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I thought I'd start a vivarium discussion thread as well. This is timely since I'll have the chance this coming week to make updates as I'll have the frogs out of the tank.

The inhabitants are 1.2 Ranitomeya uakarii. The tank is an 18x18x24" zoo med terrarium (I don't love the zoo med single door style, but that's not going to be changeable), lighting is a 18" Sunblaster T5HO light, I like the quality of the light. The tank has a solid glass top with a few 5/8" ventilation holes.

The background is a cork bark mosaic, one side has a coco fibre sheet.

Overall shot:



I have several Neoregalia bromeliads scattered throughout the enclosure and a couple of film canisters in the background.


ABG style substrate, leaf litter (magnolia since I love the natural curl it has)

I have a few seru pods and coco huts in the bottom layer. The frogs are quite active in the leaf litter and on the pods


I've used cork bark to create some extra usable space in the upper region, and a piece as a ramp to get there.




One thing I don't love is the barrenness of the top section but I'm not sure how to fix it. I have lots of cork bark I can use but that likely won't solve the issues. I have a few plants that I might be able to get growing there (Begonia glabra would likely do well vining up high, and I have a really long piece growing in my plant tank that I can use, or Solanum cf evolvulifolium would also be a likely candidate that I have available).

Thoughts?
 

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That looks good -- I especially like the horizontals. :)

I'm a big fan of larger (just more mature, maybe with a couple pups attached) Neos, a couple mounted higher to make a sort of canopy. You could attach to the back or right side, and/or add some sort of mount on the glass on the left -- another 'knee' looking piece like the one you already have, or something like a Pillbug mount (don't know if you can get those in Canada).
 
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Ramps and ledges, FG? Shocking! ;-) The hardscape in this tank looks good to me. Blatant biased opinion incoming: - as much as you guys like horizontal, you have to be careful with too-horizontal and too-straight. It's really out of character in nature for things to be perfectly aligned and straight. I think you have done a great job in this tank of making things not quite straight. I love the way you used two pieces of cork, one resting on the other, rather than a single pieces that goes straight across all the way. The latter is probably what I would have done (or have done in several of my tanks) and this is a lot more natural looking. In my opinion, you can avoid "unnatural" by starting one side a little bit above and/or to the front of the other side if you are crossing the tank like you are. I think you have pulled it off just fine, but if it was a little more aligned with the front or top lines, it would creep into unnatural territory. The upshot of my comment is - well done, you have avoided that potential pitfall.

What did you use to secure the cork to the glass? It looks really good. No shiny silicone sticking out like it does on my tanks. I usually just set some sphagnum over the shiny, but you seem to have done a lot better than that.

The plants just look like they need time to grow in a bit. All of those broms look pretty young. They just need to settle in. I agree with SM, that a large brom would look sweet in there to balance the smaller ones. As for the top part, that is tougher because it looks to be pretty dry up there. You can start some plants lower where it's wetter and let them grow up into the space. You can also put some stuff up there that likes the dry to begin with. That's why I use Tillandsia for that spot in some of my tanks.

I love the messy look of the bottom with the pod pieces and large leaves. That looks to me just like I would find on the ground in any rainforest.

Great job overall, FG. Thanks for posting!

Mark
 

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Ramps and ledges, FG? Shocking! ;-) The hardscape in this tank looks good to me. Blatant biased opinion incoming: - as much as you guys like horizontal, you have to be careful with too-horizontal and too-straight. It's really out of character in nature for things to be perfectly aligned and straight. I think you have done a great job in this tank of making things not quite straight. I love the way you used two pieces of cork, one resting on the other, rather than a single pieces that goes straight across all the way. The latter is probably what I would have done (or have done in several of my tanks) and this is a lot more natural looking. In my opinion, you can avoid "unnatural" by starting one side a little bit above and/or to the front of the other side if you are crossing the tank like you are. I think you have pulled it off just fine, but if it was a little more aligned with the front or top lines, it would creep into unnatural territory. The upshot of my comment is - well done, you have avoided that potential pitfall.



What did you use to secure the cork to the glass? It looks really good. No shiny silicone sticking out like it does on my tanks. I usually just set some sphagnum over the shiny, but you seem to have done a lot better than that.



The plants just look like they need time to grow in a bit. All of those broms look pretty young. They just need to settle in. I agree with SM, that a large brom would look sweet in there to balance the smaller ones. As for the top part, that is tougher because it looks to be pretty dry up there. You can start some plants lower where it's wetter and let them grow up into the space. You can also put some stuff up there that likes the dry to begin with. That's why I use Tillandsia for that spot in some of my tanks.



