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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

My name is Marty and i am new to PDFs and have some questions with more to come i am sure of. I am new to PDFs but not reptiles or amphibians at all. I have kept and breds geckos (leos,Cresteds,O. Castelnaui). I also keep pac-man frogs, ball pythons and other misc. critters. I also come from a reefing background but not like most with a few hundred gallon tanks i stayed with mini reefs i found them as more of challenge as you would have really keep an eye on the parameters. I have also been reading a lot of threads on here and have gained tons of knowledge in a short time. I will begin my first viv build come next friday and will welcome everyones input. Frogs won't come till i have the tank growing and stabalized. I have jumped into things before head first and it ended disasters though this was before i got into reefing which is better to go slow and steady. So onto the questions that i can't really seem to find or keep possibly reading over.

1. When using GS what do you spray it onto? Such as styrofoam or the glass? Also what do you use to carve it?

2. Is it better to make a false bottom or just make layers? If layers what layers am i looking at?

3. What is really the best wood to incorporate into a terrarium? Mopani,grapewood,cork,drift?

4. Is textured spraypaint safe with a sealer (Krylon)? I thought of using this instead of silicone with substrate.

I think that is all the questions i need ATM to get started on the viv build. I just remembed i believe the tank is 29gallon if that has any relevance to answers.
 

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1. When using GS what do you spray it onto? Such as styrofoam or the glass? Also what do you use to carve it?


Some people use silicon, some straight on the glass, some people make a frame of eggcrate. I have done glass and silicone. I prefer the silicone for now.

Carving - I used a kitchen knife. I also squished it in when it was partially dry and that was fun.

2. Is it better to make a false bottom or just make layers? If layers what layers am i looking at?

Is the tank going to need to be moved? Eggcrate false bottom is lighter. If you don't use eggcrate false bottom, most people use little clay balls AKA LECA. I have not tried the LECA because I need to be able to move my vivs. And I like the way the false bottom looks with gravel around it. On top of that I'd use ABG mix.

3. What is really the best wood to incorporate into a terrarium? Mopani,grapewood,cork,drift?

Most people here suggest staying away from grapewood because it molds more frequently. Mopani is heavy but I used it in my last viv and I like how it looks. Cork is fabulous - plants and animals stick well to it and it is light. Driftwood is great too - I have some driftwood en route that I am excited to make a viv out of. Maybe the answer depends on what you are going for.

4. Is textured spraypaint safe with a sealer (Krylon)? I thought of using this instead of silicone with substrate.

Let me preface by saying I am not a frog owner. i have geckos only.
Soime gecko people feel comfortable using this with acrylic waterproof sealer on top. I am guessing the frog people (frogs are more delicate) would be very cautious about using the textured paint in a viv. But i suppose I should let them speak for themselves.
 

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Welcome ! I'll take a stab at these.


1. When using GS what do you spray it onto? Such as styrofoam or the glass? Also what do you use to carve it?

Some folks spray GS directly on to the glass and tolerate the ugly yellow foam visible through the side panels. Most either lay down black silicone, or use black pond foam. The silicone masks foam and contributes to adhesion.

2. Is it better to make a false bottom or just make layers? If layers what layers am i looking at?

I prefer a false bottom as it allows easier movement of the tank and keeps it lighter.

If I had to guess, DB members are split about 50/50 on Leca bottom (layers) versus false bottom. As for layers, Most use Leca, then a mesh, typically fiberglass screen found at any hardware store, followed by the substrate of your choice *COUGH* ABG.

3. What is really the best wood to incorporate into a terrarium? Mopani,grapewood,cork,drift?

I dont think there is a best wood. They all have strenghs and weaknesses. I cant comment on general consensus, I can only comment on my limited experience.

Mopani is very dense and therefore heavy. It is not known to develop excessive mold during start up. It's weakness is a lack of shapes without bringing a number of pieces together. If it's used with GS backgrounds, wieght factor demands that it is siliconed to the glass prior to laying down GS.

Grapewood has all kinds of cool roots and great shapes. Some members complain that it develops excessive mold. It does mold more than any other wood, however, starter cultures of springs and isos incorporated in to the build accelerate the reduction of mold.

Cork is very light and great stuff to work with. Great to imbed in GS background builds. Great texture for plant adhesion. Trying to find unmolested smaller branches/tubes can be a chore, due to the way it is collected/stripped.

