New Build Questions

Discussion in 'Vivarium General' started by Scarloc, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Hey guys! Sorry it has been so long, between school and wedding stuff (read that as stress) I have been busy :)

    I am hating my first build mostly due to 3 things.

    1) The build itself - I really feel that there is a lot of upper space that could have been better used.

    2) I am 90% sure that I did not get enough salt out of my coco bark background as any plant that touches it seems to wither / lose the leaves that touch it. Things like every brom that does not touch it seems to multiply and grow, the ones that do are half dead.

    3) The waterfall - though it looks awesome and keeps the water fresh it has soaked my soil so only water hardy plants will live.

    4) And an extra one - I can never see through the glass due to the humidity. So this tank is getting a double cpu fan treatment. I am thinking the top two corners on the front blowing out of the viv so air will come in through the front vent and out through the fans.

    So I have been scouring Kijiji and got a 24x24x18 exo for 60$ because the top was melted. Not using the top this time so I am good.

    So as I am starting a new tank I am changing it all. First this time instead of a pump to change the water I am thinking of a drain. Where to get the drain/rubber seal? As I hand mist do you think this is needed?

    How long do you guys think oak or ironwood would last. I am considering using 4-5, 4 inch wide branches cut in half so I get a criss crossing canopy across the top siliconing the half cut section to the glass. Then I am considering filling the gaps with a clay background. Anyone got a good link on how to make a clay background?

    The soil even after being soaked for about a year seems to be holding up well. Think I am going to use the same mix. Going to need to pickup another bag of hydroballs.
     
  2. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Also a pic of the froggies. And yes I resorted to a pothos in this soaking soil. Any guesses on sex?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Administrator Staff Member

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    I personaly feel drains are unessary especialy for hand misting, this aslong as there is a none wickable drainage layer.
     
  4. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Awesome that is a lot less work for me. Anyone else have a good tutorial on clay backgrounds or know how well local hardwood will hold up?
     
  5. frogfreak

    frogfreak Legendary Member

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    I don't see any issue with using local hardwoods at all. Ironwood is like concrete. lol

    Looking at your frog pics I would say 1.2.

    Left...female

    Middle...male

    Right...female

    How old are they now?

    Glenn
     
  6. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Well we got them in July so 9 months plus understory age so they are likely over a year old now. And it is spring perhaps I should give them something for eggs.

    The little guy seems to let the other ones eat first. One of the big ones always seems to be hanging out up top in the broms while the other is in the coco hut.
     
  7. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    So almost have my planning done there is just a step I seem to be missing. Been looking at vivs for well at least 3 days now. With the clay backgrounds there seems to be two textures you can do. The first is just plain rock/clay and you can make that rough or smooth as you want. The other way is a woody texture, it seems like coco fiber is just squished on afterward? Is this how it is done or am I missing a step?

    Also how or where has no salt coco fiber or how do you get it clean?
     
  8. Grimm

    Grimm Contributing Member

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    The grey/rocky looking clay is just plain sodium bentonite powder, with nothing added for colour.

    As for the "woody" clay texture, you can do this 2 ways. You can add plain clay like the first option, then rub peat into the surface. Or you can completely mix peat into the clay to give a smooth brown looking background.

    The more naturals added to the clay, the faster the background will decomposed, so mix to your discretion. I personally like the look of the dark brown backgrounds, so I mixed a lot of peat into my clay. The bonus of doing this is that mosses will eventually pop up and make a wall of green, whereas the plain sodium bentonite will continually look grey and eventually form patches of algea on it's surface.

    There is a third type of clay background, and apparently its the best option for overall frog and microfauna health. It is a mixture of 75% redart clay, and 25% sodium/calcium bentonite. It obviously looks red, so most people will rub peat into the surface also.

    Here is a little DIY vid I made a while back for my backgrounds...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcC2KhKFSyA
     
  9. frogfreak

    frogfreak Legendary Member

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    Also, if you want some Redart clay to add some colour, I have some here if you like. It doesn't take much.
     
