Featured BUILD JOURNAL - Custom In-Wall Vivarium

Discussion in 'Construction & Parts' started by ulyssis, May 10, 2016.

  1. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Glass is in!

    Predrilled for bulkheads, misting nozzles and ventilation. Let's build a tank.

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  2. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Tank assembly begins. I went ahead and applied the mirror effect paint spray on both side walls. It turned out pretty good. I wasn't expecting a perfect crystal clear mirror but it turned out better than I expected. It should add the illusion that the tank is larger than it actually is.

    I did the back wall, both sides and the top and bottom front. I'll wait for this to cure, release the clamps and silicone the top and bottom pieces in after.

    Stay tuned.

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  3. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    No-see-um mesh siliconed to the top glass vent holes. Sloppy job, I know, but this portion will be hidden from the viewer.

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  4. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Glass top and bottom assembled. Sloppy silicone curing.

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  5. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Now that the glass is in, I'm making some real progress now.

    Tank assembled and installed in wall.

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    Bulkheads installed and siliconed. Drain valve installed. Intake vents installed. False bottom supports installed.

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    Eggcrate lining background.

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    False bottom installed.

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    Exhaust vent installed.

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    Sample of reflection from mirror paint.

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  6. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Humidity, temperature, and firefly LEDs routed into tank via 2" PVC conduit. If the sensors fail, I will be able to pull them out and replace because of the conduit. Fireflies, however, will be built into background and hardscape. They are pretty much permanent. Hope they last. Fingers crossed.

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  7. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    12VDC power supply and TC420 LED controller installed. Still need to find a spot for the TC420. But it has power!

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  8. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Intake fan mounted to 1/2" PVC end cap and installed on to intake vent.

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    Rough placement of Herpstat.

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  9. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Thermostat for lighting area installed. This guy will control the cabinet fans when things get too hot where the lights are.

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  10. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Water test underway. So far so good. No leaks on the glass seams or bulkhead openings.

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  11. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Started the hardscaping. Worked on the tree structure.

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  12. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    I added a few more wood pieces and some net pots. I ran the drainage tubes, from the net pots, below the false bottom on the back wall.

    I positioned the firefly LEDs and the thermometer and humidity sensor.

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    Some close ups of LED positions. The ones with the wires wrapped around wood, are going to be disguised as vines. The rest will be built into the background.

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    Temperature and RH sensors.

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    I did a 1 minute exposure in the dark and ran the fireflies so you can see all positions at once.

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    Here's a short video showing them in action. It has been edited for time.

     
  13. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Prepping for background. I usually lay the tank flat when I apply expanding foam. I don't have that ability with the tank already installed. So to aid in application I built out areas I knew there was going to be a thick layer of foam with small pieces of egg crate. It gives me the general shape of the background and builds a pretty solid structure with all the pieces interconnected like a web. Hopefully the foam grabs on nicely and simple doesn't fall to the ground.

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  14. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    I decided to go with the Polygem stuff. I made 3 "rock" areas on the background to break it up a bit. The egg crate skeleton worked like a charm. It was easy to adhere and mold the epoxy.

    I also started foaming a bit. Just in the areas I need completely filled so frogs don't make their way in. Again, the egg crate helped. A lot.

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  15. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Started finer carving and trimming of the foam. I needed to get into tight spaces and the serrated knife I was using wasn't cutting it (pun intended). So I went to my trusty Dremel multi-max tool. It work out perfectly. I used the flush saw blade, for finer trimming, and sanding disc to remove any foam that covered the wood. Hard to see from this pic but I was able to expose more wood. I will be trimming some more.

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  16. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    As the spyra dries to the foam background, I started working on the RGB LED lights that will add color to the day night cycle. Orange for the sunset/sunrise, blue for moonlight and red/blue, with the grow lights on 100%, during full sun for maximum plant absorption.

    I wired them in parallel so each strip gets equal amount of power. That, and it is easier to build a wire harness with a parallel hookup.

    I wired 8 strips, which is probably overkill, but I haven't done this before so I figured disconnecting lights, or lessening the power, will be easier then adding more once they are in place.

    They are not hooked up to the TC420 controller yet. I just hooked them up straight to the power supply for testing purposes. Good news is that I got the wiring soldered correctly first time around and I tested each color individually.

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  17. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Playing around with the TC420. Heres moonlight.

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  18. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Spyra glued and trimmed on background. Everywhere I used spyra I will be growing different species of moss. So if you can imagine all the black areas green once it's grown in (hopefully). Firefly LEDs, that are not part of the background, are disguised as vines. Thermo/humidity sensors disguised as vines as well. Zoopoxy fake rocks are painted. Monkey pods have been lined with brown silicone on the inside.

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  19. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Vines. Vines. Vines. A few touch ups needed as installing took some coco/peat off.

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  20. ulyssis

    ulyssis Member

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    Construction update.

    Some more tidbits done.

    First layer of substrate in. ABG mix. I love how the tree roots look. I added a tall boulder as a final hardscape piece.

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    Film canisters. 3 in total. I covered these silicone, coco fibers and peat to blend in better with the rest of the tank. I didn't want the unnatural look of the plastic in there. Then I removed the suction cup and used black upholstery nails to hold them into the foam background. I can easily remove to see if any eggs have been laid.

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    Misting nozzles installed.

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    My view of the tank as I go up and down the stairs. Nice to see.

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