150 gal Leo Oasis
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
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150 gal Leo Oasis


I was gifted a huge acrylic tank and have decided to create a Pakistani Oasis for a few leopard geckos. Was hoping to get some help with the build from some of you folks if possible.

Hopin you can chime in. I wont start the actual build until Sep, but I would like to start purchasing everything Ill need this summer.


I am going to have a gnarly 3D background littered with caves and hides

a large cave complex in the front left corner that is partially see-thru. I want the main chamber to be lit with mini LED black lights. ideas would be much appreciated!!

I am also going to have a water feature. This small rocky "spring" needs to be build self contained in a separate bin. filtration???

I want live plants: bronze sedge, aloe, jade, etc.
any others you could invision??

INfo on lighting and heating would also be most welcomed: 6'x2'x2' is alot to heat! I have never housed leos, only herp sat a few times in college. Thanks for helpin the newbie

Last edited by Learner; 11-16-2013 at 06:38 AM.. Reason: gr
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:23 AM   #2
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If you enjoy DIY I would say use great stuff foam. Thats good for making backgrounds. As far as heating; I know there are some places that sell a heating element thats basicallly a giant rope. I'll see if i can find it again.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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awesome Jake. a 150? you are gonna be in build heaven!!LOL you know as far as lighting goes, i'm gonna suggest t5ho or led, but you can definitely get away with shop t8 shop lights with the terrestrial plants.

heating is going to depend on the design of the tank, obviously, but i do believe you are going to need to plan a basking area with higher temps for them.

i'm gonna start researching leos, just so i can help ya out with this build. i also want to get leos when i start back up again, so it will come in very handy
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:12 PM   #4
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Whoa, this could be so awesome! I would definitely make different levels and caves, almost like they're at the base of a desert hill. I've used Great Stuff foam before, and I really enjoyed the look it gave. Make sure you use Windows and Doors instead of Gaps and Cracks, because GaC expands way too much and can pull away from the sides. You'll also want to cover your glass with silicone (GE Ii is reptile safe) first since Great Stuff doesn't adhere well to glass.

Having a "basking spot" isn't actually necessary since these are nocturnal geckos, but they do need a warm side and a cool side. Heat cables might work well, but I have no experience with them. If you're ever tempted to get a heat rock, please don't. There's aleays a chance they could overheat and burn the gecko.

I've seen some pretty cool leopard gecko setups, so I'll see if I can find them again and link them here for inspiration. This sounds like a great project!
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Fishies_in_Philly View Post
awesome Jake. a 150? you are gonna be in build heaven!!LOL you know as far as lighting goes, i'm gonna suggest t5ho or led, but you can definitely get away with shop t8 shop lights with the terrestrial plants.

heating is going to depend on the design of the tank, obviously, but i do believe you are going to need to plan a basking area with higher temps for them.

i'm gonna start researching leos, just so i can help ya out with this build. i also want to get leos when i start back up again, so it will come in very handy
thanks Bill! I have been doing my homework and have a good idea of their habitat needs. The hot side of the tank may be tough. I think I am going to put an 8x12 UTH under the main, see thru cave. That should get things started. I was then thinking of 2 heating lamps up above that for maintaining the 90 degree max temp. With the water section in the other side, I should be able to maintain a good temp gradient with ambient temps of 75 or so near the water. NOt sure which bulbs I should go with............100 watt and a 75 watt day time lamps.

For night time temps, I hope to run just one black light on top of the tank, the small LEDS inside the cave, and the UTH. I just know I am gonna have to play around with the heating of this beast until I get it just right.

I am starting to visualize
a large rocky hill with ledges and overhangs in the back left corner.
The main see thru cave in the front left.

A large rocky peninsula that extends out into the "offset" middle of the tank. I will have 2 hides and some ledges on this.

The right side will be the water section: definately the beach look with plants surrounding the oasis. My moist hide will be in this section.

The build is gonna be immense and the top of the tank is of course not going to oblige me. I am thinking that I am going to have to cut out a large square on either side and then create a kind of cover with plexi or acrylic from HD.

I will get some pics of the tank so you can help me with that...........I am scared of cutting into this beast!

thanks again Bill I am gonna need you on this one!
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:34 AM   #6
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I've seen some pretty cool leopard gecko setups, so I'll see if I can find them again and link them here for inspiration. This sounds like a great project![/QUOTE]

thanks for the support! hope you chime in during the actual build this fall. I will be using the drylok method with polyestrene and GS as well to build the BG.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:05 PM   #7
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If you're going with an UTH I'd strongly recommend you get a rheostat. No form of under heating (tape, pad etc.) should be used without one just in case.

But I'm so jealous, do you have plans on what type of leos you'll be getting and what gender mixture? (Oh, and what you'll be feeding them, you want to make sure whatever your design ends up being doesn't allow for nifty cricket hides if you go with them =] )

I'll be looking forward to the actual build as I've been tempted to come up with something myself for my leo.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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If you're going with an UTH I'd strongly recommend you get a rheostat. No form of under heating (tape, pad etc.) should be used without one just in case.

