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Oh so many 'starting a viv questions'
#1
I didn't know if this should be in the Viv forum, but it is so basic I put it here. I did try to search for this info, but came up empty, though I'm positive it has been answered before.

I'm excited to finally have my tank! It's a 18x18x24 Zoo Med. And now I am trying to plan for the materials and method for getting it set up. I used the calculator in another thread to figure out that it equals a 33 gal. So,

A) does that mean when I am planning for frogs this tank would be appropriate for 3 (10 gal./per) frogs? (if they were an ok frog for groups of course.)

B) I am also wondering about the total substrate depth in relation to the vents on the front. It seems obvious that you wouldn't have the depth of the substrate so that it covers the vents (except maybe the leaf litter?), but is there an appropriate distance to stop below there? So maybe stop the substrate 1" below the vent or something?

C) also on the front vent, for those who bother to "FF proof" them how do you go about it? It looks like it comes out, do you somehow put screen between the two vent layers then put it back, or on the inside? And how do you attach it so it stays in place? I'd guess silicon some of the fiberglass screening to it, but want to be sure I do this in the best way for the frogs first, and appearance second.
I'm not worried about them being loose in the house, as much as I want to keep them in for food. Does the piece of banana work well enough that you don't have to worry about them leaving?

D) regarding the glass on top. Do you cut it to fit on top of the existing screen, or do you remove the screen top and completely replace it with glass? If venting it is desirable, how do you manage this? Moving the whole piece of glass a smidgen off, or cutting the glass a bit smaller to start with?

It appears that the bottom 3" are waterproof (have yet to check for leaks, but I will) so I think I'll have to use 1 1/2" of LECA, and 1 1/2" of ABG mix, then leaf litter on top of that which I understand should be about another 2" or so. Does that seem feasible?
I figure I need 10.5 liters of LECA for a 1 1/2" base for this tank. (someone check me lol math is not my strong suit!)

And most of the ABG I see is sold in gallon bags, so how far does that go?

Sorry about so many questions in one post... I am just bubbling over with them right now!
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#2
Lisa,

You are spot on with ALL your assumptions - from Venting, FF's, frogs per gallon, Glass tops to substrate depth. You must have done an excellent job of research here and I commend you.

There is no real formula for leca or ABG volume. Just buy what you think is a decent amount and if you're a little over, mores the better. Leca comes in different sizes and even colours. It's pretty cheap though, so no worries.

You're dead on with the glass top. Take a cardboard template to LOWES or home depot and have them cut the glass and you''ll have to sand the edges. Then just lay it on top of the screen and adjust as you say...
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#3
Thanks so much for your help Phil, it truly means a lot to me that someone experienced like yourself is able to confirm that I will be doing things correctly! Gives me confidence to move forward.

I have been reading like crazy, here, and on DB a little when it comes up in google searches. This would have been a MUCH longer process getting to this point without all the information here, so I would like to thank everyone who posts here, for a newbie, what a wealth of information! My future frogs thank you too Big Grin.

Off to continue reading!
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#4
I have never sanded glass, does it take off an appreciable amount? Should I get the glass a tiny bit bigger than the opening? What thickness of glass is recommended? Attaching handles - silicone isn't exactly a glue, does it work reliably for this?

The glass will be about 15 9/16ths square, so is it better to have it in two pieces for the sake of lighter for lifting?

The screen on these supports the weight of the glass huh? It seems a bit flimsy, makes me nervous.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#5
Buy the coloured foam 'emory cloth" / looks like sandpaper on coloured foam is the best may to describe it. Just hand sand the rough edges for about 10 mins and presto - not sharp anymore.

Get the "standard" thickness / whatever the do at LOWES or Home depot. I would cut out a cardboard template of as close to the exact size of your top or top sections (Exo vs Zoomed as the case may be) and then it lays right on top of the screen and you can slide it this way and that way as desired.

You can also get a small bathroom fixture knob there (million varieties) and clear silicone it onto the glass for a handle.

Glass is on the thin side and pretty light - no worries. You can even get a slight overlap template if you wish and the glass will fully cover over onto the sides / front and back, if you are squeemish.

LOWES or Home despot....your one-stop-frog-shop !
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#6
So I was at the store and saw GS, however there were like 3 kinds and I didn't know which one was the "proper" one, or if any would be fine...
They were: Big Gap Filler (black can, yellow lid)
Gaps and Cracks (Red can)
Window and Door (blue can)

If it matters what use for what type, I think I'll do a panel type BG (tree fern, cork etc), with GS added for ledges, "rocks" some things like that for added interest. Is that doable?
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#7
I've used the black and the red cans.

