The Ugly Sister

Discussion in 'Construction & Parts' started by GermanEdam, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Hello, My name is Erik and I have created a 150 gallon vivarium that I have replicated around Justin Grimm's peninsula, I have used all of his methods and this is what I came up with. The driftwood is different because my budget did not allow me to import or look for a showpiece of ghostwood, instead I used a stump of mangrove. If anyone is interested I would be pleased to show the building process. IMG_4461.jpg
     
  2. Drew

    Drew Administrator Staff Member

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    looks cool. what frogs are you putting in there?
     
  3. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    At the moment I have two leucomelas, I will be thinking of adding two more..
     
  4. highvoltagerob

    highvoltagerob Member

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    I think it looks great. I'd be interested in seeing your build pics! What are the dimensions?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  5. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Sorry for not uploading in a while, school has been very busy.. I will hopefully be uploading more pictures on the weekend. At the moment I am pretty disappointed on how it looks, I think some more moss and horizontal vines/Lianas would help. I do however like the fact that every time I look at it, I discover a new species of moss, vine, fern or insect. Today I found some sort of species of grey/ purple spring tail. If anyone knows what kind it is that would be great! Again sorry for not uploading, I am also on track of a new project.
    IMG_5728.JPG
     
  6. Ron Jung

    Ron Jung Contributing Member

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    Did you get any native moss from a forest in your area or did you introduce anything new to the tank? I have seen spring tails like this before but they were a little more black in colour jumping around in the snow in the Ganaraska Forest just north east of the GTA. On line they are called snow fleas and here is what they look like
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pics are from the internet.

    The ones I used to see look like this bottom pic. That is why I asked if you introduced something new to the tank? For sure as you said they are spring tails but curious to see where they came from. Try and culture them if you can get enough together.

    Ron.
     
  7. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    I have never not added any native or outside plants before, I haven't had to.. my Schultz spaghum peat background is seeming to grow all sorts of things. In person those spring tails look slightly different than snow fleas. I will attempt to culture them soon!
     
  8. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    * Never added*
    it is 48 by 24 by 30
     
  9. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    You_Doodle_2017-11-25T04_43_20Z.jpg You_Doodle_2017-11-25T04_41_21Z.jpg A quick update, I took a few pictures of it, I've been very busy lately.. but it has been growing in alright, some new mosses and ferns have randomly popped up. But I still am pretty disappointed in it, hopefully sometime in the spring or summer I will be able to get some moss mix, it might look better then.
    I think next time I will use a wide lens camera to get a better field of view.
    Ps: Try and find the two big fat luecs in the picture!
     
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  10. dawndj

    dawndj Contributing Member

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    Keep in mind when Justin Grimm made the original Peninsula, he put a LOT of money into is right off the bat. He had a large budget and was able to invest in large amounts of mosses and plants and did not have to wait for them to grow in. Be patient your viv is coming along nicely.

    Dawn
     
  11. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Hello all! After a little maintenance on the tank ( 5 hours ) I decided to take a few pictures. Unfortunately most of the colours are washed out due to my poor camera. But the plants are pruned, sorted and are growing in fairly nicely.


    IMG_6088.JPG IMG_6090.JPG IMG_6093.JPG IMG_6089.JPG IMG_6092.JPG
     
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  12. dawndj

    dawndj Contributing Member

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    Looking really good. Filling in nicely.

    Dawn
     
  13. Entriquit

    Entriquit New Member

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    Looks sweet, I really like the little stream section
     
  14. afterdark

    afterdark Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd be very interested to see the build pics, if you've still got any. This tank is awesome!
     
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  15. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Alright, I finally have some free time! I shall reveal how the Ugly Sister was made!

    August 26, 2016 - The project began as soon as I moved rooms in my house, I got the tank custom made by concept aquariums in Calgary, it is a 48"24"30" built with slightly thinner glass than an aquarium (To save money) the workmanship of the tank was ok, considering it was a much cheaper tank that store bought. The false bottom is just egg crate, zip ties and landscaping/ drainage fabric.

