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75 'Bilis Bonanza
#1
Hey folks, decided that bigger is better and am upgrading my current 50 gallon variabilis tank to a 75. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but my creative side has been shut down for over a month it seems. I probably looked at 1000+ photos and narrowed it down to one, that somebody else actually had to find for me, lol...

If you have ideas PLEASE, I BEG YOU, chime in. There is nothing I like more than ideas thrown my way.

Here we go!

So, heres what we are workin with.
Stand
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Tank
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Here is the photo I am basing my build off of (Thanks Dysphoria). I tried focusing more on the Andes and what not, but in the end I came to the conclusion that I wasn't up to the task of trying to recreate the foothills or a high ridgeline in this tank.
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-Fauna. 9 INIBICO Variabilis

-I WILL incorporate a small aquatic section deep enough to grow crypts and other aquatics. I love my aquatic plants and have planted tanks so I feel this is a must for ME, so deal with it. I will put in a small RIO + 60-90 for flow.

-False bottom will be incorporated around the rocks so the rock will have a more natural feel of coming out of the earth, not stacked on top of it.

-Circulation. Dysphoria had a great idea for an in tank circulation method that I am going to jump on board with. That will come last in the build.

-Misting. Mistking deluxe value setup running 3x 2 nozzle stems. No zip drip, and I say that because I don't believe in it.

-Lighting. Probably a Catalina Aquarium made 3x T5 48" fixture set for 2 bulbs regularly and 1 bulb wired for burst hours and also for timed sunrise and sunset methods.

More to come..
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#2
Went to the stone yard today. Picked out something I feel was about as close of a representation to the above photo that I liked and fell within usable range. The cracks will be filled with ABG and other sorts of mosses and what not.

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#3
wow....REAL rocks?

HEAVY.

Cool, but oh so heavy.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#4
Less than 300 pounds. I bought 300 lbs at the yard (what you see in the picture) but probably left out ~100lbs of them. I'll have an update tonight with an effective way of handling the weight on the glass.

It was real rocks or GS and drylock. Rocks please Big Grin

I have about 400 pounds of lava rock sitting in one of my 75 gallon aquariums. No problems thus far.
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#5
As long as you dont plan on EVER moving it LOL I like the real rock, seems like itd be more organic and promote moss growth in such. But for practicality purpose, Id have to lean toward concrete covered syrofoam.
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#6
Glass drilled and Mistking installed! Got the pump mounted underneath and a 12 gallon sump for it!
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Here I went out and bought 4 sheets of acrylic for the area my rocks were going to be setting on. For those who don't know, I did this to help redistribute weight throughout the glass surface area. Since the rock isn't smooth, if you were to put 100 pounds down, and one part of the rocking was poking "into" the glass surface, you are basically pushing X amount of weight down on that point, not good, so the acrylic acts as a sort of cushion.
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Rock layout chosen!
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Getting the false bottom and screen on. I chose big hole screening because of the nature of the tank. It is going to be moist and I want good drainage, especially for the water feature. I don't intend on having any major root plants either.
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Just playing around with wood.. I have to wait until tomorrow to run and go get the substrate color I want. I laid down as much lava rock that I want. I thought it would be cool to do a 3 tier substrate.
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#7
Please excuse my shoddy picture taking.

Still haven't decided what I am going to do with the background. I'll think about it this week. Ran out of ABG... Need to order my pump. Probably will be completed and planted/wooded next weekend, plus I'll get the isopods rollin'.

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#8
looking good....very interesting.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#9
Cool project. Nice architectural look. If you want to keep the clean lines going, you could try black shelf paper to block out the back and maybe portions of the side. Patches of jet-black here and there can be dramatic. I like the look of the pool...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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#10
joneill809 Wrote:Cool project. Nice architectural look. If you want to keep the clean lines going, you could try black shelf paper to block out the back and maybe portions of the side. Patches of jet-black here and there can be dramatic. I like the look of the pool...keep the pics coming!

Man... I am trying so hard to think of something other than a black sheet. I almost spray painted the back black before I started building but I thought I would have something by now. It will either be mud and cork bark or a black sheet in the end though.

