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Thread: help with first viv 20g

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    Default help with first viv 20g

    I have a crested gecko inside a screen cage right now, and I recently bought a 20g tall aquarium that I want to turn into a naturalistic vivarium.

    I've got 2 cans of great stuff, 3 bags of hydroton, 1 tube of brown silicone, and a big bag of forest floor coco fiber. I also have the mesh to seperate the drainage layer from the substrate. Going to be putting some driftwood and corkbark into the GS background. Buuuuuuuuut, i'm a little confused about a few tiny things.

    Not going to use a water feature, and the viv won't be very wet at all, but I was wondering if I should have a layer of activated carbon to put between the substrate and base layers? If so, how much would I need?

    Second, i have this horrible fear that my tank will get mold, dirty or smelly, or something of this sort. I wanted to use springtails and isopods in the tank. How many would I need for cleaning up after 1 gecko in a 20g tall? Or would you recommend something else? (would I need temperate or tropical springtails? Are the springtails enough? Or are the isopods necessary)

    And last but not least.. what is a good mix of soil for regular tropical plants? (Schefflera, Ficus, Pothos, and 2 broms) I need it to dry out well, but remain slightly moist. So far I was just going to use peat moss/sand/coco fiber. Is there something better? And should I bake the mixture since I am getting springtails anyways?


    Thanks in advance. I'm SO excited to start this

    Of course I will take a bagillion pics. Please any advice (relevant to the questions or not) would be so greatly appreciated. I don't want to screw this up.

    -Andrea

    p.s. forgot to ask, Anyone have luck growing dwarf hibiscus in a viv? I am using a reptiglo 10.0 UVB strip light for the plants.
    Andrea
    ebutuoy
    1.0 panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) Fry
    0.1 ball python (Python regius) Ruca
    3.2.1 crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) Blarg, Ruby, Smokey, Sheila, Charizard & Turanga
    and four wonderful dogs. -> <-

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    Quote Originally Posted by vindicatedornot View Post
    I have a crested gecko inside a screen cage right now, and I recently bought a 20g tall aquarium that I want to turn into a naturalistic vivarium.

    I've got 2 cans of great stuff, 3 bags of hydroton, 1 tube of brown silicone, and a big bag of forest floor coco fiber. I also have the mesh to seperate the drainage layer from the substrate. Going to be putting some driftwood and corkbark into the GS background. Buuuuuuuuut, i'm a little confused about a few tiny things.

    Not going to use a water feature, and the viv won't be very wet at all, but I was wondering if I should have a layer of activated carbon to put between the substrate and base layers? If so, how much would I need?

    Second, i have this horrible fear that my tank will get mold, dirty or smelly, or something of this sort. I wanted to use springtails and isopods in the tank. How many would I need for cleaning up after 1 gecko in a 20g tall? Or would you recommend something else? (would I need temperate or tropical springtails? Are the springtails enough? Or are the isopods necessary)

    And last but not least.. what is a good mix of soil for regular tropical plants? (Schefflera, Ficus, Pothos, and 2 broms) I need it to dry out well, but remain slightly moist. So far I was just going to use peat moss/sand/coco fiber. Is there something better? And should I bake the mixture since I am getting springtails anyways?


    Thanks in advance. I'm SO excited to start this

    Of course I will take a bagillion pics. Please any advice (relevant to the questions or not) would be so greatly appreciated. I don't want to screw this up.

    -Andrea

    p.s. forgot to ask, Anyone have luck growing dwarf hibiscus in a viv? I am using a reptiglo 10.0 UVB strip light for the plants.

    Hi Andrea,
    When I created a naturalistic viv a while ago here are the steps I followed.

    First: Spray on a thick(ish) layer of Great Stuff on the back of the cage, you can make it flat or you can make it bumpy like a real mountain. You can basically shape it however you want.

    Second (OPTIONAL): If you want to plant hanging plants on the back of the enclosure add small planters into the Great Stuff before it dries. Then you can plant those, but this isn't required unless you want to do it.

    Third: Spread a thin layer of silicone on the Great Stuff. After you do that, sprinkle enough ORGANIC peat to cover the silicone completely.

    After that, you put the substrate down. I used only peat, but you could also do peat and organic top soil. I probably wouldn't use sand as most tropical plants never touch sand and the geckos don't need sand either.

    With the peat I used Pothos but I also had several different forms of Dracenia in the cage. I'm sure that mixture would work just as good for Brom's or Ficus.

    I didn't have any mold when I did this, but I can't say that you won't. I can't really be of much assistance with the springtail question, as I have never used those.

    Good luck and be sure to post lots of pix once your done!
    -Armen

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    step 1: OMG I hate silicone. I had one tube of black, and it worked great (except for the fact that silicone is super difficult to spread apparently.) No stinky smell, noxious fumes, nothing. I ran out quickly and went to buy 2 more. (only used 1..) But I bought a different brand. (still 100% silicone) This brand was the worst idea I ever had. Smelled horribly and made me light headed instantly. I was doing this in a well ventilated area but it was no good. I worked as fast as possible and booked.



    step 2: Next I siliconed some corkbark and driftwood into place, and started with the great stuff. wow, was this fun..



    step 3: yaaaaaay, done being foamy. I added a feeding mushroom ledge and carved a cave out of a blob I made on purpose.

    and that is all for now. I was going to sand off the shiney-ness of the GS (someone on another forum suggested this would help the silicone to adhere better) and also sand around and inside the "cave."

    tomorrow is coco-fiber time!

    Any suggestions, questions or comments?

    -Andrea
    Andrea
    ebutuoy
    1.0 panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) Fry
    0.1 ball python (Python regius) Ruca
    3.2.1 crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) Blarg, Ruby, Smokey, Sheila, Charizard & Turanga
    and four wonderful dogs. -> <-

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    Hooooooray! It's done. Now after a few days of airing out and the plants have taken a bit of root then 'Sheila' can go into her new home. (yup, finally named my baby )

    I used a layer of highly watered down "Mod Podge" to seal the background.

    1-1 1/2" layer of Hydroton on the bottom, a thin layer of activated carbon in the middle, and a mix of sphagum/peat moss, potting soil, eco earth, and a smidge of sand as the "dirt."









    here is a close up of the cave.



    questions or commets?

    -Andrea
    Andrea
    ebutuoy
    1.0 panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) Fry
    0.1 ball python (Python regius) Ruca
    3.2.1 crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) Blarg, Ruby, Smokey, Sheila, Charizard & Turanga
    and four wonderful dogs. -> <-

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    Very nice setup

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    Ended up having to take out a brom. Couldn't fit the branches I wanted to in there with everything so had to choose what to leave.















    What do y'all think?

    -Andrea
    Andrea
    ebutuoy
    1.0 panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) Fry
    0.1 ball python (Python regius) Ruca
    3.2.1 crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) Blarg, Ruby, Smokey, Sheila, Charizard & Turanga
    and four wonderful dogs. -> <-

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    My only bother is the rock thing on the frount. Wouldn't it be prettyer if you put it on one of the sides?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiedyegecko View Post
    My only bother is the rock thing on the frount. Wouldn't it be prettyer if you put it on one of the sides?
    It doesn't really fit. maybe I could try shifting things..
    Andrea
    ebutuoy
    1.0 panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) Fry
    0.1 ball python (Python regius) Ruca
    3.2.1 crested geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) Blarg, Ruby, Smokey, Sheila, Charizard & Turanga
    and four wonderful dogs. -> <-

  9. #9
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    Not even in the back right hand corner? If it dosn't bother you I would leave it but that would drive me bananas.

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