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My first build

2471 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Zorloc
17
Well Im finaly far enough along that I will start to share my experiances.
Started with a Zoo-med 18x18x24
Wanted a tree trunk style back ground.
Small pond area and water feature.
Egg crate false bottom.
Plant pots in the back wall.
And didnt want to Paint or use construction paper on the outside.
(All the ideas in my head now for upcomming viv's cant wait to do it again and I dont even have frogs yet)
I'll also share things I have learned along the way that may help other people.

Heres how it went.

First Here it is empty and on my dresser for now this is were I'll keep it.
The living room is undergoing new entertainment center that will give me more room for Vivariums and a new Terrarium im getting in June.



False bottom created and ready.
Later I decided the false bottom wasnt giving me the water depth I needed so I added a layer of egg crate and screen for added depth. also decided the pond area was to big.
And the small wall going up in the right corner I realized wasnt needed and removed it.



Some suplies I gathered from local stores to start the build.







During cunstruction I though... How can I hide my false bottom... Silicone gravel to the screen YEAH... later (almost complete) I realized I could have made the false bottom just a little smaller siliconed a little corner of gravel then just poor in gravel to fill the gap between glass and false bottom.... NEXT TIME lol


Started creating my tree and background.


Hrmm not what I was expecting (looks like I will have to sand this off my brand new deck LOL)


The Idea here was to have 2 halves of the tree fit together in the back right corner of the Viv but after Silicone and Grout everything shrank thus warping both halves so I scrapped this way of construction and gave it some thought for a couple days.


Unfortunetly I didnt take pics during of cunstruction because I was in the mode and it was going so great I forgot.
Basicly I made 25 pieces 3/4 circles.
Its layers of the blue styrafom sheed where the branches are I cut each layer in half then sort of cut away were the branch would be laid in the circle.
Then when the branch had pieces enough to suround the branch I filled in the hole with GS.
Here is a pick of the back Inside corner of the new way to create a tree.
Hope my description plus the photo makes sence.


Then I used grout to give the tree texture and hand painted it to give it color....


After all that I sealed it and HATED IT soo I let it dry for about 4 days out side in the warm S. TX sun. and decided to make a substrate with LOTS of orchid bark chunks and silicone it all on.




Then I created the background wall that would attatch to the tree.
I also siliconed a substraight mix to it but didnt use corcid bark so you could kind of see the differance between the tree and the background.


Now its time for the Tight Sqeeze putting it into the tank.
Also added some fake vines (I didnt make my own I used Flukers mini vine and wrapped it around the larger Exo-terra cork vine)
Hard to see but there are 2 branches the lower one blended right into the bark in this pic.


OK thats it for this post BRB to post the plantings.

Questions comments please feel free.
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Hate to be a party poop...but when you siliconed all that gravel to your false bottom I imagine you seriously inhibited your drainage. :eek:
As long as the gravel is only siliconed to the sides of the false bottom, there should not be too much of a drainage issue. I would definately pull that brom out from the substrate as well...while they may survive with decent drainage, keep in mind that you have a few inches of water right below it.

To be honest, I would say that you should invest in more of a buffer between the false bottom and the soil layer. Your soil will have a hard time remaining dry enough if constantly exposed to the water level below...i would recommend putting an inch or so of hydroton or more gravel on top of the false bottom to allow better drainage, then screening or cocofiber planters atop that, followed by your soil layer.

To top it off, lay down some leaf litter for microfauna/frog hiding space...living in San Antonio, you have the privelege of magnolia trees at your disposal, and these leaves work great for a layer of leaf litter, provided the tree hasn't been exposed to pesticides and you properly sterilize them (rinsing, then baking for 10-15 minutes at 350 F)

I would advise against azureus; there may be enough floor space for one, but the size of the tree fixtures in there would be best used for a more "arboreal" or "vertically oriented" thumbnail species...ventrimaculatus are good beginner thumbs.

Good work on your first build, and keep us posted as to what you decide. And welcome to this addicting hobby...I promise, this won't be your last viv.
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