I have no experience with driftwood as I am terrified to bring something like that in to any of my vivs. We have great river driftwood here but also have a huge chemical plant that regularly has accidental chem spills in to the river. In addition, we have lots of agriculture here which means lots of chems and pesitcides in the water. If you choose driftwood, do very careful research to find out the orgin of collection.

4. Is textured spraypaint safe with a sealer (Krylon)? I thought of using this instead of silicone with substrate.

Never used paint so I have no experience with it. I do know that we have members here that use paint successfully, but they are very picky about brands/types.

I think that is all the questions i need ATM to get started on the viv build. I just remembed i believe the tank is 29gallon if that has any relevance to answers.
 

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1. i'd recomend puting a layer of silicone(GE 2 100% silicone without any mold/mildew inhibitors) before the great stuff as i did some tests and found great stuff can be pulled of plain glass SUPER easy

2. go with the false bottom and put some gravel around it to make it look better and to keep the substrate from falling through the gaps in the false bottom

3. they all have their own ups and downs. there is no best

4. i don't know about paint but it should be ok as long as you seal everything everything with an acrylic sealer and let it air out until all scents and vapors are gone
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all great advice. Zoomie i actually went through most of the builds you did which i find fantastic. I will probably do the false bottom since i will most likely need to move it around a couple of times. Wood i am still debating on since i plan on seeding the tank with isos and springs way before the frogs even get into it i could do any of the woods i guess, i would probbly stay away from drift i can easily get Mopani(eBay), Cork and Grapewood from LFS/LRS. Really appreciate the advice on the BG i couldn't figure out if people were putting directly on the glass or foam inserts and what not.

A couple quick questions.

The BG do i apply the GS when the silicone is still curing or when completely cured?

With false bottom the area i am keeping gravel out of do put anything in there? ex. Pump,drain,Hydrotron(prefer Hydro seen in to many post that LECA floats for day if not weeks) to keep access water from getting stagnant?

Zoomie- Do you know who the members are that use paint?
 

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I'll just comment on what I know about...

I prefer LECA (or hydroton) balls as my base and layer my way up. I just believe this offers the best drainage, produces the best microfauna growth, the weight factor isnt an issue as leca and layers doesnt weigh that much (compared to gravel etc.), and I personally think it looks really cool from the side... you can see your layers layed out and it looks neat. Plus building and putting together egg crate false bottoms is a pain.

Carving great stuff is very easy!! Just get a small kitchen or paring knife and go to work!! Have a vacuum handy lol. I personally just spray it onto the glass. You may have to (most likely will have to) apply it a few times. To fill holes and gaps etc...

Driftwood is all I've ever used!! It looks cool, lasts forever from the right source, and I can tell you after years and years of keeping frogs and other herps it has no ill side effects for animals. Soak it, clean, (some bake but I'm not doing that!! lol) and figure out which end looks best lol! Grape wood to me doesnt look natural and from everyone I know thats used it in vivs it molds and rots really bad. I have used cork in my backgrounds to attach plants to and that looks pretty cool. Mopani I've heard is great for fish tanks because it sinks but not great for vivs because of the weight.

As for spray paint I have no idea... never used it. I have however made fake rocks out of polystyrene foam insulation and craft paint. Which worked out great and again no ill effect for the animals... cool video!!http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/71386-how-make-fake-rock-background.html
 

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By the way... welcome to the hobby and welcome to Dendroboard!!

Its a great community with lots of creative and informed members (for the most part haha)

Good luck on your build!!!
 

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sounds like you're doing it right by finding everything out before doing it. i've got a question for you, what type of frogs are you keeping? you should find that out before building the viv so you can build it ideally for the frogs you want.

with the background, let the silicone cure before the great stuff

are you doing a water feature? answer that and then i can answer your question
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
sounds like you're doing it right by finding everything out before doing it. i've got a question for you, what type of frogs are you keeping? you should find that out before building the viv so you can build it ideally for the frogs you want.

with the background, let the silicone cure before the great stuff

are you doing a water feature? answer that and then i can answer your question
Frogs i am looking into are: D.Leucomelas D. Auratus Green and Bronze and/or Black, D. Tinctorius (Cobalt) those are the only eyes ATM that really catch my eye. So i know i will need lots of ground space for these guys/girls. I will keep the BG from sticking out to much. Most likely do a corner and build it up like it's a tree trunk.

Water feature possibly in the far future i like them but at the same time i don't i worry more about if the pump goes out now i have to take about the tank to get to the pump unless i do a false bottom and drill a drain but like i said much further into the future.

