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Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

This is a discussion on Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy within the Vivarium, Terrarium & Enclosure Discussion forums, part of the General Topics category; First of all hello everyone! Awesome site! So the ZooMed I purchased a few months ago was quietly collecting dust ...

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    Default Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    First of all hello everyone! Awesome site!
    So the ZooMed I purchased a few months ago was quietly collecting dust when I decided that I wanted to make it into a paludarium with a faux rock waterfall. My initial plan was to have the waterfall in the middle with GS and titebond planted areas on either side. Most well both of my previous builds had been setup in that orientation and it doesn't really allow a lot of planting space. So I decided to shift the waterfall to the left corner and build around it. So after I drilled the tank for the plumbing I started the build.

    For the basic structure of the waterfall I purchased a 2'x2'x3" sheet of poly foam from a local hobby store. This type of foam is used for seat cushions and feels like memory foam. I cut the foam sheet into blocks and then I trimmed them into general rock shapes. After I cut enough blocks and stacked them into the waterfall shaped and hot glued the pieces to the glass. When that was done I sprayed GS around the waterfall and laid out the planters and carved it after it cured.
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0054-1.jpg

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0055-1.jpg

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0042.jpg

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0045.jpg

    The next step I began to coat the foam blocks with Quikrete mortar. The first coat was extremely runny like chocolate milk and it was just to ensure the next coats would adhere. The second coat was a little thicker but still runny. I waited 24 hours and put on a real thick coat. The consistency was like pudding and this coat was were the "sculpting" happened. Now my sculpting skills suck I I did layers of thicker coats in some areas and when it dried it looked nothing like the foam blocks at all. I also redid the GS on the left
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0052.jpg

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0070.jpg

    Now this were this build to a different turn. The GS that I resprayed and carved on the left lost its bond and had seperated from the glass in the middle so I tore it out and decided to build up a rockwall just like I did for the waterfall. I also took out the mopani wood and added another piece of Malaysian.
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0072.jpg left side view

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0071.jpg front view

    Today I just finished up the last coat of mortar and will post more pics later. Please give me some feed back. This is my first time working with cement for a build so any questions or concerns are greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Don
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Looks pretty awesome so far. Any chance I can see a pic from the top to see how much space is available for planting. I'm planning a new build for a Crested Gecko but not sure where I want to go with the build yet.
    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

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Thanks Don. And as requested...Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-top-view.jpg
    Sorry about the quality, I had to take it with the camera on my phone and 8mp is not enough to really show the depth. With this build I wanted to create a rockwall with lots of depth. Now you can make a rockwall that's more "flush" with the glass using the pink Styrofoam sheets. There's a few threads on the net on how to do it.

    While I'm on the subject here is an update on the rockwall. I'm pretty much done with the cement phase except one small place where the top bulkhead fitting will go. I actually can't cement that portion in until I get the bulkhead installed. Here's a couple pics...
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-rockwall-1.jpg

    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-full-tank-shot.jpg

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    Don
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Awesome build. Thanks for the pics and ideas :-)

    Can't wait to see it planted and operating.
    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

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    Mike T.
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    That is a great looking rock wall, and I also can't wait to see what this looks like all planted and finished!

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Thanks for the compliments. I'm stuck with a dilemma. Ok the yellow foam I was going to finish it with titebond to give it a more organic look. Now that I have finished the rock work (almost) do you guys think it would look better if I scrapped the GS and continued the rock work on the other side of the large piece of Malaysian?

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    Michael
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Have you thought about silicone and peat to cover the foam. That is a pretty standard method to deal with foam. You can also use gorilla glue and peat to achieve the same.
    1.2.0 Dendrobates tinctorius 'Azureus'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Lamasi 'Orange'
    1.1.0 Dendrobates Ventrimaculatus 'Understory Line'
    0.3.0 Dendrobates leucomelas

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    As always your mileage may vary!
    I may or may not know what I'm talking about!

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    Don
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    I'd go with the GS and substrate covering so you have more than just all stone look. The stone work does look pretty awesome.
    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

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    Cool Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Have you thought about silicone and peat to cover the foam. That is a pretty standard method to deal with foam. You can also use gorilla glue and peat to achieve the same.
    I wasn't considering the silicone/peat method because I wanted something a little more water resistant and durable I was considering Titebond III but is Gorrila Glue just as good? I know its a lot cheaper.

    I'd go with the GS and substrate covering so you have more than just all stone look. The stone work does look pretty awesome.
    Once again thanks for the compliment. Ok I got you!! I think I will ad more GS to fill up the rest of the glass and add more planting areas for epiphytes. As far as the "stones" I like the overall greyish color but I'm going to add some greens and earthtones to it to give it a weathered look. This build is geared towards a small species of tree frogs hopefully either clowns or reeds.

