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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I'd like to share with you my (nota bene) pet project - a biotope vivarium inspired by the Loreto region in Peru.
All non-moss, non-algae plants, and vertebrate inhabitants, were demonstrated within the borders of the region. Sadly, it's not possible to realistically recreate a piece of biotope, and most likely even not all of the plants here, could be found to grow in the near proximity of one another, in nature - but the sources which I used, and my knowledge, were not sufficient enough to allow me to be more precise (but I'm refining it, and reading deeper, so maybe next project will be closer to the real thing ;) ).
Also, mosses identification and availability is really constraining, so any south-american mosses were greenlight.
And obviously: some of the species from which dead plant material originates, used in enclosure, can't be found in the region, or even South America.

Photos were made around day 3. It's still not finished - lacks some Microgramma sp. About 2-3x Neoregelia pendula, cocoa pod, maybe some other plants - moss hasn't started to germinate yet, no actual planned inhabitants yet (Ranitomeya sp, Gonatodes sp. - Yup. I plan for them to cohabitate here - shouldn't be a problem in demands and parameters, but I still gather more insight about G. concinnatus, as it seems to be a way more risky choice, than tried and 100% safe to the newly emerged Ranitomeya sp, G. humeralis. As for Ranitomeya sp. it will be one of the forms that are abundant in hobby, Like R. imitator "Varadero". I plan 1.1 Gonatodes sp. and 2.2 Ranitomeya sp. ), - and still no sensors and automation.
Most of the plants are in a bad shape, due to the project being postponed forever, and difficulty to provide the optimal conditions for the plants, while they were waiting.
I'm still trying to figure out misting schedule, etc...
Overall, I'm quite happy how it turned out - at least for now - maybe plants would require repositioning later on, due to potential unwanted reaction to the moisture/lighting/insufficient air movement.

At the moment, so around week later, vivarium goes through it's "mold stage", with two kinds of fungal growth, and I currently wait till it disappears, and maybe some moss growth will show up.
Also, within a few days, I will go abroad for a few months, so I wouldn't expect substantial updates with new photos, etc.
Just hope, that the tank wouldn't need a resuscitation or restart, after my arrival. :)

As for the choices of technology:

- Glass;
a custom made, 50x48x70[cm] piece, by Tomasz Leboch from "Natural State" - combining his own elements and my planning and design choices. It's in full Opti White (Pilkington brand of low iron ion glass), 6mm thick, so if I wan't, I can use a UVB light source, as this kind of glass, at this thickness, lets between 86% to 84% of the radiation of this wavelength (can't remember exactly, but there is even a thread on the forum, with answers/documents from manufacturer) - trapezoidal edge cut, seamless connections - I'm very happy with it and the quality, and will reuse design choices from it, in next vivariums. :)

- Lighting fixture:
Opti V55 by "SkyLight" - Probably more powerful than I need here - we'll see if this choice will defend itself, in the long run. Plugged to a timer.
Still thinking about UVB fixture.

- Misting:
MistKing Starter 4.0 + some additional assemblies (2 holes, 4 nozzles, thinking about adding the fifth one), DripZip walve (no particular reason for this viv, but I will expand the system on other enclosures), 10 micron prefilter (don't like occasional dust to clog my nozzles, as not only I will be re-filling reservoir, and I can't reasonably expect other people to be careful enough, about avoiding dust particles getting into it), + 20l bucket reservoir.

- Fogger:
ZooMed Reptifogger after some noise tuning

- Heating:
25W heating cable

- Fans:
12V Pc fan "Zephyr" 60mm from SilentiumPc - very cheap and quiet.
Mounted outside the viv, on neodymium magnets, over a 45mm vent, guarded by a dense metal net, set on pulling action, plugged to a custom made power source with output regulation. Although, even on the highest setting, it's offers a very gentle pull (but it's rather due to the dense net, on the vent). The pulling action is visualized by the mist movement, on the short film that I'll try to attach later on. Probably should use another one in the viv - but it will be an easy modification.

- Waterfall:
mounted outside of the enclosure, UniPump 700 from AquaEL, plugged to custom PVC plumbing, going through glass, through the Uniseal, with a Loc-Line return, and a 1 module of AquaEL's "Multikani" filter, that guards the pump from the accidental, larger debris. So far, I'm very happy with that choices, for a several reasons.
Water is pulled from a eggcrate false bottom, of a capacity of 15-20l. There is no pool, Water falls directly on the slate, under which lies dense and "unwelcoming" filtering material - "Japanese mat", that should very well prevent any attempt of animal trying to get under the false bottom.

- Drainage:
MistKing drainage bulkhead, allowing the water level, to get no more high, than around 0,5cm under the false bottom, and hose to the outside reservoir (not MistKing misting intake reservoir! A different one. :) )
Also, id I'd like to syphon the water from the bottom, or get under the false bottom, without destroying too much, I can just take out the potting vessel (one containing the Monstera adansoni, or another one). I also can syphon most of the water, using the waterfall pump.

- Automation, thermostat and sensors:
Currently only MistKing's own timer, and a simple timer for the lights, and analogue thermometer + higrometer in the enclosure.
Waiting for the "Rainforrest" (yup, double "r" in name) to drop within few months. I really hope that it will be a good product - otherwise I'll just plug the heating to a Habistat, and do my own tinkering with Arduino/Raspberry Pi.

Current plant list:

Elaphoglossum glabellum
Marcgravia coriacea
Maxillaria uncata
Microgramma lycopoides
Microgramma nitida
Microgramma percussa
Monstera adansoni
Neoregelia mooreana
Peperomia emarginella
Pleurothoralis grobyi
Vanilla pompona

Planned plants:
Neoregelia pendula, Microgramma sp., Ornithocephalus sp and other.

Will attach photos and short-films later on. I'm allso open to questions. ;)

Enjoy! :)

16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
(Ok, now photos. Sadly, forum feels quite archaic and clunky when it comes to uploads and images. Or maybe my browser is at fault? Can't tell… Anyways, I have problems while trying to scale the photos/pages correctly, while browsing galleries - so please excuse me if I'll add one photo per one post)

16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
(Excuse me for using a vertical perspective in photographies and in short films - it was just more viable and convenient for several reasons ;) )
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