Viv/terrarium journal. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Viv/terrarium journal.

I bought a 55-65 gal tank from good will today. It was disgusting when I got it and finally almost cleaned it. Took windex and clorax 5 hours. I just gotta get vinager/water combo mix to remove clorax and windex. I will be leaving it for a few hours to completely removed. I wish I had thought of this prior to writting this O well. Just know the crap was disgusting lol there was sand and rocks stuck to the bottom and water algea on the wall. Finally able to see clearly in just gotta vinager water. Once I start it I will take step by step pictures thanks to my girl friend.

I live in an apartment complex and started seeing these geckos getting harmed so I took it upon myself to get them out of an environment were kids were killing them. So I got this idea to get a terrarium which so far has worked. Only issue is now that there are four of them its kind of crowded.

I decided that I was going to buy a massive tank for them and build a near self sustaining environment. So I started researching and researching. It inevitably led me here. I've read tons of data involving the gecko's and the plant life and building a self sustatining eco-system. So I figured I would try throwing my idea out here to see if I can get some ideas.

First and foremost I decided that I would creat a basic landscape including a water table, bamboo, a waterfall, and plant life. The tank I am buying is roughly 60"x36"x24". I am going to add about 4"-6" of big and little rocks to create an artificial water table. I am going to place on top of the water table a black plastic mess that we used what I lived in Florida to prevent weeds from growing. This should prevent the dirt from falling into the watertable and making mud. The dirt will be potting soil and it will take another 3"-6" up. so in total thats roughly 1 foot taken up with the watertable and soil. On the far left side im going to place a waterfall with a fish tank pump/filter to clean and move the water from the water table to the waterfall. The waterfall will be made with a product called greatstuff.

Once hardened it releases no chemicals and will be fine with great amount of waterflow on it. The reason I am using great stuff is because it will be easily molded as it drys. The waterfall will be funneled into a small river which will run the length of the glass inclosure and end into a pond. The pond will have a small opening in the bottom what will put the water back into the water table. Once I create the balance for the water fall and water table so the pond doesnt overflow and it doesn't create a whirlpool I will add the plant life and rocks. On the north-western side of the tank next to the waterfall I will place rocks for the critters to hide and reproduce. On the floor around the river I will place moss and ferns to grow. They will be what allows my vegetation and bamboo to grow.

Once the moss and ferns grow I will add the plants. I have come up with bamboo, sunflowers, and other various plants that have reproduction cycles that are easy to manipulate. The enclosure will stay a few months left alone with a night/day cycle of 5 hours of light, 3 hours of darkness. Once the plants start to get a routine going I will add the various decomposers. My decomopser list is rather short for the time being to make it simple. Pillpugs (rolli-polies), worms, and possible small wingless fruit flies. I will also add aphids/ladybug to help maintiain the plants growth. After another few months I will then add my four banded geckos, and two crocodile geckos (I realize that most geckos are territorial but I did some research and found that most geckos that stay the same size will be fine in a single enclosure.) to maintain the ladybug, pill bug, and aphid population. I will also add a preying mantis species that will allow more of a balance to the amount of bug life that is within the enclosure.
Any and all critisim would be appreciated. I am rather new and just did alot of research. If anyone could give me ideas based off experience of plants that do well in terrariums and bamboo that would be fine much would be appreciated. Right now I plan on using a mainly water type bamboo.

Since I started reading I decided on a false bottom to build the water table rather then rocks. So I scrapped the pond and decided to build a lake that goes into the waterfall portion.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 03:36 PM
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Clorox + Windex = Bleach + Ammonia
=Mustard Gas
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 03:37 PM
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I don't know a whole lot about terrariums, but your setup sounds very interesting. I haven't heard of a terrarium that uses bugs and such in an attempt in creating a selfsustaining ecosystem. This system is really complex, and you would have to have a perfect balance of everything for it to work. Making a large ecosystem is a very hard thing to do. But I wish you the best of luck!

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by slavecorps View Post
Clorox + Windex = Bleach + Ammonia
=Mustard Gas
Pay attention to Slave - don't mix bleach and ammonia. The result is actually chlorine gas, not mustard gas, not that it will matter much if it kills you.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 04:44 PM
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hey, this tank is a cool idea. i think you can check out all the riparium guys for more tips on cool plants...

also check out they have unreal plants
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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I didnt mix them at one time. I allowed the windex to completley dry before applying the bleach. Thank you though because I did not know that, that would happen. I am going to start being a little more cautious.

Ya it is a complex ecosystem but it is possible to maintain on a small scale. just have to create harmony.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 04:54 PM
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also check out dendroboard and vivariumforums
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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thanks I will check them out.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2010, 08:44 PM
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Check out the're a great resource. Try using two part expanding foam much cheaper and it is the same as GS foam in the can. Check out out my threads to see how its done and links to the mother threads that lead me to do it this way.

and here:

best wishes,


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