Yep...using GS to sculpt boulders, dividers, ledges, caves ect is all very do-able. GS sculpts very easily (when fully dry) with kitchen knives or even dremel tools and files, scrapers. It dries almost like floral foam....lotsa air pockets / very light.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#8
I'm a big believer in learning from others experience, so I'd like to ask everyone their thoughts on what type of panel background is, for lack of a better term, the "best".

I am thinking the panel type for several reasons, since it is my first viv, because, as I understand it, is the easiest (so I won't mess it up lol), the ones I've seen pics of look nice, plants can be grown on them, or trail up them, and also, they are thinner, i.e. take up less of the floor space, so the frogs will have more useable area.
So, if any of these thoughts are off track, if you have any other reasons that they are good, and also if you think another type of BG would be a better choice, I'd love to hear about it, and also why you think that would be great!
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#9
I wouldn't give up on doing a sculpted background too quickly, its really easy even as a first BG. I use the red can of GS, let it cure fully, then shave at least half of it off (using a 4" scraper blade). In the end it is only a little thicker than a treefern panel or the zoomed cork tiles (raw cork bark flats are variable, but usually thicker). Using the GS you can incorporate plenty of pots, ledges, etc... and it looks much more consistent than adding GS to a panel. Plus, to me the contours of a sculpted-gs bg are much more natural looking than a flat panel.
-Field Smith
Some frogs...
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#10
Regarding sanding and glass: wear gloves Smile. If you look at the lid (if its like an exo) the corners where the screen is are rounded off. Youll have to sand the corners pretty heavily for a good fit, but it does come off pretty easy (IMO).
Derek
1.5 kids and a bunch of frogs
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#11
You know, I keep going back and forth, I really love the GS BG I've seen pics of, I just doubt my ability to do one to my own satisfaction... I am always very critical of my own projects - art, crafts, etc.
I really wish I could see some vivs in person, maybe that would help me decide one way or the other.
I was thinking Black Jungle is about 4- 4 1/2 hours drive from me, and it sounds like you can go see their vivs from looking at the site. Is that correct?

About how many cans of GS would it take to do a 3 sided viv (18x18x24).
My other concern is the odor, I'm going to have to do all the work in my house, since I don't have a garage, and temps are getting prohibitive for doing it outside for much longer. The silicon smell we can live with (cure it in a bathroom with the vent on) but I imagine that GS is stronger?

It would seem to me, that using GS, making spots for plants etc, that you have to know what plant you are putting where, in advance, right? So you can GS a pot in? I tend to be more of a visual person, I have to see if I like it by placing it before deciding, and not having done one before, I'm afraid of being stuck with plants in places I don't like in the end.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#12
Only 4.5 hours away ??....DEF go see Black Jungle's retail store. You will be completed sorted out and WELL on your way after that trip.

Tell Richard and Mike that I sent ya.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#13
LOL you say only! You must be quite the traveler, cause to me that equals 9 hours in JUST travel time, not leaving a whole lot for drooling at the shop Smile

I did like the idea of being able to buy things while there... Just gotta convince my hubby to go with, not as much fun driving that far alone.

I gotta say, I'd much rather drive there, than down to the city. That just isn't my type of place, hate big cities :oops:
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#14
For my plants, will substrate depth of 1.5" be enough? If not, how much would be good?
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#15
It all depends on the plant species and size. 1.5 inch sounds @ ok.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#16
What materials are used over a GS/silicone BG? I know I've read coco fiber, peat, I think sphagnum (long fiber). I would love to know what others have used before deciding on what I want. If you have pics point me at them too please.
I have been/will be searching the build threads too.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#17
My absolute favorite is fine peat. It really covers well because the particles are so fine. I mix in a little coco fiber for texture. I have also used coco cubes, sphagnum moss (long-fiber and milled), orchid bark, coco fiber (the long strands), and even some ground walnut shells (I don't use these anymore because they may be slightly toxic). If you are just going for a basic bg, peat is the way to go. If you want a little more texture, mix in a little coco fiber and some milled sphag (personally I don't think the LF sphag looks good). The darkness of the peat really makes the colors of the frogs and plants seem more vibrant.
-Field Smith
Some frogs...
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#18
Field, how does the fine peat you mention compare to Eco Earth in texture? I've only actually seen the EE and long fiber sphagnum in person (not on a BG). I'm picturing the peat almost like dust or silt texture, as the EE is, and also the finer bits of my peat for outdoor gardening.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#19
The peat is much finer than eco earth...that is why it seems to cover so much better. I think you are right, dust would be a good descriptor for the peat. One word of warning: use a mask when working with the peat because it is so fine that it floats everywhere (no mask=black boogers).
-Field Smith
Some frogs...
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#20
So if I want to use the peat, do I look for something specific, or is garden variety good?
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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