But I'm so jealous, do you have plans on what type of leos you'll be getting and what gender mixture? (Oh, and what you'll be feeding them, you want to make sure whatever your design ends up being doesn't allow for nifty cricket hides if you go with them =] )

I'll be looking forward to the actual build as I've been tempted to come up with something myself for my leo.
I will definately get a rheostat for the heater! Feeding crickets is definitely a worry as they will be my main feed. Mealworms and waxies will also be fed. Any ideas on the best way to keep them from becoming a problem?? there will be some spots for them to hide thats for sure.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:53 PM   #9
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feed crickets in a glass bowl. they can't climb glass and are too stupid to jump out. it's a little trick we use in the froggie world

if you're gonna use uth Jake, look into heating tape. the amount of heating pads you would need to heat a 150 gallon tank would be ridiculous. also, i'm not sure if acrylic can withstand the high temps that uth's and heat tape emit. you might get melt points in the the tank surface. you could also use ceramic heat emitters. personally, i would just do a false bottom and heat the water. much cheaper and just as effective. then there are those undergravel heat cables you could use.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:55 AM   #10
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All right, heres the start of the build. I had some time so I got a jump on the carving of the terrain. HOLY crap was this a lot more than I was anticipating.

The water section is a complete debacle. I wanted it to be removable and accessible for easy cleaning and filter access. I decided on a rubber maid tote and a recessed poly sheet carved to hold a burrowed out resin log. This will be the "spring's" first pool (3x6 inches). Two small cutouts will drain the holding pool and into a larger, 5x7 inch pool. Inside the rubbermaid, I have several bags of eheim strata for bio filtration and a duetto 150 for water movement/filtration. A small waterfall pump will run the spring. I am going to run a small 50watt heater to keep it around 75 degrees.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:10 AM   #11
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The water section will be on the far right side of the tank. It will junction with the Beach section which dominates the middle of the tank. It has 4 main plant pots and a complex series of caves and cutout, ledge hides. It slopes down towards the front of the tank where there is a huge moist hide, dug in underneath the cave system above. I had to carve the hides and caves in pieces and drylok them as I went. There will be no way to reach every nook and crany with a brush once they all got glued back together. So glad I thought of that a head of time. I only had to cut apart two pieces! Anyways, this particular cave set up is neat. geckos will be able to enter down low and then traverse their way all the way up to the top cave. Several tunnels lead to 3 different ledges for resting and thermoregulating. each ledge inside the cave will be a different distance away from the ceramic heater.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:27 AM   #12
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The beach section above junctions with the water section on its right side and then with the CLIFF section on its left. The cliff butts up to the back/left side of the tank. It has several more plant pots, ledges for hiding and accessing the upper and lower caves inside the cliff itself. There are 2 separate caves.

These are the three main sections I have started thus far. Creating the junction areas and making them seamless will be a challenge but I have some good ideas. dont let the boxy look throw you off just yet! I have one more main section which will sit in front of the cliff and butt up against the front left corner of the tank. It will be a see thru, heated cave. I have yet to start this part, as it is the most complex and intricate. I want tiny led lights for low light viewing durning the day. I am also going to heat it with heat cable built into the poly cave itself. The heat cable will be safely woven between 2 slate tiles. 1 slate tile will be recessed into the poly sheet and the other will be on top of the heat cable and act as the bottom of the cave for belly heating. I have a great thermostat which will regulate the temps insde the cave.

I am really curious to see if I can pull this off. as always, your comments and concerns are always welcomed

JD
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:14 PM   #13
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damn Jake! looks awesome! you really planned this one out. we definitely learn from out mistakes, don't we? lol
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:23 AM   #14
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damn Jake! looks awesome! you really planned this one out. we definitely learn from out mistakes, don't we? lol
AMEN to that one! I have never done a desert so I am not sure about the whole thing. Some parts are way easier.........no high humidity and water issues once I contain it in the rubbermaid that is. One issue I am thinking of is the plants. I am used to giving them some time and TLC and then watch em grow like crazy and cover everything up................deserts dont work like that. the plants will be isolated almost.......no jungle look. I hope I have the pots planned out to make it all look real. Any thoughts on a substrate to cover the dirt??? Standard sand I suppose..........might try the molding clay substrate to decrease chance for impaction.

thanks for keeping in touch.........more to come once the salmon stop running and I get a chance to breathe again.........just got my first limit of the season for some boys from Texas the other day..........woohoo. Keep your lines tight and your hooks sharp!

Best Fishes Bill

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Old 10-19-2013, 04:36 AM   #15
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Well, I have made a bunch of progress on the build. As usual there have been many challenges and changes of the vision. I am pleased at how its going and hope it will finish up nicely. The water feature proved to be quite interesting and is still up for some debate. The modular system is working well and i am happy with how the background is going to turn out. I am gonna have a bunch of transitions and seams to seal but I think im gonna be alright. I am almost certain I have the specs laid out for the see thru cave and hope to have some new pics soon! Still a lot of work to do. I still have to try and find some lizards!!!!
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