Litoria Aurea Vivarium

Postby RaD » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:22 pm

Man, This is awesome. What do you do for a living? Something creative I hope???
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Postby snake_freak » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:07 am

Yea it has a small out of tank filter to keep the water fresh.

I'm usually a zoology student. But at the moment I'm at home not doing anything because of a sports injury, which is why I have had some time to do some vivarium stuff. I also do part time landscaping. I've landscaped some chelonian enclosures for a zoo in SA once as well.
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Postby Gabi » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:27 am

Wow that's something one doesn't see to often. Looks stunning!
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Postby Bushbaby » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:45 am

Very nice!! I'm jealous!!
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Postby Stefan » Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:44 pm

um is the water under the substrate
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Postby snake_freak » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:17 am

Yep the water is under the substrate (that's where the pump is and where the heater would go if you were doing a tropical tank). The substrate starts about 3 - 5 mm above the water level.
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Postby snake_freak » Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:22 am

For those that sent me PM's for instructions, I can do some diagrams to post if anyone needs visual aid :) :

I started by cutting several pieces of PVC pipe ~ 2.5cm long. I then cut a piece of plastic egg crate to a size that would fit snugly in the bottom of the tank. The section where I wanted the water area to be was then cut out.

The pieces of PVC pipe were positioned evenly on the bottom of the tank in positions that best supported the egg crate. The micro pump and aquarium heater were then placed on the bottom of the tank, and the egg crate placed over the top. The section of the egg crate directly above the pump is separate, in case the pump or heater ever needs to be changed (otherwise you would need to dismantle the whole set up to get to it). A length of pipe was attached to the pump for later positioning. Small strips of egg crate were placed along the edge of the water area to stop the substrate from being sucked into the pump.

Next, the egg crate was covered with plastic mosquito mesh to support the covering substrate. River pebbles were placed along the edge of the water pool. A layer of washed aquarium gravel (~1.5cm deep) was laid on top of the mesh and spread into the pool. The tree fern stump, log and water pipe were placed in position and the planting mix was added. I used Rex Lee Searcey’s planting mix (published in reptiles magazine) available from http://www.animalnetwork.com/reptiles/detail.aspx?aid=8804&cid=3691&search=

Basic Forest Planting Mix

· 2 parts partially composted leaves. (Partially composted leaves consist of the dead leaf litter in various states of decomposition found around the base of trees and scrubs. The best kinds of leaves for this are live [scrub] oak, alder, elm, birch, aspen, poplar, beech, apple, ash, holly and privet.)
· 2 parts medium grade orchid bark, Xerimulch or similar bark product
· 1 part ground coconut husk fibre (coir), or ½ part coconut husk fibre and ½ part ground palm

Fertilizer for Basic Forest, Chucky Forest and Basic Desert Planting Mixes

· Cottonseed meal – 3 tablespoons per gallon or 6 cups per 30 gallons
· Bone meal – 1 tablespoon per gallon or 2 cups per 30 gallons
· Blood meal – 1 tablespoon per gallon or 2 cups per 30 gallons
· Ironite (similar trace mineral product) – 1 tablespoon per gallon or 2 cups per 30 gallons
· Agricultural lime derived from a source such as oyster shell – 1 slightly heaping teaspoon per gallon or a generous 2/3 cup per 30 gallons. (A desert planting mix that is already somewhat alkaline should not contain agricultural lime. Gypsum can be used instead. To test the alkalinity of your desert sand, sift out some of the fine material, mix it with distilled water to form a thin mud and allow it to sit for a day. Use a strip of litmus paper to read the pH, or pour off some of the top water and test it using an aquarium pH test kit.)

The plants were soaked in a water bath for 5 minutes and then as much of the original potting soil as possible was removed from the roots before planting (this was done carefully as not to damage the roots). The plants were planted and the exposed substrate covered with mosses collected the previous day. The tank was sprayed with a pressure sprayer and the bottom of the tank filled with purified water to approx. 2mm below the level of the egg crate.
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Postby snake_freak » Fri Jun 09, 2006 8:52 am

For those who asked for them. Some of the text is a bit repetative but hopefully easier to follow with the diagrams :D .

