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Custom Vivs/Encloures Ideas and Such

Discussion in 'Water Dragons' started by KapteeniAnu, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Well first off, I'm new here, so I don't know if I can even post something like this here, ha.

    I currently have a younger CWD, that I am leaning towards as a male. He is about 17 stl.

    0920121559.jpg
    1020121651.jpg

    He recently had his vet checkup after saving money up, which came in perfect timing because I feared there was something wrong with him because he was getting very lethargic. Only concern still is I have had him for about 3-4 months now, and he has not had a full shed yet.

    Back to the topic, I am currently drawing up plans for his enclosure (which as ssoon as we have total floor plans and ideas as to what materials we will need, we are charging it to a home depot card, so I will not have to worry about waiting until I have enough money) and I was wondering if you guys could toss me some ideas around, or maybe share your own enclosures on here for some added inspiration.

    I am just concerned that I will get this all started up, encounter a major problem, because of not having extreme knowledge of this task. So ideas and help, and examples would be much appreciated!
     
  2. justor

    justor Elite Member

    It's not really as complicated as it seems. I built a semi-large enclosure for my iguana a year ago, and I had never built anything before in my life. It's not pretty lol, but it works. You're basically just building a wooden box. The hardest part for me is the door. I'm still trying to figure out a good way to make a door for his larger enclosure which I plan on building in the next few months. I am actually toying with the idea of using a pre-assembled window from home depot this time.

    Are there any specific questions I might be able to help with?
     
  3. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Well, we settled on Melomene or whatever the such is called, mostly because I have seen a lot of custom enclosure sights use them for the viv's they sell. Would you agree with this?

    For ventilation, I am using a few home air vents that a plastic placing a few on each side, and buying a small fan to go on the top of the viv o keep an air flow. I am investing in a fogger or something of the sort as well to make sure I have the humidity kept right. I plan on using a top soil, sterile of course, so as to be able to put live plants in the enclosure.

    Any thoughts on any of that?

    Also, I want to ensure I put a nice pond in there for him (It's going to have a pump, filter, and drain system. The dimensions are going to be 5 high 3 deep and 4 long. That's about accurate from everything I have read. A waterfall also in the plan as well, to keep a constant flow, because they are more keen to seeing moving water, than still.

    My biggest question would have to be as followed;
    I want to make a 3D background with ledges and such. Would I be able to use wood for the base, and cover it with something like grout?

    I also know that I need to let it sit for a monthish, to make sure everything is cured, and test it with heat to make sure there are no more fumes.

    I'm not sure what other questions there are off the top of my head, but I'm sure I will think of some more!
     
  4. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    First lets see about his shedding issue: can you please describe his current enclosure. Size? Material it's made of? Temps (of baskig sirface and cool side) and humidity? What are you measuring these with? What are you feeding him? How big is his water area? Could you post a pic of the entire thing.

    Now for your building. Do you know what size you want?

    Here is my CWD enclosure building thread:http://www.herpcenter.com/general-construction/44252-chinese-water-dragon-corner-vive.html
     
  5. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Well, we settled on Melomene or whatever the such is called, mostly because I have seen a lot of custom enclosure sights use them for the viv's they sell. Would you agree with this?

    For ventilation, I am using a few home air vents that a plastic placing a few on each side, and buying a small fan to go on the top of the viv o keep an air flow. I am investing in a fogger or something of the sort as well to make sure I have the humidity kept right. I plan on using a top soil, sterile of course, so as to be able to put live plants in the enclosure.

    Any thoughts on any of that?

    Also, I want to ensure I put a nice pond in there for him (It's going to have a pump, filter, and drain system. The dimensions are going to be 5 high 3 deep and 4 long. That's about accurate from everything I have read. A waterfall also in the plan as well, to keep a constant flow, because they are more keen to seeing moving water, than still.

    My biggest question would have to be as followed;
    I want to make a 3D background with ledges and such. Would I be able to use wood for the base, and cover it with something like grout?

    I also know that I need to let it sit for a monthish, to make sure everything is cured, and test it with heat to make sure there are no more fumes.

    I'm not sure what other questions there are off the top of my head, but I'm sure I will think of some more!

    This first part didn't post before, I apologize.

