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My first Vivarium in progress
Hello All,

So I have been working on this for a while now and figured I would post some pictures and share a little. I got the aquarium and stand off of for only $20.
As near as I can tell it is a 15 or 16 gallon oblong octagonal tank. I like this size and shape a lot as it gives me enough room to make a nice show vivarium while still being practical for a novice frogger. (plus it doesnt take up much room, which keeps the fiance' happy. (I think she'll be more enthused when it is planted and has frogs.))

So far I have spent aboyt $90.00 total and feel like I am making good progress. I would have taken more pics in progress but my digital camera broke and I couldn't wait to start building.

Here is a shot of the Vivarium and stand to begin with.
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here is a similar pic with the work I have done so far,

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Will post some more detail pics soon.
Ok So here are some more shots of the interior of the vivarium
most of this was done using the techniques described at I.E. expanding foam covered by black silicone sealer with peat moss tamped on while that is still wet.
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this is a shot looking down into the vivarium you can see the supports for the false bottom. this will house the pump and some clay and charcol pellets for filtration as well as plant roots of course.
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This is a picture of the piece of burl I am using for the waterfall basin. To keep this from rotting I have coated the inside of the "bowl" and the pebbles (which have been set into silicone) with a verithane water sealant. this will dry for at teast two weeks before I plant the vivarium and will be totaly non toxic by the time the frogs are introduced.
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here is another shot of this burl jutting out from the embankment.
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This water fall will fill from the back amongst the pebbles and pour from the natural lip/spout at the end of the "bowl" I will have another piece of twisted driftwood that the water will fall upon. This will also be coated in the verithane to prevent rotting.
here are a couple of shots of the embankment and the branches which jut out. I will plant these with some air plants, maybee some miniature orchids, who knows.

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and another including the edging from the peat terrain to the glass on the left side.

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next I will show some of how the false bottom is coming along as well as a cool "love" hut idea
so here is a pic with the two part false bottom set in place. I am doing it this way so I can Access the pump in case maitenance is required.

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here is a piece of redwood burl I am using as my "Love hut" I like the more natural look as compared to the coconut huts.

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This is another piece of wood I found. I get all my wood at the beach hose it down completley, let it dry spray with a bleach solution, then rinse and dry again. This, I think is a piece of pine bark with natural knot holes.

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after playing around with the different combinations of driftwood I have collected I realized that these two pieces fit together perfectly giving the "love hut" maximum privacy and still alowing for easy removal and access to the interior.

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well thats about it for now. I will post some more shots as the next steps progress. I have ordered a custom front panel from First Class Aquatics and cant do much more until it arrives so I will post more as soon as I can continue.
Very nice, looks like really did your homework

I thought I would post one more shot of the burl basin waterfall. The previous shots seemesd a little flat and I thought this angle would help give more sense of placement.

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Hi Avarax -

I really like how your setup is looking and have a couple of questions.

Is all that wood driftwood you found? Do you clean it with like a 10% bleach solution then rinse it real well? I live in Michigan by Lake Michigan...have various driftwood pieces just want to make sure they will not rot since I doubt it is cypress or rosewood. How many coats verathane did you do?

Also is the backdrop freestanding or mounted/silconed to the back like the one on

How are you going to seclude your pump? And I am more curious to know how your flase bottom is going to work...I understand how the false bottom is but if your pump goes under there how do you get it out to clean/maintain it? Do you have an access panel without much substrate on it?

I am in no hurry to get this done and not even sure what size tank it will be 15T or 29. Just want to continue gathering information/part for it.

Yes this is all beach found driftwood, and I do use a bleach solution. I also found some cool flat-cut bark sections too so I used those to make the background section a little more interesting. I used the exact process described at black jungle.
As far as keeping the wood from rotting I dont have much experience with that. I only used Verithane on the bowl of the water fall basin and on the piece of driftwood that will be in the water. Essentially all the driftwood and bark you see is uncoated. Any pieces or surfaces that will be immersed in water I coated just to prevent seepage and advanced rot.
My false bottom is in two sections, If there is a problem I will have to remove the ground cover (difficult but not the end of the world) you may also notice I have some holes in the eggcrate material. This will acommodate larger plants. basicly will provide a deeper section of soil for the plants as most of my ground cover will only be 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
Well I couldn't wait for my Vivarium insert from First Class Aquatics so I started planting the back ground moss. To do this I have laid the tank down and have started laying in clean samples of moss collected from the Big Basin State Park in Boulder Creek CA. The moss is from an old growth redwood forest and should be 100% free of contaminates.
I was able to find three different kinds (I like variety) one is almost like a super tiny fern. The others are more of a normal type moss.

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Here are a few shots with all the types planted and misted.

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Well That is all for now I will be posting more as I am able to. Good Frogging All!
Did the moss just stick or is it held down by something or what.
The tank is laid down so gravity can do its job. I just laid the moss and tamped it down. I am misting with water and elenors vf11 plant food. I am leaving it like this for a week then I will stand it up to see how well the moss grows its roots into the backing material.
If this fails I will use the butermilk blender method, which is taking some clean moss and buttermilk blending it to a smooth liquid and then spreading it over the desired area in about two weeks it will spread like wild fire.
However I heard this method works too and I am impatient. LOL
Ok, thanks, I might try that sometime.
You mean literally taking some moss and tossing it in the blender with buttermilk then spreading it? Is there a particularly successful ratio of milk to moss? Is there a link you can send me to? I've never heard of this method! Thanks a lot!
I am not sure of the ratios involved but my friend swears by the buttermilk method she says she cleans the moss thoroughly then puts a bunch in the blender, she will then add a cup or two of buttermilk and liquify the mix. She gets a creamy-green liquid which she then spreads wherever she wants moss to grow. The moss particles are fed by the cultures in the buttermilk and viola healthy even carpets of moss.

But like I said, I am impatient and really wanted to see some moss in here, hopefully it will work if not BUTTERMILK PUREE' BABY!

By the way it has been over 24 hours since planting the moss, it was still moist when I got home this evening and although some bits have dried out and turned brown over 95% is still a healthy green.

Will post more as it comes along.
BUttermilk works good, but ive also used beer , and you can use water to make the puree, all three kinda work great, i use it in my cages alot, it works well.

Well it looks like the moss just wouldnt take using the above method Cry

Oh well next step THE BLENDER! I will take pics of this process as well.
Stay Tuned

How high is your humidity? What do you mean by having the moss take? Most moss will just grow very losely over the ground or rock. Most of the moss I have never really attaches to anything. Maybe I am doing something wrong, I wonder how many people have their moss attach to something. I have moss that is growing but I could still pick it up and move it without any problems. I dont doubt it has something to do with the type of moss you have also.

I have moss that attaches to wood and some pillow moss that won't attach to any thing. So I think it has to do with the type of moss.
Well the moss all dried out and turned brown despite having kept it moist and humid. I may need to just wait untill my front piece comes from First Class Aquatics. I am begining construction of the light hood next, so maybee I'll Just wait untill it all comes together before atempting to plant any thing else.
the type of moss you used looks cool but in my experience it doesnt do well in tanks, ive never had it alive long in any of my tanks. Your best bet is the blender or to try another type of moss, good luck.


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