Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

  1. #1
    100+ Post Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    212

    Default 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    I mentioned that I was working on a viv in my introduction, so here it is. Though I've done a number of simple setups for tree frogs before, this is the first one that goes beyond the bare necessities. My setups in the past were aesthetically modest; but they were easy and practical.

    Quick background:
    I've been out of the pet circle since 2005, when my White's tree frog died, presumably of old age. The 20 gallon tank it occupied was since decommissoned. Then 2 months ago one of my buddies asked me to look after his green anole for a few months. So I brought it in, pulled the tank out of retirement (it had become a storage bin of sorts - a rather shameful demise), ramshackled together some houseplants and tried to make the little bugger feel comfortable.

    Then I poked around the internet for ideas on improving the cage environment. Long story short: 2 months of research later (a great portion of it from this forum and others like it), I was bitten hard by the vivarium bug and decided to make a serious project out of it.


    The build:
    My goals were simple:
    Keep things as natural as possible - no fake plants, wood or rocks, only the real thing.
    It must look good without appearing artificial.
    Be a good environ for the animal and meet all its needs.

    I didn't want to mess around with great stuff or large amounts of sealant/synthetic materials. I did want a water feature, not because the anole needed it but to keep the humidity up for the plants and as a possible holdover for when I get a frog in there eventually.

    The tank is a 20 gallon high glass aquarium, 24" x 16" x 12". I didn't go for the tall conversion.

    The setup was implemented over a period of a month and underwent several reconstructions, and will likely go through several more.

    I have 1.5" of hydroton for the drainage layer; fiberglass mesh over it and for the substrate, I splurged on the Atlantic Botanical Garden mix sold by Josh's Frogs. This is mainly for the benefit of the plants. I also used T-Rex jungle bed (coco fiber) to fill in certain areas. The substrate layer is 2-3 inches thick.

    Over the substrate I have a layer of 3-4 live moss varieties. Hardscape includes a 8" x 8" cork slab, various pieces of driftwood and branches. Plants include cuttings of peperomia glabella, wandering jew, variegated pothos and grape fern; 2 neoregelia broms and 4 tillandsias mounted on the cork. I will look to add more over time. The smaller neo brom is mounted on driftwood, while the larger one is planted in the substrate.

    As for the water feature, the idea was to create a miniature waterfall using a small power head and rocks. Now, I didn't want the water area taking up a lot of space - just big enough so a full-grown White's tree frog can take a dip.

    Originally, I was going to silicone a glass/acrylic divider to one side of the tank but I found a better solution in a glass Pyrex bowl, about 6 inches in diameter. The bowl was half buried in the substrate, resting on top of the mesh layer. Water changes would be carried out with a siphon. That part worked out well.

    The waterfalI was more of a challenge and is still being perfected. Even at only 69gph the pump is just a tad too powerful for such a small waterhole. The first attempt ended up with water leaking out all over the tank. Second try less so, but still too much splashing. I know hydroton is designed to handle water but the sight of the drainage layer being partially flooded just rubs me the wrong way. So I'm still pondering what to do with the waterfall. It might involve more rocks, or using a piece of cork instead.

    One of my biggest concerns right now is how wet to keep the substrate. I have springtails in there so hopefully mold will not be a problem. I just hope the moss doesn't lock in too much moisture.

    That aside, the anole is taking to his surroundings well. He loves basking on top of the bark and surveying the terrain from the highest perch. He also sleeps there most of the time. There's a heating mat outside the glass behind the cork, which also serves as a hide. Dude is more voracious than he's ever been and gaining weight these days.

    Changes ahead:
    I mentioned the waterfall already. I want to move the cork slab higher, to make better use of space, and that may involve the use of sealant. I have the GE silicone II without Bioseal - please tell me it's safe to use when cured? More branches will be added - notably ones that run the length near the top. More plants, of course. I also want to try to grow some moss on the driftwood.

    So there it is. I'd appreciate any comments, critiques or advice you might have.

    Pics:
    The first one was taken about 10 days ago, before the cork and waterfall. The next 2 were taken a couple days ago, after the moss was introduced but before the bromeliads arrived.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by killerecho; December 19th, 2010 at 04:37 AM. Reason: Proofread

  2. # ADS
    Circuit advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many
     

  3. #2
    Founder John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Nationality
    [Ireland]
    Location
    United States
    Age
    42
    Posts
    5,963
    Picture Albums: Member Photo Albums

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    I like the terrarium a lot. For a tree frog though, I think you could use more climbing opportunities.
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

  4. This member thanks John for this post:


  5. #3
    100+ Post Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Yes, I totally agree. The anole likes to climb, too, and so I'm working on adding more branches and resituating the cork higher. As the plants get bigger and more numerous, they should add more climbing opportunities as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    I like the terrarium a lot. For a tree frog though, I think you could use more climbing opportunities.