Looks like NEHERP is down from the flu, so ABG might come in late. The pump is on order as of tonight, I just need to figure out plants... Chances are just korean rock fern and lemon button ferns. I'll probably plant riccia everywhere (especially in between the cracks) because I have half a gallon of it in one of my aquariums. I have a ton of hydrocotyle that will probably be the rock cover by the pool. Maybe dischidia and what not... Haven't decided really though. If you have suggestions for plants let me know!
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#11
I'm a big fan of "cypress spike moss" Selaginella plana. Within three months my 4 to 6" tall specimen threw about 6 to 8 new stalks that were 18" to 20" tall. A little wiry, but it might look really cool crawling up the rock background or a piece of cork bark. It throws a beautiful frond ever few inches from its main stalk. It also uses thin runners to anchor itself as it climbs.
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I've also found P trinervula grows well with little care and it is trainable. You can either let it vine out across the background, or try to shape it to your liking. I found pruning and shaping to yield more attractive clumps than the thin runners, but everyone has their likes/dislikes. Here's a link to a post I made about both plants:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=6303&start=40#p45470

My trinervula grows like a weed out front. I replanted about five 1 to 2 inch clippings again this weekend, spreading it out horizontally. It may look pretty cool wedged in the cracks of your rocks. The Plana is one plant, center of the viv, planted on the floor. It's now hit the glass top (18x18x24) and I have to prune it because it's curling up against the glass. Anyhow, both may be interesting accents to the other plants you have. Happy planting!
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
Thanks for the suggestions! I may have that specimen of selaginella in one of my smaller tanks. I have such a hard time keeping it low to the ground! It looks like the red club moss version is working good in your tank! Maybe I will give that a shot as well. It looks like a slow grower though.
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#13
Tramontane Wrote:Thanks for the suggestions! I may have that specimen of selaginella in one of my smaller tanks. I have such a hard time keeping it low to the ground! It looks like the red club moss version is working good in your tank! Maybe I will give that a shot as well. It looks like a slow grower though.
Yeah I really like that club moss and I agree that it's a sloooow grower. I cringe when my female azureus hops up on top of it as I wonder if she is about to bust off 6 months of growth. But it holds up. It has gained some height and both frogs tend to hunt underneath them now.

The two in the azureus viv were from Black Jungle and they have a very different look from two that I picked up for another viv from NE Herp. The NEH specimens were much bigger but more scraggly looking. These BJ specimens were tiny, but more structured. I like them both with the NEH version being more of a space filler and you can see both colors more readily, but, for me, the BJ specimens were more of a centerpiece. With as big as your viv is though the BJ specimens may get lost. I was astounded how much bigger the NEH version was - an overflowing 4" pot.

I have not been able to propagate red club moss - probably because I'm too chicken to try and split one at the roots since I like them so much Smile and with how slow it grows, I just bought new ones. If you do split the plana I'd suggest trying to split it at the root. I struggled to get pruned stalks to root in, losing about 50% of my cuttings (2 out of 4). If I pulled a complete stalk with some roots I was able to get them to take, 3 for 3 so far. Not too many data points, but I'd like to know if you have success with transplanting plana...
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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#14
Looking good and quite interesting. But man, my back hurts just by looking at it. I hope you never have to move it.
Ulises
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#15
Well. I haven't finished the planting, but this is about where I want it. I have a few different things in that I want to try out before I buy more of it. Planting in my tanks never stops... It takes me a while to figure out exactly what I like.

The right side of the tank is just about done. The piece of driftwood will be getting moss or riccia to train on it. The back wall will take a while as the Hydrocotyle needs to train up the wall. Hopefully the riccia I cultivated in one of my aquariums will continue to expand, and if it does, it will support the weight of multiple frogs of the water Wink

I think the only big concern I have right now are light levels and lack of hiding spots. This is something I am going to work on as time goes on before the frogs get transferred.

Working on some glasswork, isopods and springs, etc. Probably get it done today and start the grow cycle! There is a hideous calcium stain on the upper part of the tank. No doubt where the previous owner forgot to add water over the course of weeks :roll:

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#16
Looking good. The rocks came out really well.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#17
joneill809 Wrote:I'm a big fan of "cypress spike moss" Selaginella plana. Within three months my 4 to 6" tall specimen threw about 6 to 8 new stalks that were 18" to 20" tall. A little wiry, but it might look really cool crawling up the rock background or a piece of cork bark. It throws a beautiful frond ever few inches from its main stalk. It also uses thin runners to anchor itself as it climbs.
[Image: s-ps.jpg&maxx=300&maxy=0]

I've also found P trinervula grows well with little care and it is trainable. You can either let it vine out across the background, or try to shape it to your liking. I found pruning and shaping to yield more attractive clumps than the thin runners, but everyone has their likes/dislikes. Here's a link to a post I made about both plants:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=6303&start=40#p45470

My trinervula grows like a weed out front. I replanted about five 1 to 2 inch clippings again this weekend, spreading it out horizontally. It may look pretty cool wedged in the cracks of your rocks. The Plana is one plant, center of the viv, planted on the floor. It's now hit the glass top (18x18x24) and I have to prune it because it's curling up against the glass. Anyhow, both may be interesting accents to the other plants you have. Happy planting!

