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Joe's 29 gal Vert build-pics
#1
Hi Everyone,
I am starting my first dart frog tank. I've had very basic planted tanks with green tree frogs and red eyes in the past but I'm going a little bigger this time and moving into darts. I've been pretty successful in the past with reef tanks but we'll be renting for a while so a vivarium is a much better option. I've always been into herps and wanted darts but haven't really have the ideal time until now. I'm definitely looking forward to a little piece of the jungle in my living room. First I'll just start with a little "In memoriam" pic of what I had to sell earlier this year before we moved from Cleveland to Tampa. It was a 45g mixed reef that I took a great deal of pride in. It was tough to break down and sell. Lots of frags grown into good size colonies.

[Image: PB230495.jpg]

Moving to the present and future...

Here are some supplies I've gather thus far from NEHERP. I'll be doing a 29g vertical with a GSF background using Titebond III to cover it with coco fiber and sphagnum.

[Image: IMG_3090_zps24989cae.jpg]

After doing lots of reading and digging through threads I also decided to carve a tree stump out of great stuff on a eggcrate frame. It didn't take long to find out just how much the GSF expands and leaves you room to carve and work with.

[Image: IMG_3094_zps3e534621.jpg]

Yesterday I was able to put the finishing touches on the carving and I'm pretty happy with the result.
[Image: IMG_3100_zps95f537a9.jpg]

I then put a small coat of acrylic paint on as a base before some titebond and coco.

[Image: IMG_3105_zpse7e28ab0.jpg]

The stand is custom built and I'm still in the process of skinning it. It's going to be in the living room so I want it to look very finished and furniture quality.
[Image: IMG_3102_zps0f26b62e.jpg]

This morning I put a 2nd coat of acrylic on the stump (that yellow showing through just won't do) and just finished the first layer of coco on the stump. I should hopefully get through some foaming in of the right side of the tank tonight too. My goal is to have the background foamed and coated by Tuesday. Next weekend we have a trip planned to Siesta Key with a stop at Tropiflora in order so I'm going to be bringing home a good selection of plants to fill it in.

I'm leaning towards a small group of R. imitator or variabilis but I'm still reading and researching so I don't have my heart set yet. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of good breeders here in FL so I'm sure I will have options. The background will have many perches, plants, and probably some vines so vertical space will be very accessible.

I know lighting a solid 2' depth can be a challenge so I'm still working on that as well. I'll most likely do a custom hood setup with CFLs for now with the possibility to upgrade to LED or just do a combo.
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#2
Hi Joe,
Sorry you had to get rid of your reef tank--I know that must've been very hard to do. It looks very nice!
I like how you made the tree trunk out of GSF for your new dart viv! Looks very cool! I've never heard of anyone painting it with acrylics--hopefully you looked that up to see if it is OK? Dart frogs are sensitive to lots of chemicals!
I have a pair of breeding R. Imitators (Cainarachi Valley), who have given me 8 froglets over the past year, and I must say I highly recommend them. They are a bit shy, but fascinating, and I have enjoyed them immensely. We've actually seen the male transport twice, and that is amazingly cool!
As for lighting your viv, I am definitely Stupid when it comes to all the technical lighting stuff. But I DO KNOW, don't try to light the whole 24 inches down! One of the great benefits of having a 24 inch deep viv, is that you will have stronger light at the top, and lower light as you go down--your frogs can search out the lighting they need, and not be over-exposed!
Good luck with your new exploit into PDFs!
Diane
P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis
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#3
Lovely stump! Can't wait to see how this turns out. A custom hood with a pair of LED lamps would look great. Watch the venting on your custom hood - even the LEDs get hot. I use 80 mm blow holes in my hoods with a variable speed fan - keeps everything nice and cool and provides active venting through my top vents in my vivs (I realize this is not applicable for your vert). Thanks for sharing and keep the pics coming!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#4
DianeCarter Wrote:Hi Joe,
Sorry you had to get rid of your reef tank--I know that must've been very hard to do. It looks very nice!
I like how you made the tree trunk out of GSF for your new dart viv! Looks very cool! I've never heard of anyone painting it with acrylics--hopefully you looked that up to see if it is OK? Dart frogs are sensitive to lots of chemicals!
I have a pair of breeding R. Imitators (Cainarachi Valley), who have given me 8 froglets over the past year, and I must say I highly recommend them. They are a bit shy, but fascinating, and I have enjoyed them immensely. We've actually seen the male transport twice, and that is amazingly cool!
As for lighting your viv, I am definitely Stupid when it comes to all the technical lighting stuff. But I DO KNOW, don't try to light the whole 24 inches down! One of the great benefits of having a 24 inch deep viv, is that you will have stronger light at the top, and lower light as you go down--your frogs can search out the lighting they need, and not be over-exposed!
Good luck with your new exploit into PDFs!
Diane

