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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

As it says on the can, this is my crestie viv build. There have been a few posts recently with people wanting to know how to build more natural looking planted vivs for tropical species, although the plants in this viv aren’t strictly the plants that would be found in a crestie’s natural environment, the main reason for this is that this was built for Pumilios, but as we live in Jersey, and are at the mercy of the local reptile shop, (which is crap), this never happened. The viv was built and stayed empty for a year before I spotted an add for cresties in the classifieds, and thought, hello, I might have a home for one of you. : victory:

So although the plants aren’t strictly correct, they do look the part. The other thing to consider is what will survive.

So this is what we, (me and my o/h) had to work with, as this was my first viv build, there were a few things I didn't think of when I built it, so I will let you know what I would do differently when I come to those bits.





It’s a 24”x12”x24” fish tank that a mate gave me, the only real problem with it is that as it’s so tall, and the only way in is via the top, it is difficult to reach the floor.

So here it is laid on it's back with various bits and bobs laid out. What I would have done differently is to cover the back in silicon as opposed to spraying the expanding foam straight onto the glass.





Another thing to think about when applying the foam is how hard you pull the trigger, if you pull it in too far the foam has more air in it, this will make it expand more, which can make the back look a little unnatural. If you only pull the trigger in a little, this will make the foam more compact, although this means a can won’t cover so much.

You can see how we changed our technique in this pic, bottom left is how we started, and then as we moved up, we made the foam more dense, we needed two and a half 750ml cans to cover it. What you might also want to do is use a gloved hand to mould the foam as it drys.





This is the foam complete, the thermometer is sitting on a cave that I had built as a hide, but obviously the crestie wont use it.

In this pic I am testing out the lighting and heating, but more on that another day...

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ok, where were we?

Oh yeah, the fun bit...Not! The siliconing of the back.



This is the bit I hate with viv builds like this, it's messy, it's smelly, and it seems to take forever, I only gave it the one coat, but I have heard of people giving it two coats, I'm not sure if this is stickly necessary, but I supose it wouldn't hurt if you have the discipline.



However I do like putting on the eco earth, there is a "job satisfaction" to it, after all the "unnatural" expanding foam, and then the silicon, It's at this point that you can see a viv taking shape!

On this build I made the eco earth too wet, and didn't give it enough time to dry out, to be honest I thought it had to go on fairly wet, but now when I make a batch of eco earth, I use very little water, and then leave it for a week, this means it should be almost completely dry. On this build I put the earth on and brushed off the loose earth almost strait away, now though I tend to throw on handfulls of earth, and then leave it over night, more stays on this way I have found.

The last thing to do is clean off all the silicon that is on the glass.



Next we will start on the lighting and heating. If there are any questions on this viv, please feel free to ask away.

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, I was going to start with the lights heat and ventilation tonight, but I've changed my mind. Now now, It's my viv build thread, I can do what I like :lol2:

So instead we will look into some plants, most of which will die, DOH!

So the first thing to do is put in the Leca, about an inch, this is why I put a 2" line of silicon at the bottom of the viv to hide this from view : victory:, next to go down was a layer of weed netting, and then finally the eco earth, (about an inch).



So here you can see some plants, and moss, everything died except the brom up on the right, :bash:

If anyone knows how to grow moss I would love to know the secret, as I have tried in two vivs now, and I can't get it to last more than a couple of weeks.



So in went more broms, they are still all alive and kicking 18 months later :2thumb:

Ok, next time we will get into the lights/heating/ventilation, promise :whistling2:

Jay
 

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Looks great!

I have my first ever reptile, a little crestie and once he/she is upgraded to a 'proper' viv this is the sort of look I'd love to try, kinda 'jungly'.

As an added note, I have read somewhere that to get moss to grow where you want it to is put some moss in a blender with buttermilk, blitz it, then spread the paste onto the wood or whatever you want it on. I don't know if this works, I haven't tried, but might be worth a go?

I have also read that the best way to keep moss alive is LOTS of moisture. I have a frog tank that I've recently messed about with (you know how it is) and I now have a boggy end and a dry end, I've put all the bits of moss, some attached to wood, in the boggy end, so I will find out if moisture is the key!

Have you fixed doors on the front? If so, how?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looks great!

I have my first ever reptile, a little crestie and once he/she is upgraded to a 'proper' viv this is the sort of look I'd love to try, kinda 'jungly'.

As an added note, I have read somewhere that to get moss to grow where you want it to is put some moss in a blender with buttermilk, blitz it, then spread the paste onto the wood or whatever you want it on. I don't know if this works, I haven't tried, but might be worth a go?

I have also read that the best way to keep moss alive is LOTS of moisture. I have a frog tank that I've recently messed about with (you know how it is) and I now have a boggy end and a dry end, I've put all the bits of moss, some attached to wood, in the boggy end, so I will find out if moisture is the key!

