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Thread: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

  1. #1
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Below is a journal of the construction of a vivarium using a 20 gallon high tank in the vertical position.
    This tank will be used to house a pair of Dendrobates tinctorius Bakhuis Mountain.




    To begin, my first step was to ensure I had all the items I would require for the build.
    This included the following materials:
    Tank
    Great Stuff Gap and Crack filler
    GE Silicone II for Windows and Doors
    Accent items IE: Wood, Cork Rounds, Potting Cups



    The following tools were needed to begin:
    Caulking Gun
    Razor Blades
    Knife
    Wipe Out of similar cleaner IE: Vinegar or Bleach and Water mix
    Disposable Rubber Gloves
    Paper Towels
    Patience



    Here are a few pictures of the items used:
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    Before applying any Great Stuff foam or GE Silicone II, clean the glass to ensure no residue it on the glass that could cause the foam or silicone to not adhere properly. The glass looked very clean to start this build, but as you can see from the picture below, it definitely was not.

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    Once the glass was dry and I was ready to play with the foam and silicone, I placed the accent items in to find where I wanted them to end up. As you see from the following pictures, I cut the cork round into three sections as I also did with the wood.
    The first piece of wood was attached with silicone and allowed to dry some before applying the Great Stuff foam.
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    I allowed this left side of the tank to cure for about two hours, then flipped the tank onto its back where I then placed my next accent items and and applied more great stuff foam. Once I was happy with accent locations and the amount of foam I applied, I allowed this to sit overnight to cure. Remember to attach the accent items with silicone first or the foam will move them around as the foam expands.
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    I will be trimming the foam and cutting in some cracks and ledges sometime later today which will be covered in the next post.

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  3. #2
    bshmerlie
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    As always Don very cool. Im gonna be working on my 20 gallon End View today so I'll also be posting some pics. I like how you use cork rounds in your tanks. I don't think I could use them is this tank but Im picking up another 18 cube today so I'm definately going to use them in that one. I can call it my Don copy. what other kind of wood do you have in there? Where did you find it? It looks different?

  4. #3
    Founder John's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Looks good Don. But a vert for tincs? Are you sure?
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

  5. #4
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Man, these two are climbing everywhere. Most of the time they are up on the monkey ladder or picking off flies from the pothos and top side walls where they are now. With the monkey ladder and plants going in I think they will use more more than whats available going up.

    The wood was something I found at Zoo Creatures and I believe was for an aquarium. Super light weight so I'm hoping it won't deteriorate fast.
    The lowest piece is angled out to create a somewhat larger overhang and once the substrates in and sloped up towards the left back it should make a nice place for them to start climbing since I plan to do most of the plants center to top in this one.

    We'll see. If not, then I can build them a 20 Long... I love building ..... hehehehe

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    Moderator LilyPad's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Patience is right! It's looking good already, I can't wait to see the finished product.
    2.0.3 Hyla versicolor "Eastern Gray Tree Frogs"
    2.2.0 Agalychnis callidryas "Red Eyed Tree Frogs"

    0.0.3 Dendrobates auratus "Turquoise and Bronze"
    0.0.1 Anaxyrus fowleri "Fowler's Toad"



  7. #6
    Voltage
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    The tincs I saw today were climing up and down in a 10 vert... But it's looking good and I hope your foam doesn't shrink off the glass

  8. #7
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Thanks Voltage. I just finished putting the silicone and substrate to it so I'll add more later tonight. I was amazed the Great Stuff was completely dry to the glass in 12 - 14 hours.

  9. #8
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Part II

    Below are photos of the foam and accents in place prior to the addition of the GE Silicone II and Substrate.

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    I applied the GE Silicone II Black to the foam which took a total of 2 1/2 tube to completely cover. I completed the applying of silicone and addition of substrate materials by dividing top, center, and bottom into separate sections.
    Below are some pictures of the three sections once the substrate was applied.

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    And here are some pictures of the tank with the background completed.

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    I will allow this to dry and will rinse down multiple times by spraying down with the mister to ensure loose substrate particles are removed.
    I will note here that once I have the substrate applied to the silicone, and pressed in firmly, I allow to dry overnight, then brush off excess substrate with a stiff bristle paint brush to break loose substrate that has not attached well.

    I will also note here that I noticed the Great Stuff Foam did slightly shrink on the right side of the tank and slightly detach from the glass, but this was filled in with the addition of silicone and substrate for the background covering.

    Hope you find this useful.

  10. #9
    Founder John's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Thanks for this, Don. One aspect of terrarium building that I never expected is that everyone has their own design ideas, and even when we borrow the ideas of other people we always have our own spin on them. This is definitely a Don Lisk terrarium. Even if I tried to imitate it really carefully I know it would never be a Don Lisk original .
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

  11. #10
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    I know what you mean John. I see so many that I wish to grab design ideas from and they never come out like the original I was thinking of.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Looks great Don! A quick suggestion, before you get too far along with the build, you may want to poke a meat skewer into the thicker portions of the foam to vent gasses and help it cure at the core. I found that the foam surface cures quickly, but stays pretty gooshy and out gasses for weeks otherwise.

