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Old 12-08-2009, 10:57 PM
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Hey guys,

I originally bought an Exo terra viv and it came with a polystyrene background which my beardie seemed to love climbing on! We have bought another viv for her to go into when she gets a little bigger and seen as she loved the Exo terra background soo much we looked into buying them again for her new one but we decided that it might look a bit uniform, boring and make the viv look rather empty plus we found that all the crickets get down the smallest little cracks and end up hiding behind it! Anyway, so I came on here to have a bit of a nosey into anything that I could buy to make it more interesting and found a few people had done viv conversions. After seeing all the really great ones that have happened here on RFUK I thought I would try and give it a go! So here is an online diary of the progress! I have to admit I have been working on the project for about a week so this is a little behind but I will do my best to bring you up to speed as quick as poss!!!

Oh before I start describing mine here are some of the links to the other vivarium terrains backgrounds

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/habit...t-x-4ft-x.html

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/habit...ibilities.html

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/habit...ackground.html

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/habit...estie-viv.html


I also have a spreadsheet with all the materials and costs and where I got all the stuff from in case any one is interested and ill make sure I post this at the end of my thread when I know it has everything I have used on it!!!!


So anyway 1st we sat down to do some planning and at first were going to go with what the majority of people were doing which was a 3D rock background including plenty of perch spots for basking but we wanted to make it slightly different so started thinking of things that would be relative to us. We considered making a Maya pyramid as we had visited these in Mexico and thought they were fab however this would mean having a jungle scene and we have found with the 1st viv that the crickets tend to hide in the leaves we bought and so we didn***8217;t want them to have hiding places in this one and so in the end we modified this idea as my partner quite likes science fiction and remembered a pyramid out of Alien Vs. Predator that was found underground in an ice cavern, considering we have white walls and an alien figure in the corner we thought this would match in quite well with the décor so this was what we decided on!!!

as with most of the other viv conversions we decided to use polystyrene to manufacture our terrain here are the results I took a pic at the end of each day because as you can see it took a little while to make some pieces!!

Enjoy and ill update soon!!!!

ok here is the original idea that we were trying to mimic



the blank canvas!



Spectra Couldn't wait to help out!!! how cute



we asked B and Q to sponsor spectra but they couldn't see how they could recoup any costs from a dragon - how mean!!!

Testing for the approx size of the pyramid, allowing us to guage what looked about right!



End of day 1 front view with base of polystyrene and bottom layer of the pyramid



angled view after day 1

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Last edited by spatte88; 12-08-2009 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 13-08-2009, 12:26 AM
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Wow!

What are you using to cut the polystyrene? Hot wire cutter? If so where did you get it? Seen a few on ebay, but I'm not overly impressed.

Can't wait to see how it develops!

Cheers

Andy
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Old 13-08-2009, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bothrops View Post
Wow!

What are you using to cut the polystyrene? Hot wire cutter? If so where did you get it? Seen a few on ebay, but I'm not overly impressed.

Can't wait to see how it develops!

Cheers

Andy
yes we are using a foam factory hot wire kit (http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/home.php), which we got from hobbys in london, they do 1,2 or 3 piece kits and we were v impressed with it! here is their web address http://www.hobby.uk.com/products/088...re-in-kit.html (this is also where we sourced the styrofoam from which we used for later reinforcments - as you willl see!!) they were also pretty speedy with postage! we found it very good for doing straight edges as well as the rough terrain. the real bonus is that when it cuts the polystyrene the heat seals it making the edge strong and also stops there being loads of bobbly mess everywhere which is what happens if you try to cut it with a knife/saw lol.
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Last edited by spatte88; 13-08-2009 at 08:50 AM..
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Old 13-08-2009, 09:40 AM
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So, here are our efforts after day 2!

here's a front view, as you can see we have put the third layer on the pyramid and have started to build the ice cavern (a more detailed view can be seen below!) we have covered part of the back of the viv and one side but have allowed a gap for the spot lamp, our thinking was that a) we didn't want the beardies to climb up the polystyrene and get stuck between that and the heat lamp and b) we weren't sure how much heat the polystyrene would take before it melted (even though we are going to grout the polystyrene- its better to be safe than sorry!!) the only down side to not putting polystyrene around the heat lamp would be a little bit of heat loss but i would rather a little heat loss rather than a risk to my beardies!!!