  10. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Also does clay wick water at all? I find myself still wanting a small waterfall and if I can do the edges clay going down into a plastic container to hold all the water I think I can just make a ramp that goes down into it.
     
  11. Grimm

    Grimm Contributing Member

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    I would avoid using clay in constant contact with water. Very few people have had succes with it constantly wet.
     
  12. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Okay I may have to rock/silicone it then. Decided not to do a bulkhead but I will hide a hose behind to siphon water out if I get too much. As I am not worried about lots of water I can have a very thin false bottom. I think I will go to the computer store tomorrow and pickup some case fans and at least get the top started.
     
  13. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Was fairly productive this afternoon. Tore an old power supply apart for the fans and I didn't even shock myself. Found an old adjustable power adaptor so I can regulate the speed and wired it all up. Once the fiance gets home with my car I am going to get some wood to make a top and try to figure out how to fit the fans, lighting and screen.

    Maybe tomorrow get the glass and then it will be wood/stones searching time.
     
  14. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Currently testing the exo to see if it has any leaks from the last guy. Have about 3 inches of water in it and a bunch of red food colouring (maybe spelt coloring) in it. In about an hour I will go wipe down the outside seams with a kleenex and see if there is any pink. So I have to wait an hour. :(
     
  15. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    So today I scrubbed this poor exo, got the mesh in, painted my fan holder black and tested the fans. Need to pickup my top glass tomorrow and going to scout the rock yard for any flagstone castoffs.

    So with a kettle fully boiling I could just about fully cover the front glass with condensation. With fans only about half could be covered so I hope they work.

    [​IMG]

    Picture of the top, still need to tape the fan wires.

    [​IMG]

    Kids mosquito shirt I bought during the winter on clearence with the good netting. 2$ and I can prob do 15 more viv's so it is not going into my cost total for this one.

    [​IMG]

    So far price wise
    60$ kijiji exo
    3$ spruce board
    = 63$
     
  16. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    And I convinced the fiance to go driftwood hunting with me after work today. I know a beach that gets a lot in the spring I just hope it has been thawed long enough to get some.
     
  17. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    How do you guys steralize large pieces of wood? I normally do a bleach clean then rinse and then in the oven at 400 for an hour. Had a couple of long pieces that would not fit so I cut them as I did not need them but what if I did.
     
  18. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    So today I washed and baked my wood. Here is what I managed to pickup from the beach that was not pine based.

    [​IMG]

    I am really liking the rotted through one on the right. After removing all the soft stuff from the inside it has about a 1" tunnel all the way through and the big hole you can see at the top. I also really like the mangled piece at the top as it is all gnarled. And I like the T piece in between the two so I am going to try and use all three. While not as shapely or the nice dark brown of the more exotic wood it is many times cheaper and if it breaks down well hopefully more moss will grow. Also in the bottom left there is a big long vine one. As long as it is wet it is really flexable, seems to have no rot on it so I am going to see if I can use it as a climby sort of vine.

    [​IMG]

    Top view of the hood, eventual goal is to have the fans sucking air from the tank and blowing past the lights to keep everything cool. After the tank is up and running I will finish covering it. The top glass is between the layers of corrigated plastic to hold everything tight and to stop it from bending.

    [​IMG]

    View from in the tank. Note for next time, do not cut the cord hole where there is a big knot in the wood.

    next bonus pictures of my fatty (looks like) females.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Everytime I see her wrist I think it is broken because of the white.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Do your guys frogs seem to only poop on your broms? And do you clean them off?
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Administrator Staff Member

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    Both fans are sucking outside air in? What is your goal humidity level? Do you plan on having the fans on for a short burst or long periods?
     
  20. Scarloc

    Scarloc Contributing Member

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    Inside air out, I can make them very slow if needed. If it is still too much then I will need a timer.
     

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