Scag's Vertical 20G build *UPDATE on last page*
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:51 PM   #1
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Scag's Vertical 20G build *UPDATE on last page*


A few weeks ago I was on Craigslist and came across a free de-rimmed 20g long aquarium. It was in rough shape when I picked it up. Cracked on one side, dirty, etc. I had wanted to do something different for awhile, had been doing planted aquariums for over 3 years- I decided to experiment and try for a vertical vivarium.

I already had a 20g vivarium full of plants that I could harvest from as well.

I went with special kitty litter clay background- even though I have read a dozen horror stories about collapses, and sliding. Figured I was on a tight budget and wanted to keep things cheap. If it doesn't work out, no real loss other than time and effort.

I collected some nice looking pieces of wood from private property- keeping in mind it was a vertical viv that would possibly house some small tree frogs in the future.

The wood is somewhat rotten, which is great for moss and plant's, but bad in term of holding up more than a year. It already had moss growing on it, however mosses from northern climates die in indoor terrariums due to the heat and humidity.

I would like to one day setup a high tech terrarium capable of growing cold climates mosses. The moss on it will die in a matter of weeks and the tropical mosses I add in should take over nicely. I also hiked a local stream and collected some rocks.

I also made a custom soil mixture- Peat sphagnum, sand, topsoil and coco fiber.

The base is gravel and small stones, along with some play sand. Then the soil mixture on top.

The plant list is still growing as I have ordered some plants online from a friend- keeping it on the cheap side still!
Ficus Pumila Quercifolia
An unknown Philodendron vine collected in Florida (non-native)
EpiWeb Moss mixture (I have heard good stuff about it)
Bacopa Monnieri
Hydrocotyle Japan
Mediocalcar decoratum orchid
Dwarf watter lettuce
Java Moss
Hydrocotyle leucocephala

Might add a Brom pup as well.

Most of these aren't planted in the tank yet. I'm worried about my lighting.
I'm using 2 garage dome clip lights, 23w CFL bulbs, 6500k. I'm hoping it's strong enough to get good growth throughout the entire tank. Again my purpose was keep things cheap, I think both lights and bulbs came to 20 dollars.
I guess I will find out!

I also ordered an acrylic door kit from josh's frogs. It was just hinges, latches, and a handle. I already had some acrylic pieces in my garage to use for the actual door. So far it hasn't worked out. I put the door together using silicone. Unfortunately it falls apart- the silicone isn't strong enough. Will have to find a different adhesive.

I will keep updating as it moves along and grows out.



Some pictures below
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EpiWeb Moss!
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Last edited by scags; 11-12-2013 at 02:36 PM.. Reason: adding
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:19 PM   #2
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That looks cool. I like it.
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:24 AM   #3
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Thanks! I will post more pics as it grows in.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:37 AM   #4
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I like it. I went through a vivarium phase, but my heart is in aquariums. I still have 2 nice Exo Terra cages that I will eventually set up right for something really cool.
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:28 AM   #5
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Nice! A very creative transformation. Looking forward to seeing it progress.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:42 AM   #6
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Where/how did you learn to make a vivarium scags?
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlsagan89 View Post
Where/how did you learn to make a vivarium scags?
No where really. lol
Seriously just started out a few years ago with a small tank and some clippings from my planted aquarium. Under good lighting the clipping's came to life and sparked my curiosity in terrariums/vivariums.

In the past I didn't do any research and ended up killing a lot of plants. I didn't know tap water was so deadly to many types of ferns, mosses, and orchids. But over time I learned things here and there.

Lots of great threads and forums on the subject!
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Nice! A very creative transformation. Looking forward to seeing it progress.
Thanks Wastewater! Got an update coming your way!
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
I like it. I went through a vivarium phase, but my heart is in aquariums. I still have 2 nice Exo Terra cages that I will eventually set up right for something really cool.

Sounds awesome- I am back and forth- I love both plants aquariums and vivariums. Could never pick just one!
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:49 PM   #10
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****UPDATE****

Plants are really starting to take off.
Bacopa will have to be trimmed soon! The epiweb moss is starting to grow in as well. Really excited about that, from what I read you never know what to expect with it- ferns, tropical mosses, various epiphytic plants.
Here are some photos-
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:38 PM   #11
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A couple more pics.

