Dendroboard banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I recently started working on my vivarium and thought I would share my progress!

Through this thread, I also hope to also provide a step by step guide to my thought process and build; your input and critique is encouraged and appreciated.



ROUGH SKETCH:






A. FALSE BOTTOM (Egg Crate Method)

Materials:
-Plaskolite @ Home Depot ($15)
-Zip ties @ Home Depot
-Weed blocker @ Home Depot


Steps:

-Cut into desired shape
-Hold over stove or use a heat gun to bend and shape (optional)
-Connect via small zip ties
-Cut weed blocker a bit larger than egg crate pieces and attach using zip ties.


Tip:
To prevent from seeing your false bottom from outside your tank, or having to use black contact paper to cover the bottom half of your vivarium, simply leave a ½” gap between the egg crate false bottom and the glass. Fill this gap with an aquarium substrate of your choice; I decided to use Fluval Plant & Shrimp Stratum. More on this substrate in a future post when discussing the pond.


B. BRANCHES

Materials:
-PVC pipes of varying sizes
-ASI Silicone @ NEHERP ($9)
-Hot glue gun
-Gorilla Glue
-Gloves


Steps:

-Use stove or heat gun to weaken PVC (Use thick gloves!!!)
-Bend, twist, and pull into desired shape.






-Test fitting with my sketched background:


-Apply hot glue to PVC, and attach rope (This is solely meant to aid in applying the more permanent gorilla glue).
-As per Gorilla Glue instructions, damped rope and pipe, and apply glue sparingly along side rope, where it touches the pipe.
-Let cure for 1-2 hours.


-Cover pipe and rope in a layer of silicone (apply about 1 ft. at a time).
-Immediately roll on and press the background substrate (described in section D, below).
-Hang for several hours until dry.




C. ROOTS/VINES

Materials:
-Ropes of varying thickness
-Screw with thick head
-2 Washers
-1 (wing) nut/fastener
-Same materials listed in section B.

Steps:

-Repeat steps used for PVC pipe in section B, and instead use rope.
-For a more vine-like look, apply gorilla glue to only a few spots rather than entire length of rope.


-I plan on anchoring one of my vines to the mesh roof of the terrarium.
-To do so, attach ropes around the head of a screw using hot glue first, and then gorilla glue.
-Follow silicone and substrate steps listed in section B.


-This is simply to show you how the washers and nut will be used.
-One washer will be below the mesh top, and the other, above.



D. BACKGROUND SUBSTRATE

Materials:
-Miracle Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss
-Coco Cradle (10 quarts) @ Josh's Frogs ($9): https://www.joshsfrogs.com/josh-s-frogs-coco-cradle-10-quarts.html
-New Zealand Sphagnum (500g) Moss @ NEHERP ($18): NEHERP - Substrates For Live Vivariums


Steps:

-I made my mix with 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 coco cradle.
-I then shredded some sphagnum moss by hand and added it to the mix (you can eye this out, just don't add an excessive amount as this will make it tougher to adhere to background).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
E. WHERE LAND MEETS WATER

Materials:
-Great Stuff (GS) Foam Gaps & Cracks @ Home Depot ($5) - If you want to play it safe, I recommend using a black pond foam for this section of the vivarium.
-ASI Black Silicone @ NEHERP ($9)
-Fluval Plant & Shrimp Stratum: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JMABYUO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
PVC Pipe (Diameter depends on your preference and size of false bottom)
-Blade or some sort of knife.
-Gloves
-Gloves
-Did I mention gloves?!


Steps:
-If you look back to section A, I used my stove to bend my egg crate into a curved incline.
-Having formed the pond area and wrapped it in weed blocker, apply GS foam.
-Let the GS cure overnight, and carve it to desired form.


-Make sure it still fits in the vivarium!

-Apply silicone to carved GS and press on the Fluval stratum.
-I'm still working on this as you can see!


