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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I am new to Dart Frogs and building complete Vivariums; this will be my first build. I am leaning towards Leucs at the moment, although that could change depending on what is available in AZ. I will be posting up a bunch of pictures as I go so feel free to comment on anything!

I have read A LOT of your postings of builds and other various topics, so now it's time for me to dive in. Here we go!

I got the idea to mark out where I want to silicone from somebody doing a build on this forum. Laid it out and filled it in with the black silicone. Purpose for doing this was to have a cleaner look on the outside of the tank and to let the Great Stuff to stick better/longer. The two pieces of wood in these pictures are oak driftwood I collected and sanitized.

I will be using Hydroton and ABG mix from Joshs Frogs. The delivery should be here by tuesday latest. I also ordered some Cypress wood from him and I will see if I can incorperate that without being too cramped.

I hope you guys enjoy yet another build! Post any thoughts or concerns please.

Mark
 

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Will be following this thread, cant wait to see more updates!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am starting the foaming process tonight, hopefully I have enough! These pictures are the progress after one can used. I thought I would try to make a ledge using a skinny branch of Manzanita and some left over mesh screen. We will soon find out if that was a good idea or an epic failure. :D

I'm going to let the first can cure for a bit and then add in the finishing touches with the second hopefully.

Thanks for looking!
 

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I'm planning the same build for my first, will be some time before I start. As one should have a home before one tries to give a frog a home...LOL

Following with interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah that might be a good idea. ;) The second can is curing now. All I can say is that stuff takes up a lot of space!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok so here is the Great Stuff after curing. I think it turned out pretty well. The manzanita ledges turned into more of a mound....:p

The GS pulled away from the silicone on the left side some overnight, so I threw some extra silicone down the side. Hopefully that will hold it in there.

So should I carve the background or leave it as it is?

Let me know what you think everyone!:)
Thanks!
 

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Keep an eye on that wood, I don't think it has the best track record in humid environments. You could always seal it to prevent rot.
 

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Manzanita, Oak and Cypress should all be fine. It's grape wood that gets a bit moldy. I like grape wood thought. The mold goes away and the bugs move in. :D
 

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I would carve it out a little to make a few ledges and crevices. Just my opinion tho, and be careful.. when I get to carving, its hard to stop and I end up with less than half of the foam that was originally put in.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the heads up on the wood, I guess if it starts to rot it will just look more "homely" haha. I will start the carving today. I'll post a pic of it halfway done so you can see the process better. The tools I will be using is an exacto knife and a Dremel tool if need be :cool:

Stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey guys here it is all carved out. I switched from my Droid to my wifes Digital SLR camera, so the pictures should be better from now on. I tried to not go too crazy with the carving process because I like the look of the way it expands. I made five or six ledges and two planting holes with a drainage hole in the bottom of each. The right side will have a cave about five inches deep, and the frogs will have two entrance holes.

Also, the first picture is the area that has expanded off of the glass. I mushed some silicone into the crack after it expanded. Will that be good enough to hold it longterm?

I will be covering the background with a mixture of coco husk, Sphagnum moss, and ground walnut shells. I believe this will get me the texture I desire, plus allow vining plants a hold for the roots.

Please let me know what you think of it!
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If anyone cares here is a picture of the coco husk, sphagnum moss, and walnut pieces mixed together. It is drying overnight on my porch...here's to hoping for a non windy night!!!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well luckily I brought in the background mix because it rained all night last night. :)

When I got home from work I was greeted with a package from Joshsfrogs.com, inside was my hydrtoton, ABG mix, five three inch net pots, two Plastic hinges, leaf litter, and three Cypress Wood pieces.

Once I was done checking out the box of goodies I got to work. It took me about an hour to put my soil mix onto the GS background. It looks like it sticks better when you are generous with the Silicone(heads up).

How long should I wait before setting it upright and brushing it off? The silicone says it is paintable in 3 hours, so I figure if I wait 5 hours then it should be good to go. Any advice on this would be appreciated:eek:

Let me know what you think so far!
Mark
 

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Nice build so far..... however, I usually wait a week or two for the silicone to fully cure... since you applied a lot, I would wait it out. You can go ahead and stand it upright and let the excess dirt come off now though.

One to two weeks is average for me.... but I'd rather wait til the smell is gone. I put a fan on it for the first couple of days to circulate it too.
 

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are you going to have a false bottom?? Do you have a method in mind for being able to suction off any accumulation of water in the bottom of the tank?? How about adding some washed, smashed up real charcoal to keep the soil sweet and for the future isopods? Do not use the manufactured charcoal briquets...use washed hardwood charcoal or charcoal that is used with plants. Good start...you'll be hooked...waking up in the night planning your next project...thinking about a water feature...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the replies! I will wait until the smell is gone, that should mean it is cured I suppose. I used a little less than two tubes on the entire background.

About drainage.....I saw a post on here a while back that someone siliconed a piece of PVC to the bottom of the tank with holes in the sides so they could suction out water with a turkey baster. I'm thinking of going along those lines to get it out.

Where would I come across this charcoal for the viv?

Yeah I decided to skip the water feature for my first build. Seemed like more of a headache than anything...

Mark
 

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The ground walnut shells may have been a bad idea, as they contain and release juglone which is a toxic growth inhibiter of plants. I do not know it's effects on amphibians.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
hmm, that isn't good. I hope it will be alright, it's a little too late now I guess. The bag says if ingested it will pass through animals systems without harm. Hopefully it won't harm the plants. I put in a quart of the ground Walnut shells for the background mix. I guess at this time only time will tell.

Thanks!
Mark
 

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hmm, that isn't good. I hope it will be alright, it's a little too late now I guess. The bag says if ingested it will pass through animals systems without harm. Hopefully it won't harm the plants. I put in a quart of the ground Walnut shells for the background mix. I guess at this time only time will tell.

Thanks!
Mark
You could mix up a bit without the walnut to lay on top, to decrease the frogs change of ingesting. Of course with a nice leaf litter on top of that :D
 

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The ground walnut shells may have been a bad idea, as they contain and release juglone which is a toxic growth inhibiter of plants. I do not know it's effects on amphibians.
I made a similiar response to another post...but they were going to use English walnuts...not black walnuts, which I do know has jugalone--a poison through the entire tree, including the dropped nuts, prevents seeding and growth of all sorts of plants under the entire tree canopy. Like this post, however, they intend to use English walnuts so I advised they investigate this issue on garden sites that are reputable. As a gardener and a person with livestock, I am really sensitive to the use of black walnut, as well as cherry, anywhere near my livestock or garden...
 
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