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  • Vivarium Build Start to Finish

    I've always wanted to do this. This is the first time I've ever built anything like this, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. If you have even a little bit of creativity, this is actually really easy to do.

    The tank is a 18"x18"x24" Exo Terra. It will be used to house frogs.

    Placed some nice pieces of African hardwood on the back wall. Foamed them into place and created the rest of the background with Great Stuff foam (sold at Menards, Lowes, Home Depot, etc):

    Let that cure and moved on to the sides. Placed some small random pieces of cork bark (I bought a sheet of it and tore out chunks) into the foam as it set for a little extra detail.

    Let that all harden up for about 24 hours. The foam expands quite a bit.. so I did have to cut and sand it down some where it got too thick. Also added some more foam where it was too thin. The foam is easy to cut and sand.. you can create any look you want with it. Then added rock ledges and plant pots by cutting holes and slits into the existing foam. Added some new foam under the ledges and pots for extra support.

    Taped off my wood and ledges..

    One side at a time, I covered all the foam with black 100% silicone (aquarium silicone is safe too of course, but more expensive). I used gloves and my fingers to do this.. it was quick and easy to get in all the cracks and crevices. I used lots of silicone (about 3 big tubes). I then quickly covered the silicone with dry coconut fiber and patted it down. I let each side cure for a few hours before moving on to the next. I also made vines using a couple different sizes of nylon rope (any rope will do). Also covered the rope in silicone and then coconut fiber. I attached the vines in various places on the background using more silicone. I didn't take photos of this process.. it was messy and I wasn't getting my camera full of silicone, sorry! The result:

    Painted the back and sides of the tank with glossy acrylic paint. 4 coats with a good quality mini paint roller.. turned out really nice:

    Let this sit and air out for about 4 or 5 days. Time to add substrate, more decorations and plants...

    Looks pretty cool, I think . I'll post again once all the plants have grown in a bit.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Vivarium Build Start to Finish started by trendkill View original post