    IMG_8531.JPG

    October 2016 - progress was extremely slow, school was taking up most of my time but I managed to build the circulation system within the month! Lol. Building the circulation system is just as it looks, although I do not have any photos of building it, It is a hollow rectangular prism made from corrugated plastic, built to fit two 80 mm fans. Coming out of the body of the circulation system are two slightly smaller rectangular prisms, to suck in air from either direction. Nearing the bottom the inlets are sloped downwards, to fit in the background, and at the top is nothing special, just outlets... I managed to build the whole thing off of Grimm's YouTube video.
    The tape was removed as it got foamed into the background. The second photo was only accepted in black in white because the photo was too large? IDK?


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    January 2017 - making vines! My first few were made from sisal and Manila.. yes they will eventually decay, but most of the detailed vines were made of polypropylene. Making straight vines was simple, but making detailed lianas was another issue. Grimm only showed how he made his simple vines but not the complex ones. After LOTS of experimenting, time, failure and 6 tubes of silicone, I finally got some that actually looked natural! I will be making some more, hopefully this week and will show how to make them.
    If not, what you do is unravel part of a half inch rope, about 25" long, keep the end tied. Then boil the string for about 20 minutes, until the plastic has straightened out, quickly keep tension on the strings and apply cold water.. the faster the better. Now you will have semi straight ropes. Then position how you would like the strands, do you want them connected in some places? Interweaved?
    I used cut pieces of twist ties to hold them together. Apply an extremely generous amount of silicone to all of the ropes, then submerge in your medium, shake and compress. On some of the vines, I used two layers, which resulted in somthing even more natural.. the silicone had created channels and bumps that looked like the curving and textures of a vine. On my first attempts, I tried Grimm's method, to mix the silicone, peat and turpentine in a bucket and then "paint" it onto the vines. This resulted in absolute dissapontment (in my case) No offence Grimm! , an extremely smelly garage but more knowlage! I guess Grimm used different methods on different vines... I would stick to the silicone/ peat method in the future. The pictures below are my first attempts, which I did not use because they were unnatural looking and ugly. In the making of the background, you will see more of the complex/ final vines.

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    February 2017 - The making of the background, nothing much special about foaming a background, just a heck of a lot of time and effort. At that point in time, I was small enough to fit inside the 150 gallon and under the centre brace. Carving and foaming was much easier! My spine may have broken from around 20 hours of total carving. ( keep in mind, this is my very first vivarium, first time carving, spraying foam and messing around with silicone. Some key features I did before spray foaming was apply a thick layer of silicone on either side of the background, to have a flat black look instead of foam bubbles. And creating a pattern of silicone on the glass before foaming.
    Foaming was interesting because I was afraid if I tipped my tank on its side, it would crack.. so I stacked it layer by layer.
    ( It would have been fine on its side!)


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    Days were spent, figuring out the hardscape, making it resemble Grimm's peninsula.. given my resources.
    the wood used was Malaysian driftwood on the top and PINE on the bottem, it was collected at a local lake, dryer than a bone, inspected for sap, baked, boiled, soaked, sanitized.. have had zero complaints with it, the frogs have been happy, no signs of decay or rot and healthy plant growth! Yes, the woods are two different colours, but they will be covered in moss!

    IMG_0339.JPG
    I thoroughly regret not covering my driftwood before spraying and siliconing.. noob mistake.
    That big bulge there was created to diffuse the shape of the circulation inlets, create root structures and frog refuge.


    IMG_0347.JPG
    SHABAM! twenty hours of carving, each and every feature replicating Grimm's.. from every angle!


    Too be continued!
     
  16. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Back with part two!

    March 2017 - peating the background, an absolute pain! At the time I thought the tank would crack if flipped on its side, so I basically threw peat at the silicone and smeared it around.
    The peat Grimm used was Shultz Canadian sphagnum - a discontinued brand of peat. However, I was lucky enough to find some really old stuff in the back of a local greenhouse, the bag says no perlite.. but there is a 4/5 chance there will be. I bought as many as I could, $50 worth, and have not regretted it! It looks awesome, natural and it sprouts all sorts of ferns and mosses.

    IMG_0443.JPG


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    Yup, I didn't cover the driftwood before siliconing! Don't do that!

    April 2017 - vining the background.
    Using Justin Grimm's peninsula as reference, I layed down the vines and root structures much the same. For some of the vines, I carved the background, pinned the vine in place and silicone and peated it in. It looks pretty ugly in the picture, but looks good according to its surroundings.