    Basking area- about 90, sometimes a bit more, ambient is about high 70s (usually about 78) to low 80s. Cool side is about 70, sometimes it drops but as soon as I notice I turn the heat lamp up a bit. Working on getting a time outlet and such not. All temps and humidity are measured digitally, four hydrometers in the tank, originally three until I found out the 4th still worked. Three themometers, again, all digital. I do have two analog therm and one hyrdo placed in, mostly because I didn't take the time to get them out, but am at this very moment, as I am cleaning out his tank right now.

    Humidity is always kept about 70, 75, or slightly higher, but not above 85.

    Currently in a 40 gallon sadly, as he grew a lot quicker than expected. Glass, with a plastic overing up 5 inches each side, inside the tank to prevent glare, so he can't see a reflection.

    He gets a liquid calcium/d3 once a month, food is dusted with calcium about once a week. He gets crickets, no bigger than between his eyes, superworms about once a month, mealworms and wax worms now and then as treats. He has eaten some greens with a papaya mix in. Smallest pinkies once a month, he's had three in the time I've had him. Rosy red minnows, and I believe I have covered all of that. Also, all are gut loaded. His water area covers up to his chest, changed every day at least, or as soon as I see he has soiled it. (sometimes change it twice a day!) The bowl for basking in general is about 1foot by 1foot.

    I am just switching him off of a cocnust husk substrate, the chunk one, too large for him to digest, as well as exo terra moss cubes mixed mostly into the bottom, to hold the moisture a bit, as I cleaned his tank out, not a signle spot of mold, which was a good thing. But by tomorrow when his new setup is all together, I will have fine coconut fiber in there, and plan to use a larger coconut husk bark to top it off, so that he can not get as dirty, and to prevent him from ingesting to much of the other substrate and to keep it from his eyes etc.

    I shall try to get a picture of it all tomorrow after it is set up again. He is currently in another 40 gallon with his heat lamps, and uv moved over to it, and a few things to climb on so I can bake the others, and then once they're baked, put hi in his tank, and bake those ones.

    Sorry about the massive post! Wanted to get as much in there as possible so as to not have to make multiple posts to answer questions.

    Also, he has shed bits here and there, he is very active now, and just a side bit, he runs normally, so no signs of anything like mbd. I understand that the current tank is a bit too small for him, and that could be putting stress on him.
     
  6. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Well, we settled on Melomene or whatever the such is called, mostly because I have seen a lot of custom enclosure sights use them for the viv's they sell. Would you agree with this?

    For ventilation, I am using a few home air vents that a plastic placing a few on each side, and buying a small fan to go on the top of the viv o keep an air flow. I am investing in a fogger or something of the sort as well to make sure I have the humidity kept right. I plan on using a top soil, sterile of course, so as to be able to put live plants in the enclosure.

    Any thoughts on any of that?

    Also, I want to ensure I put a nice pond in there for him (It's going to have a pump, filter, and drain system. The dimensions are going to be 5 high 3 deep and 4 long. That's about accurate from everything I have read. A waterfall also in the plan as well, to keep a constant flow, because they are more keen to seeing moving water, than still.

    My biggest question would have to be as followed;
    I want to make a 3D background with ledges and such. Would I be able to use wood for the base, and cover it with something like grout?

    I also know that I need to let it sit for a monthish, to make sure everything is cured, and test it with heat to make sure there are no more fumes.

    I'm not sure what other questions there are off the top of my head, but I'm sure I will think of some more!

    This first part didn't post before, I apologize.

    Basking area- about 90, sometimes a bit more, ambient is about high 70s (usually about 78) to low 80s. Cool side is about 70, sometimes it drops but as soon as I notice I turn the heat lamp up a bit. Working on getting a time outlet and such not. All temps and humidity are measured digitally, four hydrometers in the tank, originally three until I found out the 4th still worked. Three themometers, again, all digital. I do have two analog therm and one hyrdo placed in, mostly because I didn't take the time to get them out, but am at this very moment, as I am cleaning out his tank right now.

    Humidity is always kept about 70, 75, or slightly higher, but not above 85.

    Currently in a 40 gallon sadly, as he grew a lot quicker than expected. Glass, with a plastic overing up 5 inches each side, inside the tank to prevent glare, so he can't see a reflection.

