Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Ghostvivs » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:06 pm

:shock:
What some see as death, others see as beauty.


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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby IDPM » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:49 pm

Better start gearing up Casper.
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Chuck Lawson
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Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:57 pm

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364489851.923679.jpg

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Ghostvivs » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:26 pm

2 steps ahead of ya... :wink:

IDPM wrote:Better start gearing up Casper.
What some see as death, others see as beauty.


Casper

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Chuck Lawson
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Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:58 pm

Ghostvivs wrote:2 steps ahead of ya... :wink:

IDPM wrote:Better start gearing up Casper.


Heh... Best start working up an appetite, too... After all of the dust settles (or at least some of it settles) I want to put on a little get-together for the local frog crowd...

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Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:04 pm

Philsuma wrote:oh my...a Frog Room ??


I call it "the conservatory" -- saves on all of the "so where are the frogs?" questions from non-frogger types... :-)

But yeah, more or less -- I just bought a new home a little ways east of where I was before. Putting some tile in the new "conservatory" before I start trying to figure out how to move vivs... It's not all that much larger than the old one, but the layout is conducive to finding rooms for a few more racks than I could fit in the old one.

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby IDPM » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:17 pm

What a where to squeeze in another rack solution...buy a new house!

Congratulations Chuck, makes me want to move.
brad

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:40 pm

IDPM wrote:What a where to squeeze in another rack solution...buy a new house!


lol... I'd already got rid of the wife and kids, how else was I supposed to find more room? :mrgreen:

IDPM wrote:Congratulations Chuck, makes me want to move.


I don't mind having moved -- it's the "in the middle" part that's the pain. I've been in the old place for 29 years tho, so I was about due... Hopefully will get it all done over the next week or so...

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:16 am

Moving vivariums

Well, everybody is over to the new place. I've still got work to do on lighting and misting systems, but I wanted to add a few notes on moving established vivariums while the details were on my mind.

In total, we moved 12 vivariums -- 1 24x36H Exo, 1 18x18 Exo, 3 18 x 24H Exos, 6 of Casper's Ghostvivs (22x19H, roughly). and a 30 breeder horizontal viv conversion. All were on 48" wire racks, except the two odd-sized Exos and one of the 18x24 Exos (on separate stands outside of the "conservatory"). All vivs were set up and running, but four of the Ghostvivs do not have frogs in them yet.

Pulling this off required basically four things --

1. Movers willing to make it work, and treat everything with care. If you're in the D/FW area, PM me and I'll happily recommend the company I used.

2. A pair of 8" glass suction cups -- you can buy or rent these; if you're a member of a local fish club, there may be a club set you can borrow.

3. A heavy duty rubbermaid (or similar) cart big enough to hold the largest viv with wheels large enough to go over transoms, etc.

4. Weather appropriate enough that the vivs can be outside the house for however long it takes to load, drive, and unload.

The process was basically to disconnect each viv from misting and drainage, and slide it forward enough to attach the suction cups to each side, ideally just above the substrate. One guy would grab each side and set the viv on the rubbermaid cart. Exos were then "shrink wrapped" (the movers' term; it was a heavy duty cling film) above the suction cups to hold the doors closed, tops on, and keep them dimensionally stable. Sliding door vivs got tape to hold the doors closed. The cart was then rolled out to the truck, raised up on the lift gate, rolled into the truck, and the viv lifted off, placed on pads on the floor, and wrapped with pads, leaving enough space between them that they wouldn't shift into each other. Rinse and repeat for remaining vivs.

A couple of notes -- if you have drains drilled, be sure the movers understand that there will be some water coming out of the drain as the viv goes off level. I explained that it was more or less like water draining from a potted plant, and they were fine with that. Taping the sliding door vivs needs to be done carefully -- I had three of them that just got taped where the doors crossed, but not at the other edges, and these ended up coming open an inch or two; fortunately, these were the unoccupied vivs!

