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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!

Whilst I wait for payday so I can finish my BTS fake rock build I thought I'd have a go at a quick humid naturally planted viv for my dwarf geckos (or possibly dart frogs depending how things go!)

I bought a 45X45x45 exo-terra with my winnings from a POTM a few months ago and it has been sitting in the rep room empty for a while. I've also been collecting the bits to do this with for a while, so a quick order from dartfrog.co.uk got all the final bits!

So on with the build.


Unfortunately I only started taking pics after I'd made a good start!

This shows the false bottom (egg-crate (ebay)) and the corner for pump and cleaning/water change access. I have propped it up using short lengths of waste pipe (holes to stop stagnant water getting trapped).

I then cut the exo-terra background to fit two of the three sides.



Close up of the underneath



from another angle



I then added weed guard which should stop soil washing into the reservior.



This was stuck all around with black silicon.

Then I added a large piece of natural tree fern trunk and the pump pipe (through a hole in the tree fern)



(also stuck a piece of mangrove wood up against the corner to try and soften the edge)

The plan is to have the cork bark half tubes to be a waterfall that will run from the outlet, down to then other corner and it will then drain into a gravel pile straight back into the reservoir. I also intend to slope the soil back against the background in order to soften the harsh corners and plants will also help.

I have got a couple of plants and have put them in to 'get a feel'. Obviously they are not going to stay in these positions!

From left to right
a creeper, Pepperomia rotundifolia, a bromeliad Crypthanthus microglazioui and Kyoto dwarf mondo grass, Ophiopogon japonica. I also have some living moss, oak leaves and dendrosoil ready to go





Tomorrow, when the silicon is dry, it's time to try the pump and see what I need in order to get it running nicely down the waterfall, then its hydroleca, orchid compost, dendrosoil and planting!

Cheers

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
As I posted this at three in the morning, I thought I'd do a day bump so that the diurnal forum members can see!

Cheers

Andy
 

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wow look good so far and again i cnt wait till this is finished and everything has grown! :2thumb::no1:
are you going to put mosses in it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looking great! :2thumb:
:blush: when the apprentice is flattered by the Master of all his inspiration it is a fine day indeed!:blush:
 

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:blush: when the apprentice is flattered by the Master of all his inspiration it is a fine day indeed!:blush:

:lol2: aww i feel all special now :blush: cant wait to see this when its finished its looking puuuuuuuurdy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:lol2: aww i feel all special now :blush: cant wait to see this when its finished its looking puuuuuuuurdy

Well, it was your build on here that inspired me to give it a go. I have since been building up a collection of 'bits' in order to complete a similiar project. In fact after I won the POTM competition and bought the exo-terra I've been really excited. However, as I got more and more bits (egg crate, 2nd hand external filter etc) I started to think that if I was going to do a big project I'd save it until I have the space to do a 'proper job' (i.e. bigger than a 45cm cube). Therefore I postponed the build.

I recently got the opportunity to obtain a trio of dwarf geckos and so a mini-version of my big project was immediately put into action - hence this thread! I'll not be putting the giant external on and will be using a little waterfall pump and relying on the dendro-soil and regular water changes to keep everything clean!

Time to check out the power of this pump!

Cheers

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, it's finished!

Here's the rest of the pics. Unfortunately, I got a bit carried away and forgot to do pics step by step, so there are a couple of big jumps!

Firstly this is after I have put a layer of hydroleca on top of the false bottom and added some orchid compost. You will also see a halftube of cork back siliconed to the side and filled with orchid soil. I half put another half cork tube at the back, under the waterfall outlet in order to help support the soil that will be sloped up that way. Finally you will also see the plastic (blue) tube that has been stuck to the false bottom. Once I did this I cut holes in the false bottom within this plastic (actually the top two inches of a plastic beaker - tesco job I think!). I then filled it with large gravel. This is the sink for the waterfall.



and a closeup of the corner




Now a huge job from that to the final viv - I got so excited and 'into' the final bit I completely forgot to take pics!

Anyway - here it is! I added dendrosoil (woodlice everywhere!) and packed it in. Planted the plants (plus an extra bromeliad you can see in the top right corner) and then added living moss and a few oak leaves. Lid on and a few pictures!



Close up



I figured it needed a bit more things to climb on so added some cut-up twisty vine to finish off.




Look forward to seeing it fill out!

Cheers

Andy
 

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:gasp::gasp: looks great!!!
you must be really proud :2thumb::2thumb::2thumb:
 

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It looks really good, well done.

Okay i know i will sound stupid here, but, hey that's me! How does it work with the water then? Does the blue lid just overflow through the soil and back into the false bottom? If that's the case the water would surely get really dirty, or else you would have to clean the filter on the pump about 3 times a week.

Thanks :blush:
 

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That looks reeeeeeeeeeally good! the only suggestion id make is id stick a plant on the left hand side hiding the hose that the water comes out of but i reeeally like that setup :mf_dribble:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It looks really good, well done.

Okay i know i will sound stupid here, but, hey that's me! How does it work with the water then? Does the blue lid just overflow through the soil and back into the false bottom? If that's the case the water would surely get really dirty, or else you would have to clean the filter on the pump about 3 times a week.

Thanks :blush:
The 'blue lid' is a slice taken from the top of a plastic beaker. This makes a plastic ring about and inch and a half high that has been stuck to the false bottom to give a mini pond. I cut the black weed fabric in the bottom of this in order to allow the water to run straight through. I then filled this with gravel and added a few big stones on top. This means the majority of the water goes straight through without contact with the soil. However, the waterfall is slightly leaky so some water does trickle down through the soil. This is a good thing and intentional so that the soil stays damp but not sodden. The membrane keeps the soil above the false bottom!

That looks reeeeeeeeeeally good! the only suggestion id make is id stick a plant on the left hand side hiding the hose that the water comes out of but i reeeally like that setup :mf_dribble:
Thanks again! I actually have one of those dried bracket fungus ready to cover the pipe at the back, but after your experience of them going furry, I'm going to completely seal it with yacht varnish before I stick it in place!


Cheers


Andy
 

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Aah, brilliant thanks for the explaination it's appreciated. :2thumb:
 

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get some videos up
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
get some videos up
How would I post them? I have a digital camera that could take the video but thats about the limit of my technical knowledge. What file extension should I use and where could I have it hosted?

Cheers

Andy
 

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just upload it to youtube then post a link to here...
 

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Wow, that looks fantastic! What species of dwarf gecko are they that are going in? Are they Lygodactylus sp?

Ed :notworthy:
 
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