Geosesarma bicolor vivarium build
Exo Terra 24x18x18
Started Jan 1 2014
Fauna: G. bicolor crabs
Carnivorous plants- Nepenthes ampularia 'brunei red'
Drosera spatulata 'fraser island'
Other plants- java/taiwan moss
anubias nana 'petite'
cheap metal knife
large razor blade
needle nose pliers
Supplies & Materials:
Great Stuff foam
100% silicone sealant
eggcrate light diffuser
fiberglass screen material
polyester casting resin
peat moss & fir bark substrate
long fiber sphagnum moss
small fountain pump (harbor freight)
( I know this isn't an aquarium, but it's planted, and has water...so its kinda like a paludarium..but not really. Whatever.)
With the success of my quickly put together red devil geosesarma paludarium, I decided to pursue a more advanced and appropriate vivarium build for a different species of Geosesarma crab. I almost gave up on keeping crabs when i build my first, nice paludarium for them and had them slowly die off over time. I also had none of them breed so my small population was not sustaining itself. I completely neglected the tank except for an occasional mist and a glance to see if i had any crabs left. I literally almost tore down the thing one night till i noticed i had baby crabs in the tank! Here and there, and everywhere, I immediately gave the tank more food and attention. I think i ended up raising close to 20 crabs and have fallen in love with them all over again. So, that's how this build even came to be.
I made many mistakes with my first build such as getting poor soil coverage over the great stuff background, too many holes, nooks, and crannies for the crabs to get into and get completely out of sight. I also didn't really know how to use the great stuff, so this time around I was much more liberal with it's use. I also wanted something that kept the tank more humid, short of installing a misting system (which i may still do in the future), so i built in a waterfall feature. I also wanted it to look more like…well, something real. So i made it look like a tree root going into a river or pool of some sort( the waterfall feature kind of breaks this goal, but whatever it looks cool). I also wanted to make this DIY to the extreme, so everything is build from scratch and made with found and bought materials, nothing was prefabricated except for the wood and bark, but that's made by nature, so it doesn't really count.
I also wanted to put few of my passions in the tank: Crabs, plants, carnivorous plants, and art/making/fabricating. So this also highly motivated me to even make this tank in the first place. Im really a noob when it comes to carnivorous plants, but I really wanted to give it a try, and knew the crabs would be fine with them. Specifically the N. ampullaria which some geosesarma crabs actually live in out in the wild. So this will be a big experiment for me with CPs, so we will see.
I'll try to explain things as needed, but I hope most of the pictures speak for themselves. I don't want to have to explain every decision and step in this first post, I'll just let you look and ask.
I will say that I already have some regrets with the polyester casting resin. I may have not let it cure properly, or I didn't mix it properly with the catalyst. It was gorgeous and crystal clear when I put it on and after it hardened, but literally as soon as it was in contact with water for a few minutes and turned a nasty, cloudy, opaque, color which totally lost all the detail in my paint job on the concrete features. So i think i should have gone with some sort of epoxy resin. But i wanted to did it on the cheap, and fish safe which i knew it was ( but i wish it knew it did this before I used it). I may be able to dry the tank out and let it cure better, but I may just say screw it and let the moss and algae grow on it so it looks natural enough.
Please enjoy, and I will try to update as much as possible, but now that it is actually built, it will be more plant growth and inhabitant updates from here on out. But feel free to ask about anything.
Here are some pics of my first crab paludarium.
Here is the Exo when I bought it.
And the build...
Well that escalated quickly!
Future flora and fauna ...