  6. #4
    100+ Post Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    212

    Default 5 Months Later...

    After going through numerous renovations, this is the latest result incarnation of the 20g vivarium I started building in November. There are too many changes to list in detail, but basically I took out the water feature; added a bigger piece of cork, manzanita branches and many more plants, some of which are not visible in the pics. I do not have any frogs in there yet. The viv may need to be retooled again in case some of the plants are not getting enough light.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  7. #5
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,337
    Picture Albums: Member Photo Albums

    Default Re: 5 Months Later...

    Nice job Brian. Great transformation. Bet your tree frogs are loving that.
    1.0.0 Red Eyed Leaf/ Frog - Agalychnis callidryas
    1.1.1 Bumblebee Dart Frog - Dendrobates leucomelas
    1.1.0 Dendrobates truncatus - Yellow Striped
    1.1.1 Dendrobates tinctorius Bakhuis Mountain
    1.1.0 - Dendrobates tinctorius - Powder Blue
    1.1.0 - Ranitomeya vanzolinii

  8. #6
    100+ Post Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Thanks Don, I hope to introduce some tree frogs very soon.

  9. #7
    clownonfire
    Guest

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Like Don said! Congrats!

  10. This member thanks clownonfire for this post:


  11. #8
    Dannysxu
    Guest

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Hello Brian!
    I know I'm late to the party, but I was wondering how much ABG did you end up getting from Joshs Frogs to fill your 20 and how many bags of hydroton? I heard people use gravel, not sure if there's a con to that

  12. #9
    Super Moderator Heatheranne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Erie, Pa
    Posts
    8,236
    Picture Albums: Member Photo Albums

    Default 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Great job! The added wood is just right.
    https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203589094112277&id=1363241107&set =a.1434844115446.2055312.1363241107&source=11&ref= bookmark

  13. #10
    100+ Post Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannysxu View Post
    Hello Brian!
    I know I'm late to the party, but I was wondering how much ABG did you end up getting from Joshs Frogs to fill your 20 and how many bags of hydroton? I heard people use gravel, not sure if there's a con to that
    Hi Danny and welcome to the forum. I got a 10-liter bag of hydroton and ended up using about half of it. The bottom of the tank was 24" by 12", and I had a layer about 2.5" thick. Gravel is fine but it's heavy, will mar the glass underneath and difficult to clean and remove in case you need to remodel the tank.


    Quote Originally Posted by Heatheranne View Post
    Great job! The added wood is just right.
    Thanks Heather. This thread is ancient...I ended up breaking this tank down and converting it into a vertical. Even a 20 gallon high only has about 9-10 inches of vertical space once you account for the substrate. The gray tree frogs that I had in there kept pushing against the screen. They were much happier with the vertical setup.

    Name:  IMG_0951.jpg
Views: 4393
Size:  85.9 KBName:  IMG_1030.jpg
Views: 1497
Size:  99.5 KB

  14. #11
    Dannysxu
    Guest

    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    Thanks a lot brian!

  15. #12
    Super Moderator Heatheranne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Nationality
    [United States]
    Location
    Erie, Pa
    Posts
    8,236
    Picture Albums: Member Photo Albums

    Default 20 Gallon Vivarium Build

    I like this one too . I like your style of decorating.
    https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203589094112277&id=1363241107&set =a.1434844115446.2055312.1363241107&source=11&ref= bookmark

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. 55 Gallon Build- Pic Heavy
    By rcteem in forum Vivarium, Terrarium & Enclosure Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: December 18th, 2010, 08:43 AM
  2. How many FBT's for a 10 gallon?
    By Digital in forum Fire Belly Toads (Bombina)
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: December 3rd, 2010, 03:24 PM
  3. New 25 gallon vivarium
    By Jace in forum Vivarium, Terrarium & Enclosure Discussion
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: September 9th, 2010, 01:03 AM
  4. How I build moss platforms
    By Diogo Juliao in forum Vivarium, Terrarium & Enclosure Discussion
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: August 26th, 2010, 05:32 PM
  5. Brand new 55 Gallon
    By Amphibians in forum Vivarium, Terrarium & Enclosure Discussion
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: October 20th, 2009, 07:22 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •