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75 Gallon Terrarium

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This Terrarium started off a year ago as a planned salt water tank. After a failed saltwater 14G Biocube (due to children), we decided against pumping the money into turning the 75 gallon tank into a saltwater tank. So the tank sat empty in our kitchen for another 8 months before I made up my mind on what to do with it. At this time I had a 29 gallon freshwater tank and a 20 gallon long terrarium running, and it was time to condense these down to one tank. Keep in mind that this wasn't my first terrarium setup but I wanted this to be my most elaborate. :) So I set out and did my research and found the following that I wanted
1. A really cool background for the tank
1. Some sites say to use the insta-foam stuff but with previous attempts with a 10 gallon I found that stuff to be FAIL.
2. What I used and works well is the foam that you use to fix outdoor water fountains. It took me three cans to do the back ground and around the additional edges on the islands.
2. I wanted to have islands so that I could have live plants in soil.
1. I searched and searched for a good idea on this one and finally settled on a 5 gallon bucket. I cut it in half then cut the bottom portion in half again.
2. When filling I used two inches of concrete sand for the first layer. Unfortunately it was in October so no one had any real potting soil selections. I had to use regular potting soil, but I did mix it with 1 cup of sand for every 4 cups of soil. On top of this I put an inch of gravel and then peat moss on top of that.
3. I wanted a Spray system
1. Still working on this one but I finally have an idea of what is needed. A 110 psi pump should work well for the tank.
4. Enough lighting to have live plants in the water as well.
1. This one is a little bit tricky since the lighting is a considerable amount farther from the water than is typical. I suspect that I will probably need more than PC lighting and at this point I'm waiting on prices to come down.
2. In the mean time I have a heat lamp on one side and the lighting that I had on the 29 gallon on the other side. I have one additional lighting with 2 18 watt PC bulbs to bring the total lighting to 54 watts but have yet to implement it until I get replacement bulbs.
5. Filtration system
1. I have built a self-feed for removing water from the tank but need a better pump for the return, a 140 GPH pump will work from the research I have done. Biggest bump was that it has to have the pressure to return the water from below and back up to the tank.
2. For right now I'm using the filtration pump system that I had in the 29 gallon tank as I measured out the water when I filled it and it came up to 25 gallons.
The best part has been adding new things to the tank as we work to slowly build it up. I already had the live plants in the 20 long so they have really enjoyed the change. For the top I had been using a screen that I had just bent over the top but it didn't reach across the entire top so i used the top screen from one of my spare 10 gallon tanks so cover the last bit. This afternoon I went down and picked up some trimming and cut them at 45 degree angles and framed the wiring up to make a nice top. The drift wood I found at my local salt water store for $3 apiece and they made a great addition. With tax return season coming up soon I should have the misting system up and running as well as a better lighting system.

Total pets:
One Anole
4 fire belly toads
2 green tree frogs
3 fish
Filled just the middle bucket and realized I hadn't taken a photo yet.

Everything ready to go with the water.

Here it is in the flesh today two months after setup.

The soil substrate layers

New top screen setup.

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Just saw you were in Moses lake! I live about an hour away from there! I am shooting you a PM.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for you comments. One thing I forgot to mention is that I'm also looking for some kind of fake bark to cover up the buckets. Otherwise I'm pretty excited to see how it fills out as well ;). Soon as I finish scraping the hard water stains off the glass here in 30 minutes I'll post some close ups.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
so I ordered up some star moss, Xmas moss, java moss, narrow leaf java fern and micro sword in the hope of making the lower end look good. I figured I could cover the base of the islands with the different types of moss to give it a very real feel to it. For substrate I used something simular to flourite but with nothing else extra underneith yet. Mostly it's to test that my new T5 light that I ordered for the tank can reach the bottom with no problem. With that in mind I only covered about a quarter of the bottom of the tank.

I also made it into the local fish store and picked up some fire bellied newts before they had even gotten them out of the bag.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Added my new T5 light 108 Watt light to the tank, small in water filter, full top screen some aquagrow substrate to about a 1/4 of the bottom, and some plants to see if I can really grow anything. I put the star moss, xmas moss and micro sword in the small high tech tank until it pearls then I will transport some back to this tank to cover the white islands and carpet the bottom.

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