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Thread: 131 Gallon Viv Build

  1. #1
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Hey all.

    As some of you know I recently acquired a cheap 131 gallon wooden vivarium that was probably used in the past for some kind of desert-dwelling animal, but in the future will be used to house my three White's Tree Frogs, and maybe a few extras down the line.

    I have started the background build on this viv, but this is a picture from when I first acquired it.



    As you can see it was in need of some...remodeling. My dad signed on to help me with the build and sealed the inside by adding some plastic material to keep the wood from rotting. He also got a hold of some nice pieces of plexi glass for a new front panel and lid. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the in between stages, but I do have some of when I started building the background out of GS.

    Now GS is tricky, you gotta make sure that whatever you're spraying onto it flat on the ground, tried spraying it onto the tank walls while the tank was sitting vertical and lost one whole side and about 3/4 of a can of the foam. It was basically a waste, but at least I got to try out the stuff before it was final.

    My dad helped me get the huge 60" tank on it's side and I came up with this.



    Now I did underestimate how much this stuff expands. XD; The pot got a little squished and I had to cut out some of the foam to free it so it was no longer oblong and would once again fit the plant I picked out for it.

    I waited a few days for the foam to dry, did a second side, then rinsed and repeated. Here is the tank now.




    I still have a long way to go, and I've gone through four cans of GS already (counting the one I wasted), but hopefully it will only take one or two more cans to finish the job and I can start siliconing and covering the sides with dirt and stuff.

    I am completely open to opinions and suggestions, and remember it's not done, I know I have a long way to go. Just remember it's my first time. ^ ^

    Thanks everyone. I'll be posting the progress as I go along.
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

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  3. #2
    Eric Walker
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    I love the big builds. So much more room to work with.
    I would say try and avoid securing any wood with foam so it can be removed easily for cleaning in the future. That seems to be a very commen problem for Alot of people.

  4. #3
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Thanks so much for the comment and the advice Eric! That's actually really helpful because I was planning on securing my fabulous manzanita pieces to the foam, but it seems I should find another way...You make a good point about easy cleaning.

    Some of the pieces are pretty big, but I also have some large rocks to work with, so maybe I'll be able to find another way to keep the wood steady.
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  5. #4
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Hey Kisa, Nice to see your working on it.


    Remember, you can always cut the foam away and redo since its just foam.
    Carve to shape how you want landscape to flow too.

    You can also cut the holes for your planter cups afterwards too.
    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

  6. #5
    Grrrit
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Awesome! I'm excited to see ya getting to this! Can't wait! I bet it'll be sweet brit

  7. #6
    clownonfire
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Grrrit View Post
    Awesome! I'm excited to see ya getting to this! Can't wait! I bet it'll be sweet brit
    Kisa! You're back! Glad to see you again, and that monster of a tank!!

  8. #7
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    So hey everyone!

    Unfortunately I had to put this build on hold because I was on a glorious vacation for a week in L.A. for a convention, but I'm back now and I've finally finished foaming my 131 Gallon Monster Tank!

    Ok, I did procrastinate a little bit (I got back on the 6th...>>) But there were a lot of things I needed to do once I got back, namely making sure all my little froggies were taken care of while I was away. My mom did a great job filling in for me as frog mommy, even if she got a little confused...but all's well!

    So I finished the foaming today, after much trial and tribulation. Before I left I bought what I thought would be my final can of GS, only to realize that the spout was missing. I tried as hard as I could to get the thing to work without the spout, but to no avail. It wouldn't even budge. And of course it took my dad FOREVER to get me another can (he works all the time and here I am at home without a liscense or a car to get me where I need to go.) Finally, before I left he got me another can, but that ran out just before I was finished. I had a tiny section left to do...

    So I left on my vacation and when I came back, I had to wait to get another can of GS. And can you guess what happened to this can...? It came with a spout...that was broken. The straw part that connects to the can completely snapped off as I took it out of the plastic wrap, just fell apart. So I sucked it up and just used what was left of the little handle to foam the rest, and shaped it with my hands since it was so hard to control, and low and behold, the foaming is finally done! There'll be some pictures of the finished product down below.

    I hope you all have enjoyed my little horror story.
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  9. #8
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build


    Here's the right side.


    The middle...


    And the left side.

    The whole thing is lying on it's back. And I foamed a total of four pots into the background.

    I tried to create natural looking shapes as I sprayed the foam, but anyway you spray it that stuff dries basically the same. I've seen everyone else cutting natural looking shapes, hills and valleys into their foam backgrounds before, but I'm a little scared about slicing up this foam after I've gone through six cans of GS just to finish it.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to make it look like natural rock while using a knife? Maybe a helpful video or something someone knows about? Any information would be greatly appreciated, especially by those who have worked heavily with GS before.