    He gets a liquid calcium/d3 once a month, food is dusted with calcium about once a week. He gets crickets, no bigger than between his eyes, superworms about once a month, mealworms and wax worms now and then as treats. He has eaten some greens with a papaya mix in. Smallest pinkies once a month, he's had three in the time I've had him. Rosy red minnows, and I believe I have covered all of that. Also, all are gut loaded. His water area covers up to his chest, changed every day at least, or as soon as I see he has soiled it. (sometimes change it twice a day!) The bowl for basking in general is about 1foot by 1foot.

    I am just switching him off of a cocnust husk substrate, the chunk one, too large for him to digest, as well as exo terra moss cubes mixed mostly into the bottom, to hold the moisture a bit, as I cleaned his tank out, not a signle spot of mold, which was a good thing. But by tomorrow when his new setup is all together, I will have fine coconut fiber in there, and plan to use a larger coconut husk bark to top it off, so that he can not get as dirty, and to prevent him from ingesting to much of the other substrate and to keep it from his eyes etc.

    I shall try to get a picture of it all tomorrow after it is set up again. He is currently in another 40 gallon with his heat lamps, and uv moved over to it, and a few things to climb on so I can bake the others, and then once they're baked, put hi in his tank, and bake those ones.

    Sorry about the massive post! Wanted to get as much in there as possible so as to not have to make multiple posts to answer questions.

    Also, he has shed bits here and there, he is very active now, and just a side bit, he runs normally, so no signs of anything like mbd. I understand that the current tank is a bit too small for him, and that could be putting stress on him.
     
  7. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    I don't know what that material is and don't know the correct spelling to google so I will ignore that part. But let's see if you could make the cage 6ft tall that would be best especially if the lights are being housed inside the cage (I did 7ft tall on mine and he uses every it of space he can.
    I also really like the looks and functionality of preformed pond liners for the swimming areas plus easier than building a water area. Whichever way you go make sure to build the cage around the water feature. Don't build your cage and expect to find a pool that fits make sure to get the pool first. Also remember not be height of the cage that the pond will make the bottom of the cage much higher usually takes up 1-2 ft of space so at 5ft tall the climbing area is 3-4ft and if you mount the lights on the inside that takes off another foot so now your lizard has 2-3 ft of climbing areas and for a 3ft lizard that just isn't enough.
    Yes after sealing let the smell go away and then place several (I did 3 100watt bulbs) heat lamps into further cure it as the fumes can be detrimental to your CWD.
    Soil is fine as long as there are no added fertilizers. I used sphagnum peat moss as I know for a fact that it is chemical free and holds moisture well without molding. Also plants like it well enough and it's semi digestible.

    As for your current enclosure is the basking spot at 90F the surface temp? And the cool side of the cage should be at 75 during the day and no lower than 70 at night. Other issue is the coco fiber. It really isn't that great and is a leading cause of eye infections in dragons. It is rather abrasive and gets stuck to eyeballs easily, especially as CWDs dig with their heads. Everything else on the current cage sounds fine for now.

    For his shedding, CWDs don't generally shed the entire body at one time, instead they shed a body part at a time. For instance Tai sheds his head, then one front arm, then his torso, then his other front arm and tail, then both back legs, and by the time everything is done shedding he starts the cycle over again. And when his arms get ready to shed they turn very white while everything else is tinged with tan.
     
  8. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Personally, I would avoid melamine all together. You're much better off with 3/4" ply, be it cabinet grade or chemical free exterior grade, IMO.
     
  9. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Doesn't melamine also turn into mush when wet like cardboard or is that another product? My 90gal stand is made is some sort of compressed mulch board that is disintegrating from mopping the floor.
    I like plywood as it is cheap, easy to use, and of fair guality.
    Did I comment on your 3d background? If not here goes: wood wih grout or stucco over it is fine though it would need to be sealed to avoid the stuff crumbling. If you would like an easily carved and lighter material you can use industrial foam or the "great stuff" spray foam, again stucco or grout over the base material and then seal.

    Ps. Water bowl should be deeper as he should be able to completely submerge himself if he wants to.
     
  10. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Thank you for all of the replies, glad I didn't put anything into his new tank yet, and have him in an overnight stay in the old tank! I tossed the ideas to my father and we are going to go look at ply woods instead, which is what I had originally suggested actually, but he thought that would be better. Any recommendations as for a sealer? And would the sealer used for the wood itself, be the same I would put on the grout/greatstuff?

