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Thread: New Live Vivarium

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Jacksonville, Fl

    Default New Live Vivarium

    Hello everyone! Been awhile since I've been on here, but I just spent the last week revamping my gecko's tank into a full live vivarium, so I thought I would share pics (I also have some pics of the build process if anyone is interested)

    Full Tank Shots
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    Close ups of plants/bottom
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    I used four pieces of cork tubes in total to make the "branches" that come out of the background. The background itself is a combination of a cork bark mosaic/Great Stuff. For the drainage layer I used NEHerp LDL, then a screen separator, and then NEHerp substrate mix. The top is a mix of moss/magnolia leaf litter. Tank is also seeded with a colony of springtails and dwarf isopods for a cleanup crew. Plants were all chosen due to flexible stems so that if the gecko walked over them they wouldn't break and be crushed. Plant list:

    Sansevieria (snake plant)
    Peperomia argyreia (watermelon peperomia)
    Peperomia caperata (ripple peperomia)
    Peperomia scandens
    Pellionia repens
    Pellionia "watermelon"
    Pilea nummulariifolia "Creeping Charlie"
    Korean Rock Fern
    Cryptanthus bivitattus (earth star)
    I also have a couple Ionantha Tillandsias on the way that should be here later this week

    Tank has been finished now for a couple days, I will post pics as it starts to fill in
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Kitchener, ON, Canada


    Looks great! Would love to see your build photos.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    Looks amazing! I hope it works out well for you. In the past I have made numerous tanks that were just as beautiful as that on day one then all the plants just die one at a time and it becomes sticks and dirt. Not saying this will happen to you I just could never understand it! I even used the Jungle Dawn LED's from NEHerp to light them!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Marietta, Ohio


    Looks great! Very realistic. I set up a mistking system about 2 months ago, and the plant growth since then has been amazing! I highly recommend setting up one of those.
    1.1.4 Crested Geckos
    0.1.0 Boxador (1/2 Boxer-1/2 Black Lab)
    0.1.0 Girlfriend who likes my geckos but doesn't understand the obsession.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Jacksonville, Fl


    thank you for the kind words! So here is some of the build stuff:

    I started by just siliconing the entire back and parts of the sides with black silicone, and then let the dry for 24 hours. next I siliconed the main branches to the glass, and placed the flats for my background
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    Then I went ahead and added Great Stuff to all the gaps in between the cork flats
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    Once the great stuff had dried, I covered it with brown silicone and then pressed dry Eco Earth into the silicone
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    After that it was just adding the drainage layer, screen seperator, NEHerp substrate, and then plants/leaf litter moss. RhacIns0mniac23, Im sorry to hear that all your plants died! Im hoping that doesnt happen to me! insaneglitchx, I have heard great things about the mistking; I was thinking about getting an exo-terra monsoon, but until then its just the old spray bottle :P

    I actually just picked up a couple neat ferns at my local nursery and was thinking about rearranging some stuff, so if I do Ill post updated pics
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Jacksonville, Fl


    Also Just on a side note about the construction: if anyone plans on doing this in the future, do NOT use hot glue to connect cork rounds together! I did that for the little "Y" branch, and it lasted about 4 days before it started to separate and I had to take it out and redo it. I ended up using Gorilla Glue, which I would HIGHLY recommend, as it is crazy strong. it expands and is yellow, but again I just covered it with brown silicone/eco earth, and now I have a rock solid, natural looking branch!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Oregon, United States


    I really love this viv! The mosaic of cork on the back really adds to it and the rounds are amazing. Well done!

    Rachodactylus Ciliatus

    Rachodactylus Auriculatus

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Jacksonville, Fl


    I have an update; I didn't like the peperomia "watermelon" plant as I didn't feel like it fit the theme of the tank, so I pulled it and replaced it with an awesome green/silver fern (which I do not know the name of). Here are the updated pics

    Full tank
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    and some closeups of the plants on the ground (including my new fern!)
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    the Tillandsias came in, will be mounting those in the next day or so. I think I finally have the bottom how I want it, so I shouldnt be moving any plants around down there anymore

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013


    That looks amazing! That gecko is going to love you!
    1.0 Crested | 1.0 bearded pygmy chameleon

  10. #10


    I love the look of this. I am currently looking to do something similar with cork rounds and I was wondering what moss you have placed on top to give it the natural look and also how you got it to stay in place


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