    I can't wait to see the finished product so I can steal your ideas!
    Watching FrogTV because it is better when someone else has to maintain the enclosure!

  13. #12
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by SludgeMunkey View Post
    Looks great Don! A quick suggestion, before you get too far along with the build, you may want to poke a meat skewer into the thicker portions of the foam to vent gasses and help it cure at the core. I found that the foam surface cures quickly, but stays pretty gooshy and out gasses for weeks otherwise.

    I can't wait to see the finished product so I can steal your ideas!
    Thanks. I'll do that tonight for something to do since I can't work on much more until I have glass and the smell out.
    I can't wait to get the glass cut this Tuesday so I can start working on the front.
    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
    Voltage
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Don, i'm jealos! Inspiring. Now I know what i'm gonna get for my b-day, a 20H and supplies! How did you make those pots?! (sorry if I missed that) they have that cool cork look to them. The only thing I would change is that flattish piece of driftwood you put in would look better if it was cork, or maybe it looks funky because it's dry. Guess we'll have to wait. The shrinking will only get worse, sorry to tell you On my tank it started out as a no problem shove some peat/silicone in, but it just kept getting worse and worse until it just came off. Hope this doesn't happen like it did for me! I have one other quick question. What are the dimensions of a 20H? Are they the same as a 10 but just taller? Thanks.

  15. #14
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Voltage View Post
    Don, i'm jealos! Inspiring. Now I know what i'm gonna get for my b-day, a 20H and supplies! How did you make those pots?! (sorry if I missed that) they have that cool cork look to them. The only thing I would change is that flattish piece of driftwood you put in would look better if it was cork, or maybe it looks funky because it's dry. Guess we'll have to wait. The shrinking will only get worse, sorry to tell you On my tank it started out as a no problem shove some peat/silicone in, but it just kept getting worse and worse until it just came off. Hope this doesn't happen like it did for me! I have one other quick question. What are the dimensions of a 20H? Are they the same as a 10 but just taller? Thanks.
    The dimensions are 24 1/4L x 12 1/2W x 16 3/4H ... not sure what a 10 gallon is off hand.
    As for the pots, these are from a single piece of cork round and I ensure the hole through the center of it is big enough to accept plants before I buy it.
    When I put these in I either silicone to the glass or I shove it into the foam right after I apply the foam and then adust angle while its curing. I cut out the excess foam inside to make room for soil and the plant after it cures.

    Once wet and humid in the viv, the wood should stay pretty wet looking. 1st time using this wood so we'll see.
    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

  16. #15
    Voltage
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by DonLisk View Post
    The dimensions are 24 1/4L x 12 1/2W x 16 3/4H ... not sure what a 10 gallon is off hand.
    As for the pots, these are from a single piece of cork round and I ensure the hole through the center of it is big enough to accept plants before I buy it.
    When I put these in I either silicone to the glass or I shove it into the foam right after I apply the foam and then adust angle while its curing. I cut out the excess foam inside to make room for soil and the plant after it cures.

    Once wet and humid in the viv, the wood should stay pretty wet looking. 1st time using this wood so we'll see.
    Thanks! It's a bit longer (4 inches) than a 10 gallon and quite a bit taller as well as deeper, so I guess i'll be better of not using a 10 as a substitute for a 20H. I was about to ask that since you used cork rounds, wouldn't GS fill up the pots from the bottom. What do you use to carve it? I can see having a hard time getting a knife in a pot to carve dense foam. Sorry for all the questions Don.

  17. #16
    Moderator LilyPad's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Fantastic!! It's really looking great!
    2.0.3 Hyla versicolor "Eastern Gray Tree Frogs"
    2.2.0 Agalychnis callidryas "Red Eyed Tree Frogs"

    0.0.3 Dendrobates auratus "Turquoise and Bronze"
    0.0.1 Anaxyrus fowleri "Fowler's Toad"



  18. #17
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Thanks Amy. Can't wait to get it done and planted, but then I'll just want to do another :-)

  19. #18
    bshmerlie
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    It looks great Don. I just bought myself some cork round today as well. But instead of using them as pots I'm going to make a bunch of little caves on the background. Almost like a chipmunk hill. That's why I like to see everybody's builds....it gives you ideas. On a side note. I do have to agree with John, tincs although they do use all of the tank still would appreciate more floor space.

  20. #19
    Moderator DonLisk's Avatar
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    The cork rounds need to have a big hole through then so you can plant in so a knife fits easily inside to carve out the GS.

    I know Cheri, but this will give me a reason to make another 20 Long later on :-)

  21. #20
    bshmerlie
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    Default Re: 20 Gallon Vertical Build Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by DonLisk View Post
    I know Cheri, but this will give me a reason to make another 20 Long later on :-)
    Ya know....I think my favorite part about keeping frogs is the builds. My Red Eyes don't know it yet but their house is due for a remodel.

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