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Discussion Starter #1
So I was screwing around with this build way too long. Finally got my arse in gear....

Not too many construction pics, pretty basic - a few pieces of ghost wood; false bottom; Mopani and cork to section off Flourite based water area; background made out of a mixture of Koi pond clay, redart, milled sphag, and a bit of peat. Hard to tell from pics but rear ground area is tiered.

Ficus cuttings were stuck into the background and started dropping roots within a week. A few weeks later Mo Peppas were added in the back and sides, and a Punctatissima rubra placed in center. Not sure about the moss I've added, never have had luck with it, we shall see. I'm looking for some type of surface plant for the water area, something that stays small and floats. Still have some planting to do here and there.

Off to the bad quality pics. I really do need to break down and buy a DSLR....













 

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How'd you do the water feature? What model of pump/filter? I am looking to have a water feature similar to yours, the only thing I was debating is how to hide the edge of the eggcrate. It looks like you just used the expanding foam to hold in the mopani and cork?
 

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Very cool! Could you tell us a little more about the clay background? (mix, ingredients, etc.) Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How'd you do the water feature? What model of pump/filter? I am looking to have a water feature similar to yours, the only thing I was debating is how to hide the edge of the eggcrate. It looks like you just used the expanding foam to hold in the mopani and cork?
Ryan... It was really simple. Most of the barrier is made up with Mopani. I used a liittle bit of cork and a touch of great stuff to finish it of...the Mopani was just a bit too short.

Here are some more crappy pics of a grow out I threw together real quick this winter. A Repti FLo 200 was used for each tank in this thread. I pretty much use the same method any time I do a water feature - combination of false bottom and LECA:

1. Figure out what you want to use as a water barrier. Mopani and other heavey driftwood work great, as does cork. Cork usually needs a dab of adhesive to stay in place.




2. Lay in your barrier and pump and attach the tubing. Backfill with LECA. Gaps in the barrier are fine / preferred as long as the LECA doesn't come out.




3. Cover everything thoroughly up to the barrier back with screen / mesh and you're good to go. I usually fill in the front / sides of the water areas with sand, rocks, etc as final step.





 

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Discussion Starter #7
Very cool! Could you tell us a little more about the clay background? (mix, ingredients, etc.) Thanks!
Mitch - Unfortunately I don't have an exact recipe to share. I did use about 14 lbs of Koi pond clay (montmorillonite), maybe 2 lbs of Dr Elsy's cat litter.

I started off with a big batch of Koi / water. Mixed that into a thick soup, added some milled sphag, and then added enough Redart to get the color I was after. After that I added the cat litter as thickner - that's when the mixing fun begins!

I mixed until I could form balls that were sticky to the touch. I'd take a big lump and then roll it around in a bucket of the peat / sphag. Once coated l I'd squeeze / mash / knead until that was well mixed. If the lump was still sticky I'd roll it around into some dry Koi clay - kinda like using flour, works great.

I did this over the course of 2 nights - took a long time. Once all my clay balls were made it was just a matter of finding the time to slap it on the glass.

The Koi clay is good stuff. It comes in powder form - very easy to mix. I've also started infusing my soil with it and with clay covered LECA - no idea if it will have any benefit to the frogs but the springs in the new tank seemed to have exploded in a matter of days.
 

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That's an awesome looking tank... I agree that the wood is excellent!
What kind of substrate (mix?) is in your water feature?
 

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Awesome tanks! So does the wood seperate the water from entering the hydroton area or is the wood just there to hold in the hydroton. I'm working on a tank now and trying out one with a water feature for the first time thanks .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's an awesome looking tank... I agree that the wood is excellent!
What kind of substrate (mix?) is in your water feature?
Thanks EOS - I used Flourite in the water area... I picked it up at Petsmart. Color-wise it happened to be exactly what I was looking for.

Awesome tanks! So does the wood seperate the water from entering the hydroton area or is the wood just there to hold in the hydroton. I'm working on a tank now and trying out one with a water feature for the first time thanks .
The wood keeps the hydroton back. In this case, to aid water circulation, I foamed in a couple pieces of eggcrate that ran the length of the Mopani. The eggrate was covered in several layers of screen making it tougher for the water to penetrate. Gap between eggcrate and Mopani was packed with the Flourite. The cork / GS area on the right side sits about an inch off the bottom, this is where the majority of the water drains out.

The pump sits to the left of the fern near the edge of the tank. I ran the pump for about a week while I messed with the pond area just to watch how the water in the tank moved - from the bits of small dirt trapped in the false bottom I could see I had more circulation than I expected.
 

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Mitch - Unfortunately I don't have an exact recipe to share. I did use about 14 lbs of Koi pond clay (montmorillonite), maybe 2 lbs of Dr Elsy's cat litter.

I started off with a big batch of Koi / water. Mixed that into a thick soup, added some milled sphag, and then added enough Redart to get the color I was after. After that I added the cat litter as thickner - that's when the mixing fun begins!

I mixed until I could form balls that were sticky to the touch. I'd take a big lump and then roll it around in a bucket of the peat / sphag. Once coated l I'd squeeze / mash / knead until that was well mixed. If the lump was still sticky I'd roll it around into some dry Koi clay - kinda like using flour, works great.

I did this over the course of 2 nights - took a long time. Once all my clay balls were made it was just a matter of finding the time to slap it on the glass.

The Koi clay is good stuff. It comes in powder form - very easy to mix. I've also started infusing my soil with it and with clay covered LECA - no idea if it will have any benefit to the frogs but the springs in the new tank seemed to have exploded in a matter of days.
Thanks for the explanation. I like to see how people are doing their clay backgrounds without solely kitty litter... because that stuff sucks. Check out my sig haha
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the explanation. I like to see how people are doing their clay backgrounds without solely kitty litter... because that stuff sucks. Check out my sig haha
heh - I read your kitty poop fail thread!!

I made a smaller tank with just straight Koi clay and some, not much, milled sphag. The outer edges along the sides of the tank turned rock hard, but so far are sticking to the glass. The main background and side areas are still play-dough consistency and I expect it to stay that way.
 

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This is an amazing vivarium! I really love the bromeliads you chose.. looks like 2 varieties total and they have some similar colorations and size so far.. which makes it quite natural looking. Indeed I love the way you only chose a few total plant varieties for this enclosure which keeps the overall feeling very natural .


Keep us updated as it fills in..
Also would love to see the other tank finished as well.




Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just a little update. Added a fern towards the back, some moss here and there, a pinch of Duckweed, and found some rocks that match the Flourite in the water area. The Ficus has really started to grow in, and the new fern is thriving.











And finally moved in the new occupants.











 

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I have to admit your tank looks stunning!! I mean, I thought my 18X18X24 looked good. Very nicely landscaped and the frogs will love the water area!!!
 
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