I still need to learn and perfect culturing feeders so like i said get the tank up and going long before frogs even make it into the tank its self. So probably won't get frogs till next spring since i am in the chicago area and in about a month or so it will be impossible to get frogs shipped. though i can get frogs from Pete from Chicago Dart Frogs at the show we have twice a week by me.
 

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I love to see new froggers doing there due diligence before getting animals :)

I think my buddy still does that show?? Thomas Lossman. He sells dart frogs and viv supplies up there too.

Any of those would be a good "starter" frog. I still remember my first frog... I got a pair of cobalt tincs from Pete Bandray (sp?) from Incredible Pets. Had no idea what I was doing!! Its great that these days there is a resource for people to look up the information they need to keep frogs.

All I had was a fresh copy of "Poison - Aarow FROGS - Their Natural History and Care In Captivity By: Ralf Heselhaus Copyright 1992 LOL!! Still have that book with a gorgeous retic on the back cover... Made me want to have them all haha...

Anyway, keep doing research and asking questions!! The people here are very friendly and always willing to offer ideas or advice!! And always have fun!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I love to see new froggers doing there due diligence before getting animals :)

I think my buddy still does that show?? Thomas Lossman. He sells dart frogs and viv supplies up there too.

Any of those would be a good "starter" frog. I still remember my first frog... I got a pair of cobalt tincs from Pete Bandray (sp?) from Incredible Pets. Had no idea what I was doing!! Its great that these days there is a resource for people to look up the information they need to keep frogs.

All I had was a fresh copy of "Poison - Aarow FROGS - Their Natural History and Care In Captivity By: Ralf Heselhaus Copyright 1992 LOL!! Still have that book with a gorgeous retic on the back cover... Made me want to have them all haha...

Anyway, keep doing research and asking questions!! The people here are very friendly and always willing to offer ideas or advice!! And always have fun!!
Thanks i see all the great people here all i ever read is information no " you're idiot you don't do that" which i have seen on other forums before. Loving the community so far. Like i stated before i have jumped into things before and i hated working with what ever it was at the time because i rushed instead of gathering resources and info. So this i am taking my sweet sweet time since i jsut love the colors of every single PDF though i am not a fan of the brown/neutral colors.
 

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Thanks i see all the great people here all i ever read is information no " you're idiot you don't do that" which i have seen on other forums before. Loving the community so far. Like i stated before i have jumped into things before and i hated working with what ever it was at the time because i rushed instead of gathering resources and info. So this i am taking my sweet sweet time since i jsut love the colors of every single PDF though i am not a fan of the brown/neutral colors.
welcome to the hobby,as you have seen already we are all willing to help:D
 

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Thanks all great advice. Zoomie i actually went through most of the builds you did which i find fantastic. I will probably do the false bottom since i will most likely need to move it around a couple of times. Wood i am still debating on since i plan on seeding the tank with isos and springs way before the frogs even get into it i could do any of the woods i guess, i would probbly stay away from drift i can easily get Mopani(eBay), Cork and Grapewood from LFS/LRS. Really appreciate the advice on the BG i couldn't figure out if people were putting directly on the glass or foam inserts and what not.

A couple quick questions.

The BG do i apply the GS when the silicone is still curing or when completely cured?

With false bottom the area i am keeping gravel out of do put anything in there? ex. Pump,drain,Hydrotron(prefer Hydro seen in to many post that LECA floats for day if not weeks) to keep access water from getting stagnant?

Zoomie- Do you know who the members are that use paint?
I thank you for the kindness but I too am new around here. When it comes to builds, I am not qualified to carry the dirty underwear of so many of our members.

I do not know which particular members use paint. I have stumbled across commentary from time to time but only read in passing as I have no desire to paint. Maybe try a search on paint or painting BG's.

The great thing about this board is that you get multiple opinions, none of them right or wrong. You then get to cherry pick those design ideas that most appeal to you.

Take your time. It is far easier to move plants and adjust things in the tank without frogs in it.

Read everything you can here that interests you and learn everything you can.

Most importantly, keep asking questions.
 

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good choice on your first frog. i too am going with the tinctorious, probably either suriname cobalts or powder grey. it's not hard to make it easy to get to the pump. all you have to do is make a box with the egg crate and have it go all the way up in a corner so you could get to it from the top. if your not doing a water fall, you should put a pvc pipe up the background so you can drain the water.

good luck
 
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