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100% Organic Backgrounds - future of hobby ?
#1
Anyone else predict that close to 100% organic backgrounds are rapidly becoming the norm ?

I think that Great Stuff, gorilla glue, foam and even large amounts of silicone will go the way of the Dinosaur for the hobby in the very near future.

When I start back up, I think it will be all fern panel.
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#2
I will ask the profound question of "why"?
Scott - North Dallas
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#3
Same reason we (some of us, anyway) try to eat healthy things with less chemicals or additives.

I just think we don't know enough about the long term effects of Great Stuff and glues ect, in a high humidity enclosed system with animals that are very sensitive to chemicals. Add to that, that most hobbyists can only report on vivariums that are merely 2-4 years old, for example.

I've had @ 5-6 year old GS foam that has significantly changed and may have degraded.

Why rely on foams and glues when there are easily available alternatives - Clay, ABG, cork, panels.....
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#4
Good reasons Phil. Hope I didn't sound like I was wanting to disagree, I only wanted kick start a great thread : ) I have a sincere interest in hearing yours and others thoughts on this topic. I must admit, GS Foam is one of my favorite elements for viv construction. However, I do share some of your concern. Can you elaborate on how the foam changed or degraded ?? Was it easily evident?

Why do i still use GS?

My rational: Every 6 weeks I drain my vivs after heavy manual flushing over a few days (I mist every day, but not monsoon style). I also have vents so they can dry a little and circulate fresh air.
One factor that plays into any enclosure is ventilation as well as H2O cleansing. Even human dwellings can accumulate stagnate air and cause health issues. I think the same would go for frog vivs. Assuming that the breakdown of GS also meant accumulated fumes or chemical bleeding into the soil or air, good vents and regular misting and water change should have some major part of prevention of some ill effects on account of the dilution that occurs. Of course to your point, why take the risk to begin with... so, other than aesthetics (good artistry using GS), there is perhaps one practical reason. My vivs are hybrid, using GS, clay, and cork. The GS functions as a skeleton for support and it helps cut down weight (which in the exo terra might help avoid stress on the glass). Perhaps the fern panel used in tandem w clay might help achieve the same goal??

I had considered trying a viv using fern panel in lieu of GS. Actually, I was just over at Viv Concepts last week and looked at some of her designs that use fern panel to give me some inspiration. I passed on buying some panels as I don't have any empty tanks to work on at the moment. Now you have me more curious to try it out and see how it works - all for the sake of providing a more ideal viv system. My guess is that in the same way I am optimistic and take vitamins and eat good foods, but have no direct evidence that it made me more "healthy", I would try this change of viv philosophy without anticipating having any discernible evidence that it actually made a difference.
Scott - North Dallas
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#5
I agree that natural backgrounds will continue to become more prevalent. Why not use something natural if possible...seems like common sense to me. I'm working on a 75 right now that's going to be cork bark and clay (though I am using GS to secure the cork), and I am really liking it. My clay BG is still holding up really well (except for one spot where condensation drips off the glass top) and I'm getting volunteer mosses, seems like the ideal BG material. Hopefully clay BGs will continue to be improved, since they look so similar to GS and coco (minus the GS and silicone), they make perfect sense. One thing that has kept me from doing treefern panels is their one-dimensionality...I really prefer methods where you can sculpt ledges, details, etc... Maybe a mixture of treefern, clay, and cork would be optimum?
-Field Smith
Some frogs...
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#6
Field you reminded me of another element in my vivs that requires the use of GS - hollow false ledges. I like to make elevated ledges that can hold bio material ideal for spring tails. Hence, more functional surface area to collect and breakdown frog waste and foster micro fauna. I don't know how I would solve for this wout the use of GS... Anyone w ideas care to share? Hopefully, this is not a thread high jack, but rather a solution on how one can migrate to the ideal 100% organic (or close wout use of GS).

Thx
Scott
Scott - North Dallas
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#7
I can only think of "natures" ledges right now....tree branches and wood features.
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#8
if you you mean backgrounds as in the stuff on the walls of the tank I am not really a fan of them. in some instances yeah but i do not like the grotto look.

the use of chemicals to make backgrounds are easy. get some silicone and peat coco fiber mix and you have silicone soil. Now it is GS and and the peat coco fiber. about making ledges or indents in the tank. the place from Holland i can not recall the name, sold peat bricks. not the ones that you wet and get a cubic foot of soil. They stayed solid when wet. But again you would using natural and helping to deplete the peat resources. same sort of goes for the fern panels. to my knowledge they do not replenish quickly.