I love the messy look of the bottom with the pod pieces and large leaves. That looks to me just like I would find on the ground in any rainforest.



Great job overall, FG. Thanks for posting!



Mark
Thanks Mark.

I just used silicone to attach the cork on, and cover any bits that are exposed with what I call "cork dust" (the bits of stuff that are in the bottom of a box of cork bark). Sprinkle it on as the silicone cures.
 

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Looks great!

My two cents: Something like Aeschynanthus gracilis - Lipstick Vine in the front right corner and train the majority of it to climb up the right wall. Would create nice wall of vines on that section. I have it in two of my viv's and like it cause, well, I haven't killed it!
 

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Count me as a plus 1 for bigger broms up top.

I have a largish brom in my insitu tank I purchased off of ebay. It came as an adult plant with a pup attached. Its flowered for me and seems to have survived the flowering and the creation of a second pup. I absolutely love it and consider it essentially the centerpiece of my tank. My two tincs also use the leaves as their nightly roosting spots. So yea, definitely get a bigger brom for the top if your budget allows.

The other thing that sticks out to me is the right side. Its completely unplanted near as I can tell. With just one head from the mister I am guessing it doesn't get too wet? If possible I would plant that side with moss, and/or vines. I would also consider gluing/attaching cork bark flats to it to break up the flat plane of the cocofiber. And/or just using moss in patches instead of covering the whole thing.

The planting may be limited there based on watering though. One thing I am planning for my next vivarium is extra spots near the back wall and side walls for misting heads so I hopefully won't have an issue with my background not getting wet enough to sustain plants. Since you have 5/8" vent holes already, is it possible to add another misting head closer to the side? Another option is switching your single misting head out for a double T and pointing one at that wall. All of this only if you actually want to plant it and are concerned about how much water it gets.

As a completely alternate option for up top you could add a very very branchy piece of wood. I buy manzanita from bloomsandbranches.com. They sell not for the vivarium hobby but for people decorating their homes. As a result their wood tends to be VERY branchy. I have had to remove a lot of smaller branches from the pieces I get and sanded down the edges a bit (mostly for my own peace of mind) but the result is largish pieces of wood that provide a LOT of locations to stick moss or air plants. Here is a picture of some pieces I bought, the one on the right is straight out of the box, the one on the left is one I thinned down:

 

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I think you are on the right track but since you are looking for some constructive criticism, this is my two cents. I think proportions are an issue that is not discussed enough and I think your tank would benefit from some plants that have smaller leaves. I also think that your tank would benefit from some plants with different growth patterns such as shinglers, cascaders, vines, etc.

As for the hardscape, I like the additional functional space your layout offers. But I got to say that I am not a fan of the coir backing on the side of your tank as it currently stands. If it got more "saturated" with moisture, I think the color would appear more natural, and I doubt as it currently stands that it appears moist enough to promote the growth of many vivarium plants. I could be wrong, but that is how it appears to me. I think a double head mister might be the perfect solution.

Overall impressions are that you have the start of a great tank with the inhabitants well being first and foremost on your mind. Kudoz and make sure to continue to share your tanks evolution. Cheers.
 

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I think you are on the right track but since you are looking for some constructive criticism, this is my two cents. I think proportions are an issue that is not discussed enough and I think your tank would benefit from some plants that have smaller leaves. I also think that your tank would benefit from some plants with different growth patterns such as shinglers, cascaders, vines, etc.



As for the hardscape, I like the additional functional space your layout offers. But I got to say that I am not a fan of the coir backing on the side of your tank as it currently stands. If it got more "saturated" with moisture, I think the color would appear more natural, and I doubt as it currently stands that it appears moist enough to promote the growth of many vivarium plants. I could be wrong, but that is how it appears to me. I think a double head mister might be the perfect solution.



Overall impressions are that you have the start of a great tank with the inhabitants well being first and foremost on your mind. Kudoz and make sure to continue to share your tanks evolution. Cheers.
Thanks for the input.

I'm getting some marcgravia cuttings out, and will be putting one in this tank when I have enough growth in my plant growing tank. Either rectiflora or sintenisii , haven't decided which it'll depend which one grows better in my growing tank (probably rectiflora).
 

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Thanks for the input.

I'm getting some marcgravia cuttings out, and will be putting one in this tank when I have enough growth in my plant growing tank. Either rectiflora or sintenisii , haven't decided which it'll depend which one grows better in my growing tank (probably rectiflora).
I vote both! :) Actually, those two look different enough from each other that the difference would add to the diversity that varanoid is talking about. I am with him about the coir, too, but that is really subjective and other folks may differ. What might be more objective is how plants grow on it.

Mark
 
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