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My daughters and I are working on our first poison dart vivarium build. We are setting up a horizontal 29 gallon to keep Cobalts. We are planning on installing a false bottom made of egg crate supported by pvc with a layer of window screen on top of the eggcrate. The substrate will be layers of Hyroton, ABG Mix, sphagnum moss covered with leaf litter. We want to make the background out of Great Stuff (GS) Door & Window. We plan to build a small water feature out of Great Stuff covered in Drylok and will use a Toms Aqua Lifter pump for low flow.

Questions:

1. How high off the bottom of the tank should the false bottom be set?
2. How high should each layer of substrate material be?
3. For the background to have a natural look, what material should the GS be covered in?
4. How should we address heating?
5. Any recommendations for lighting a 29 gal tank?

Thanks.
 

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1. There isnt a specific. Your water feature is a factor to.. so will the water be held in the GS or under the false bottom? Answer 1: Just a few inches 2-3" so you can drain it. If your water is held in the false bottom..then however deep you want your water feature to be.

2. No specific on this either, whatever you feel comfortable with. If you want to make it not flat you can make it deeper in some areas than others as well. Ive seen anything from an inch up to like 6 or 7 in areas to make a hill effect.

3.Most people use silicone then sprinkle coco fiber, sphag moss, etc to stick to it.

4. You shouldnt need heating unless your house gets cold or you live in a cold area. Mid 70s for daytime (lights on) dropping to mid 60's in the night is fine for darts. They can even handle up around 80 in the day if need be but I wouldnt go much higher than that.

5. Lighting is only for the plants.. even just the plain old single bulb that came in the kit would be fine. You dont need anything super special to grow plants. If you want some high end to really get the color out of broms, etc look at 30" T5's. I know Current USA makes one for around $50.
 

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The substrate will be layers of Hyroton, ABG Mix, sphagnum moss covered with leaf litter.
You shouldn't need to worry about mixing any hydroton into your substrate, that could be used as a false bottom instead of egg crate. Just use ABG mix.
 

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4. You shouldnt need heating unless your house gets cold or you live in a cold area. Mid 70s for daytime (lights on) dropping to mid 60's in the night is fine for darts. They can even handle up around 80 in the day if need be but I wouldnt go much higher than that.
My house does get cold in the winter, I was thinking of putting a small aquarium heater in the water in the false bottom, would this be effective for controlling the overall heat in the tank?

You shouldn't need to worry about mixing any hydroton into your substrate, that could be used as a false bottom instead of egg crate. Just use ABG mix.
Is one method, false bottom or hydroton, better than the other?
 

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My house does get cold in the winter, I was thinking of putting a small aquarium heater in the water in the false bottom, would this be effective for controlling the overall heat in the tank?
I've personally never done that route, but from other posts on DB it seems like the most highly recommended option for helping to warm the tank is to place a small space heater near the tank to help keep the ambient area warmer.


Is one method, false bottom or hydroton, better than the other?
I'm not sure as to what sort of water feature you're planning on having, but with the eggcrate route you can easily cut a corner out to create a water area. Hydroton can shift and settle, making it a little more difficult. Since you're going to be using a pump you'll also want to block off a corner with egg crate as well so you can access the pump for maintenence, or if it ever breaks.
 

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1. high enough for your pump

2. as deep as you want to make it. also, get rid of your hydroton and sphagnum moss. just go with ABG on top of the false bottom and then a thick layer of leaf litter

3. cover the background in silicone and then coco fiber or peat moss

4. if your hose gets cold during the night, use a submersible aquarium heater or under tank heater

5. you can really use any light but it's mostly for the plants and for veiwing. use like a T8 or T5 and, if you can aford, on that looks good to you.
 

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You shouldn't need to worry about mixing any hydroton into your substrate, that could be used as a false bottom instead of egg crate. Just use ABG mix.
What he is asking is how much each materials should be used while making his substrate layers.
He is thinking about using a false bottom then putting hydroton on top then ABG then sphagnum moss then leaf litter.
I'm pretty sure I'm right about this...correct me if I'm wrong dakineacct...