Once emptied, the racks were shrink-wrapped (with lighting, etc, in place) and rolled onto the truck.

The whole process took me and three guys (two with the cart, one on the truck) about 2 and a half hours, including a 30 minute drive, from the first viv coming off the first rack to the last viv going back on. One other guy packed the rest of the room and I grabbed and disconnected misting gear, etc.

I haven't seen everybody yet, but all the usual suspects are calling, so I think we may have pulled it off without any losses.

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby joneill809 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:58 am

:shock: wow ... Impressive stuff! Glad to see the move went well.
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/

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby JayMillz » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:39 pm

Congrats on your successful adventure! Did you have to pull out anything from the vivs before you started? Were you worried at all about any hardscape shifting, rolling, breaking off, etc. and squishing anything? I have a big log in one of mine that I planned on taking out when I moved for sure.
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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby frogfreak » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:11 pm

Chuck, your last room was incredible and I'm sure this one will be even better!

Congrats on the successful move! Make sure to hold off on that frogger meet, until the Canucks arrive! :D
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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:30 pm

JayMillz wrote:Congrats on your successful adventure! Did you have to pull out anything from the vivs before you started? Were you worried at all about any hardscape shifting, rolling, breaking off, etc. and squishing anything? I have a big log in one of mine that I planned on taking out when I moved for sure.


Thanks! I didn't pull a thing, really... Two of them have ecoweb backgrounds and most of the hardscape is wired into that; the rest are cork bark mosaics, and additional branches and stuff are siliconed in with the cork. If I have anything on the ground itself, it's usually either a hollow cork tube, or pretty solidly anchored to the false bottom and then overgrown. The only thing I've found that moved significantly is a large brom that had under-achieved in putting down holdfasts. I do agree though that if you have anything that could move (or a background that isn't solidly fastened), you'd definitely want to get those items removed or stabilized before you tried it...

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:34 pm

frogfreak wrote:Chuck, your last room was incredible and I'm sure this one will be even better!

Congrats on the successful move! Make sure to hold off on that frogger meet, until the Canucks arrive! :D


Thanks Glenn! So when are you headed back this way?

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby frogfreak » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:57 pm

Chuck Lawson wrote:
frogfreak wrote:Chuck, your last room was incredible and I'm sure this one will be even better!

Congrats on the successful move! Make sure to hold off on that frogger meet, until the Canucks arrive! :D


Thanks Glenn! So when are you headed back this way?


Probably July or August. we miss the 105 degree temps. :shock:

We're doing a FL/east coast trip at the end of May. Here we go again... 8)
Glenn

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Chuck Lawson
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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:12 pm

frogfreak wrote:
Probably July or August. we miss the 105 degree temps. :shock:

We're doing a FL/east coast trip at the end of May. Here we go again... 8)


Well, if we do it before then, we'll just have to use that as excuse to do it again. I'm sure we won't have any trouble finding some high temps for you :mrgreen:

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby RanaVenenosa » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:22 pm

Chuck Lawson wrote:
frogfreak wrote:
Probably July or August. we miss the 105 degree temps. :shock:

We're doing a FL/east coast trip at the end of May. Here we go again... 8)


Well, if we do it before then, we'll just have to use that as excuse to do it again. I'm sure we won't have any trouble finding some high temps for you :mrgreen:


I think I am coming down with a fever, and the only cure is a frog party w the Canucks!! Chuck, congrats on a new home and successful move. Look forward to seeing everyone again and hopefully some new faces.
Scott - North Dallas

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Chuck Lawson
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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby Chuck Lawson » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:27 pm

I had a couple of questions via PM on how I do my backgrounds. I plan to do some more vivs in the not too distant future; I'll try to document the background process, but in the meantime, here's the shorthand version --

I break up pieces of virgin cork bark (the flatter the back, the better) into roughly fist-to-hand size pieces, lay the viv on its back, and arrange them (dry) until I have a layout that seems to work, from the top of the viv, down to just a bit below where the soil will run. The trick is to try to keep the gaps between pieces as minimal as possible -- ideally, about 1/2" or less. I'll often work a cork tube or shelf or something like that in the mix too, or even separate from the background, from side to side siliconed to the glass, etc.

