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Thread: "The Forest Creek" 40 Breeder Tropical Vivarium

  1. #1
    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    "The Forest Creek" 40 Breeder Tropical Vivarium

    I have been planning on doing a nice Vivarium for the last few months, I even contemplated making the 60g Rimless Cube into one before turning it into the puffer tank, lol. I was able to fish out the rest of the shrimp that were in the dutch aquascape today(over 310 of them over all!), get it torn down, cleaned, and moved to the room it will most likely stay in. The tank will be very tropical/green and will house Geosesarma Sp. Red Devil.
    This is just a quick set up to get a rough idea of how it will be set up before I make everything solid and do the background. I am using 2" PVC Couplers for the supports of the false bottom, they give the right height I am looking for.
    Then I took my plastic egg crate (light diffuser panel) and cut it to the size of the land section. I cut a thin strip to use as the slope into the water section and attached it to the bigger piece using zip ties.
    Here are the pieces of cork I ordered to incorporate into my background and "somewhat" of the layout they will be in. I am going to use Great Stuff Expansion Foam, Silicone, and Peat Moss/Coco Fiber in between the pieces of cork for the background.
    I plan on doing more work on this tomorrow (later today technically since it's 1am). I gotta put holes in the PVC supports so water can flow through them, cover the false bottom with screen mesh, and figure out the plumbing that will be built into the background to conceal it.
    I hope to have the tank ready to plant and seed with the cleaning crew in the next few weeks, and ready for the Red Devil Crabs about a month after that. Hopefully by then the weather will have cooled down some since the crabs will have to be shipped either from Arizona or New Jersey, depending on who has them in stock.

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    Banned SCAPEr regormang's Avatar
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    Nice kole! I need to pick your brain a little more for my setups. I find myself just tossing crap in and hoping for the best lol once c02 starts going I wanna do more of a controlled chaos in the tanks rather than expect the worse and hope for the best method 🤷*♂️

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regormang View Post
    Nice kole! I need to pick your brain a little more for my setups. I find myself just tossing crap in and hoping for the best lol once c02 starts going I wanna do more of a controlled chaos in the tanks rather than expect the worse and hope for the best method 🤷*♂️

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    Sounds like a hangout is needed on the weekend sometime. You can grab a 12 pack of beer, I'll grab a 12 pack of root beer for pinky and the brain, and we can chill and nerd out on your tanks for a while lol.

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    Banned SCAPEr regormang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    Sounds like a hangout is needed on the weekend sometime. You can grab a 12 pack of beer, I'll grab a 12 pack of root beer for pinky and the brain, and we can chill and nerd out on your tanks for a while lol.

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    Lol sounds good times right there! An impromptu meet aka bbq and drinking without the responsibilities lol

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Small update. Got the access tube cut and drilled for the filter intake and to do water changes. Also cut the pipe I am going to use for the return. Siliconed the plumbing in place. I glued together the sheets of styrofoam I am going to use as the creek. Just gotta wait for everything to dry, then I can get started on the background and sculpting out the creek. Still gotta cover the false bottom with mesh as well.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr aquamaniac's Avatar
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    This looks great Kole! I'm already learning some tips from this build. Keep them pics coming.

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    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    You are so ingenious, man.


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    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    I truly love stuff like this.

    For years, i have wanted to make a vivarium that could house snakes, and now that we have a ball python, i am very tempted to do so for my son.

    I had a friend, who about 20 years ago, started construction on an amazing one, but passed away before he could complete it, and have always wanted to take off where he left off.
    It was built onto the shadiest side of his house, and i do plan, one day soon, to create such a beautiful walk in vivarium.

    Kudos.

    I cannot wait to see this completed.

  10. #9
    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    I built a creek today!
    I had my daughter over the long weekend and did a lot of tank maintenance last week so I haven't been able to work on this as much as I would like. Back at it hardcore this week!
    I started out by sketching out a rough idea for a small pond and the creek with a marker. It gave me a good idea for how I was going to sculpt it out in the garage.

    I took a rotary tool with a shaping tool and began sculpting. I started with the pond since it will be the biggest part of the structure, and I wanted to get the depth right. It is about 2 1/2 - 3 inches deep. The pond will be filled with the return from the canister filter and will feed the creek.

    Then I went to work on sculpting out the creek. I did the center of the creek first since its the deepest part and then the sloped sides. After I had the creek all done I carved out the entire structure to remove the excess styrofoam.

    Next I took Silicone and coated the styrofoam (using extra on the pond and creek so hopefully they wont leak....much lol) and then covered it with Sphagnum Peat Moss Soil. I made sure to press the soil firmly onto the silicone so it holds firm when it dries. I didn't bother covering the bottom sides since it will be covered by substrate.