-I decided to add PVC supports for my false bottom.
-Drilled holes throughout the bottom to allow for water flow.
-Drilled holes on top for zip ties, which anchor the PVC to the egg crate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
F. AIRFLOW/VENTILATION

Materials
-Red Sea DIY Fan Kit @ NEHERP ($21):
-Coroplast @ Home Depot ($20)
-Hot Glue Gun/Glue
-Scissors or Box cutter
-Mesh


Steps
-Measure the size of your fan.
-Cut 4 pieces of the Coroplast, and create a rectangular box, a bit larger than your fan measurements.
-Hot glue together.
-Cut thin pieces of the Coroplast, and create an inner ledge for the fan to sit on at the desired height.
-Hot glue in place.


-I then fancied together a lid out of the Coroplast and hot glue. The lid sits on another ledge, higher than the fan. This allows me to prevent air from traveling up and out of my vivarium, instead traveling out the side of the fan container. The lid also allows me to replace the fan, if needed.




-Cut and glue mesh to the intake and outtake of fan container. This will prevent your pets and/or their food from escaping!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
G. WATER-FLOW

Materials
-TOM Aqua Lifter Pump @ Amazon
-TOM Pre-Filter @ Amazon
-Airline Tubing (3/16”) @ Amazon
-1/2” to 1” PVC Pipe


Steps
-This will be described in more detail later, but the idea is that there is one tubing bringing water up, through the filter, and into the pump. The other tubing will bring water from the pump back, directly into the water in the tank.
-The ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ tubing’s fit inside of the PVC Pipe.
-The ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ tubing’s were cut to about 30 inches in length.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
H. BACKGROUND

Materials:
-ASI Silicone @ NEHERP
-Background substrate (See section ‘D’)
-Latex Gloves
-Spatula
-Kitchen Sponge
-Blade
-Paint Thinner
-Fan container (if applicable)
-Ventilated workspace


Steps
-Put gloves on.
-Squeeze silicone directly onto glass (I applied about 5 square inches at a time).
-Smear silicone throughout glass with spatula and/or fingers.
-Continue until desired area is covered.
-Let cure overnight.

-Once dry, cut and shape silicone, with blade, into desired shape.
-This takes the most patience; I spent hours shaping the edges of the silicone to look as natural and rounded as possible.



-Once cut, you will probably notice sharp edges and smudges…To fix this, pour paint thinner onto the rough side of your sponge, and rub the smudged areas thoroughly along the edge of the cut silicone.

-If you are using a fan as described in section ‘F’, attach it to the background in desired spot. I attached it to the back, left corner of the vivarium.
-I also attached the water-flow tubing described in section ‘G’, in this step.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
H. BACKGROUND (cont.)

Materials:
-Gorilla Glue
-Good Stuff Spray Foam @ Home Depot
-Gloves
-Mister (spray bottle)
-Moist paper towel


Steps:
-If this is your first time using GS, I suggest practicing a bit on a piece of cardboard or paper.

-When ready to proceed to the tank, I suggest bringing out the Gorilla Glue.
-Lay tank flat on it’s back. Let gravity be your friend.
-I painted on a couple zig zags throughout the back and sides of my tank (on top of the cured silicone), right before applying the foam. This helps the foam adhere to the silicone and prevents it from peeling off.
-Soon after applying the foam, I misted water on it to aid in the curing process (forgot where I read that, so correct me if I’m wrong!)

-I decided to work in sections.


-Almost done; just missing the side walls.


Tips:
-Add heavy object(s) on top of logs to prevent them from being pushed during the foams expansion.
-Having trouble holding a branch in place? Let the foam dry up a bit, until it is tacky and not sticky on the outer layer. Your branches should still be relatively move-able within the foam. Roll up a ball of paper towel, and use it as a placeholder, either between your branch and the foam, or between branches. Toothpicks work too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
PROGRESS UPDATE: Testing the Substrate


Materials:
NEHERP Vivarium Substrate
New Zealand Sphagnum Moss





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yep!

Being that the tank is an Exo Terra with a screen top, I'm testing how to maintain my humidity levels, hoping that the relatively thin sphagnum layer helps.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top