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Thread: 20g Hex Build!

  1. #1

    Default 20g Hex Build!

    Hi guys! So, this is my first build. So I welcome any advice and am positive I'll be making some beginner mistakes. However, I've been planning this for over six months, and I just needed to get started and get something DONE so I'd be more motivated.

    Unless anyone has any advice on why/why not, I'll be doing leca/barrier/ABG/moss/leaf litter for the bottom, and silicon/great stuff/titebond/coco fibre for the background. I have some wood pieces and net pots to build into the foam, and a 2" fan for circulation, which I'll be building a duct for into the background. My planned inhabitants for this viv are a pair of hyloxalus azureiventris, so I have a couple of hides for them on the ground, and I'll be building some hollows and ledges into the background. I'll also have a water bowl filled mostly with large gravel, to prevent untimely frog deaths.

    I love the shape of the hex tank, and wanted to incorporate the different sides into the background design. Because I have so many different sides to work on, and when I get to attaching wood and great stuff, it will mean a LOT of drying time in stages for each side, I wanted to do a back layer of silicon (for the black color on the outside, mostly) to figure out how high I want the background to go on each side. I planned on the back middle and back left being full height, and the back right and front left sides sloping down and being only about half background. Like this?

    I learned that, while my design is cool in theory, the half side in the front doesn't work that well in practice, and will have to be a lot shorter or it will ruin the view. So, before adding great stuff and wood, I'll be trimming back the silicon on the front side a lot (and trimming where I need to place ductwork and wood - unless titebond can be used to attach wood/pots/ducts directly to silicone? No? That's okay. I'll trim and restick.

    I also made some roots and vines out of pipe cleaners, and will be siliconing and cocofibering them... but... I ran out of silicon. -_- Another day. Another day.

    Anyway. Finally started! Yay! (I can hear my cats playing with the plastic drop cloth... excuse me while I go deal with that....)

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  3. #2

    Default 20g Hex Build!

    Should be an interesting build. Why the water bowl instead of just including the water feature in the drainage layer?

    Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world ~ Nelson Mandela
    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

  4. #3

    Default Re: 20g Hex Build!

    Quote Originally Posted by deranged chipmunk View Post
    Should be an interesting build. Why the water bowl instead of just including the water feature in the drainage layer?
    A couple reasons? Partly because I wasn't sure I would be able to provide a safe depth water area that could be climbed out of without sacrificing soil depth (so it could be sloped). And partly because, since the tank only opens from the top, I wanted it to be easy to clean if need be, and removable. I think it'll work out. We'll see.

    I have (slowly) been working on this build! I'm up to the coco fibre-ing stage, I need to post some pics!

    EDIT: Pics.

    Image 1
    Adhering wood pieces, fan duct (corrugated plastic, silicone, fiberglass screen), and net cups with silicone (and a prayer - since some of the net cups were on vertical surfaces and I was impatient.) I cut two of the net cups in half, so they wouldn't stick out as much from the background, and to be able to add more (smaller) plants. One of the cups is in a corner, and so has almost the same inside dimensions as a full one. ^_^ I used pipe cleaner and paint stirrer sticks to help support the cups on their angled surfaces as they dried, and was able to stick everything in in one step.

    Image 2
    Everything stuck to the background! Yay!

    Image 3
    Balloons and straws before foaming.

    Image 4
    Foam applied (I actually had to do this in two steps, because of the 4 faces of the background - this is step one, in which I did the first 3 faces. Step 2, I unfortunately didn't get pics of because I got great stuff on my hands and couldn't pick up my phone. -_-)

    Image 5
    Totally foamed and dried.

    Image 6
    Foam trimmed back, using a razor blade and a lot of patience.

    Image 7
    Fit the main branch into place (this branch fits into a "socket" I made in the foam by wrapping the branch in plastic wrap during foaming and then pilling the wood and cling wrap out. Since the tank only opens at the top, this will allow me to take the big branch out in case of any major pruning, cleaning, etc I may need to do.) Same through process as the water dish here - this is my first tank and I want it to be easy to maintain and repair if needed. Technically the little branches are also removable, but they's small enough that I didn't need to make "sockets" for them, I just pushed them deeply into the foam.

    Image 8 Image 9
    All the branches placed! I can't wait to plant these they look so coooollll!!! The big branch is ghost wood, the smaller ones are manzanita.

    Image 10
    First face covered in coco fibre. I'm happy with how the net cup edge blends right into the big driftwood piece, and the shape overall. It looks more natural than I hoped, and the fan duct is hidden really well.

    Image 11
    Second and third face covered too! The mopani branch blends in well too (almost too well -_-) and adds some texture that I'm excited to see in the finished tank. I had to do touchups on this side, but nothing too major.

    Image 12
    Last face being covered. Then I can clean up the glass, and start adding leca and substrateeeee! I'm so excitedd! You can really see in this image why I had to do things in so many steps. I'm happy I decided to keep the design the way I had it through - two full height sides and two sloping down. It does limit the area from which you can see into the tank, but it also gives more to look AT when you do look in, and since I'm thinking of shy frogs who like to hide a lot (either the hyloxalus still, or some thumbnails) I think they'll appreciated the enclosed nature it provides. I also made some little caves using extra great stuff foamed over balloons and great stuff can caps, which I also siliconed and covered in fibre, but I don't have pics yet.

    Sorry I haven't updated in forever, I was waiting for the right branches! All this building has happened in the past two weeks! Can't wait to have more to show you guys. I also started getting plants for this tank, some from Josh's Frogs, some from local reptile shows. There's probably too many to photograph. But you can never have too many plants. ^_^ So I'll share pics when I decide what goes in and what stays out (for other tanks, small terrariums, my own rainforest room, etc).
    Last edited by RokedBeGeshem; December 31st, 2014 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Pictures!

  5. #4

    Default Re: 20g Hex Build!

    I hate to double post, but I can't find the dang edit button. -_- I did find more pics though.
    These are the finished background (so far - it's currently curing what I HOPE are the final touch ups) with the wood pieces in place. (They all hold firmly in place except the big one, but I'll just stuff the extra space with some LFS and steady it. Annnd if all goes well with those touch ups, my next step is to get a top cut for it on Friday!

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    I'm really happy I decided to keep all four sides of the background, and not just 3. In my own opinion, it makes the tank more dynamic, because you get even more to look at from each angle. I can't wait for plantttssss!!!!! ^____^

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