wall, across to center of rear wall). Using thin branches and small-statured, well-behaved or slow-growing plants can permit more light to penetrate lower into the viv. Whereas if you slap a fat branch up high, and allow large or ranging plants to occupy it, you're guaranteed a shade pit underneath. If that's your intent, great. If that's a problem, well, avoid making it.

A current high-up skinny branch fave of mine features a mix of Microgramma vaccinifolia, Hoya carnosa (variegated) and haphazard mosses. The mosses are tiny, so is the fern, and the milkweed is easy to keep in check and has few leaves, widely spaced. This all allows plenty of light past it.

I also wanted to put in a plug for an as-yet unmentioned brom attachment method: drill a hole in the branch, and insert the stolon. Use a little superglue or whatever in the hole to tack it up. In a few weeks the brom will root to the branch and secure itself.

good luck!
 
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