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Discussion Starter #1
After seeing so many pictures like this:







I've started thinking how you would put together some sort of vivarium that mimicked this sort of arboreal habitat. Growing orchids in pots is fine, but I really like to see their natural growth forms on trees and the mosses, lichens, etc. that they're nestled in with as well. So, today I did a little collecting to take the first few steps toward it actually happening. Below are a few shots of the initial branch in a 55 gal (excuse the hard water film):





My plan would be to get some moss growing pretty profusely on the branch(es), then add a brom or two, some type of epiphytic orchid (probably in the Pleurothallid alliance) and some type of epiphytic fern (Lemmaphyllum microphyllum?). As for keeping the wood moist, I'm wondering if something could be done by feeding a line of air hose (the kind for air pumps in aquariums) with a small hole in it every few inches along the branch, hopefully hidden. It would be connected to a small pump sitting in a water reservoir outside the tank, and on a timer. Every few hours or so it would come on and for a few minutes saturate the limb and moss.

Any thoughts or comments on going forward with something like this?
 

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I think its a good idea, and have been toying with the idea of more horizontal branches running across my tanks. I haven't done it yet, as I don't have the wood I want for it, but I have been thinking about it. Are you just going to silicone both ends? I am not sure you would even need to have that line to saturate the branch, misting should do just fine. Actually I think misting would probably be better, as the orchids, broms, and ferns would probably prefer to dry off a little between waterings rather then being saturated all the time.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Right now the branches are sitting in there with just a bit of tension--I was planning on a little Great Stuff on each end to help secure it a bit more, as well as the joint between the large branch and smaller one to attach it more securely.

I think you're right about that water line: the more I think about it the more I think it would just cause rot.

One thing I'll need to deal with is the bottom of the tank. If I put any sort of substrate material in the bottom, it will break the entire illusion of a suspended branch and just end up looking like one laying on the forest floor (which defeats the whole purpose of the setup). I was thinking of just a shallow water level on the bottom (maybe 1/4") to help with humidity, but not so much that it would jeopardize any frogs I might eventually put in there.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
You could always build an extension to go over the tank and suspend the wood in the extension. Will make for a taller terrarium, though I think it will be the easiest way of creating the effect you want.

Mike P.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Also, what kind of wood is that and where did you get it?

Some type of fir or pine (I'm thinking Ponderosa). It's pretty soft, which means it's not the best. However, it also means that it will wick up water and stay pretty moist.
 

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Yeah, if you filled in the bottm with a bunch of substrate it would take away from what you are trying to do. You could always do this idea in another taller tank? That way you could have nice bottom and even add a couple more branches. If you stay with this tank you could go with some shallow water. You could also add a small layer or rocks (I just don't like empty glass) and some marginal plants (java moss, java fern, anubias, lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Cryptocoryne sps, and so on). That way there would still be something there, and it would help any frogs escape if they fall into the water.

I have branches in tanks that are just handed misted and they have moss, broms, and ferns growing on them. Misting should be just fine, and if not you can always add something later or mist more often.

After I wrote about the silicone I thought that you could also use Great stuff. You could do both side then and plant them as well. just an idea. The Great Stuff would probably be better then the silicone.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
I was wondering if it would be possible to plant the bottom, but make it look more like another branch rather than solid ground. Another option might be to build a stand and then run a strip of molding along the top of the stand, so when I set the tank on the stand, the molding hides the bottom inch or so of the tank so that when you're viewing it, you don't necessarily see a blaring bottom.

As for misting, I might also look into just doing an ultrasonic humidifier plumbed into the tank and set on a timer so it just comes on a couple times a day.

Keep the ideas coming!
 

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Ed and Scott... feel like sharing soem pics :D ? Also, how did each of you attach the wood to the sides of the tank?

Skylsdale, I like the idea of hiding the bottom of the tank with trim. If you could have it look like a build-in it would help create the allusion you want. You could also try making the bottom look like a larger branch of the same tree... not exactly sure how though. I guess you could use a large piece of cork (like part of a large curl), as at least it would look like bark.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
You could use leaf litter on the bottom.... and um pretend they're just leaves from lower branches (or try for that effect).


-Tad
 
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Discussion Starter #15
That's what I was thinking, jbeetle. I could still try the trim-hiding thing and then lay another larger branch on the bottom, that way you still see the top of it and it gives the illusion of another branch in the trees, but it doesn't take up the entire bottom space of the tank and give the illusion of ground.
 

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Be wary of pine, cedar and evergreen wood, there are some chemicals in the sap that can leach out into the vivarium. I inherited a awesome looking viv with some adult mints in it years back and the wood caused sores on the bottom of the frogs feet. Chuck powell might remember this scenario with more detail, I sent the last two frogs up to him, one was so bad we put it down.

Thanks
ERic
 

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Jon, I can send you a pic. Not as nice as skysdale's. We gotta get you over here on day to see our setups. Did you get the link to the other pics.
Ed
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Ed, can you post it for all to see? It would be nice to see some different 'translations' of this.
 

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You could make the bottom false bottom with pvc risers, egg crate, and then use a really fine mesh to cover it. If the mesh is fine enough thewater will stay on top for a while and that might look cool. You could then cover the bottom part of the tank in black silicone to hide the false bottom.

Everett
 
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