I'm going to use this to both plug a few great shots I took as well as show you what happens when I try to grow selaginella.

It sort of just shoots straight to the light and then burns out and dies... Such a suicidal plant. I think this is the same species you are talking about?
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#18
Tramontane Wrote:I'm going to use this to both plug a few great shots I took as well as show you what happens when I try to grow selaginella.

It sort of just shoots straight to the light and then burns out and dies... Such a suicidal plant. I think this is the same species you are talking about?
What great shots! Could you get any further out on the tip of that frond!?! Yes that looks like plana.

I have not had as much trouble with plana as I have had with other varieties of Selaginella - it seems to handle swings in humidity better than other species. My golden tips recently died back next to the viv door - the humidity has dropped and within a day or two part of it was shriveled - I am hand misting right now and it stabilized. Same thing with a beautiful peacock (S. uncinata) - I had an overflowing 4" pot that died back to a 1" pot size...I transplanted down to the viv floor and it's doing much better.

Not trying to hijack...here are a few shots for comparison...Here is a floor to canopy shot of my main plana - 3" pot from BJ in July 2012. I'd say initially mine saw a vertical growth spurt with wiry fronds that eventually filled in. This specimen starts in the dark shadows of the lower part of the viv and works it's way up through the ledges to the glass top:
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Here's a shot of the fronds that have hit the canopy that better illustrate why I think we're looking at the same species:
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Here's a close up of a few well developed fronds at the mid level of the viv - they are showing a good bit of lateral growth that filled in later after the plant started getting some height to it:
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I'm lucky that this specimen took - it's hit or miss with Selaginella. I've either had great success (plana and erythropus) or epic fails (brownii - melted in 48 hours, twice, kraussiana frequent die backs, uncinata - fickle). I just like the way they look too much to quit trying to get them to 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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#19
Holy cow! Mine does not look like that! lol...

It looks like yours really grew up and outward. mine sort of branches up dies and then I am either forced to cut it and replant the stem or leave it. I have more luck replanting the stem than I do with the main portion I cut the stem from. Sort of blows my mind.

How did you manage to grow yours like that? Any special technique?
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#20
I think it was just luck. Really. My strategy has been plant a bunch of stuff, see what lives. Smile
Black Jungle description Wrote:Tolerates wetter environments than most selaginella. They like shady, moist conditions.
I reread BJ's description and this section caught my eye. My specimen is thriving in the back of the viv under the lip of a ledge. Water from misting the top of the viv happens to drip down on the roots and it is always moist, but not saturated. It has grown laterally across the back wall rather than moving forward in the viv, so it's staying in the moist areas I've had two of three cuttings die that I transplanted to another viv - one took and is growing well. The one cutting that survived was in the back of the new viv in moist substrate, but well drained so there could be something to it. I broke off another set at the base with some roots and they are still struggling a few weeks later but I think they will make it.

So everything that is doing well has established roots in shaded areas (though the fronds seem just fine in bright light) that have moist but well drained substrates. Maybe it's the source too - I've seen some variation in other specimens I've picked up in different places. Environmental variables:
  • Zoomed viv, replaced screen with glass, 4" screened in vent running the entire front of the viv. I use two pieces of 4" cut glass to adjust the vent, most of the time it's about 1" (except directly under the ReptiSun where I push back the second smaller 4" strip to expose more screen).
  • Humidity is typically >90%.
  • Misting system runs every 6 hours for 20 seconds and I hand mist 4 to 5 times a week while inspecting viv with 1 power wash per week to knock down any visible poop. I'd estimate that I generate about half a gallon of waste water a week per viv.
  • Temps are the normal range 72-78.
  • Lighting is 2x9W, 1x13W JungleDawns and a 26W ReptiSun 5.0 out front (doubt it has much impact on the plana). It's pretty bright - the photos above are when the 2x9Ws are the only ones on.
I'm just throwing this stuff out there - not sure why it's doing really well, just giving you an idea of the viv conditions. I have not tried to cut a short stem - I may try that next.

Maybe you need to throw a couple tincs in there to beat the snot out of it Wink
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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