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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, this is my first live viv build which I'm doing to house a pair/ trio of a species of day gecko (phelsuma). (I'm not 100% set on the specific species yet, it'll depend on the availability at time of purchase.)

So here goes!
The blank canvas, a 24w X 18d X 24t exoterra:

Some supplies:

I'm going to put a thin layer of the black silicone on the back, 1/4 of the left side and 3/4 of the right side of the viv. I've got some black waterfall foam on the way which I'll apply then shape for my custom background. The two smaller pieces of wood and some plant pots will be held in place by the foam. (I'll upload some pics of the process.) The foam will then be covered in the brown silicone then I'll dump a load of fern fibre/soil mix on it. The airline and plant wire is going to be used to make some vines which I've seen done by another member on here. Credit will be given!

I've also got some seeds pods etc. from dartfrog (the almond leaves are from ebay):

I've got lights, heat, bulb and ballast, thermostat, soil ingredients, drainage material and a dual digital hygrometer and thermometer on the way.

Job for tomorrow; to apply the first layer of black silicone and start making the vines. And maybe start my profile for plants I'll use.



Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Little update for today.

I added a layer of black silicone to the back, 1/4 of the left and 3/4's of the right side of the viv.
When its cured, I'll trim back the bottom, leaving a space of about 6" for the drainage and soil.

I know some people take their silicone right down to the base but I want to be able to see the layers, and I also don't want any stray tree fibre from the next stages getting stuck to it because it'll take ages to pick off!

Anyway, here's some pics of the silicone for all you pic-junkies.





Next step (for the weekend) is to apply the foam and stick a couple of bits of wood, dried fungus and plant pots in the back.
All go!


Josh
 

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Looking good! Will be watching to see how it turns out!
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wee update for today.

I cut the silicone back yesterday, making it straighter, and 6" from the base.

Today was foam day. I'd never used any sort of expending foam before so I was a little apprehensive! But alas, it went smoothly.

You can see from the image below that more foam is needed. It ran out 3/4 of the way through the job! So i'll be behind on this build by around a week waiting for another tin to arrive! :devil:


The foam is holding the wood pieces really well though. The large piece resting on the cans isn't fixed in place by the foam but I added it because I wanted to see what it's going to look like.
A view of the right:

A view of the left, which will be the basking spot:


An aerial view:


I'm going to add a few more plant pots like these to the background when more foam arrives:


The pots are for small aquatic plants. I put some airline in the base for drainage of the pots. Since they're only small, I'll put small vines in the pots which don't require much root space.

When the next tin of foam arrives, I'll fill in the blank square on the back (there was a bottle there acting as support for the branch on the right. For the left pane and right pane, I'' use less foam and try to create features and root shapes there.
I'm undecided as to wether I should adhere my dried mushrooms to the back with the foam. What do you guys recon?

Josh
 

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looks really good man, making me think of getting a nice big piece of wood, not just branches and cork. i'd use gg or silicone for the mushrooms, but see what everyone else thinks
 

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I'd use barbeque skewers for the shrooms after you've finished the background, as they'll rot away and once they do you just pull the skewers out and you're left with small holes, as opposed to a blob of silicon, glue or bare foam.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Foaming all complete now.
I've carved some of the bigger patches. They stuck out too much in my opinion, especially around the pots.
Full view:
View of the right (two pots here):

View of the left (one pot here):


The patch of brown silicone on the left is what I'm going to do to all the carved sections. Where carved, the foam is bubbly and porous. To ensure the substrate will stick to the back properly, it needs a smoother surface, so by adding a layer of silicone to the carved patches first, it'll restore the smoothness.

The foam also lifted away slightly from the bottom. So I've siliconed some tubing in the gaps. I comtemplated foaming again but thought the expansion could cause further lift. Hopefully when the whole thing is siliconed no further lifting will occur.
Here's a shot of the pipe in place, covered in silicone:


I also tested the stuff I'll covering the foam with on the background. This is exoterra plantation soil. I used 1/4 of a block and 750ml of water. Not bad stuff. I'm going to add some moss and tree fern fibres to the mix too I think:


Next job will be to cover the rest of the carved spots in a thin silicone layer and also silicone down some of the vine shapes on the right that have lifted slightly.
Hopefully I can do it today/ tomorrow but it's dependant on when I can hold of some more latex gloves!

