Custom ledge background build

Vivarium Plan design, "Build Journals", DIY, Viv Maintenance Issues.
User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:31 am

Well I have been working on viv two for a few weeks now. I decided to attempt a custom foam / drylok background with stacked ledges to increase the usable footprint of the vivarium. I'm building on the concept I used in my first viv that used magnetic ledges to increase the usable space.

I used pink insulation foam with the vapor barrier removed. I cut this half inch thick insulation into shapes that I stacked to form the overall background design that I was interested in:
bg-01-stackedFoam.JPG


Here is a dry fit of the stacked foam design in the viv:
bg-02-stackedDryFit.JPG


I then took the stacked foam and used a dremel with a carving bit to shape the ledges and texturize the background for a more natural look. Here is the dry fit with the texturized background and some rough placement of cork bark:
bg-03-texturizedDryFit.JPG


Once I finished shaping the background I began sealing with Drylok. Here is the background with a base coat of white (untainted) Drylok. I find the white is better for visually ensuring complete coverage of the foam:
bg-04-drylokBaseCoat.jpg


After the white base coat was applied I used Quikrete Charcoal cement colorant to obtain a dark gray base coat:
bg-05-drylokGrayCoat.jpg


Next I sponged on a light gray tint, followed by a buff coat, then a brown coat then another dark grey coat:
bg-06-drylokHighlights.jpg


You get a better idea of what I was after once it's top lit:
bg-07-complete.jpg


There are multiple caves/bowers and I've more than doubled the usable footprint of the tank. There should be lots of variability in the available microclimates. There are several dams built up on the ledges so I can place some soil / leaf litter at various levels for planting. The background was siliconed to the Viv glass to ensure no critters can work their way behind it. My biggest concern at this point is if I will have enough line of sight to actually see the residents but I think they will be happy with the climbing space and hides.

I have about 7 long evenings into the background build. The Dremel work took about 4 hours - more than I anticipated. The Drolok coats were also more time consuming than I imagined. There were a lot of tight nooks in there to cram a brush in.

Cork bark went in tonight as well as the black shelf paper siding. I also fly-proofed the glass seams. I should have pictures available of that tomorrow once the tape is removed holding the pieces in place. Tomorrow's effort will focus on silicone clean up and dressing exposed silicone edges with sphagnum. After that it's a few more days of curing then the substrate will go in! So far, I like how it turned out.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

dynekevin
Posts: 221
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 11:13 am
Location: Plainfield, IL

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby dynekevin » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:14 am

:shock:

wow that looks like pure fun.
I cannot wait to see that thing planted. Congratz. It looks great!
Azureus - Imitators "Cainarachi Valley" - Leucomelas - Black Jeans

User avatar
trendkill
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:04 pm
Location: Northern IL
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby trendkill » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:10 am

That turned out really awesome.. keep the pics coming. :)

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:36 am

Thanks guys! Yeah things are going to have to progress quickly...I need to get my stuff off the dining room table by Thursday! More pictures to come...
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
RichFrye
Senior Member
Posts: 4451
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:10 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby RichFrye » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:02 am

Nice stuff.
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


If tone is more important to you than content, you are at the wrong place.

My new email address is rich.frye@icloud.com and new phone number is 773 577 3476

User avatar
RoadRunner1083
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:00 pm
Location: Arlington, TX

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby RoadRunner1083 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:23 pm

WoW! That is looking great! looking forward to seeing this finished.
Alex
Just Starting....
Making a Viv for 2-3 Azureus

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:00 pm

Got the cork bark in last night and I removed the braces tonight. Before the bark:
bg-07-complete.jpg


After the bark:
corkBark-01-front.jpg


Angle shot of the left side:
corkBark-02-angle.jpg


Here's a closer view of the upper shelf that I lined with smaller cork bark pieces. It will serve as an upper planting ledge.
corkBark-03-upperShelf.jpg


I went back and siliconed sphagnum into the gaps between pieces of bark and the bark and the glass. I'll trim back some of the sphagnum once the silicone cures:
corkBark-04-mossFront.jpg


And another shot of the top ledge:
corkBark-05-mossLeft.jpg


Tonight I'll be working on wrapping up the silicone clean up, final fly proofing, and more shelf paper application and trimming. Getting close! The plants are prepped and waiting in a temporary bin. LED lamps are on order. I'll be making a new custom stand this weekend!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
JayMillz
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:49 am
Location: Minnesota

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby JayMillz » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:33 am

Wow! That is really coming along nice. Nice build! I can't wait to see the grown in results, and I'm sure you can't either hahaha.
Josh

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:43 pm

Thanks! Yeah I am ready to be done! I keep staring at my sterilite bin full of plants like Stimpy struggling to not push the History Eraser button. Must wait for silicone to cure!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
RanaVenenosa
Moderator
Posts: 723
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:10 pm
Location: North Dallas, Texas

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby RanaVenenosa » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:39 pm

Cool Jim,
Do you plan to put sheet moss or leaf litter on the ledges?
Scott - North Dallas

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:14 pm

Hey Scott. Yeah - a little ABG in the planting ledges (4 of those) with leaf litter then a few varieties of moss and some smaller live oak litter on the others (about 7 of those if I recall correctly :) ). The planting ledges have a half inch tall lip around the edges that should retain soil pretty well. They each have a hole in the bottom, so I should be able to get good drainage as well.