Ok, back to lurking.
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#9
^^this ^^ I feel that we take a lot from the wild already. Fern and peat panels/blocks take time to form and( to my knowledge) aren't sustainably harvested. I am not in a position to comment about the effect of the chemicals in gs or gg etc on frogs but they are tried and tested (to a degree) and they will potentially last longer than a natural product.

Very interesting thread, I am looking forward to other people's ideas on this
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#10
Fern panels and peat are not sustainable ?
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#11
Peat is definitely not sustainable, it takes hundreds of years to form, humans, (primarily horticulturists) are using this resource much faster than it can be replaced, as for fern I will admit that this isn't a product I am familiar with but I am pretty sure that this isn't harvested from a sustainable source (I.e. we are replacing what we use at a ratio of at least 1:1)
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#12
I think the ideal would be an organic background material that: can be sculpted, will last a long time, will hold up to viv conditions (obviously), is inexpensive, can serve as a growing medium for plants, can be sourced easily, is attractive, and is easy to work with. I think right now the best we can do is combine a few different materials (as I said earlier, cork, clay, and treefern) to get some approximation of the ideal background. Chemical residues may or may not present any problems, but I for one would prefer an organic option...why not eliminate things that may be detrimental, especially after exposure through multiple generations. Since many species/morphs/localities may never come into the country again, it would suck to lose fitness through successive generations because of background choices (I'm not saying this is probable, but something to consider).
-Field Smith
Some frogs...
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#13
You still need a glue to hold whatever you decide on to the glass. So more or less no I don't think we will be going natural. Look the natural products have always been here, if people wanted to use them they would be using them now. So far there has been some sort of missing link in what the natural products can do and that link has largely been filled by great stuff foam. Nothing has stopped anyone from making a cork, tree fern or any other material back ground. People choose not to do it because it doesn't give them the look they want.

Great stuff foam is great because it can be formed and worked with by anyone who has $5 for a can. You can use knives or whatever you already have around the house. You can't even buy that much tree fern panel for $5. This means it is cheap, in addition it is very not heavy. In fact it may have less density than any other product we put in a vivarium.

Quite the opposite I think the more likely scenario is that people will start using more new synthetic products. 3D printing comes to mind.
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#14
rudy Wrote:You still need a glue to hold whatever you decide on to the glass. So more or less no I don't think we will be going natural. Look the natural products have always been here, if people wanted to use them they would be using them now. So far there has been some sort of missing link in what the natural products can do and that link has largely been filled by great stuff foam. Nothing has stopped anyone from making a cork, tree fern or any other material back ground. People choose not to do it because it doesn't give them the look they want.

Great stuff foam is great because it can be formed and worked with by anyone who has $5 for a can. You can use knives or whatever you already have around the house. You can't even buy that much tree fern panel for $5. This means it is cheap, in addition it is very not heavy. In fact it may have less density than any other product we put in a vivarium.

Quite the opposite I think the more likely scenario is that people will start using more new synthetic products. 3D printing comes to mind.
Hate to revive an old thread but thought it was important to note, on many frog forums there is good documentation on 100% organic/clay backgrounds lasting many more years than expected. You also don't have to use glue for clay backgrounds and if done correctly they may improve the health of certain frogs and is an awesome way to setup thumbnail froglets, pumilio in particular. It's also easier to work with than great stuff and much easier to change if you mess up. It is also much cheaper for me to make a clay background than a gs+silicon or mortar background.
I also love clay substrates when the surface gets smooth over time nothing looks more natural to me. Plants also go nuts in a nutrient rich clay made of calcium bentonite and red clay. Clay also does very well in the most environments we keep. Hope I might have helped someone a little.
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#15
Yes but those posts have been there for years and it hasn't taken off. Most new builds you see are still great stuff. Which gets back to my first point there is some thing lacking in those methods that doesn't give people what they want. Just look at the build threads and tally up how many are clay...
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#16
All of my builds will be clay. I think the reason why is there isn't as much of a
Source for clay like a lowes or Home Depot. If they sold clay as much as silicone, GS, and grout I think you would see a lot more new builds with clay
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#17
rudy Wrote:Yes but those posts have been there for years and it hasn't taken off. Most new builds you see are still great stuff. Which gets back to my first point there is some thing lacking in those methods that doesn't give people what they want. Just look at the build threads and tally up how many are clay...
The best in my opinion have been clay. This is just my personal opinion though. All my vivs will be clay back and clay substrate
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#18
Death to 'Great stuff'!!
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