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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My daughter and I were given an 18"x18"x24" Exo-Terra terrarium for Christmas.. And I think we decided to go the dart frog route. We had various other pets over the years, but nothing with live plants or an Eco-system. I've spent the last few weeks on here reading and envying everyone's builds. Finally, giving it a go.



We live in SWFL.. So, we have native Cypress trees and driftwood. Picked up various pieces I found over a few days. Also, found some Palm Tree roots.



Always loved the way moss looked in a vivarium so copied Grimm's idea and built an access tunnel and some duct work. The access tunnel would allow for a pump to be installed for a waterfall feature, a fogger, and provide access to the bottom of tank.. when needed.



Framed out a small water area using Egg Crate and zip-ties. I left an opening so I could install pump through access tunnel. Created a barrier out of black expanding foam covered with silicone and coco-fiber. Egg crate will be covered with a subsrate barrier to help with filtration.



Positioned the access tunnel and duct work together and covered with expanding foam. Added a few pieces of wood, a 3" net cup, and a few palm roots while still wet. Thought it would be neat if I could get the waterfall to follow the curve in wood.



Added more wood with lots of silicone and more foam.



Did a little carving..



Checked position and planned on adding more net pots. Used a dry-erase marker on the outside of glass to guide me when foaming.









Checked position again..



Did some more carving and added drains to all the net cups..



Used black silicone to coat the foam, then covered with coco-fiber.. Pressed the coco-fiber all over to ensure good coverage..





http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/02/04/ypyruzyt.jpg[/IMG

Added tubing for fogger (yellow arrow) and reinforced waterfall path with Titebond III wood glue (red arrow)..

[IMG]http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/02/04/y6anuqer.jpg]

Gave bottom a rocky look using carved foam.. Covered with wood glue and a light sprinkling of coco-fiber.









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This is where I'm at.. Still have to get waterfall, fogger, and misting system running. Once that's done I'll be doing a hydroton, substrate barrier, ABG/springtail mix, then leaf litter bottom.. That'll be followed by the planting of the tank.. Then hopefully not to long after that few frogs!!

I've never attempted anything of this nature and am hoping it turns out well..


- Robbie

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Looking good! Make sure to run the waterfall for a while to get a concrete grasp of the water flow. You really don't want it splashing into your soil.
Also, the best advice I can give you is, take your time. I rushed my first viv and tried to rework it several times because I messed up so many things I could have avoided by not rushing. I recently gutted that viv and have been working on it for almost a month now.
Time is your friend when it comes to viv building.
I wish someone had told me that earlier :)

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
 
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Hi Robbie, congratulations on your first viv (it wont be your only one :)) and welcome to the board. Your tank looks great!!! keep the pictures coming.
 

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Trying not to be redundant but.......that looks awesome. Great job on your first build, (I also agree it wont be your last lol ). And welcome to a great community. Keep the pictures coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome all! I will definitely post more as a go along.

Trying to find a small water pump and humidifier locally via garage sales and Craigslist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Look at this gem I found at my local Goodwill for $4.99..



Puts off a TON of fog, runs cool, and silent.
Now just need to adapt it to my hose and my fogger should be up and running.

Picked a bunch of sea grape leaves and a pile of oak leaves for my litter also.

Pump is in the mail for waterfall..

Ordering MistKing system when funds roll around.

Getting excited!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·


Is this normal? Should I use screen instead?

I had planned on using a standard weed blocker as my substrate barrier, but when testing my waterfall I noticed the water was piling up instead dripping through.. Should I be using something different?
 

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Is this normal? Should I use screen instead?

I had planned on using a standard weed blocker as my substrate barrier, but when testing my waterfall I noticed the water was piling up instead dripping through.. Should I be using something different?
I just used standard fiberglass window screening and that works like a charm
 

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On my first tank I used regular fiberglass screen as well (doubled up). It worked better since it holds most of the particles back and water moves through more quickly. I once used a felt type weed blocker but that would stay soaked and my substrate was always too wet. If you are extremely worried about particles/water retention problems go to your local fish store and buy a few feet of sump particle mesh. A little expensive at ~$5 a square foot for the cheap stuff but that will hold back your fine particles while allowing water to go right through it. You could even buy the premium mesh filter that removes ammonia/phosphates etc from the water which will keep your water cleaner/smell down from the tank.

Mesh Example

Hope this helps- Nick
 

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This looks really good, no joke. Like another member said, don't rush it, I did with my first viv and I am slightly unhappy with it but I don't want to disturb my inhabitants. I do have a question for you. How did you get that "rocky" look on the bottom portion of your foam?

-Peyton
 
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