You don't need any hydroton on top of the false bottom.
ABG mix has sphanum mixed in so it's not needed either.
Just put ya down some ABG mix then your leaf litter.
People use hydroton/LECA underneath sometimes but since you have a false bottom its probably best to keep the underneath clear and not put hydroton underneath.
Hydroton is commonly used with tanks that don't use a false bottom.

Everyone else covers the rest of your questions.
With the background tho I think Eco Earth looks great and they sell it in bags already dry versus the brick that you have to soak then bake to dry it back out again. Also make sure you use black or brown silicone cause clear just doesn't blend well with the background and it can be more noticable.
Good luck with your build dakineacct I hope to see your build thread soon.....we all like lots of pics ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the help, we are ready to do some shopping and get started on our build. We will start a build thread and be sure to take plenty of pictures.

Can anyone recommend a brand of Silicone that is readily available at Home Depot or Lowes? I have used GE Silicone I (Clear) for aquarium applications before, but not sure if it is availalbe in Brown or Black.
 

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Thanks everyone for the help, we are ready to do some shopping and get started on our build. We will start a build thread and be sure to take plenty of pictures.

Can anyone recommend a brand of Silicone that is readily available at Home Depot or Lowes? I have used GE Silicone I (Clear) for aquarium applications before, but not sure if it is availalbe in Brown or Black.
Not sure about GE I but you can get GE II in brown or black... That is what I used.
 

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If you want, you could add hydroton over the eggcrate. It gives microfauna more room to grow. I used 4-5 inches of ABG (2 parts cypress mulch, 2 parts tree fern fibre, 1 part sphagnum moss, 1 part peat moss, 1 part activated charcoal (that's what I used) )on top of a 1.5 inch layer of hydroton, topped with a 1 inch layer of oak leaves. I personally use peat moss on my background, as I tried coco in an experiment and it didn't look that nice with those little brown squares (If be decide on coco, you'll know what I mean). Also peat moss turns really dark when wet, helps me on what my humidity is. Where it's brown, it's a low humidity, where it's a dark dark brown it's fair, and if it's black/pretty wet, it's probably a bit high.


With heating, you really don't need it, unless you like to have cool winter air come into your house, a heatpad might help, but NO heat lamps. Your lights are your best heat source.

I just use compact florescent light bulbs from Costco. I use 13w bulbs for less heat, and I also use a 5500k aquarium bulb for a better color.

GEI isn't currently available in anything but clear (might be white). GEII is in every colour you'd need. If you want to spend a few dollars more for shipping, this place sells clear/black AQUARIUM silicone. http://www.glasscages.com/?sAction=ViewCat&lCatID=40

Whoops, one more thing. I have decided to only use door and window great stuff for a few reasons. Well, it IS an ugly neon yellow (all the others are cream) BUT with everything but the pond foam have shrunk off the glass (not 100% why) but I decided to finally try the blue can, poked holes in the foam after it forms a decent skin (not fully dry) and it didn't do it.

Check out the link in my signature, you can check out my tank ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
GEI isn't currently available in anything but clear (might be white). GEII is in every colour you'd need. If you want to spend a few dollars more for shipping, this place sells clear/black AQUARIUM silicone. Glasscages.com - Aquarium Sealant


Check out the link in my signature, you can check out my tank ;)
I have read on reef boards that GEII has a mold inhibitor that may be toxic to some fish and inverts so many reefers only use GEI, is this not a concern with frogs?

Thanks, I will check you tank.
 

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I have read on reef boards that GEII has a mold inhibitor that may be toxic to some fish and inverts so many reefers only use GEI, is this not a concern with frogs?

Thanks, I will check you tank.
From my understanding, it causes egg developing issues

In the use with a silicone polymer it can also function as part of an anti-soil "varnish". There are a lot of variations on the formulation depending on the desired final product.
However with respect to the toxicity issues, it is a known teratogen and dibutyltin diacetate can inhibit aromatase function in embryos. Aromatase disruption has been shown to cause early death in anuran embryos (on visual inspection) The embryos swell become "bloated" and cease developement. Aromatase inhibition has also been shown to be a cause of SLS.

Ed
I've been using GEII along with dozens of other people, but if eggs come in contact with it, it could possibly pose issues to the egg, but as far as we know, not the frogs themselves.
It would be best to know what really is the best, but i'd do aquarium silicone.
I also think GEII can cause fertility issues, but tell me if i'm wrong.
 

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GEII should be pergectly fine. i checked the ingredients myself on the tube and it contains only 100% siliocone and nontoxic color
 

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I have read on reef boards that GEII has a mold inhibitor that may be toxic to some fish and inverts so many reefers only use GEI, is this not a concern with frogs?

Thanks, I will check you tank.
Actually yes it is a concern as we don't know the mobility of the organotins that are added to the silicone.

Ed
 

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GEII should be pergectly fine. i checked the ingredients myself on the tube and it contains only 100% siliocone and nontoxic color
It doesn't contain 100% silicone as the formulation also contains the organotins. They don't have to list it on the label as it is considered propreitary information. The organotins were originally added to the formulation to change the method of curing, instead of releasing acetic acid (the vinegar smell), it releases ammonia as it cures. However, it was also known that the organotins in the mixture, will prevent mold and mildew growth (and are used as antifouling agents in marine paints). We know that organotins tend to be mobile from other polymer products including pvc (which is a hard product), we don't know the rate of movement from the silicone. We also know that the organotins do not flush out of the system when they contact soil or soil like substrates so they remain in contact.

The risk is to more than eggs.. I suggest looking at the bioseal thread or digging into the literature yourself.

Otherwise, using GEI is what reduces the risks.

Ed
 
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It doesn't contain 100% silicone as the formulation also contains the organotins. They don't have to list it on the label as it is considered propreitary information. The organotins were originally added to the formulation to change the method of curing, instead of releasing acetic acid (the vinegar smell), it releases ammonia as it cures. However, it was also known that the organotins in the mixture, will prevent mold and mildew growth (and are used as antifouling agents in marine paints). We know that organotins tend to be mobile from other polymer products including pvc (which is a hard product), we don't know the rate of movement from the silicone. We also know that the organotins do not flush out of the system when they contact soil or soil like substrates so they remain in contact.

The risk is to more than eggs.. I suggest looking at the bioseal thread or digging into the literature yourself.

Otherwise, using GEI is what reduces the risks.

Ed
So I guess it wouldn't be a good idea to coat the film cantainers in GEII black then eco earth?
I was planning on doing this but was concerned about it messing with the eggs.
I would want the canisters covered in substrate so it looks a bit more organic and they don't stick out like a sore thumb.
It's really hard to find GEI in black or brown :/
I read on another thread of using gorilla glue then using food coloring to dye it black....is there any risks with this?

Thanks for the help
 

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I purchased my Aquarium Silicone right at a PetCo.

It comes in smaller tubes though. I used 2 to seal an 18x18x18 and do my background.. I only used it on the bottom half of the background though so you might need more.

Given the lengthy discussions about the possible downsides of GE products, I figured why not go with the safe bet..

Probably not the cheapest or most convenient, but it worked well and I didn't have to wait for it. (A tube that would go in a caulk gun would have been more convenient, but I will say that having the hand squeeze tube gave me excellent control when I was fly proofing.)
 

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I found info from the MSDS for GE Silicone II Window and Door (clear), whose product number is GE5000. Momentive is the actual mfgr. of the product and uses the GE tradename. Clearly not 100% silicone.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/2d/2d9622c5-268d-4ab0-8dce-32dd186b8b72.pdf

Here is the MTDS for silicone I (clear):

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/2b/2b4de67e-87cb-4e48-b395-3ff978de0f7b.pdf

NOTE: The Silicone I states that its solubility in water is "Insoluble" BUT Silicone II states that it is "Negligible" (page 4 of each MSDS).
 
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