45x45x60 Exo Terra Custom background build for crested gecko (PIC HEAVY) - Reptile Forums

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Old 23-04-2013, 10:51 AM
RhacodactyBoy's Avatar
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Default 45x45x60 Exo Terra Custom background build for crested gecko (PIC HEAVY)

ITS FINALLY FINISHED lol its taken about a month but i have finally finished my custom background build. This build was for my female full pinner Crested Gecko, charlie. I can say she absolutely loves it

So lets kick off.


First you need an exo terra - make sure its clean and dry.


Then plan where you want the background to be, i recommend the back and half the sides. When you have the location in mind make a "canvass" using a sealant/silicon. It has to be black trust me on this you will find out why later. make sure it is 100% solvent free and 100% waterproof. Now "paint your canvass"



Make sure you leave this to dry for a full 24 hours!
When dry start placing your decoration. Take your time over this and make sure everything is where you want it to be.



When everything is in place secure it down using Expanding Foam. Theres no requirements on this just go to your local DIY store and get some i do recommend trying to find a good one rather than own brands you will have to pay more and try and get one with a gun its a hell of a lot easier to apply.




Next after its all dry, you need to trim back the foam. Its up to you how you want to sculpt your masterpiece. I just made it look a little tidier, trimming to the tops/left and right hand sides.




Now comes the really hard part well tedious part lol - after you have trimmed your background we need to cover it. The best substrate to use is eco earth or plantation soil or coco fibre substrate. I used eco earth the ones that come in bricks. IT MUST BE DRY DO NOT SOAK IT. what you have to do is grate it like so - it takes a while so make sure your laptop is in front of you with a good tv show i watched two episodes of Supernatural haha have fun



To apply the now grated soil, use your bog standard PVA glue again make sure its 100% waterproof, i used wicks own brand pva glue. Now i did try other glues like gorilla glue, silicon etc but i had problems with all so trust me on this use the PVA lol



if you miss some then wait for what you have down to dry and go back over the missed parts - dont rush it take your time.
After mine was fully dry i decided to add some sphagnum moss, again i used PVA to apply.



Now back to why i said to use black sealant when you create your canvass. Its because if you didn't then you would see all the expanding foam you applied and it looks ugly!! with the canvass in place you can see it looks nice/better than lots of expanding foam lol and it gives a nice definition.
creg and Muz333 like this.
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Last edited by RhacodactyBoy; 23-04-2013 at 11:27 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 23-04-2013, 10:52 AM
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Now we are on the home straight. Next you need to add 1 to 2 inches of hydroballs for drainage, and then place a mesh covering on top of that to separate the balls from the soil.



Then add your soil/substrate. Again i used eco earth this time soaked in water for 30 mins. when you done this you are ready to plant! Make sure they are all gecko friendly plants! and that you have cleaned the plants before hand to remove any pesticides or fertilisers that might be present. Just wash the whole plant with warm soapy water and rinse well!!! I used ficus benjamini, cheese plants, some pothos, all of these can be found at your local garden centre.







Lastly i added a springtail culture i bought a 15l culture and added have of this to the exo. leaving the other half to re populate. I then bought some sheet moss and layed this over the top of the substrate. mainly to keep humidity at a nice level and so that charlie doesnt get fine substrate particles stuck on her pads. and it looks really nice as well!

and thats a wrap! i hope you enjoyed this build thread and it gives you some inspiration. If you have any questions than feel free to post below i will answer as many as i can.
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0.0.1 Aru X Manokwari GTP (M.Viridis)
1.0.0 'Pisky-Be' Panther Chameleon (Nosy-be X Ampiskiana)
1.2.0 Satanic Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Phantasticus)
1.1.0 Henkels Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Henkeli)
2.5.0 Crested Gecko (R.Ciliatus)
1.0.0 Corn Snake -
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:19 AM
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That's a wonderful setup, excellent work! How is the ecoearth/pva glue standing up to all the heat and water in the setup?
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keblin View Post
That's a wonderful setup, excellent work! How is the ecoearth/pva glue standing up to all the heat and water in the setup?
well its been two days now, and from what ive seen its been fine. ive misted in totally what 6 - 7 times total and it all seems to be a-ok lol
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0.0.1 Aru X Manokwari GTP (M.Viridis)
1.0.0 'Pisky-Be' Panther Chameleon (Nosy-be X Ampiskiana)
1.2.0 Satanic Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Phantasticus)
1.1.0 Henkels Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Henkeli)
2.5.0 Crested Gecko (R.Ciliatus)
1.0.0 Corn Snake -
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:36 AM
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Default Looking Good :)

Looking awesome Michael! Going to make a few similar to this for the shop My crested geckos, and day Geckos will be thanking you !!!

Well done

Luke
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Old 23-04-2013, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finers View Post
Looking awesome Michael! Going to make a few similar to this for the shop My crested geckos, and day Geckos will be thanking you !!!

Well done

Luke
Cheers dude, yeah its really satisfying when finished and it looks awesome if i dont say so myself haha. It is great fun, frustrating in parts but definitely worth it and yes your geckos will love it
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0.0.1 Aru X Manokwari GTP (M.Viridis)
1.0.0 'Pisky-Be' Panther Chameleon (Nosy-be X Ampiskiana)
1.2.0 Satanic Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Phantasticus)
1.1.0 Henkels Leaf tailed Gecko (U.Henkeli)
2.5.0 Crested Gecko (R.Ciliatus)
1.0.0 Corn Snake -
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Old 23-04-2013, 03:10 PM
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Looking awesome
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Old 23-04-2013, 04:39 PM
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Looks awesome.
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Old 26-04-2013, 04:13 PM
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Looks good! I was wary of the expanding foam technique as a few have seen made that way the foam has taken up most of the space in the vivarium but yours looks really good! Just enough for some good definition without being too much! :thumbup:

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Old 26-04-2013, 06:31 PM
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Looks good.

Why may I ask do you recommend using PVA as apposed to gorilla glue? I haven't used PVA for a job like this but GG works wonders, dries ultra tough and will most definitely withstand any moisture pretty much forever whereas I'd imagine PVA might deteriorate over time?
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