The java moss is starting to take hold on the clay background, hoping it will one day cover most of it, probably a few months away from that.

There is also some small bits of HC, pellia, and riccia on the bottom substrate. The should grow in nicely over time as well.

Keep debating whether or not I should add a Brom or two. The problem is that any larger plants that get added will block light to anything growing beneath- so placement is very important.

Another cool thing is the big unknown philodendron vine that was collected in Florida- it's doing really well, added a few new leaves and big thick tendrils growing into the wood and background.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:51 PM   #12
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Looking good
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Looking good
Thanks!

Another set back was the acrylic door kit I ordered from Josh's Frogs. The kit is great, hinges and handles etc.

But the downfall was that I had no idea that acrylic doesn't silicone to glass very well. Never researched it at all, just figured it would work the same as glass, so my acrylic door fell off 2 days after I put it together! I guess glass actually bonds with silicone and acrylic doesn't. There goes my nice acrylic door!

So this weekend I am heading to home depot to buy a sheet of glass and have it cut to size for the new door.

Thinking once it is all grown in I may order some Suriname Clown Tree frogs- Dendropsophus leucophyllatus
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Or possibly African reed frogs-Hyperoliidae instead, due to their small size.
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Or even possibly some type of lizard, maybe Day gecko's or mossy leaf-tailed geckos. It's only a 20g long though, so it wouldn't house anything too large.
Plus I don't want any animals that are destructive such as larger tree frogs or lizards.Open to any recommendations!
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:59 PM   #14
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Yeah glass and silicone mix, acrylic and silicone don't. You can get special acrylic solvents that bond acrylic to acrylic, but it's not easy to get a good glass-acrylic seal. I made the same mistake the first time I tried to make vertical vivariums, and the front doors made out of hardware store plexiglass/ acrylic warped and fell off.
Those frogs are cool, the only thing I would say is that if you are keeping them in a noise-sensitive area (i.e. anywhere near where people may sleep), I believe reed frogs are very loud noctural callers, not sure about the clown frogs. Also I would recommend captive bred on both the frogs if you can find them (the only CB reed frogs usually see are starry night reed frogs) since I know many wild caughts come in very sick with lots of parasites and can be hard to acclimate. I don't have experience with the geckos though.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baltimore Bryan View Post
Yeah glass and silicone mix, acrylic and silicone don't. You can get special acrylic solvents that bond acrylic to acrylic, but it's not easy to get a good glass-acrylic seal. I made the same mistake the first time I tried to make vertical vivariums, and the front doors made out of hardware store plexiglass/ acrylic warped and fell off.
Those frogs are cool, the only thing I would say is that if you are keeping them in a noise-sensitive area (i.e. anywhere near where people may sleep), I believe reed frogs are very loud noctural callers, not sure about the clown frogs. Also I would recommend captive bred on both the frogs if you can find them (the only CB reed frogs usually see are starry night reed frogs) since I know many wild caughts come in very sick with lots of parasites and can be hard to acclimate. I don't have experience with the geckos though.
Bryan
Thanks Bryan, at least I'm not the first to hit the acrylic pitfall I guess we learn from our mistakes. I somewhat enjoy the trial and error aspect of DIY, as long as it doesn't end up costing me a fortune.

Luckily for me my wife made me move all my crazy animals and science experiments to the basement. It's become my man cave/ aquarium room. I have Cuban Tree frogs that call every now and again. They aren't all that loud, but it would definitely be annoying if they were near my bedroom!

I too have heard that Reed frogs are very loud at night. I can't find any info about clown frogs. I have read that they are extremely abundant in South America. They breed in every possible pool of water- seems like they would be easy to breed in captivity. Yet I haven't found much information on breeding them, let alone their mating call.

I don't support wild caught animals in the pet trade, unless they are very rare and in need of captive breeding. There are some animals that are disappearing due to loss of habitat and unfortunately the pet trade may be the only place to find some species eventually. So in some circumstances I agree with it. But generally I only buy CB animals.

Should have some more updates soon. Will be installing the new glass door this weekend.
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