    Thanks everyone!
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  10. #9
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Your knife will slice thru it like butter. (as long as its sharp)

    You can just trim out some ledges for the frogs to climb and perch on and I usually do a few angled for top to bottom crevasses for the appearance of where water carved the land away.

    You don't have to do a lot of them just remember to exaggerate the cuts since the silicone will fill a lot of the cuts in.

    You could just have the wood in place and propped up with stones or other pieces of wood thats atop the substrate if you think you will be needing to remove them often.

    Looks great so far Kisa
    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

  11. #10
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Yeah I was planning on building a few ledges, and those puffy parts you see on the right I wanted to carve out little caves for them to sit in.

    I guess I can use an old Foam Background from Exo Terra for reference, they have little streams carved in...

    And as for the wood I decided not to foam it in just in case I ever need to clean or break the tank down or something. My uncle found some awesome huge rocks that I might use to prop them up. I could cover them with dirt and make them look like natural hills. These are BIG rocks I'm talking about. XD;

    Thanks for encouragement Don! Hopefully this new layer of foam dries quickly so I can get to work on siliconing the whole thing together.

    I have two and a half tubes...thought I had one more lying around, I'll have to look for it...
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  12. #11
    bshmerlie
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Yeah, I think you're going to need more than 2.5 tubes of silicone. Carve it with a steak knife it is very easy.

  13. #12
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Also, dont put the big rocks in until you have this where your going to display it since its going to be crazy heavy with those rocks.

    And have fun doing it.... its for the frogs ya know :-)

    Oh, and you can always use that foam background to hide some of the wood.
    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

  14. #13
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Yeah...I thought I had one more tube lying around but now I'm not sure. It could be just swallowed up in the huge mess of building materials we've accumulated in one part of the living room...I'll have to take a closer look tomorrow.

    Since I did the foaming today, how long do you think I should wait until I can carve it and the foam is dried all the way through? I noticed that it will harden on the outside within a day or so, but the inside is still gooey in thicker areas.

    I think we've decided that the final resting spot is right where it is, next to the sliding glass door. I'm a little skeptical about this because of the weather, but maybe everything will work out...we'll just have to see.
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  15. #14
    Founder John's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    I give polyurethane foam at least 3 days before I mess with it. If it's particularly thick, it cold take 1-2 weeks to fully cure down to the core. You should be alright to carve it after about 3 days though.
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

  16. #15
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Quote Originally Posted by John View Post
    I give polyurethane foam at least 3 days before I mess with it. If it's particularly thick, it cold take 1-2 weeks to fully cure down to the core. You should be alright to carve it after about 3 days though.
    Thanks for the tip John! Too bad it'll take so long...but oh well, sacrifices must be made for the good of my frog community!

    I'll go at it in three days...hopefully by then I won't strike a pipeline and be oozed. XD;
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  17. #16
    Grrrit
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    For this kisa, WEAR RUBBER GLOVES! You could spray a generous blob of foam. Then wait maybe 3-5 hours or so and touch it to see if the outside has cured. The key is to get it right as the outside has cured about 1/4" Towards the center. You can then pop it like a balloon and work it into the ledge shape you want by light pinches.

  18. #17
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Quote Originally Posted by Grrrit View Post
    For this kisa, WEAR RUBBER GLOVES! You could spray a generous blob of foam. Then wait maybe 3-5 hours or so and touch it to see if the outside has cured. The key is to get it right as the outside has cured about 1/4" Towards the center. You can then pop it like a balloon and work it into the ledge shape you want by light pinches.
    Wow...If only I had known this sooner...too bad though it's been too long. Oh well...but that's a really cool method, thanks for sharing it!
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

  19. #18
    Grrrit
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Sorry :/

    I'm up to my ears in half built tanks I've been working on. Theyre coming along though.

  20. #19
    Grrrit
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    Sounds like your going to have to just make one more! the more the merrier right?

  21. #20
    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: 131 Gallon Viv Build

    That's alright Grrrt I really appreciate the suggestion, late or not. I'll probably use it on my future tank builds. I'm going to be converting a 10 gallon to a vert for some Clowns (hopefully) and a 30 gallon long for some darts so I'll have plenty of opportunities to use that method. XD

    I hope to see your new tanks once they're all finished, you make some awesome builds my friend. XD
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
    --------------------------------------
    "The gallows are no place for the stubborn//Just you and your lover as a dark souvenir" - Bad Books, Pytor

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