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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone. After making my first vivarium I realized I wasn't quite happy with it and wanted to start over. So I'm planning to get a 36x18x24 exo-terra, and I want to try the buttress root look for this one. I think I'm not going to include a water feature on this one. I like the look of them, but I decided they take up too much floor space for terrestrial frogs. So I'll post my plans for this new build, and I'm hoping you guys will chime in with suggestions! :)

I really want to keep this vivarium simple and elegant. I think I want one big tree right in the center and I might do no background. Maybe I'll make some vines to trail down the tree trunk. If I do include a background, I'll just use ecoweb and grow one or two varieties of creeping plants (I'm thinking creeping fig and oak leaf creeping fig, along with riccia maybe). I'm leaning towards no background right now though, for a cleaner look. Around the base of the tree, I'll plant a few similar varieties of ferns, selaginella, and some creeping ground cover plants. I want to include a few orchids, but I'm unsure about how/where to plant them right now.

Inside the tree trunk I'll have a PVC pipe with a computer fan in it to circulate air inside the tank. I'm thinking of having one intake at the base of the tree and one or two outflows at the top of the tree, pointed towards the front glass to help keep it clear. I'll have a false bottom with egg crate, and the substrate will be ABG mix with leaf litter on top. I'll have a mist-king misting system too.

I also want to drill a hole and install a bulkhead somewhere at the bottom for water drainage. I suppose I could attempt this myself, but maybe to be on the safe side (since I'm afraid of messing up) I'll call around to see where I can have this done.

Here's a sketch of my plan for the buttress tree placement and an idea of the air vent locations.


And here's the beginning of the buttress roots. I have a lot of carving to do...
 

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Nice start. Are you going to grout it or try drylok? GS foam can be a little wonky when it comes to carving it after it cures - there can be large(ish) air pockets in all the wrong places. That is, if GS is what you were going to use to 'fill out' the main curves of the tree trunk and roots.

Don't stress about drilling glass. It's really easy as long as you go slow. There are a few nice tutorials here on DB and probably a bunch of videos on youtube as well. I would recommend drilling the back instead of the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice start. Are you going to grout it or try drylok? GS foam can be a little wonky when it comes to carving it after it cures - there can be large(ish) air pockets in all the wrong places. That is, if GS is what you were going to use to 'fill out' the main curves of the tree trunk and roots.

Don't stress about drilling glass. It's really easy as long as you go slow. There are a few nice tutorials here on DB and probably a bunch of videos on youtube as well. I would recommend drilling the back instead of the bottom.
Thanks for the reply! Maybe I will try drilling the glass myself then. I read through a couple of threads here on DB about it, but it still seems a little daunting.

I'm not sure yet about what to cover the tree with. So people typically use either the drylok or the grout method it sounds like? Any insight on which is better?
 

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In way of great stuff I recommend using the red can not the blue.

I'm on my phone and can't link to my build but I'm working on something very similar. Search "29 gal for bahkuis pair build". I explain on there why I suggest that. I'll link you to it tomorrow when I'm at a computer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
In way of great stuff I recommend using the red can not the blue.

I'm on my phone and can't link to my build but I'm working on something very similar. Search "29 gal for bahkuis pair build". I explain on there why I suggest that. I'll link you to it tomorrow when I'm at a computer.
I saw your build, it looks nice! I already have the black GS for ponds leftover from my first build, so I'm going to use that.
 

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Looks good so far. Drilling glass is way easier than you think! I've bought my glass bit off ebay for $8, When I started into this I was a little sketched about drilling glass also, I got quotes as high as $25 per hole!
I like the buttress root idea but think it would be more aesthetically pleasing if you brought it a little to one side or the other instead of directly in the middle. I think the law of thirds can help out alot in construction/planting.
Also I would recomend a few out crops (driftwood, cork tubes etc) at different levels if you plan on any orchids. I think your on the right track with the CPU fans, I have seen a drastic improvement in overall plant health since I started adding fans to my vivs, IME with a misting set up I dont think the 2 along the back will be enough to keep the front glass clear. You will likely need to add 2 or 3 more to blow down directly on the glass. Hope this helps a little.
 

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I like the Idea a lot, really well thought out. google the rule of thirds you will see what they mean by offsetting the trunk just a little for it to be even more visually pleasing...to some anyway. your fan idea is good, circulation helps a lot and you will cretainly need more fans to keep the glass clear or make enough room in the trunk to house one of the larger CPU ans you you might get away with it. What will you be coating the tree with?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I am very familiar with the rule of thirds (I started out as an art major after all) but I'm purposefully ignoring it for this tank. Maybe I'll reconsider though. :)
 

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Today I got some much appreciated help from my dad and my husband to carve and sand the tree stump.





Then I cut a hole near the bottom for the air circulation intake vent.


And cut a hole at the top for the air circulation outlet vent.


And then used Great Stuff to cover up the gaps. I will sand it down to a smooth surface once it cures.


We're picking up the tank on Monday. :)
 

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looks fantastic!!! are you going to keep it smooth or give it texture with grout or what?

I need to make a tree trunk for a six foot tall gecko tank, so I'm watching this pretty carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
looks fantastic!!! are you going to keep it smooth or give it texture with grout or what?

I need to make a tree trunk for a six foot tall gecko tank, so I'm watching this pretty carefully.
Thanks! I've never worked with grout before, would I be able to give it texture with that do you think? Or is it thin like paint, so wouldn't really add texture? I was planning to just carve some details into the foam and then cover it with drylok tinted a nice tree-like color.
 

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hi Im new to the site and wanted to say.... that is going to be one awsome tree...
Im watching to see your out come..... nice so far..
from what i remember grout will work similar to peanutbutter....
nice job...
Larry
 

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congrats Azriel that looks really good!! I always thought of doing something similar, but I really didn't know how..I think it will look good in any way you cover it:)

greetings!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I made some progress on carving the tree stump today. Using this photo as my inspiration, I tried carving grooves in the roots to make them look more realistic. I hope I was successful at that... I also covered the vents with black screen (holding the screens down and blending them in by putting great stuff around them) and made little ledges for the fan to sit on inside the tree stump.









 
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