Once I've got stuff more or less where I want it, I open up a new tube of 100% silicone (I use clear, you could use any of the 100% stuff), load it in the caulking gun, and remove each piece, liberally pump silicone onto the back, and put it back, until the whole thing is glued. If I have any left-over glue, I pump it into the larger gaps until it's all gone (you can't effectively seal one of the caulking tubes, so you might as well use it all up). If I have any handy, I'll usually dump some cocoa fiber on any of the wet silicone I can see.

After drying for 24-48 hours, I'll use a razor blade to clean up any stray silicone, vacuum up loose cocoa fiber, etc., with a shop vac, and sit the viv right side up. The next step is to take a good quality sphagnum moss (orchid moss, etc.), and add RO water to it until it's fully wetted. I stuff as much wet sphagnum as I can into every gap between pieces -- the silicone gives the cork pieces a bit of give, which helps pinch the sphagnum in, and I use a chopstick or something similar to keep stuffing until every gap is as full as possible.

And that's pretty much it; at this point the viv is ready for false bottom and planting. In my case, I use a piece of 2" polyurethane filter foam as my false bottom. I'll usually work a bit of (naturally colored) aquarium gravel between the foam and the glass to hide the foam, and then add my substrate. For a substrate I typically do 4 parts Turface (fully wetted) to one part ABG. I then drill 3/8" holes in cork tubes where I want to mount broms, drop the stolons in the hole, and tack them in with hot glue. Any sheet moss is draped where I want it, and then the rest of the planting. At this point I'll usually use a watering can to soak down the soil with a mix of michorzial inoculant, a rooting concentrate like k-l-n or superthrive, etc., add leaf litter and seed springs and isos., and hook up lights, misters and drains (actually, hook up the drain before you soak the soil :-)). After giving the plants a few weeks to grow in, it's ready for frogs.

With enough light and misting, a lot of the sphagnum between the cork pieces will end up coming back to life and growing after a few months, although by then it's often tough to see around the other plantings...

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North Texas May Frog Madness - Check Your Calendar

Postby Chuck Lawson » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:44 pm

(repost from regional section for those who might miss it there....)

I'd like to invite everyone in the N. Texas area to a little informal frog get-together next month, at my place in Rowlett (East Dallas, roughly; I'm about 20 minutes from either either the (east) intersection of I-30 and 635, or the intersection of 190 (G. Bush Tollway) and 75 (N. Central Expwy), and about a block from Lake Ray Hubbard.

I was thinking of doing roughly noon to 4-5pm on one of these Saturdays - May 11, May 18, or May 25. If you're interested in attending, email me at lawson at nonliteral dot com and let me know which date works best for you; we'll do it whenever is convenient for the most people.

Tentatively, I'll be providing barbecue (likely brisket or pulled pork) and hot dogs; once we get a date nailed down I'll send around a sign-up sheet for anyone who wants to bring sides, drinks, picnic-ware, etc. Of course, plan on bringing anything frog related you're looking to sell or trade.

Things are still in a bit of moving-flux here, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, and having a first get-together at my new digs.

Hope to see you there!

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Re: Chuck's vivariums 'n stuff

Postby IEatBugs » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:04 am

Hi Chuck, I wonder if you may have some updated pictures of the vivs after they have been growing for some months now. I am very interested in how the LED's are doing for you and if they are keeping the color in the broms and other plants.

I very much want to change all of my lighting out but I am torn between going LED or T5. Every time I think I am going to go one direction I change my mind again. LED for power savings, or T5 because I know they are proven and I have had great luck with them in other venues.
Dustin Y.


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