Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Construction Journal 44 Gal Pentagon

Here's a few pictures of a false bottom and the canopy that’s work in progress for a 44 gallon pentagon. This is my 1st vivarium so I wanted to share the build and any comments as I progress. I'm not rushing the build so I wanted to to put some thought into what I was doing so not to mess it up. As far as what type of frogs I plan to care for this viv I don't know but I'll have plenty of time to research them as I allow a month for the tank to cycle and work out and kinks after it's built.

I grabbed some 12 lb fishing line and started to weave it and tighten as I went along and found it held tight.
[Image: Framedoffalsebottom.jpg]
False Bottom Frame

[Image: Craftmeshonfalsebottom.jpg]
Craft Mesh secured with hotmelt glue and some fishing line

[Image: Lookingatwaterfallpump.jpg]
Craft Mesh with a view to access waterfall pump

[Image: Pumpbehindbarkcurl.jpg]
Waterfall pump hidden behind bark curl, easy access

[Image: Frontoffalsebottom.jpg]
Weed cloth secured over false bottom

[Image: Falsebottomintank.jpg]
How it fits in the tank

[Image: Falsebottomdownontank.jpg]

[Image: Topoffalsebottom.jpg]
Removable from viv for any modifications before background is set
[Image: Slateforwaterfall-1.jpg]
Here’s some slate I plan to use in my waterfall. I’ve read to be careful with slate because it can be sharp and cut dart frogs so I took a rasp file and took the sharp out of the edges. I'll soak them in 10% bleach 90% water since they were used for a roof.

[Image: Canopy1stphase.jpg]
The start of the canopy for lighting and other items for the viv.
[Image: CanopyTopOpen.jpg]
[Image: CanopyFront.jpg]
Canopy will need a good sanding then stained the same color as the stand.
[Image: Canopy4.jpg]

[Image: FullViewofPentagonwCanopy.jpg]
Stand, tank and canopy. Gives me an idea how it'll look. I'll need to find a stain to match the stand. I bought the tank and stand at a yard sale. Tank leaked bad, I got it at a good price, so I stripped all the silicone out of it and resealed it. I've done a few tanks. When silicone is cured I bring the tank outside, fill it with water and check for leaks. I was going to use this for fish but my 90 reef tank is enough with daily maintenance.

I ordered some diamond hole saws so I can drill the tank for either a sump or a canister filter inlet and outlet. I'd like to lean more for the sump but need to see how much room I have in the stand. I'm also in process of retrofitting a couple power compact lights into the canopy so I'll be cutting an opening for a fan for cooling the lights.

Looks like you are off to a nice start.

Have you decided what frogs will go in this tank?

You can take the door off of the stand and take it to one of the big box hardware stores and they can match the stain. It won't be an exact match unless the canopy is made from the same type of wood the stand is.

Thank you Cindy. Taking the door off was exactly what I had in mind to match the stain. I'm real sure the stand is pine and match up should be close. As far as frogs, I've done some research on the different species awhile back. I'd like a small variety provided compatability, territory and hardiness. I'm in no rush and will let the tank cycle for a month to work out the kinks while it's running rather than disturb the frogs if I have any issues.
Good news as UPS rang my doorbell as what I've been waiting for.......5 piece diamond hole saw. Now I can drill for bulkhead fittings.
[Image: DiamondHoleSaw.jpg]

Drilling holes using a diamond hole saw

I double checked the diamond hole saw and which one was closest to the bulkhead fittings I bought at a LFS. I drilled 2 holes at the bottom of the back sides of the tank using antifreeze as a coolant. I applied a silicone ring to enclose the antifreeze for one hole. Later I found I didn't need to use silicone and just drilled the other hole adding coolant as I went along with the slow cutting.

[Image: DiamondTemplate2.jpg]
Making a template hole to check diamond hole saw before I actually drill.

[Image: DiamondTemplate3.jpg]
Fit's perfect now I can cut my holes

[Image: TankSupportonWheelChock.jpg]
Pentagon tank being supported by a wheel chock. Worked real good holding the tank in place.

[Image: Siliconearoundhole.jpg]
Silicone to enclose coolant

[Image: DrillHole.jpg]
Diamond hole saw at work

[Image: HoleDone.jpg]
One hole done, now to hole saw the next hole[b]

[Image: SiliconetheBulkhead.jpg]
Apply a small amont of silicone to the BH thats on the outside of the tank. Extra precaution.

[Image: BulkheadsDone.jpg]
[Image: BulkheadsDone1.jpg]
Both BH fittings on and snugged

Your project is moving right along!

That is the same size bit we use to drill our 1/2" bulkheads, is says they require a 1 1/8 hole but for what we are doing, that bit size works fine. We usually run a bead of silicone around the bulkhead just in case.

Instead of making a dam of silicone to hold your cooling solution, you can use plumbers putty, a lot quicker and easier.

Looking good, keep us posted on your updates.

Thanx for the tip. Getting the hole saw to stay still was the toughest part. It wanted to walk all over the place. Best to just hover over the glass and progressively touch the glass real slow. The hole saw has to make a complete contact, not just a portion of it. Do enough and you'll get the hang of it.
I knew plumbers putty would work a lot better but didn't have it readily available and kids Play Doh and the grey rope insulation used around window cracks may have worked too.

Drilled holes in false bottom supports

I had a lot of extra 4" pvc pipe so I decided I'd cut them to support my false bottom. Plenty big enough to cover a lot of territory for support.
I started thinking all the water from above filling these 4" pvc pipes that after awhile the water is going to fill up, since I will silicone the supports to the bottom of the tank, what will happen is they'll be no water moving just sitting and stagnant. May even begin to stink. So I drilled holes, I mean a lot of holes. Water flows in, water flows out.

[Image: SupportsDrilled.jpg]

Work in process for my lighting under the canopy. Trial fit to see how they fit. I painted the area white where the lights are to be secured. Wired my connectors and secured them under the lid. I put a regular flourescent fixture from a 10 gallon tank. Took it apart since it was junk to begin with, reworked it and a couple of screws to hold it in place. I still have room for a small 19watt spiral flourescent that's a 5,000 K from either Lowes or HD. Later I'm thinking of adding some moonlights under the lid. I'll be installing a fan next, an easy cut.

[Image: LightAssy2Prefit.jpg]

[Image: Paintlid.jpg]

[Image: LightAssy1.jpg]

[Image: Completeforthurs.jpg]
My water return will be under the gravel, hidden. It will be regulated so it won't fountain up. I have a seperate small pump for a waterfall. I wanted my filter system to be seperate. PVC pipes are dry fitted right now and I'm still brain storming.

I'm getting there, step by step

Trial test for leaks and canister filter

Test run for an Ehein canister filter to see how well it was going to work compared to if I was to use a sump. Wel so far the testfor the canister worked good. I'm happy with the way it turned out. No leaks even tho it was not glued but I'll clean up the tube plumbing from tank to canister. I added more pics of the water flow adjustable and intake. I'll also be using a small pump for the waterfall. On this build I wanted them seperate. I also included a video of the canister in action. My 1st narrated video so it was ok..........did I mention no leaks? BTW I goofed and called it a pentacon

[Image: Outletpipe.jpg]

[Image: Outletpipe2.jpg]

[Image: Outletpipe1.jpg]

[Image: IntakePipe.jpg]

[Image: IntakePipe3.jpg]

[Image: Fullflowvalve.jpg]

[Image: CanisterTestRun.jpg]

[Image: Canidterbox.jpg]

[Image: Backsidefittings.jpg]

[Image: Partialyclosed.jpg]

[Image: th_PlumbingViv.jpg]

uh, wow....super nice. cudo's on the first construction video i've seen, too.

Concealed Humidity at Ground Zero

I didn't know if wanted to plumb my humidity from the humidifier up and thru the canopy but didn't want to add to the canopy and the length of pvc or hose. So I decided to go in thru the glass as low as I could and conceal the hose in a trunk at ground level. I drill a hole in the glass, elbowed a 90deg to the glass, hook up the hose and conceal it in a log. I'll coco peat and add Spanish Moss. I then modified the output piece on top of the humidifyer to acept the hose to pick up the humidity thru and up into the tank. Humidifyer has moisture control.

Pictures below of steps but not over detailed.

[Image: Humidity1.jpg]

[Image: Humidity2.jpg]

[Image: Humidity3.jpg]

[Image: Humidity4.jpg]

[Image: Humidity5.jpg]

This piece off the top of the humidifyer was all reworked so the humidity would rise up thru the hose and into the tank.
[Image: Humidity6.jpg]

[Image: Humidity7.jpg]

[Image: Humidity8.jpg]

Video of humidity working
Wanted to add a video, it's in 2 parts, of the humidity in action. Enjoy Big Grin

Part 1 of 2
[Image: th_HumiditySetup.jpg]

Part 2
[Image: th_HumiditySetup1.jpg]

[b]Penatgon is taking shape

Progress today....I do see a light at the end of this tunnel. Made more progress which is what most want to see is the inside of the tank starting to look like a viv. Pictures show all 3 sides in the pentagon a view of the back where the fogger, waterfall pump and filter intake are all hidden.
Waterfalls are tough to make when you have a certain design in mind it just doesn't cooperate so you go with the flow and settle with final results.
I used 3 cans of black foam and it sets fast and is very easy to work with. I used GS for halloween costumes, it's workable. If I did another I'd try GS.
HINT...Next time I get my coco peat ready where I have to soak it to expand and let it dry, I'll get a 5 gallon bucket ready and during the summer and let it dry in the sun on a hot summers day. Takes a long time in the oven and don't let it burn. I baked it at 350 and depends how much you put on a baking sheet.