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And the background is finally complete!
Took longer to do that expected but I'm in no rush so it's not an issue.
Anyway, I'm sure you're all wanting to see so, of course, I've taken some pics for y'all.




You can see in these next few that to composition for the covering on the right was altered. I added some moss to the mix for a different texture.




And with the doors closed:


The next task is to finish the vines.
I've also decided on the species I'll be getting. I'm going for a 1.2. phelsuma klemmeri.
I was going to get them in about a month from now but I'm going to wait until I get back to uni now. I'll also be waiting until I'm back there before I plant up. It will be much easier to move the viv as it is than full of substrate and plants! I'm picking my geckos up from Doncaster IHS on September 22nd so the viv will have plenty of time to mature and plants will have time to grow. (I go back on the 1st September).

So once the vines are done, thats pretty much it until I'm back at uni.

Left to buy:
- thermostat
- plants
- springtails, woodlice etc
- gecko food
- geckos!
(I'm sure there'll be something else but it's slipped my mind.

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks alex, I'm very pleased with it :2thumb:
I'm putting 3" of exoterra biodrain in the bottom, some drainage mesh then 3" of soil.

josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update:
Got the viv planted a week ago today.
4 broms, 3 fern species, 3 climber species and 3 other foliage plants all purchased from dartfrog. I really like how it looks, especially with the seed pods and almond leaves.

I would've updated sooner but having internet issues....

Anywho, here are a couple of photos.


View from my bed...


There are some tropical dwarf woodlice in there and a huge number of springtails too.
I plan on getting a few more plants when I've seen how things are going to grow in. I'm going to get some moss soon too to put on the large piece of wood.
I still need to get my vines made and put in there too...

Temp at the basking spot is at 32, everywhere else it seems to be around 24-25 with a drop at night to around 19.
Humidity is kept at between 70 and 90%.

Just a week to go till I get the trio! I can't wait!!


Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update:
Got the klems!
Picked up from Doncaster IHS event yesterday. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed it. Some amazing animals there.

So here are some photos of the new guys...




[URL=http://s1286.photobucket.com/user/jtg93/media/DSC_00252_zpsfc8af427.jpg.html]



So small and cute!



The plants are starting to grow too, especially the one in the pot on the left. Won't be ling until it grows over the wood...
As you can see, I've added some ground level plants too. Couple of clumps of pillow moss and other species (forgot the name) to form a carpet (its at the back on the left behind the seed pods).
I've put some carpet moss in too on some of the branches on the right.


I think I need to buy another plant to put at the back in the centre where the lady fern is. The fern is just about dead and the space looks empty. Any suggestions?


Lastly, I made some vines out of airline tubing, silicone and tree fern fibre. I've shaped them so a bottle cap fits in the twist. I can then put phelsumin (day gecko food) and D3 in these.


I'll post a pic when they're in place.

Thanks
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got the vines put in.
Not overly keen on the blue lids but that's easily changed. Thinking black will look better...

Left one (for Ca supplement):


Right one (for phelsumin/ fruit puree):


Full tank shot:




Thanks
Josh
 

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Excellent, i need to stopp looking at these though i am going all 'lizardy!'.... No room, No room ( =
the food and calc holders are great, good thinking, i always find the food or water bows are the thing that always look out of place in planted vivs, so thats really good idea and pretty well hidden.
Excellent set up, great planting and stunning beasties!

dont forget to update as the plants grow in, id really like to see it in a few months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks bob, I agree with you about food dishes, hence why I've done what Ive done. Glad you like. I'll be sure to add pics every so often to show how things are getting on. Subscribe so you don't miss anything!



Its gonna be awesome once live planted...
It is live planted...


Josh
 

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you have done some nice work there on that build for them :2thumb:

nice idea for the food holder poser :2thumb:

get some large dark bamboo for them, they'll be on that all the time esp if you place some under the "sun".

p.s. you don't see my "cups" coz the food goes......... I should really show/explain this elsewhere methinks :whistling2:
 
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