Thanks for the kind words, Diane! All the paint I used is non-toxic. I chose the acrylic based on some searches where folks using different kinds for terrarium rocks and tinting dryloc with good results. Hopefully it holds up but only a minimal amount should be exposed.

R. imitator is high on my list. I really like all of the variations but I think Varadero might be my target.

It doesn't really show in the original pics too well but there's a decent area under the stump that is completely shaded plus I figure with the plants there should be some good areas to hide. My fireball brom is going to be about halfway down so I just need to figure out the light penetration to keep it colored up.
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#5
joneill809 Wrote:Lovely stump! Can't wait to see how this turns out. A custom hood with a pair of LED lamps would look great. Watch the venting on your custom hood - even the LEDs get hot. I use 80 mm blow holes in my hoods with a variable speed fan - keeps everything nice and cool and provides active venting through my top vents in my vivs (I realize this is not applicable for your vert). Thanks for sharing and keep the pics coming!

Thanks! I actually had a custom hood with fans on my reef so I was thinking about the same for this tank. Are you running LEDs currently? I'm looking into the regular Jungle Dawn bulbs and Glow and Grow. Both seem pretty promising so we'll see.
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#6
Quick little update...I was able to get the background pretty well foamed in with some carving and adjustments to come. I plan tomorrow to cover it and do another layer on the stump.

[Image: IMG_3109_zpsf3bde9c4.jpg]

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We also took a trip today to Tropiflora in Sarasota to pick up some plants. You get $5 off your first order if you sign up for the VIPP program and 10% off all purchases. It saved us $16 today...yeah, we had a good time. The selection at that place is absolutely unreal. They have thousands of just broms and tillandsia alone. The staff is incredibly helpful. Anthony must've walked around with me and my wife for well over an hour picking out terrarium plants and some other plants for our porch. I cannot recommend them enough for any specialty items.

[Image: IMG_3117_zpsf9b20302.jpg]

My lovely assistant helped me figure out potential placement for everything.

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I picked up 2 Neoregalia. One is a fireball and the other is a hybrid.

[Image: IMG_3114_zps38a3ba44.jpg]

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I'm now more excited than ever to see everything come together.
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#7
Very nice...coming along well ! Congrats
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#8
jflick345 Wrote:Thanks! I actually had a custom hood with fans on my reef so I was thinking about the same for this tank. Are you running LEDs currently? I'm looking into the regular Jungle Dawn bulbs and Glow and Grow. Both seem pretty promising so we'll see.
My custom hoods are just boxes housing LEDs so you reef guys would put my stuff to shame Smile. I have switched over to all JungleDawn LEDs on all my vivs. My first three use the 11 and 13 watt JDs. I am trying two JDs and one G&G on an 18x18x24 - it looks sharper and bluer to me but I am color blind so what do I know Smile. I am also using the new megadawns and G&Gs on my new 120. The megadawns are longer JDs. These lamps have good penetration into the viv. You can get some neat lighting effects with staggered timers on multiple lamps.

I like the screw in LED lamps because I'm lazy and I don't feel like making my own fixture and these bulbs along with a socket and core drop into custom hoods easily, and they are low profile enough that I can use a 2.5" inner height and 3" overall height on my hoods for a really low profile look. No duds so far either so that is good.

The viv is coming along great! Nice work!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#9
Philsuma Wrote:Very nice...coming along well ! Congrats

Thanks!

joneill809 Wrote:My custom hoods are just boxes housing LEDs so you reef guys would put my stuff to shame Smile. I have switched over to all JungleDawn LEDs on all my vivs. My first three use the 11 and 13 watt JDs. I am trying two JDs and one G&G on an 18x18x24 - it looks sharper and bluer to me but I am color blind so what do I know Smile. I am also using the new megadawns and G&Gs on my new 120. The megadawns are longer JDs. These lamps have good penetration into the viv. You can get some neat lighting effects with staggered timers on multiple lamps.

