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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I've been lurking for a while now and I can't get over how amazing vivariums are. So after a ton of reading, I got a killer deal on a 43 gallon aquarium (18x20x28) (odd sized right?) and I learned that a ton of my local plants are actually highly valued viv plants (lots of wild mosses, bromeliads, tillandsias etc.. So I'm going to start this now.

The water test and disinfecting phase is done, and Im starting to black silicone the back wall. Im planning a waterfall-river-pool arrangement with the end goal of keeping a tropical reptile of sorts. I have lots of experience with fish/reef keeping, as well as keeping reptiles. This isn't my first DIY by any means, but it certainly is my first one from bare bones. So wish me luck.

Aquarium Technology Furniture Pulpit


Also, I'll be posting some of the cool local plants I find. Could you guys do some ID and give me feedback as I go along? Also, I really want to do this right and the best I can. I will be checking back frequently, and would be much appreciative of any feedback. Thanks

What kind of plant and till are these? Good for viv?
Flowering plant Plant Flower Terrestrial plant Leaf

Tree Branch Vegetation Sky Woody plant
 

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Welcome! I look forward to seeing what you do with this. As a word of caution (well, two words, but the other will come later), Water features are extremely difficult to pull off successfully. Any leaking or splashing will soak your substrate, leading to anaerobic conditions, so keep that in mind when designing. I highly recommend skipping it on your first build, but if you decide to proceed, read a bunch first to try and pick up some of the nuances.

The second word, make sure that any plants you collect are not protected, and you are able to legally do so. Where are you located?


EDIT: You should really decide on an inhabitant before hand, and design the enclosure to the animal's specific needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To me, the water feature is the most important part of the viv. So even if I fail or have a really hard time, I am motivated to make it work. I've also done a lot of water feature work for aquariums and some terrariums. The only real difference here for me is working with a false floor and the sheer size of the background and feature that I'm planning.

You bring up a good point. I live in Florida. I also know that of there are few protected species (that are wanted for vivs) outside of bromelia/tillandsia. I know that of the 16 species considered to be bromeliad/tillandsia, 9 are endangered and protected. There are many crosses between all these species, which can make ID difficult, but I have a field guide and intend to make positive ID before I disturb anything. Theres also the fact that I plan to do this in the suburbs near by house. My neighbors have planted (not wild) tillandsias that have sprouted up in many places. I regard FWC as the scariest department and I know how good they are at tracking people down. That, and I feel obligated to NOT contribute to the decline of endangered plants. I will be sure that any collecting I do will be legal, because I always have the option to buy legal plants (even if I was heartless, the cost of getting caught poaching endangered plants that can be bought legally as cultures or with alternatives for $10 is just silly).

While I haven't decided on a specific inhabitant (this decision is pending girlfriend's input), I have narrowed down a range that all occupy the same niche (humid, tropical, arboreals). Im highly thinking an amazon tree boa. If not, then I would like to get any one of tropical geckos or anoles.
 

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Keep in mind that if you're going to go the route of diurnal lizards like anoles and certain geckos (arguably even frogs) that you may need to ensure a portion of your top is not glass, and can accommodate both a heat lamp for basking as well as a UVB lamp, as UVB will not penetrate glass. It's difficult for me to see the makeup of the top of the viv from the pic, so just tossing that out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Keep in mind that if you're going to go the route of diurnal lizards like anoles and certain geckos (arguably even frogs) that you may need to ensure a portion of your top is not glass, and can accommodate both a heat lamp for basking as well as a UVB lamp, as UVB will not penetrate glass. It's difficult for me to see the makeup of the top of the viv from the pic, so just tossing that out there.
Yep. I have heating elements planned out. There is not a lid on the tank in that picture. I get to make one myself. Im planning to have a full metal screen top with a removable glass pane that covers half the area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I started building again after vacation. Here I what I have so far.

Organism Art

Water feature is 75% complete. GS shaped over crate structure/false floor. Spillway is sealed and river rock is set in place. I just have to cover the rest in peat/peatmix the next time I go out to get a bag (It's a mystery how I misplaced 1.5 cubic feet of this stuff in my apartment). I know it's not conventional, but I only have top access in my tank, so this was the only way.


Purple Table Technology Square Wood

It's awesome the skills you learn doing DIY. I screened my own top with pickup points (its snug and tight).


Airsoft gun

I cut thru-holes for the primary pump. More to come soon (filter and fan).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Technology Electronic device Wire

Here's my circulation system. Its a small pc fan from radioshack mounted in a 1.5" pvc T joint that is necked down to .5" pipe for size. No glue, it's infinitely adjustable. I used an Enercell 3-12V power supply. The coolest part is you can adjust the fan speed by moving the slider on the adapter.


Room Furniture Bed

Here is what it looks like now. Everything fits great.


I decided to try something that I haven't seen on the forums yet. My pump is in tank, but instead of saying goodbye forever by making it a part of the floor or background, I have a removable rock hide that covers an access point for the pump. It can be completely removed even after the floor is permanently mounted.

Another view.
Space
 
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