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Thread: AquaAurora's First Viv Build

  1. #1
    Junior Member AquaAurora's Avatar
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    Default AquaAurora's First Viv Build

    So this is a thread for the progression of my first vivarium build. I am still just getting necessary equipment/materials together and have not set it up yet, but hope to start that soon! My husband will be a big part of the project as he's a excellent handyman with all aspects from Do It Yourself-ing, wood working, plumbing, programming, and electrical!

    The Vision:
    After seeing a photo of a setup using emersed plant dart frog viv filled with riccia, anubias, bocopa, and crypts, and hygro-I started down the path of wanting to try a vivarium as I have planted aquariums and ripariums, so it'd make a great transition focus into vivariums.
    [not my photo]
    [this post/user's tank]:


    Originally I started into this with a clear plan for emersed aquatic plants completely covering the vivarium and using my ghostwood pieces, but after a dream I am torn between sticking with the original idea or using manzanita branches and do a more elevated simplistic setup (leaf litter below and possibly a small water feature).

    Before starting anything I did a mock up vivarium to test emersed plant growth in with a TON of my riccia, some anubias nana var. petite, buce, creeping jenny, hygro corybosa, hydro sp. japan, pennywort, ludwigia, and i think i tossed a tip of a bocopa Carolina inn there







    Very crude photo manipulation of original idea" Waterfall feature down the elft frontal wood, back peices are currently uncut ghostwood brnaches ith a fork, would be split andsued to make a switchback elevated background with hides, planting spacing between wood and glass (cut into great stuff with drainage drilled to false bottom and mesh to keep substrate in), and/or water pools (via carving into great stuff or nut/shell pods). It would have a huge variety of emergent aquatic plants like mosses, bladderworts, crypts, anubias, swords, stem plants, java ferns, probaly dwarf baby tears and ug too.


    Photos of branches idea: Would only have flora on branches-most likely small orchids,mosses or smaller leafed vines like Ficus pumila var. quercifolia, ground would be mostly leaf litter and possibly a water feature (small).. may try messing with a trickle waterfall down the front right piece of wood into a water feature.
    (red marks show where wood touches substrate)


    above view


    Angled view



    The dream:
    About a week into planning my vivarium and having bought the tank I had a dream..In my dream I had 3 vivs, all 40g breeders put together to create a large scape look. Bottom left one sat like a normal aquarium, the one on the right was set so the 'top' was the front and the 'bottom' was a narrow side panel making it 3' high. The top left tank was above the bottom left one and aimed to the original top was the front. They were pushed together (which realistically would make getting into the bottom one impossible) and had a flowing scape feel.. Bottom left had a large water feature and led up into fake wood background (foam) mixed with real wood to look like a root base of a tree. The tall right tank use a huge piece(s) of driftwood to make a tree trunk and more roots. The top left was a tree branch off that trunk with a lot of foam used to make more of a raised platform and foe branches off the main branch.


    The (huge) list of starting materials needed:
    Tank: Tetra 40g breeder ($40 at Petco $ per g sale-giftcard ($10)=$30)
    Silicone: (redoing tank seams-if you've seen a tetra tank you'll know why) GE I door and window clear using leftover no cost (original $6)
    Tank stand: Do It Yourself by husband- possibly pine, stained and urethaned ($?)
    Lights: (not decided.. probably) 3x cfl 13 watt 6500k + 3x clamp on reflectors (scavenged from another tank, no $ (originally $30)
    Background: Ghostwood (leftover/scavenged from other tank no $ (original $40 worth) OR Manzanita branches (need to settle on wood/scape)
    Background filler: Great stuff caps and cracks 16 oz ($4)
    Substrate divider: Fibreglass screen $7g
    Substrate (land): Atlanta Botanical Gardens mix (7g ($42-ouch))
    Substrate (water): Black Diamond 'sand' or aquarium gravel (leftover (original $8 or 20))
    False bottom: Egg crate (using leftover from another tank no $ (original $15))
    False bottom supports: cut scrap pvc pipe no cost (original $?)
    Bulk Head: 1/2" Bulkhead kit ($9)
    Tubing: 7/8 od 5/8" id 10' clear tubing ($9) and reuse siphon tubing (under 1/2" od 6' long) ($?)
    Sump: 10g (had-repurposed (original $10))
    Sump media: Bio media leftover no $ (original $?) Foam/sponge media ($14)
    Pump: Aquatop pump 105 gph (got for cost of shipping $7 (original $35-had to buy with tank))
    Heater: Eheim Jagar 50w heater (scavenged from aquarium no $ (original $23))
    Humidifier: Crane drop ultrasonic cool mist humidifier
    Other:
    8x10" glass sheets to convert 10g tank to sump x3 ($6)
    1/2" Glass diamond drill bit ($12)
    1/2" pvc ball valve ($6)
    1/2" pvc female adapter x2($3)
    5/8" x 1/2" nylon barb x mip elbow x2 ($3)
    1/2" 10" pvc pipe (4$)

