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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just finished up my GS, silicone, coco fiber background and I am waiting on the silicone to cure. Now I know that I need to wait around 2 weeks or so for it to fully cure, but while it does, is it safe to add the substrate into the tank? If it helps, I plan to purchase some ABG mix and leaf litter for use as substrate.

Also, the tank I am currently setting up is a 20L and I was wondering just how much substrate I should lay down. I saw that Josh's sold ready made batches of ABG mix in 8qt and 4qt sizes and judging by the bag of eco earth that I got from the store for the background (8qt) I am guessing 12qt would be a good amount to put in there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

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Silicone usually dries pretty fast so I'm sure you can start adding the substrate now. As far as how much to put in there, that depends, I'd say 2 inches + is a fine amount, depends on the plants you are putting in there too. In the 20L tank I have, one side has about 1 inch and it grows to about 3 inches on the other side to create a little slope. Just be creative.

Don't forget the drainage layer though. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the speedy reply!

I figured it would be ok to add now, just wasn't a 100% sure because of the whole curing factor. If I do add the substrate now, would it be safe to start adding in some plants? Our should I wait for the silicone?

Also, do you remember how many quarts it took for your enclosure?

p.s.
I have around 2.5-3 in of false bottom for the drainage =)
 

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Personally I'd wait a day or two before putting the plants in. Let it completely dry and let it air out. Then you can add plants and water it down.

Hmm.. I forget how much I used in mine, I think probably 8 qts would be fine for a 20l.
 

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You could also play it safe and wait to put the substrate in. If you are going to be waiting for the BG to cure, it doesn't really make sense to put the sub in (unless you are trying to get a jump-start on getting the plants established). I would suggest taking your time, you will be much happier with the end result. Also, you are going to want more than 8 quarts for the 20L. Why not just go ahead and get 16 (its just a few more $). Having some left over is much better than not having enough. Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Personally I'd wait a day or two before putting the plants in. Let it completely dry and let it air out. Then you can add plants and water it down.

Hmm.. I forget how much I used in mine, I think probably 8 qts would be fine for a 20l.
Yea I did it yesterday afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You could also play it safe and wait to put the substrate in. If you are going to be waiting for the BG to cure, it doesn't really make sense to put the sub in (unless you are trying to get a jump-start on getting the plants established). I would suggest taking your time, you will be much happier with the end result. Also, you are going to want more than 8 quarts for the 20L. Why not just go ahead and get 16 (its just a few more $). Having some left over is much better than not having enough. Good Luck.
That's exactly what I was trying to do. I plan on getting some frogs around November since there is a local herp show and I would like to have some decent plant coverage when I put the little guys in. So really the more time for them to grow the better.
 

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2 of the big eco earth bags would do you fine, they should run you $10 a piece. I would say give it a few days to dry out before planting. Your still going to be working out many tweeks in your Viv for a few weeks, so its kind of good your waiting until nov. I just finished a 20L in mid AUG and i still see things I want to fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok cool, sounds good! I suppose I will let it dry off over the weekend and maybe start planting it then.
 

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Don't plant until you do a closed viv smell test. CLose up the viv for at least an hour. Then smell inside. If it still smells like the curing compound in the caulk DO NOT PLANT. Those fumes could burn the leaves on your plants and kill them. Learn from my experience. I waited 2 weeks and did not smell anything so I planted. Put the lid on and the next day to my horror, the leaves were browned on most of my plants and they looked bad. I opened the lid and nearly passed out from the fumes. I cut most back and managed to save some, but my Broms are permenantly damaged on the leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Don't plant until you do a closed viv smell test. CLose up the viv for at least an hour. Then smell inside. If it still smells like the curing compound in the caulk DO NOT PLANT. Those fumes could burn the leaves on your plants and kill them. Learn from my experience. I waited 2 weeks and did not smell anything so I planted. Put the lid on and the next day to my horror, the leaves were browned on most of my plants and they looked bad. I opened the lid and nearly passed out from the fumes. I cut most back and managed to save some, but my Broms are permenantly damaged on the leaves.
Thanks a ton for this! I guess this gives me more time to plan out what plans I want to use lol. Speaking of which... any suggestions on what plants I should use as starters?
 

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Don't plant until you do a closed viv smell test. CLose up the viv for at least an hour. Then smell inside. If it still smells like the curing compound in the caulk DO NOT PLANT. Those fumes could burn the leaves on your plants and kill them. Learn from my experience. I waited 2 weeks and did not smell anything so I planted. Put the lid on and the next day to my horror, the leaves were browned on most of my plants and they looked bad. I opened the lid and nearly passed out from the fumes. I cut most back and managed to save some, but my Broms are permenantly damaged on the leaves.
Actually I can almost 100$ guarantee this isn't why your plants died. In 2 of my tanks i let air out for a day and closed with plants, and I still have all of them, as healthy as can be. I still smelled silicone for a day, but is gone now. I recommend ficus pumila, neo broms, pothos, wandering jew for your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmmm... I hate when stories conflict lol. Maybe I will just do a test run with a plant from a LPS and see how it does, if its fine, cool I'll add more, if not, I'll wait.