I have a good bit of Peperomia trinervula that does pretty well vining in my other viv. I think I'll try that out with my sheet and tree mosses on the non-planter ledges. I have a nice Selaginella ("Jori") that is an amazingly vertical variety. The one specimen I have in my azureus viv is planted on the floor and is within 4 inches of the top - about 16 inches tall and showing no signs of stopping. I'd like to use a cutting of it in here and try to orient it along the main cork bark piece...we'll see how that goes.

It's driving me nuts waiting on the planting! I have a circulation fan in there with the doors open - we did a sniff test tonight and there's still a slight hint of curing silicone, so we're giving it another day. I'll check again tomorrow night then the plants will go in. The planting list is tentatively:

  • Selaginella moellendorfii (Jori)
  • Selaginella brownii
  • Selaginella kraussiana Variegatus (Frosty Fern)
  • Selaginella erythropus (Ruby Red)
  • Selaginella uncinata (Peacock)
  • Peperomia trinervula
  • Peperomia clusiifolia
  • Peperomia orba

I'm excited to get this wrapped up. I do have to build a new dual-viv stand with a storage area for the mister. It will be a low profile stand, 18 inches tall on one side and 6 to 10 inches tall for the azureus viv. This is going in our playroom so the kids can have easy viewing access as they currently do with the azureus. I figure that's about a day in the garage wood working :)
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:31 pm

Alright! So after another 24 hours of open doors with a running internal circulation fan the viv passed the sniff test (about 5 days) - my wife laughed when I said "honey can you come smell the viv?" :)

I went ahead and moved in the main plants. I'm debating on adding that Plana clipping. Looks pretty good in there right now, so I'm not sure yet...but I think it will look good running up the back side of the main cork bark. Figured I'd sit on it a day.

I have a few more small mosses showing up on Saturday and that should do it. Leaf litter will go in once I get the plants situated. most of the litter will be in the central part of the viv behind the main cork bark piece.
vivPlanting-01_0776.jpg

There is a lot of depth to the viv - the main cork bark is only about 4 inches from the front (it's about 2 inches thick). There are actually plants behind it! I have a few more adjustments in the plant arrangement once they settle in a bit. I forgot about the Peperomia verschaffeltii that I had - it's in the upper right. Not sure how it will do up high so I'll have to keep an eye on it.

Extra mist heads should be here Saturday, and my Jungle Dawns are on order from Todd ... gotta make an HD run for wood for the new stand ... hopefully the viv will be in its permanent location by the end of the long weekend.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

DianeCarter
Posts: 356
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:06 pm
Location: Galena, Illinois

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby DianeCarter » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:58 pm

Exceptional, Jim! How did you come up with the idea of using the pink insulation and drylok? I am thinking of using that for my next viv, now that I saw yours! I love the way you can sculpt the foam just to size, unlike Great Stuff--very cool. Will this viv be for azureus babies, or are you getting something new?
Pumilio bastimentos, R. benedictas, P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:36 pm

DianeCarter wrote:Exceptional, Jim! How did you come up with the idea of using the pink insulation and drylok? I am thinking of using that for my next viv, now that I saw yours! I love the way you can sculpt the foam just to size, unlike Great Stuff--very cool.

Thanks DIane! It was a method I originally saw used for a few custom backgrounds in aquariums (I'm into Lamprologine shell dwellers). I figured it might be an interesting technique for a viv. I've since seen a few applications in other builds, but not for ledges quite like this. As you pointed out I liked the control I had in stacking the base background. Detailed carving was time consuming but relatively easy. I also wanted to achieve a thin background to avoid wasting volume within the viv - that's why there is a side wall. I was able to reinforce the larger ledges this way without having a thick base. This also let me put in two nice, deep caves that can function as bowers.

The cement colorant idea I got from searching around on how to tint Drylok. The tints are around $5 a bottle and they will last you forever. You can use acrylic paint to tint as well. I like the use of Drylok - I was able to fine tune the color pretty easily. Make sure you pick up dust masks and eye protection - the dremel kicks foam everywhere :)

DianeCarter wrote:Will this viv be for azureus babies, or are you getting something new?