I like the screw in LED lamps because I'm lazy and I don't feel like making my own fixture and these bulbs along with a socket and core drop into custom hoods easily, and they are low profile enough that I can use a 2.5" inner height and 3" overall height on my hoods for a really low profile look. No duds so far either so that is good.

The viv is coming along great! Nice work!

Thanks! I really do like the idea of a nice, clean low profile hood. My aquarium hood had to be over 12" tall for my T5s between the fixture/ballasts and the clearance from the water. LEDs just may be the way to go from the sounds of it. Do the bulbs put off any kind of heat on the glass below or is it negligible?
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#10
I was able to get the background coated on Sunday while watching the Browns fall apart and forget how to play football...*sigh*....anyway...

I used the Tite Bond III paste method with coco coir and sphagnum to give it some good texture. It's definitely hardening up nicely but it still has some curing to do. I added in a couple more chunks of cork bark to the background for mounting my broms and also a cork tube to use as a planter on the right side. I'll probably use it for my creeping fig. I'm also going to be planting the fig in the top of the stump which will hopefully give it a cool effect as it starts to "creep."

[Image: IMG_3123_zps92e9568a.jpg]

[Image: IMG_3124_zps3465eb5c.jpg]

I'm planning to silicone/epoxy the door glass in place this week once I locate my source. The first shop was $35 for a 6"x11.5" and a 20.25"x11.5" of 3/16th or 1/4 which seemed excessive. I guess it's thick glass but that still seems high. I'm going to check with a couple more places and see if any hardware stores carry thicker panes of glass.
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#11
jflick345 Wrote:Thanks! I really do like the idea of a nice, clean low profile hood. My aquarium hood had to be over 12" tall for my T5s between the fixture/ballasts and the clearance from the water. LEDs just may be the way to go from the sounds of it. Do the bulbs put off any kind of heat on the glass below or is it negligible?
I recorded about a 4 to 6 degree gradient in one of my vivs when I tried passive venting. I added the blow hole and that kept a uniform temp in the via with an intake vent below the door and an exhaust vent at the top of the viv above the door. So they do get hot. I think the active cooling prolongs the life of the bulb as well.

Here's a thread of mine with my first slim line hood and my temperature data using jungle dawns.
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=7420

The background is looking great! I bet the stump will look impressive as the plants grow in. Thanks for the post!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#12
Last weekend I was able to install the glass/door and vent so I let it cure for a few days.
LECA, barrier, and NEHERP substrate went in today so I was able to start planting. It obviously still needs the sphagnum and leaf litter juuust in case someone feels the need to mention it. Big Grin

Here is the list of plants that I have:
Tillandsia abdita Mexican form
Tillandsia araujel Bronze
Tillandsia bulbosa Red form
Tillandsia ionantha fuego
Neoregelia "Red Bird" x pauciflora
Neoregelia Fireball
Fittonia argyroneura - mosaic plant
possibly Neanthe bella - some kind of mini palm
Selaginella sp. probably kraussiana
Creeping fig
Dischidia ovata
small fern, probably Lemon button
Philodendron scandens micans Velvet leaf
maybe an african violet

Alright, I know everyone just came for pics so here ya go.

The bottom of the stand will feature 2 - 1.5gal fish tanks. I figured I'd use the space since it's there and the tanks were free. Plus I'll always have the option to replace the shelves to install a 10g vert. instead Wink
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#13
Update! Lots of things have changed. I've added some leaf litter, pods, springtails, and NEHERP moss. I changed the lighting from a couple CFLs to a 15w LED spotlight and a 13w Jungle Dawn since my fireball completely greened out. I also acquired a beautiful Todd Kelley line R. Amazonica Iquitos. I'm hoping I can locate 3 more but it seems to be a tougher line to pin down
[Image: maneryda.jpg][Image: e9ube3yh.jpg][Image: arequ7e9.jpg] [Image: y9evuge9.jpg]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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#14
growing in nicely !!
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#15
You can see in the previous post that the fireball didn't look great so I installed the 15w LED spot above it around Christmas time. This photo was taken around that time and about 3 weeks after the last update. You can see what it looked like with the CFLs before the switch compared with 5 weeks or so of the new light.

[Image: 18wCFLflood2_zps75004dc3.jpg]
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