    STILL NEED:
    Lid (most likely home cut glass with Do It Yourself screen venting)
    Temp and humidity sensor (DHT22)
    Misting option (thinking hand pump mister)
    Quiet fans for vents on lid (husmand ahs some leftover fans we need to look through and select a few out)
    Some other Raspberry PI goodies (ribbon cables,a few other sensors, etc... husband will program it all)


    Photos of most of the stuff:




















    Humidifier Test:
    well not a great test as I do not have the final top or a humdiity guage.. but wanted to make sure it worked before my husband cut off the handle so e can get a pvc reducer in the opening for tubing to get it to the tank. Runs nice and quiet



    The Frog(s):

    Well I'm not 100% set on what species I want to put in here.. orignally I was going to go with the blue beginer Dendrobates azureus, but after my husband asked about the"green and black dart frogs" Dendrobates auratus I started looking into them and am leaning heavily towards the common costa rican variant of auratus, they're cheaper than the azureus, supposedly the females are less aggressive, appreacites water, and are more bold in high humidity which that tank would have if I go the emersed aquatics route.

    If anyone has kept dendrobates azureus, and/or auratus I'd love to hear your thoughts on them (aggression between feamles, boldness, do they use elevated areas of the tank if they can reasonably reach the areas, what humidity and temp you keep thier vivs at, etc).


    More to come!
    Will post with more photos, details soon ^^ If you have any questions, suggestions, tips, etc let me know!

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  3. #2
    Moderator deranged chipmunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: AquaAurora's First Viv Build

    welcome to the forum. this is an adventurous first build. it's really had to comment on anything since you have yet to decide which route you are going with the tank, but i will say this: coming from a planted tank background, i admire the thought of doing a sump, however, i can tell you from experience of making the transition from planted aquariums to frogs, it's over kill. just not needed and is a waste of time, money, and space IMHO. i'm a big fan of sumps. i prefer a sump over any other filtration in planted aquariums any day, but you really don't need it.

    a question about fans. you wrote "Quiet fans for vents on lid (husmand ahs some leftover fans we need to look through and select a few out)" are you planning on having the move air through the vents? because this would totally negate anything you do to try to regulate humidity.

    as far as Azureus and Auratus go. it all depends on whether or not you want to see your frogs. lol Azureus are a bolder frog, being in the tinc species and all, while auratus are a more shy, secretive frog.

    hope that helps
    1.0.0 Oophaga Pumilio 'Black Jeans'
    0.0.10 Phyllobates Vittatus
    0.0.3 Phyllobates Terribilis 'Mint'
    0.0.3 Dendrobates Tinctorius 'Patricia'
    0.0.5 Dendrobates Leucomelas
    0.0.2 Dendrobates Tinctorius 'Powder Blue'
    0.0.2 Ranitomeya Variabilis 'southern'
    0.0.3 Epipedobates Anthonyi 'zarayunga'
    1.2.0 Phyllobates bicolor
    0.0.3 Dendrobates tinctorius 'azureus'
    0.0.1 Avicularia Avicularia
    0.0.1 Gramastola porteri
    0.2.0 Canines
    1.0.0 Tabby/Maine Coon Mix
    2.1.0 Genetics Experiments
    0.1.0 Bed Bully