I have a group of 0.0.4 red galacts in QT - I suspect they are 3.1, but we'll see. It was a spontaneous purchase - got a good deal on a group of well started juveniles so I had to move pretty quick on a new viv. Based on my azureus viv with fewer ledges, I think this group will be ok. We'll see how they do in here - if it gets too crowded then I suppose I'll just have to make another using one of Casper's Ghostvivs :)
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

DianeCarter
Posts: 356
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:06 pm
Location: Galena, Illinois

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby DianeCarter » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:51 am

Thanks for the info! That is exactly why I am interested in building my next viv this way--with Great Stuff I feel like I have lots of wasted space :( Less room for the frogs, and less visability for me!
I am jealous of your red galacts--that is one of the species I want to get next. I am really attracted to the really red frogs! Congrats on finding a good deal! I live in the middle of nowhere, so will NEVER run across a good spontaneous deal! Just in case it ever happens, I do have a viv set up and growing out, since July! The center has a large wood piece, and if you look closely at it, the springs are crawling all over it, so I know I have good microfauna going on. Some day I'm gonna have happy frogs in there!
Once again, beautiful new viv, I especially love that pepperomia in the upper right!
Diane
Pumilio bastimentos, R. benedictas, P. Terribilis orange, R. Imitator Cainarachi Valley, D. Leucomelas, D. Auratus, D. Azureus, P. vittatus, D. cobalts, D.Oyapok, Bombina Orientalis

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:25 am

Yeah the red is pretty amazing! The suspected female has the most red coverage including her legs. I have red solo cups and leaf litter in their QT enclosures...she was sitting on top of the cup yesterday and I almost didn't notice her :)

Galacts caught my eye a while back, then I spotted the reds while surfing around and thought they were great. My main concern was boldness - I really want frogs that are larger and out and about so the kids can enjoy them too. I was exchanging email with Patrick Nabors about raising galacts, boldness, enclosures etc. and he made a nice offer on this group so I couldn't resist. FedEx overnight to Kinkos was a breeze so consider shipping - something to consider - not sure you'll source red galacts locally. I found yellows, but no reds.

Let us know how your foam build goes!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
trendkill
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:04 pm
Location: Northern IL
Contact:

Re: custom ledge background build

Postby trendkill » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:30 am

Looks great! I love the depth.. causes the eye to look around more.. and makes the viv look bigger than it actually is. I attempted to create the same "illusion" with mine.. love it.

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: Custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:03 am

Thanks! I have seen your build and it is great! I hope the frogs enjoy the depth in our vivs as much as we do :)
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: Custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:59 am

Here's where the last post left off:
vivPlanting-01_0776.jpg


My shipment came in today with a few more live mosses and my misting heads. I finished up the transplants, final moss positioning and I added leaf litter (hard to see, but it's in the central part of the viv behind the cork bark:
vivPlanting-02_0779.jpg


Here's an angle view of the viv:
vivPlanting-03-angle_0782.jpg


This is a full shot of the jori clipping I put in today. It's about 20" tall - it was starting to hit the lid on my other viv so it was time to prune. I had three stalks of this size in the other viv, so it won't be missed:
vivPlanting-04-jori_0783.jpg


Here's a shot between the simulated split trunk with kraussiana 'golden tips' peeking out from a rear planter. This is a fairly large specimen, but only the tips of about 1/4 of the plant are visible from the front of the viv:
vivPlanting-05-PeekingKraussiana_0781.jpg


Here's a close up of the main portion of the stump. You can see the erythropus at the base, and the jori climbing the trunk. There are also two types of moss attached to the stump:
vivPlanting-06-stump_0789.jpg


I started the custom stand tonight. I'll post pics of that in a separate post.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

User avatar
joneill809
Site Admin
Posts: 1644
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Austin TX
Contact:

Re: Custom ledge background build

Postby joneill809 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:19 am

Now that the viv is planted I turned to making the custom stand that will display this new viv next to my existing azureus viv. This is out in our playroom, so I wanted the stand to be furniture quality, supporting two vids, with a cabinet that will hide the power supplies, timers and mister. I also wanted something visually appealing, so I went with a split level design. The galact viv will be on the left, 18" off the ground, and the azureus viv will be on the right, 12" off the ground. The idea was to make the vivs approachable to the kids who often sit on the floor or in a small chair next to the current viv watching the frogs.

First step was cutting wood for the frame:
standBuild-01-cutWood_0790.jpg


Frame assembly. Four were required.
standBuild-02-frame_0791.jpg


I placed the lower frames on a base of 3/4 inch plywood. This will form a small basin that I can seal and make water tight in the event that I have a leak with the misting reservoir:
standBuild-03-frameAssembly_0792.jpg


I put the upper decking in, also 3/4 inch ply. Everything so far is glued and fixed with counter sunk wood screws:
standBuild-04-decking_0793.jpg


Tomorrow I'll put on the outer sheathing (front will be one continuous piece, back will be open) and install the front doors. There will be a 2" lip around the base - this will hide a layer of foam padding that will be on the base to account for any imperfections in the platform. Trim, sand, seal, paint...should be good to go tomorrow night!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/


Return to “Enclosures, Setup and Construction”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 61 guests