1. The aquarium used was a 600mm x 300mm x300mm fish tank bought from a pet store. A micro pump (with an add-on tube) was put in position. In this case, I just left the power cable over the edge of the tank, but for aesthetic purposes I would usually drill a hole in the glass (above the water line) and put the cable through it using a watertight bulkhead.

2. I cut several pieces of PVC pipe ~ 2.5cm long (or more depending on the size of your viv.). These were positioned evenly on the bottom of the tank in positions that would best support the egg crate cover.

Image

3. I then cut a piece of plastic egg crate to a size that would fit snugly against the sides of the tank* with the section where I wanted the water area to be cut out. The section of the egg crate directly above the pump is separate (like a manhole cover), in case the pump ever needs to be changed (otherwise you would need to dismantle the whole set up to get to it). Paint, vinyl, etc. can be applied to the outside of the tank up to substrate level to hide the water filled "false bottom" area.

4. Small strips of egg crate were then placed along the edge of the water area, and secured with and aquarium safe glue, to stop the substrate from being sucked into the pump. Next, the egg crate was covered with plastic mosquito mesh to support the covering substrate, making sure that there were no gaps where substrate could fall through. A hole was cut out of the mosquito mesh covering the egg crate “manhole” and a larger piece of mesh (which overlapped the hole by ~2cm on all sides) was laid over the hole.

Image

5. River pebbles were placed along the edge of the water pool and a layer of washed aquarium gravel (~1.5cm deep or deeper if your viv. is larger) was laid on top of the mesh and spread into the pool. Another layer of mesh can be placed over the gravel if desired. The tree fern stump, log and water pipe were placed in position and the planting mix was added.

Image

Three species of fern were used as well as a variety of native mosses, so planting kind of depends on what you can get your hands on. I’m still working on the hood and the misting system so I’ll add pics and diagrams as I finish them. All but one of my 12 tadpoles have completely metamorphosised so I’ll post pics of them soon as well.

* I did not use paint on the outside of this viv. I left a 1cm gap between the glass and the egg crate and filled it with gravel. If using this method take care to ensure that no gravel can get into the water filled area (with strips of egg crate as done with the edge of the water pool) as gravel may block the pump.
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Postby Bushbaby » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:24 am

I'm confused, but I'm sure if I read it through a few times it will make sense. Thanx for the info.
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Postby Spikelet » Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:55 pm

did you sell that viv in the end Snake_freak? Would love to see pics of it now that it has had some time to settle - it is really fantastic :D
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Postby snake_freak » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:13 am

did you sell that viv in the end Snake_freak? Would love to see pics of it now that it has had some time to settle - it is really fantastic


Unfortunately progress on the viv has been a bit slow because I haven't been well enough to complete it. I've done a bit on the hood, but it also isn't done yet. The fern in the left corner has a few new fronds sprouting and most of the mosses have taken off. I'm not happy with the substrate moisture though, it's a little to wet, so I think I'm gonna make the drainage layer deeper when I get around to it.

Plus some pics...

Image

Image


Mosses:

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Postby froot » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:30 am

That looks incredible!! I want one, a really big one ;)

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Postby Spikelet » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:36 am

It is cycling nicely though and no algae build up in the water which is great - however I do agree with making the substrate a bit deeper - what about sand layers or peat layers to dry it up a bit on the sides with the water bit in the center dipping and just being pepples?

Love the peaty brown water - it's my favourite (not most peoples though ...)

However it is stunning! well done! and I see your babies on the back window - too cute! nunu!
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Postby snake_freak » Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:52 am

Where did you swipe the flag from?


My adopted great gran gave it to me... it's my cape that I wear during the tri nations :smt080.

@ Spikelet: It definitely needs something to make it a bit drier... I'll work on it ;) . Yea the water cycles really well, I don't mind the browner water either it gives it a nice "swampy" look. The tank ecosystem is also functioning really well. The feces disappear in a day or two and the tank always smell nice and fresh... like a forest after it rains.
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Postby gaboon » Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:46 am

Are all these "ingredients" mentioned readily available in SA? If not, what are the alternatives? Thanks for the great info
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