    Oh! and one other thing I should probably ask. For a silicone side sealer, to do all of the corners and areas where the sides meet, is the bathroom silicone sealer the better choice? Sounds stupid, but I want to make sure. And if it is even recomended by any of you to use the silicone in the first place.
     
  11. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    As for the the airing out, I understand that completely. For the silicone, I've heard of a lot of people using it, the 100% kind, I didn't check at the hardware store if it was 100% because we were just looking at prices estimiates, and all of them were about 8 bucks, so finding the other won't be a problem, and I doubt it will cost an extreme difference.

    I've read that some people seal the silicone too? Again, just asking for more opinions, better safe than sorry right? :)

    The water height problem I can fix, the dish is deep enough to fill more, just going to be slightly harder to remove if I fill it nearer to the top, but I would rather make sure it's deep enough for him rather than too low. Also, I got the size wrong, its about 2ft by 1 and a half. Realized I had it wrong when I remembered that I am using a different one now when his new temp setup is done. And this one is deeper as well, so I can adjust the water height.

    Oh, someone mentioned making it a 6ft instead, I talked to my father about that, and he said we can absolutely do it, just to expect to be paying for more wood to be able to make sure we can have enough for the design he seems rather set on. Roof is 8ft tall, so 6ft won't be a bad thing, and we plan on doing a latch and seal system to be able to take the top off completely, so it is much easier to move, any one ever do anything like that that could give me advice there?
     
  12. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Setting up his new tank once I come home from everything today, should be in just a few hours, gotta make sure I go to the bet store and get a better substrate, also, is the exo terra moss a good on for him either? I know someone mentioned my substrate wasn't right but I can't find to see if they said what to use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Brand of sealer doesn't matter as long as it is polyeurathane. Water based poly (polycrilic)will cure faster than oil based but you can use either. The 100% silicone is the best stuff to use. I sealed the wood then siliconed then sealed it all again because in my 500gal I used silicone to put up a divider in the cage and the part that were under the soil and constantly had moisture on it became wet again. Thus I figured if I put sealant over them the silicone will be more water proof and stay dry.
    You can use the moss or save some money and just go to a garden store to buy unfertilized soil (usually labeled organic) or buy sphagnum peat moss.
     
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes. And its virtually impossible to run a screw into it without just wallowing out the hole.
     
  15. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Wow, Merlin, thank you so much for that. You guys saved me a lot of trouble, glad I turned here for advice. Should have started here in the first place! I wonder how that enclosure I saw online is holding up then lol. As for the unfertilized soil, we have tried finding it in store, and virtually can not anywhere. A lot of places told me I have to order online, so I will get to that as well. Also, would 3/4 inch plywood be good for thickness wise?

    And how does everyone here propose to applying the wood sealant, I've seen some people say they wait extended periods of time (a week or more) inbetween coats, and other that wait 5 or ten minutes.

    And would sealing the wood and then putting the enclosure together be smarter, and then apply again after it is put together? Sorry for all the stupid questions! Just want to make sure I get everything done right!
     
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I cut the panels and seal all of it before assembly.
    The time between coats is going to depend on what you use. But I don't know of any of them that you can reseal in 5 minutes!
    I beleive the time between coats for Polycrylic is 2-3 hours.
     
  17. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    Thank you again Merlin! One last question and I believe this should get everything I needed out of this post.

    As for wood/tree limbs used for his climb. Do you seal those too? Because I mean it would make sense, to prevent it from molding, but then again I don't know what the grip would then be like for Kapteeni Anu after that?
     
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't keep water dragons so I don't have need for that high of humidity. I have never sealed any branches in my cages.
    But I suspect that the sealant would cause difficulties in climbing. And the claws of the lizard is going to scrape off the sealant on branches anyways.
     
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I usually don`t bother varnishing the branches, but it`s perfectly o.k to do that (use 2 coats of the water based varnish), the lizard should still be able to grip, especially if they have rough bark on them (don`t sand them down smoooth).
    And by the way, they do make "quick drying" varnish, you could easily apply 4 or 5 coats in a single day, then leave for approx 24 to 36 hours to dry thoroughly before using.
     
  20. KapteeniAnu

    KapteeniAnu Elite Member

    I didn't even take the time to factor in him scratching it off, silly me. Thank you everyone for the help!
     

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