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Thread: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    I've started work on my sterilite bin vivarium. It features two 90 quart Sterilite bins attached at their tops using GE Silicone I Clear. The end result is a roughly 40 gallon tank(45 gallons) that is pretty long and quite tall.To impove the hold of the Silicone on the plastic I scratched some texture into the lid of the bins and sanded them. I did the same on the inside on the back, for the naturalistic backing' s adherance. It seems to be adhering pretty well.
    I'll probably get started on the backing in a couple day, to make sure the Silicone I've alrwady placed is at least mostly cured. I've also been making fake wood based on this thread to be embedded into the backing:
    http://www.frogforum.net/showthread....-the-cheap-way!
    Pictures:


    Lining up the bins was a little annoying, and I'm thinking my next one will have some sort of ident and bump to make sure they line up right, or perhaps some sort of peg glued on with a hole on the other bin. Some way to ensure they line up right before being connected. More to follow, with pictures!
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    Founder John's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    That's actually really interesting. A couple of points:

    1) As you are aware, normal silicone is lousy for making polypropylene stick together. I am worried this won't stay together reliably for you.
    2) Those bins (I use them myself for amphibian related things like maintaining crickets) get cloudier over time so it will become harder to see into them.

    Please keep us updated!
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    I didn't think about the clouding over thing, I kinda figured it'd happened to a lot of my storage bins because they were outside, but it makes sense. I had an idea of cutting a square out of the front top bin to cover with screen. It was initially for ventilation, but now it would also serve another purpose. I worry about the Silicone adhering, but it seems okay so far. I'm also considering how to access the inside. Normally a lid suffices, but with how tall it is I've been thinking either a hinged door or a panel attached by Velcro, but I'm still planning it all out. Thanks for the info John!
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    I've done more work on it: I used Great stuff foam on the cut out bottom of the bin I put on top as a test, as well as silicon and great stuff on top of a layer of smeared silicone as recommended in John's stickied guide here:
    http://www.frogforum.net/showthread....m-construction
    I wanted to what would adhere best to the plastic, and great stuff on top of silicone seems harder to remove than either alone, but I don't think I let the foam fully cure/dry....gonna keep working on it.
    I drilled some ventilation holes near the top, and started work on a drainage pipe and hole to mount it in. I tried to get it in place with silicone, but I think I'm gonna have to work on it and figure it out more. Gonna add some new pics tomorrow. I also tried to make a silicone "anchor" in the sides, I drilled a hole through the lip of the bins and filled it with silicone. Not sure how much it helped, but I tried lol
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    Update finally!! First, something of a disclaimer:
    DO NOT USE THIS AS A TUTORIAL. While it seems it will hold together okay as long as it is treated a bit gingerly, the work involved in making it is not worth the few dollars saved over getting a similar sized glass tank on a $ a gallon sale or from a garage sale, and it frankly doesn't look as good as a glass tank. If you really want to do it and/or you think you can take the idea and do it better, that's cool, but it really won't save you much money, possibly none.

    I did the whole backing process, embedding a piece of cork and a pot for my pothos or heart leaf in the backing. The adversion appears to be cumulative, so the more surface area the foam and silicone cover, the better it sticks. As such, the background seems pretty stable. This hasn't been as great or cheap as I'd hoped, but it has been good practice in backing and general vivarium construction, and it should produce a viable tank so it has been far from a waste in any way. Gotta upload a picture and edit this adding it in a bit.
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    Pictures!


    First image is shortly after application, second one is the next day. The foam is TotalPond Waterfall foam from Home Depot. It bent the back of the bins around, making lumps. Worries me a tiny bit, but it doesn't seem to have had any influence on structural integrity. The foam looked pretty good at first, but after it cured It's looking like a bit if trimming will be needed. Still, even though it's basic, I'm happy with how it turned out. It's my first background! In a day or two I'll be working on mixing soil, bleach bathing my plants, and putting in the final touches, such as work on the drainage. Almost done.
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    It's finished! Soil mixed and seperated from the drainage layer, plants treated and placed, lights are on. There are still a few finishing touches I have to put on it(screen over the ventilation holes at the top, magnetic or other means of keeping half the screen on top down to prevent escapes, and putting some sphagnum moss around for aesthetics.), it has been planted. Only 3 plants are in this, since it's not a huge vivarium. An unidentified Dracaena species, an Austral Gem Fern(Hybrid fern), and a heart-leaf philodendron cutting. It's a fairly basic, but it looks pretty good. It should look a bit better with some more decor and the moss and some time to grow in. I feel like maybe I should add another plant...
    Anyway, pictures!!


    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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    100+ Post Member daybr4ke's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIP-45 Gallon DIY Sterilite Bin Vivarium

    The frogs are in!! Soon after my last post I added 2 more plants, a spider plant and my marble queen Pothos. Here are some pictures!!

    View of the whole vivarium. Looks a bit better with more plants.


    One of the larger frogs sitting on the backing. The backing seems to be a big hit


    One of the larger frogs on a log. They blend in pretty well on the cork logs.


    Finally there's this, just a cool shoot I took. They don't seem to have trouble with the inward slant of the top bin as I worried about!
    Thanks for taking a look! I may make another sterilite bin Viv some time in the future after rethinking my design
    1 Male Giant African Bullfrog
    2 Woodhouse's Toads
    11 Pacific Treefrogs
    1 Dubia Roach Colony
    2 Australian Green Treefrogs

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