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    Junior Member AquaAurora's Avatar
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    Default lil' update

    So decided to work on glueing the glass in place in the sump... found out the hard way that the home depot window replacement glass is pretty sharp.. Duely noted and glass was sanded after the incident (btw 24 hours later I managed to rip open the wound when I had it un-bandaged to air out and de-prune my skin.. yay...). Had to ask the hubby to do the silicone work since I couldn't be too precise with the new cut. I zip tied foam and a cut portion of the under gravel filter plate to the pump to help keep I upright and from getting clogged/help reduce flow. Also I stupidly left the sharpie marks on the tank.. now I'm not sure I can get them off >.< going to try windex... At least this is my first tank and very calcium stain heavy so its not like I'd want to use it as a display anyways...



    Need to razor off the excess and silicone the opposite sides (where blue tape is in photo).


    I settled on doing the emersed aquatic plant setup with this tank after much mulling over.. mostly because of my lack of knowledge with orchids and other epiphytic plants I'd used for the branch setup.
    I cut egg crate until my palm was killing me.. ended up changing the rotation of the wood after finally getting it to fit (doh >.<). Decided the new way make it easier to just gravity feed the trickle waterfall where I want it. SO now I get to make a bunch of ramps. Going to wait until pvc piping is cut (husband is custom cutting for me) to make the side walls and ramps so they'll fit properly. and I don't have to do any extra cutting later. I really like the look of the arch this way though ^^






    And as a slight tangent.. I grabbed an unknown sp. of mini orchid at Giant to try just for kicks and giggles.. after a bit of reading online I learned they really need drainage (hole(s) in the planter/cup).. the one it was sold in had none so i decided to try a lazy epiphytic setup for it.. basically just pulled it out of the container and left it in its original substrate (which appears to be sphagnum moss) and used fishing line to lightly wrap it to a scrap of manzanita branch. I put it on the 20g long riparium for now, its not touching water but I'm hoping that having it near the water helps it humidity-wise. If it does well I'll consider planing more for a future branch setup. Fingers crossed I don't kill is instantly (btw this was one of those bs "just add ice (cube)" to water kind.. ugh.. great way to kill a plant..)
    Any ideas on sp.? Also happy take take any pointers/tips on care.




    The skinny white roots you see below the orchid is actually a clove of garlic I stuck in my riparium... its 27" long from roots end to leaf tip.



    Quote Originally Posted by deranged chipmunk View Post
    welcome to the forum. this is an adventurous first build. it's really had to comment on anything since you have yet to decide which route you are going with the tank, but i will say this: coming from a planted tank background, i admire the thought of doing a sump, however, i can tell you from experience of making the transition from planted aquariums to frogs, it's over kill. just not needed and is a waste of time, money, and space IMHO. i'm a big fan of sumps. i prefer a sump over any other filtration in planted aquariums any day, but you really don't need it.

    a question about fans. you wrote "Quiet fans for vents on lid (husmand ahs some leftover fans we need to look through and select a few out)" are you planning on having the move air through the vents? because this would totally negate anything you do to try to regulate humidity.

    as far as Azureus and Auratus go. it all depends on whether or not you want to see your frogs. lol Azureus are a bolder frog, being in the tinc species and all, while auratus are a more shy, secretive frog.

    hope that helps
    Thank you for the input.
    I don't feel like having to consume more tank space to make access points to reach/remove heater and pump if there were issues (and I refuse to seal them in so I can never get them back out without destroying the setup) so I'm gonna try the sump as it makes maintenance/access much easier. I can also use it as a grow out tank for more aquatic plant if I slap a light over it.
    For fans I was thinking I may very infrequently turn on a fan just to push a little air through so its not to stagnant (maybe a few seconds of use before the humidifier kicks in).. I may be over thinking it... but I don't have my layout for venting yet.. so dunno.
    I'd read Auratus are more bold when given plenty of places to hide and a good high humidity which was why I considered them as this will be a high humidity tank for the emersed aquatic plants.

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