Have you fixed doors on the front? If so, how?
Hi Kerry,

The blender idea sounds like fun, I'll give it a go : victory:

I've tried all sorts of ways to get the moss to grow, the last lot went into another viv I built that had a fogger in it, I put the moss (from a local wood) on the floor, where the fogger kept it permanantly moist, still no joy :bash:

I got some more from out side my flat, it was growing on the concrete floor in direct sunlight!!! I put it in the crestie viv on the eco earth and watered it every day for 6 months...It died :bash:

There must be some kind of magic trick to it :blush:

Jay
 

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Well my theory hasn't worked! The moss in the wet end of the tank is still dying! I thought the wood acting like a sponge would give the moss just the right amount of moisture. WRONG!
 

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Fantastic viv, can't beat fully planted.

Moss is quite hard to grow, I've managed to keep my java alive for a few weeks but no signs of growth yet.
 

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nice viv, would be nicer if you had a water fall in the, a little one with a pool at the bottom, and if it was made in an exo terra even better for the end look and maintanance of the viv
 

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wow looks amazing your crstie will love that!!
very well done there mate :notworthy::no1::no1:
 

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nice viv, would be nicer if you had a water fall in the, a little one with a pool at the bottom, and if it was made in an exo terra even better for the end look and maintanance of the viv
So what you're saying is;

"You should have bought an exoterra and made a waterfall"

Good input :lol2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks fantastic :2thumb: cant wait to see the finished viv!
Thanks, will get there soon : victory:

Well my theory hasn't worked! The moss in the wet end of the tank is still dying! I thought the wood acting like a sponge would give the moss just the right amount of moisture. WRONG!
Welcome to my world of pain and misery :Na_Na_Na_Na:

Fantastic viv, can't beat fully planted.

Moss is quite hard to grow, I've managed to keep my java alive for a few weeks but no signs of growth yet.
Yup, same here, I kept java in another viv for a few weeks, but still no joy.

nice viv, would be nicer if you had a water fall in the, a little one with a pool at the bottom, and if it was made in an exo terra even better for the end look and maintanance of the viv
Yup, an Exo terra would be the way to go, but I had this one given to me and I thought it would be a good challenge to try and make something with it.

As for the water fall and pool...wait till the next build : victory:

How's your build doing, did you find any Broms?

wow looks amazing your crstie will love that!!
very well done there mate :notworthy::no1::no1:
Thanks.

I think she likes it, although all she does these days is push at the screen lid to try and get out, so I'm not so sure :hmm:

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok,

Heat/lights/ventilation, lets start with the heat. the only source of heat for the viv are four 20watt halogen lights. In the beginning I fitted two of these lights, but the first winter in my flat told me that this wasn't going to be enough, I was going to put heating cable in, but I was told it wouldn't be needed as "room temps" would be fine, however the person giving this advice (my girlfriend, the person helping me with this build) hadn't spent a winter in my flat to see just how cold it gets.

So here it is when it had two lights;



With hindsight I would have fitted the heat cable, as I always say, "It's better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it". I fitted heat cable to another viv I built, and the cable on it's own was able to get the temps up into the 80f range with no extra heating, plus as the heat is coming through the wet eco earth, this brings up the humidity nicely : victory:.

But as it would have been a major pain to retro fit the heat cable, I put in two extra lights instead. This, along with the exta vivs we now have in the lounge, means that I can get a good 78f in the viv, even in the winter;




Next, lighting, apart from the four halogens, there is a 10% repti sun tube with reflector for uvb. I will be upgrading this soon by fitting a 15" 2% tube in-between the two fans. I'll post pics when it's done.

Now obviously we don't want cresties getting up into the lighting, so I fitted a screen, I used net curtains as this viv was going to house frogs, and the normal netting you can get from the reptile shops lets the small flys you feed frogs with through :bash:
And as net curtains only blocks about half the uv, and ALL flies, then this is what we went for.

I glued the netting to a plastic frame I made, and this sits nicely on the glass shelf that runs around the top of the tank. As Clamps (the crestie) likes to sleep at the top of the viv, I tied some fake leaves to the underside of the netting to a, block all uvb, and b, block some of the light;





Although she will mostly sleep in the corner with the leaves, she will also sleep in the opposite corner.

now the ventilation, I fitted two computer fans, one sucks, one blows (fnaah). The vents do a number of jobs, one, they circulate the air, pulling out stale air and replacing it with fresh. Two, they help circulate the heat. Three, they prevent the glass from misting up.



To get the air in and out, I drilled holes in the lid. The fans were then screwed to the underside of the lid.

I'll post up some more resent pics of the plants and floor litter next time.

Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW aint u a clever bunny :p lol

i cant wait till my next build lol :p

its gunna hopefully be for a frilled dragon :p

lol
:lol2:

I know what you mean, I'm getting my first snake in Oct. So I have to start on that build bloody sharpish...Watch this space.

: victory:

Jay
 

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Very Nice !
 

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Wow, looks really good well done! :2thumb:
 

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Hi, is it essential to have fans for ventilation? I'm going to make a vertical viv out of an old 2 foot tank for my crestie, I'm going to have 1 third of the opening side fitted with mesh for ventilation, would this be OK?
 
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