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    Don
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    I like he silicone over gorilla glue since the glue expands and is a mess to have to cut or trim after it hardens. I use gorilla glue for touch up since its fast and fills missed spots quickly.

    Instead of filling the whole back you can just put the silicone and substrate right to the glass if your not wanting to take up more space or to use whats already in GS as overhangs.
    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

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Yea it is a pain and it takes about 2 weeks to dry. On my last build I used Titebond and it took forever to dry, but when it did it was solid. But what I did was I mixed it up with organic soil and jungle moss and pretty much just slopped it over the GS and then I pressed more organic soil, jungle moss and sphagnum moss into it. I waited for it to dry then I vacuumed off the excess and it turned out pretty good IMO. Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-100_0490.jpg

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    **update**

    Ok so today I finally went over my best friend's parents' house and picked up this


    Yes a sink. A very nice sink. This thing is heavy too. I believe it has a porcelain top but I'm not sure, its definitely not wood. My friend's dad was actually going to sell it at his up coming yard sale but he let me have it for FREE. Forget giving a pet store $100+ for a stand half as nice. So I loaded it in the back of Scarface II (my Pacifica) hauled it home and went to work removing the bowl and water fixture. It was actually pretty easy and took me about 5 mins.



    The tank fits it perfectly with about 1/2" space left on the front and the back and completely covers the 2 holes.


    As for the tank its self I decided to redo the GS to add more planting pockets and surface. I think I'm going to make some vines to add to this area to give it a more unique look and extra climbing space. But first things first I have to wait for the GS to cure then trim it down. I also picked up a piece of mopani to add to the pond.

    Tomorrow I think ill head to my grand mother's house and collect some magnolia leaves. She has three large ones in her yard so free leaf litter. I will be adding it to the pond.

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    it looks good, you seem like me always changing and reshaping everything. I cant wait to see it all done

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Yea I constantly change things. When I was in design school my professor used to get on me because ill work on a project all term and when it was time for portfolio review I show up with something totally different. I always have the best idea at the last minute. Thanks for the compliment too. On another note I managed to get some nice magnolia leaves for litter from my grandmothers. One plus to living in the south. Mines will be aquatic leaf litter though.

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Just a real quick update....

    Got around to applying spaghnum peat moss and Titebond III to the rest of the bg. I started off by saturating the peat with water and then mixed in the Titebond until it was the consistency of cake batter. I then spread it over the foam. Unlike the silicone method there is no need to rush this because it takes a long, long time to dry. After I had the foam completely covered I pressed the dry peat in straight out the bag and packed it down. Here are the pics....
    Attachment 18865
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0113.jpg
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0127.jpg
    Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy-imag0126.jpg
    I know the photos are crappy.

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    First off I wanted to compliment you on your work. Very well done. I have one question though. Is the quikrete and titebond III going to release toxins into your water?

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    First off I wanted to compliment you on your work. Very well done. I have one question though. Is the quikrete and titebond III going to release toxins into your water?
    Thanks for the compliment. To answer the question no, once properly cured they both are safe. Quikrete has to repeated soaked and rinsed for a few weeks to neutralize its ph. This process can be expedited using vinegar or a mild acid. Some zoo exhibits and aquarium keepers actually use cement based products for their enclosures. The Titebond once dry is FDA approved for indirect food contact once cured, it just have to dry throughly which takes a couple of weeks. Ive used Titebond II which is weather proof not water proof, and I never had any problems with it breaking down or leeching so I figure Titebond III will hold up even better since there is a portion of it that would be submerged.

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Very Nice, I have been researching different methods of building backgrounds. I have used the spay foam method already on a large tank which worked alright, kept the tank nice a lite. I didn't like the idea of the clay method as it never fully dries, and isn't good for ponds. Have you finished your Vivarium? Could you upload some pictures for all to admire?

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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Very Nice, I have been researching different methods of building backgrounds. I have used the spay foam method already on a large tank which worked alright, kept the tank nice a lite. I didn't like the idea of the clay method as it never fully dries, and isn't good for ponds. Have you finished your Vivarium? Could you upload some pictures for all to admire?
    No I wish I was finished. Ive been uploading as I go. I lost my job a few months back so I had to take this build relatively slow. I think its for the better though because I get to brainstorm a lot before I commit. I actually landed a temp gig that I start today so hopefully that will give me some extra cash to get this thing done. I dont plan on getting any major fauna until the spring but I want it planted and up and running by Dec.

    As far as builds go I have used the peat and silicone method, and the titebond method but working with cement is by far my favorite. It's fairly inexpensive and you really can add that extra dimension that you cant achieve with GS.

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    Dalton
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    Default Re: Rockwall Paludarium Build Log. Pic Heavy

    Awesome tanks, looks amazing so far. keep us posted. Economy sucks, everyone is losing their jobs.
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