Here is a more detailed view of the ice cavern, and on this one you can see the pieces we have added to the layer of polystyrene insulating the bottom of the viv. i have recessed a hole in layer 1 for the water bowl to go into as thought it might look quite effective having the water bowl in the ice area and his also works quite well as our beardie like to have her water at the warm end of the viv! (it will be removable for cleaning ect!)! we were undecided on where the food bowl should go and so are going to leave this free standing so we can move it if necessary!

on top of layer 1 we added another layer of "ice" in the corner and added a perch to the side wall. we have plans to add a few more perches don't worry and thought the corner piece of ice would act as a sort of step - hopefully this will become more apparent as the viv build progresses as i'm terrible at trying to describe things lol! we also added a raised bit in the ice cavern as we are toying with the idea of putting a substrate down on the flat bits as we hear beardies like to dig, at the moment ours is on paper towel and we are thinking of sand as the new substrate however have read all the bad experiences with impaction so we are going to leave that to be a later choice i think. the raised bit would also allow the water and food bowls to be kept well away from the sand should we decide to put it in!

After that we did a little bit of shaping on the floor pieces and the wall to see if the ice sculpting looked effective. we were pretty pleased with the results! what does everyone else think???



hopefully do another little update tonight!!!
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Old 13-08-2009, 12:12 PM
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That's looking good so far love how it looks like individual bricks are there aswell. What type of vivarium are you using, looks nice.
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Old 13-08-2009, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bomb View Post
That's looking good so far love how it looks like individual bricks are there aswell. What type of vivarium are you using, looks nice.
it is an italian made viv, the company is called ferplast and the model i have is the explora. it seems like a really well constructed viv and am very pleased with it. it has loads of good features like all the accessories fit really well making it look smart and it is well ventilated ect the only downside we have noticed is that because of all the vents there are a fair few places that smaller insects could escape from. Ferplast do make a mesh sheet that fixes in the viv to prevent this though- but obviously thats more expense! check out the ferplast website (Pet product manufacturer Italian pets furniture supplier - FERPLAST) to see all there vivs!
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Old 13-08-2009, 02:28 PM
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looking good got to admit tho my first thought was you will have fun cleaning bearded dragon muck off all that lot lol
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Old 13-08-2009, 02:50 PM
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On the 3rd day God created land.....we created the top layer of our pyramid!!!!!

from the front view below you can see we have added the top layer to our pyramid along with some detail (or "mini pyramids" as i like to call them) to the corners. the temporary main basking spot has now been added into the ice cavern as well! it is temporary as we need to do some temperature testing to allow us to set up the correct gradients and so we havnt glued it in place yet as we are going to move it around during testing plus we are waiting for our slightly stronger green styrofoam to arrive to reinforce the basking spot when we make it permanent. though it doesn't seem much has been done today the building of the mini pyramids and the top layer took a lot of time as it required the angles to be cut to match each other allowing them to fit together!




here is an angled view so you can see the basking spot better!
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Old 13-08-2009, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by thecricketkiller View Post
looking good got to admit tho my first thought was you will have fun cleaning bearded dragon muck off all that lot lol
we thought that too but because it will be grouted and sealed just need to pick up the poopy, and with a little squirt of water and a mini scrubbing brush quickly clean the area and dab up the wetness with paper towel and depending on how bad it is maybe another little rinse and dab! easy peasy!!!!

AND our little beardie is a lady and dont you know ladies dont poo!!! hmph! :-P
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Old 13-08-2009, 08:49 PM
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Day 4

we finished the mini pyramids on the corners of the main structure and also added a staircase!



a better view of the pyramid!



anyone have any opinions on this so far????
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