Left Side
[Image: Leftside.jpg]

[Image: Middle.jpg]

Right Side
[Image: Rightside1.jpg]

[Image: Waterfal1l.jpg]

Another view of waterfall
[Image: Waterfall.jpg]

Backside of tank
[Image: Backcorner.jpg]

Full view of the tank
[Image: FullViewwithjustfoam.jpg][/b]

How to make a cheap vine

Found some black nylon rope hanging from the 3rd shelf at HD and thought to myself that the black rope would make a good vine. I cut off 3 ft at 39 cents a foot (big spender). Later that night this is what I would do, hey if it can be done to a background then why not the rope.
1. I laid the rope out and loaded it up with brown or black GE II silicone. The ends were heated with a hot wire at HD when rope was cut to prevent frayed ends.
2. I poured on the coco peat and pressed it on
3. Let cure and take a look.
4. Next peg it to the backgound, hang it across, wrap it around some bark, let it just lay on the topsoil.
I've seen bendable vine in pet stores for 2.99 a ft.

[Image: Vine.jpg]

[Image: Vine1.jpg]

[Image: Vine2.jpg]

[Image: Vine3.jpg]

[Image: Vine4.jpg]

[Image: Vine5.jpg]

Would take about 5 minutes to do this vine and 2 days to cure

Very nice!


great idea for the vine! That is an easy and inexpensive addition to any viv. I will be trying that for my next tank. I wonder if there is a way to stiffen up the cord vine...

I have used the power cord with silicone and coco coming out of a structure as a "vine" it is stiffer than a rope. Keep me from having to drill another hole and the vine looks nice.
Very nice looking viv.


Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.

If tone is more important to you than content, you are at the wrong place.

My new email address is: and new phone number is 773 577 3476

We have use 1/2" PVC that we heated, twisted and bent, the coated with silicone and coco to make lianas.

311_dart Wrote:great idea for the vine! That is an easy and inexpensive addition to any viv. I will be trying that for my next tank. I wonder if there is a way to stiffen up the cord vine...

Thanx, I've been thinking the same without any type of metal rusting or having some reaction to humidity. Maybe aluminum or copper. Then you'd have to fit it into the inside of the rope or wrap it on the outside with zipraps then peat the vine. Someday I'll work on that one but maybe someone right now is working on it and it'll be in another build journal. I look forward to reading it.

1/2" pvc would work great, bending and twisting. Next time I'm sitting around the camp fire everyones roasting marshmallows I'm twisting and contorting pvc over the fire. I'll be wearing my welders gloves. Keep the imagination working, and never say I have nothing to do.

Temporary Lexan Lid

I had a piece of 1/4" lexan that I'll tempoarily use till I get all the arrangements within the canopy to run the viv all worked out. Extra money for the glass to be cut would help too. I made it so I can get access to the inside of the tank as well as the backside where my fog hose is as well as the canister filter intake and waterfall pump. I added a little extras I had around for knobs to open the lid. Had enough of prying the lid up with a screwdriver on the lid edge. Nothing fussy, nothing fancy.

[Image: Lid.jpg]

[Image: Lid1.jpg]

[Image: Lid2.jpg]

[Image: Lid4.jpg]

[Image: Lid5.jpg]

[Image: Lid6.jpg]

Last picture shows the removable corner eggcrate to get to my accessories. I may add fibreglass screen over it. It's pretty tight so I won't loose any critters to the backside.

[Image: Backcorner-1.jpg]

Attach the Intake and Exhaust Vents

My vents for air intake into the tank and air exhaust out were attached with heavy duty velcro to the acrylic top for a quick disconnect whenever I may have to remove the canopy. The velco was secured with a little extra hot melt as an added assurance on sticking to both acrylic top and vent base. It's sealed good to prevent any escape.

[Image: Vent.jpg]

Underside of acrylic top. No escape.
[Image: Vent1.jpg]

An idea of how they look and will be connected to the fans.
[Image: Vent2.jpg]

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)