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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 27-02-2010, 01:24 PM
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Default Live planted viv - Step by step beginners guide

I have quite a few planted viv's now and many people ask me how i do them, there are also many people on here that ask the same question. So when i decided to re-design my community viv i thought i would take pics and create a little guide.

In habitants:

1.3 green anoles
1.1 Brown anoles
1.1 blue gliding tree lizards
1.1 Asian longtailed lizards
1.1 USA green tree frogs
0.1 grey tree frog
0.0.1 european tree frog

Tank size:

34x16x16

Heating and lighting:

40w spot bulb (statted)
12x12 heat matt (statted)
10% UV tube (length of viv)

materials:

1 bag hydrolecca (drainage)
weed membrane
coco houmous soil block
Small bag of organic compost
coco fiber matting
polestyrine
poly filler

Decoration:

two pack sponge mushrooms
selction of nice stone
cork tubes
drift wood

Plants:

Moss-pack
Epiweb - Moss Mix



Cryptanthus novistar
Nidularium fifi
Vriesea splendens fire
Ficus pumila sunny
Ficus pumila
Philodendron scandens
Pellonia repens
Spider plant
ornamental ivy
purple wondering jew



Pictures of the plants and decorations bits:











The epiweb moss mix:

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Old 27-02-2010, 01:33 PM
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Step one:

Cut and attach the coco fibre matting to the sides of the tank. As this project involved re-designing an old tank i have no pictures of this process.

Step two:

I wanted to add a small fake background in order to give the tank some depth. For this i cut some polystyrene to shape and used cocktail sticks to join the pieces together.

Once this was done i covered it in poly filler. The poly-filler was applied to the background using a knife . Once this was applied i used an old tooth brush and the flat side of a knife to add texture to the poly filler and
create a rougth and spikey finish. These were then painted using a stone effect pain from wilco's. You can;t see it in the pictures but its a textures paint thats looks like snadstone in the flesh.



Holes for plant pots were then cut into the polystyrene and these were inserted.



Sorry for not having picture of the polystyrene but i got a bit carried away at the time.
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Old 27-02-2010, 01:44 PM
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Step 3:

Using silcone add the sponge muchrooms and back ground to the tank. This is the stage where you can add decoration you want fixed to the sides of the tank. I tend to attach stuff in groups of three as i think it looks more natural.



Step 4:

Add a layer of hydrolecca to the tank, for this tank it was about 1 inch in depth. This just allows the soil to drain, and not become water logged.



Step 5:

Cover the hydrolecca in a weed membrane, for this i use plastic hessian (the stuff bulk crickets/locust come in. It's free and very effective.

Step 5:
Add the soil, the soil is the most important thing as not only must it provide enougth drainage for the plants, it also has to support life in the form of the cleaning crew we add later (springtails/woodlice/worms etc). The best mix of soil i find is 80% coco houmous. This arrives in brick form which you have to soak in water in order for it expand. The next 20% i make up from organic composts; the compost adds alot of nutriants to the soil and helps assist in the growth of the plants.




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Old 27-02-2010, 01:52 PM
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Now we get to the fun part, decoration.

Step 6:

I managed to get some lovly pieces of drift wood from a local beach and these made up the main focus of my tank, and where the two pieces met they formed the basking spot. At this point i also added the background i made earlier and secured it in place using silcone so the inhabitants can not get behind it. Normally i would add this earlier but due to the size of the branches it had to be added now.







Step 7:

Supporting the branches. In order to make sure the branches would not fall or move if the tank gets knocked they were secured in places using silcone and carfully placed pieces of stone and wood.

The left had piece of wood secuered by sandstone



The right pieces of wood secured by three pieces of cork bark tubes.



Notice how the holes in the cork bark have been strategically placed so that they can be used for planting later.
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Old 27-02-2010, 02:05 PM
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Adding the plants. I'll start with the right half of the tank first.

Step 8:

Adding the plants, this is alot due to personal preference, so you end up moving the plants around alot. The Philodendron is an lovly climber, so to make the post of it, it was planted in the back right and left corner so that as it grows it can be wrapped around the branches. My favourate and largest brom was also planted in the strategically placed cork bark tubes. The best way to plant these is to wrap the base in a mixture of coco houmous and spagnium moss, i fix this to the brom using black cotton and then put it in the cork tube. On top of the ledge created bu the background i added on of the ficus's as its an area that gets the most water. I also added the second ficus under the ledge, although there is less UV the sould is very dammp.













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Old 27-02-2010, 02:09 PM
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The left side of the tank.

In the old tank i had ornamental ivy grow really well under the basking spot, so i put this back in the same spot. I also added some more Philodendron so that it can grow up the branches.





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Old 27-02-2010, 02:13 PM
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I then added some of the small brom into a few pots that i hid around



Areal shots











Step 9: the final step.

Once all the plants were in i added the sheet moss and the epiweb moss spores. You can see the moss in the above pictures as i took the pictures after this point.


Hope you enjoyed it
Jay
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Old 27-02-2010, 03:01 PM
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Really good thread.

The Epi web moss spores are they any good.

Cheers
Glenn
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Old 27-02-2010, 03:09 PM
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I shouled find out if the moss spores are any good in a week or so. I've made another thread to keep track of them.

Jay
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Old 27-02-2010, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad'n'bab View Post
Really good thread.

The Epi web moss spores are they any good.

Cheers
Glenn

they are very good
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