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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
just added three young imitator today....am going to see what population can be sustained without additional feeders. Microfauna load is through the roof and just added a culture of ants today....water is recycled.....air pump provides continual air input to 6 air-stones throughout the compost to counter CO2 gass-out. Compost is fed with vegetative kitchen scraps, decaying wood, dead leaves, and occasional bloodmeal dustings.
The tank is still new so this is still very much an "experiment"
I am terrible at trying to get the pictures to work so sorry if it does not work


 

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Wow, that is an awesome project. Keep us posted. Is that all concrete?

Luke
 

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Carefull, that's a lot harder than it looks. I made a tiered 29 over the summer. Nothing's in it yet but it was really difficult to make and get right. Looks good tho, has a waterfall and everything.
 
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Id just use plastic and seal it 100% With a little hindge door so I can let them come out when I feel like it. :) But it will be challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
there is no concrete it is all a special blend of clays and soil that i used to make the water feature and to seal off all cracks where the frogs could get through...the clay is quite awesome and i have created a number of water features in other tanks with it....
 

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What kind and from where?

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
the clay is a mixture of bentonite, local clay, loamy soil....i have experimented with it further for making backgrounds with added topical orgainics.....have been watching the frogs the last couple days and they have gotten FAT they are continually "grazing" through the viv mostly on stuff too small for me to see....looking at the microfauna load i think it is safe to say that breeding sites and space will be the limiting factor of the imitator population, not food. But time will tell. i will post back in about 2-3 months and show you how it looks.....Is Brent out there to give some feedback on this? I will be doing berlese samples to see what kind of microfauna diversity i have....I have plans to continually "bio-recruit" from various woods locations throughout the year to get a terrarium friendly ecolgical mix of organisms...nothing like having frogs without food culture :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
well have a few weeks of growth time for some pictures....

the frogs are fat and sassy and the compost is cranking....one great unforseen benifit is that all escaped ff from my other tanks migrate to the compost tank! no stray wanderers....i have never seen plants grow so fast...the species are not particularly fast growers either.....maybe the additional CO2?







 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
sure thing corey...there is no odor at all....surprised even me....it did make the apartment stink for the first 5 days but after that nothing....let me know if you need a place to stay......ben
 
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plants

could you maybe give a more detailed construction overview? and what is that plant in the top right hand corner in the pictures. its an amazing tank.
 

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Ben,

While I was admiring your design I couldn't quite tell exactly what you did to connect the compost tank to the Frog tank. Would you mind clearing this up for me? It looks like you have a tube running from one to the other.

Also, what monstera species is that in the water reservoir? BTW- Nice anthuriums.

Justin
 

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It looks like the microfauna just travel through the tree fern fiber, the hoses I saw are to put air into the compost pile to get rid of some of the CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
the "tanks" is just a single terrarium that is divided with tree fern panels so that the microfauna can go between but the frogs cant. I probably would have designed it differently (with more of the terrarium exposed to the compost) but i ran out of tree fern. I could also see a series of tanks with false tree fern backs all hooked up to a large central compost bin. The ghost ants took up residence in the middle of the tree fern as well. All of the decor in the terrarium are tree fern pieces that are stuck together with the terrarium clay. There is a 1/2" diameter pvc tube that goes under the terrarium side to the compost side so that the water level is the same on both sides, all other cracks are sealed with terrarium clay. The terrarium clay was used to sculpt the water portion as well. There are lots of different plants in there. All were chosen for their relatively small size and slow growth, as the tank matures i will begin pruning and weeding and transplanting to get the shape i want. The plant in the upper right is Masdevallia wendlandiana and is a great warm grower that actually just finished flowering. Also have many small orchids that just kinda blend in with all the other stuff until they eventually throw out some flower spikes. All of the anthuriums started as tissue culture plants that needed to be rescued from contaminated cultures. I think there are about 4 different tiny philo species, begonias, ferns, melastomes....lots of miniature goodness that will soon be overflowing to another tank....

So the only false bottom is on the compost side and that keeps the bottom of the compost from staying too water-logged. The vertical eggcrate on the left side of the compost tank is to keep compost from falling down where i have the tube to my hand mister. The hand mister is just a cheapy from home depot that i ripped apart and stuck airline tubing on and then an airline filter on the end to stop debris from entering the pump. All watering of the tank comes from the resvior below the false bottom. In the forest epiphytes are fed by the decay and life that is stuck to the tree. As it rains the water seeps down through the collected compost and continually "feeds" the epiphytes with this fertilized compost tea. That is what i have attempted to do with the recycled water. So far so good. So in idea at least the decaying half feeds the living half, both the tiny vertebrates and all the plants. This is closer to how nature operates...we cant have life without death and decay. Every day the insect populations seem to increase on the compost side...started it off with about 20 melanogaster and now there is about the equivelance of 15 rocking cultures just cruising throught he rot bin....i can count about 20 flies at all times in the terrarium side and endless springtails and mites....
 

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Any problems with escapee's? Or smell from the compost? How often do you plan to change the water? Looks good and it's an interesting idea. Keep us posted.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
well i didnt do much escape prevention just banked on the organisms wanting to stay....the flies and ants can come and leave as they please and the only thing i have noticed (mentioned above) is that all of my escaped flies from my other tanks migrate to the compost tank. It is absolutely completely odorless but you have to stick with some simple carbon to nitrogen ratios that are outlined for good odorless composting practices. I plan on never changing the water, that would kinda go against the whole idea of the tank...i may have to add some water once there is some evaporation but the plants are the filter...i have some test kits around and should take some readings, im particularly interested in nitrate.....its all about low-tech, low maintenance, and high living complexity....i do not plan on adding any dusted or supplemented organisms but have been adding some D3 supplement to the compost. The calcium and some bloodmeal/bonemeal dust are the only additions other than kitchen scraps which get covered with dead leaves and decaying wood....
 
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