    You_Doodle_2018-02-20T03_40_11Z.jpg
    May 2017 - no driftwood, still looking for a nice showpiece.
    The roots don't look like they have much depth in this picture, more will be added in the future. It is a never ending project.


    IMG_3387.JPG

    June 2017 -Adequate driftwood found, not my first choice, it's an amazing piece of driftwood, but does not really fit the style of my viv, I was getting pretty desperate after looking for 1 1/2 years! I tried getting ghostwood but suppliers would either deny me shipping or quite literally forget about my inquiries. It's an extra large piece of mangrove wood, about 3 inches taller than my viv, I had to chop part of the top, I used those pieces as root structures at the bottom.

    You_Doodle_2018-02-20T03_53_07Z.jpg
    I decreased pixel amount, switched formats, decreased resolution and file size, put in black and white and then it can be uploaded. I might be missing somthing...

    Later June 2017 - driftwood in the tank! .... The days when I had my dart frogs on a wine rack.... ( Now on an exoterra showrack thanks to alpha reptile! Thanks bud!)
    The waterferns were removed before further damage! Lol

    IMG_7116.JPG
    Alright, to upload big pictures, you must text the picture to your mum, then your mum takes a screen shot of it and sends that screenshot back to you on the iCloud! Fool proof and it works!

    June 2017 - $200 worth of imported dirt
    At the time I wanted some ABG mix that would last a long time, that was cheap and was proven to work.
    For some odd reason I decided to get Joshes frogs ABG mix, 9 bags of it. Other than the hidden $50 gouge from FedEx, it was pretty good. I only ended up using one and a half bags of it, the rest is still in my closet. I was able to get some tree fern slabs and some pretty cheap vented lids though.



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    And then bought some Aqua soil.


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    The next day, June 2017 - dirting the vivarium
    I first started with the aqua soil around the perimeter of the egg crate, and then the stream portion. Then the ABG mix, which is on both sides.

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    July 2017 - Planting. I got some bromeliads from Hawaiian botanicals, and met a fellow dendroboard-ian?? Is that how you say it? Getting the bromeliads was quite the story, the lady there had about 10 bromeliads for sale, mostly N.fireballs.. and driving 1000 km to get there was quite unacceptable, especially when I phoned a few days before, when they apparently had a huge stock, tens of varieties! Which seemed untruthful when I got there. I then found more after asking and negotiating for around an hour, I was granted access to the majority, I got one minute to pick out any bromeliad that had a duplicate in stock. I got some bigs, some smalls, mostly smalls, of 6 different varieties. Hawaiian botanicals is now only doing commercial orders, so I guess it was a transition for them to stop selling bromeliads to the public, and I might have been part of that transition.The rest of the plants, I bought from AbraxasComplex, Jungle Jewels and Alpha reptiles. Thanks guys/gals!


    IMG_4773.JPG
    Now that I look back, this tank is much uglier then what It is now.

    A new update will be out soon. I'm sorry for taking so long!
     
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  17. Toongraeme

    Toongraeme Member

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    Wow! Impressive!!!
     
  18. Brennan

    Brennan Member

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    Beautiful viv! I love seeing a large viv and more so when it's not in a corner of a room. From your Dec.26th post, is that a begonia pictured alone?
     
  19. GermanEdam

    GermanEdam Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys! Again, I have been pretty busy lately with my new tree frogs and all.. The plant pictured alone is called a Pilea cadierei or aluminum plant.
    Since the last update I have added another luecomela ( thanks alpha reptile! ) the plants have grown in, new plants have been added, for a total of 60-70 different species of plants.
    This summer I hope to remodel the tank, as it is still kinda ugly.. I will add more peat to the background to support more mosses and will remove or mix up some new substrate. The Josh's frogs substrate tends to stay soggy in my opinion, and does not allow for much drainage. I might have just gotten a bad batch.
     
  20. reptilesnfoods

    reptilesnfoods Member

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    I love the tank! Looks like natural rain forest, it's hard to put my finger on it but it just looks...right. Like it works. I'd love to see an updated photo with all the plants as well!
    That's disappointing Hawaiian botanical doesn't sell to the public anymore...Almost seems worthwhile to place one large order and then just sell individually afterwards. Jungle Jewels has fantastic selection though, glad you found some with them.
     

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