Thanks for the plant suggestions btw! I really like the look of "baby tear" pilea. By any chance are they a good starter as well?
 

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Hmmm... I hate when stories conflict lol. Maybe I will just do a test run with a plant from a LPS and see how it does, if its fine, cool I'll add more, if not, I'll wait.

Thanks for the plant suggestions btw! I really like the look of "baby tear" pilea. By any chance are they a good starter as well?
My nursery had tiny tear 4" pot plants for a sale 1$, so I tried some. The leaves melted away, but after a month I started to get some growth, but I wouldn't use it again. I have a plant in my tank called Pile tiny tears (not baby tears). It looks the same, lasts great in my viv, and grows super fast. It does get leggy (i'm growing it to grow to the top of the viv to make an excellent hiding spot) so It's in lower light. Also pilea red stem tears is nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My nursery had tiny tear 4" pot plants for a sale 1$, so I tried some. The leaves melted away, but after a month I started to get some growth, but I wouldn't use it again. I have a plant in my tank called Pile tiny tears (not baby tears). It looks the same, lasts great in my viv, and grows super fast. It does get leggy (i'm growing it to grow to the top of the viv to make an excellent hiding spot) so It's in lower light. Also pilea red stem tears is nice.
Hmm I will have to look into the red stem. Wish I knew of a good nursey around my area. The only one I can think of is Moon Valley Nursery and I'm pretty sure they just do large plants... could be wrong though.
 

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I saw your post and then realized that you were also from Phoenix. I just ordered my tank today, a 18 x 18 x 18 zoomed and my fogger and hood. Gonna begin my great stuff and false bottom as soon as I get it. Is there any way you could post some pictures of your tank. I'm trying to get some good ideas how to shape the great stuff and like seeing how different folks did it. Also what type of frogs are you thinking of going with? Side note Junglebox.com has starter kits that come with LECA, their soil mix, a coco hut, a brom and some other tropical plants and I think a piece of cork wood. Might be worth looking into. Moon Valley is mostly all big trees and plants. AZDR has moss and some substrate as well and you might be able to do local pick up

http://www.junglebox.net/product/208.html?Category_Code=SUP
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I saw your post and then realized that you were also from Phoenix. I just ordered my tank today, a 18 x 18 x 18 zoomed and my fogger and hood. Gonna begin my great stuff and false bottom as soon as I get it. Is there any way you could post some pictures of your tank. I'm trying to get some good ideas how to shape the great stuff and like seeing how different folks did it. Also what type of frogs are you thinking of going with? Side note Junglebox.com has starter kits that come with LECA, their soil mix, a coco hut, a brom and some other tropical plants and I think a piece of cork wood. Might be worth looking into. Moon Valley is mostly all big trees and plants. AZDR has moss and some substrate as well and you might be able to do local pick up

10 Gallon Terrestrial Vivarium Starter Kit – Jungle Box
Sure thing! I took quite a few so far and Ill show you how I made my background... although, I did do it a bit unconventionally lol.

As far as frogs go, I wanted to get a pair of d. azureus. Also, thanks for the tip on the junglebox deal but I already have my false bottom laid down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
First, I bought some pvp reducers from Home Depot and used my dremel to carve out 2 holes on each side of themto allow water to freely flow in and out of them. Then I glued them to the bottom of the tank like so.


After that, I cut out some egg crate to fit the back and the bottom of the tank.


Here is a pic with he piece of driftwood that I plan on putting in there (of course I sterilized it first)


I then layed down some cardboard and propped up the egg crate backing up from it (so it wouldnt stick to the cardboard) and sprayed the GS all over it.


Now as you can tell, when spraying the GS on the backing, I made 2 spots on the background to use as potters. I then used a dremel and sander to sculpt the planters and rouch up all of the GS for better silicone adhesion.


After that, I put down some cardboard again (this part is messy), and slathered the whole thing in GEII black silicone and pressed in a bunch of eco earth that I bought from petsmart.


Finally, after the silicone dried a bit, I flipped the background over and put about 2.5 tubes of the same GEII on and used a piece of cardboard to evenly distribute the silicone on the back and stuck it to the background. Here is the end result
 

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made my own ABG mix, came out good!
1 bag cypress mulch (perferred over orchid bark IMO, much more airy, and I believe it lasts longer) 8$ for 8 quarts
1 box of sphagnum 8$ for a 33oz box (this stuff is expensive
Peat moss (home depot sells 4 cu feet bails for 10$, bring a friend though, it's heavy!
Tree fern fiber 8 quarts for 11$
Aquarium charcoal (I used 50 oz, check craigslist, people give it away sometimes, or just use regular charcoal) Free-30$
I made a lot of this for not all that much. Roughly 20-30 quarts for about 40-50$ with some left over, or just buy it premade

I used 8 quarts in my 20h, and was 3-5 inches deep.

Can't wait for pictures!
 
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