    I think it came out pretty darn good. Now that its all sculpted you can get somewhat of a better idea of the overall look. Will see how dry it is after 24 hours, once it is cured I can run a plumbing and water flow test. In the mean time I am going to start work on figuring out the intake pipe for the filter, I need to extend it down to the bottom inch of the tank. A little bit of DIY magic should do the trick.
    Starting to get impatient now that its coming together more and more lol.

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quick update:
    Water flow test on the creek was a success, now to start working on the background and finishing the false bottom. I'm thinking with how everything is going this should be just about ready to plant next weekend.

    Finished pond and creek.
    I coated the back of the tank in a thin layer of silicone so the expansion foam has something to adhere to.

    While the silicone dries on the back of the tank I am finishing up the false bottom. I am using fiberglass screen material and zip ties to cover the false bottom.

    I will be starting on the expansion foam background in a few hours.

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    And so the background begins.....

    You can definitely get an idea now for what the final look is going to be, minus the plants. Now to just wait for the expansion foam to cure and I can finish it up.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr catfishblues's Avatar
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    1) This looks AWESOME so far

    2) I have a paludarium where I did a cocofiber covered stream like that and after a while the coco all came off wherever it stayed we're. But then for me all my moss and plants had grown in so I didn't care much, but just a heads up in case that may be an issue.

    3) This looks awesome

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catfishblues View Post
    1) This looks AWESOME so far

    2) I have a paludarium where I did a cocofiber covered stream like that and after a while the coco all came off wherever it stayed we're. But then for me all my moss and plants had grown in so I didn't care much, but just a heads up in case that may be an issue.

    3) This looks awesome

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    Thank you very much. I am going to be putting moss, anubias, bucephelandra, and some stones in the creek so if the peat/sphagnum moss goes away over time it shouldn't be a problem.

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Now onto my least favorite part even though it is probably the most rewarding, covering the background with the soil.
    It's my least favorite part because cutting away the outer layer of foam is a pain and covering the whole thing with silicone is a mess and stinks sooo much! On the other hand it's probably the most rewarding since its one of those things that takes it from "construction" to almost the finished product.
    I'm going to give it a couple of hours to dry some and then go out and vacuum up the excess and cover any areas that might've been missed. Building this thing has been quite a test as I am not that much of a patient person, I want it done now so I can plant it! Lmao.

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr dealend's Avatar
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    Nice, i envy your skill.

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    SCAPE Member Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Once again, you have hit it out of the park, Kole!


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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dealend View Post
    Nice, i envy your skill.
    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Once again, you have hit it out of the park, Kole!


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    Thanks guys. I gotta clean up the excess off the background some, clear up the space in the room for it, and bring it inside and start on the drainage/substrate layer. I have some plants already for it, Neoregilia Bromeliads (1 Whinnie the Pooh, 1 Red Waif, 1 Fireball), a whole bunch of Starmoss, some Pink Fittonia, some java moss, some mini xmas moss, anubias nana, anubias nana petite, anubias nana variegated, some bucephelandra, and a crypt wendtii green thats going good emersed. I will probably put some S. Repens in the water section and maybe a few spots on the land and I want to get 1 or two small ferns and maybe a small vine for the background. Beginning to think that maybe the 2 Chihiros A plus' might be too much for these plants lol.

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Background is complete and the tank is back standing right side up.

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    SCAPE President Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Not 100% sure I am going to use this just yet, will know for sure as the substrate and plants come togther in the tank. I like it though so I'm gonna try lol.
    I built myself a miniature sized "Jungle House" out of some model sticks and super glue. I used a wire wheel to scruff it up some, used a drill for the windows, broke the sticks a little around the windows for wear and tear, and "aged" the wood using the Tea/Vinegar/Steel Wool method (google it, SCIENCE!). I think it came out really cool looking.

    Can you say Crab Shack? Lol

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    SCAPE Member Sr. SCAPEr the.under.ground's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    Not 100% sure I am going to use this just yet, will know for sure as the substrate and plants come togther in the tank. I like it though so I'm gonna try lol.
    I built myself a miniature sized "Jungle House" out of some model sticks and super glue. I used a wire wheel to scruff it up some, used a drill for the windows, broke the sticks a little around the windows for wear and tear, and "aged" the wood using the Tea/Vinegar/Steel Wool method (google it, SCIENCE!). I think it came out really cool looking.

    Can you say Crab Shack? Lol

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    ****nnn kole! Iíve been secretly keeping up with this thread and this has to be the best thread ever, talk about DIY! I canít wait to see the end result!


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