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My tropical terrarium

Discussion in 'Enclosures' started by BlackJack, Oct 4, 2004.

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  1. Jem_Scout

    Jem_Scout Elite Member

    *Raises hand* My name is Dove and I'm a Herpaholic.... :p
     
  2. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    My name is BlackJack and I'm a Herpaholic! :eek:

    Seriously though, ChronicFatigue: THANKS for the info... I had NO idea that when this stuff dried it could still leak toxins!! I've sealed it with acrylic sealant, but now I'm not sure if that's good enough. I'm not using "Great Stuff" but this is probably the same thing.
    I'm going to see what other sealants are out on the market... I really like my backdrop and hide boxes, but I don't want anything in my tanks that could be potentially harmful to my snakes.

    Thank you!
     
  3. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    Black, Im here to help ;)

    A general rule that I've been following when selecting things from the hardware store is to use plumbing items (pvc, sealants, paints) rather than electrical or other. Plumbing materials are usually made to NSF standards, meaning that its safe to drink from. However, and unfortunately, thats not always the case. Once I get back to my apartment, probably tommorow evening, Ill try to remember to post the acceptable brand. :)
     
  4. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Good advice about the plumbing stuff. My brother does renovation work and thought that when that insulation foam is completely dry, it shouldn't give off any more toxins... especially if painted over in acrylic: but he'd never heard of anyone using it the way I have!
     
  5. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    Thats the problem, everything says it should work, but they're not entirely sure. Thats why we share what we do and how we do it and what we shouldn't do and why, thats what makes this place so great :)

    I just wish someone in the hardware store had some idea what I was talking about. Last time I told someone I wanted to put the PVC in a tank he asked why, I couldnt convince him it was for lizards so I said I was putting it in the tank so the PVC would not escape :rolleyes:
     
  6. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    I found the stuff that is definately safe.

    http://store.yahoo.com/123ponds/blstraw12.html

    I couldn't find it anywhere besides online. And it's more than twice as much as the regular expanding foam or insulation. I've been told that its much easier to work with and worth every penny.
    I just found that if you search for "handi-foam" you can find it for way cheaper. Its used for hardscaping ponds as well as fixing patches and moulding, its pretty tough and can be sanded, cut, and painted.
     
  7. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks chronicfatigue! I haven't checked up on this thread in a while (obviously) or I would have written back sooner. That looks like much better stuff. I'll have to order some and try it out!
     
  8. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    Black,
    I've been doing some research, or should I say more research. Anyways after hours of searching no one could really prove that any expanding foam was better or worst once cured and placed in an enclosure. Apparently the Black fish foam is manufactured by several companies. What I got out of all my invested hours was that Great stuff and The black foam are toxic before cured/set. Once time has been spent curing both are apparently non-toxic. However when equal size peice were placed in equal amounts of water the black foam showed zero degradation after the same amount of time it took great stuff to break down 1/4 of the way, however this was unsealed. Black foam has been used again and again over the years by aquatic enthusiasts with no problems and great stuff has been introduced to the hobby relatively recently. One more point Black Fish Foam costs 1/3 more but expands 2 to 3 more.

    Hope this helps :eek:
     
  9. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks ChronicFatigue; I know the fumes of that stuff are pretty toxic, but it seems to at least lose it's smell when dry. The acrylic paint smells more for longer (I don't think that's toxic, but I wouldn't swear on it.)
    My terrarium furniture made from this foam stuff gets misted daily, but not soaked in water.
    I think Toadie has some interesting ideas using plaster of paris... I'm just not sure how much humidity something like that can take and it's a bit heavier than the foam stuff.
    Also my foam sculptures and backdrop will not hold up very well to anything with claws! I've scratched a few pieces off of it, just moving it out of the way!
    I'll let you know if I find a better solution. I'm always looking!! :D
     
  10. CodyW

    CodyW Elite Member

    I plan on using the foam in my next enclosure either this weekend or next. WHat I plan on doing is fillling the entire background and sides once the wood is in place. Then Im going to cover some of it with tile grout and the rest with GE II silicone and cocofiber. That should make it strong enough for a couple geckos. The rock (with grout) will definately be strong enough for a heavy and clawed animal, but I don't think that the cocofiber section will be strong enough for anything heavier than my geckos.
     
  11. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    The down-side

    The downside of my beautiful foam construction and hideboxes is now painfully evident... we have a reptile mite infestation!!!! :eek:

    I've already quarantined both snakes and have been treating them with baths, daily container changes, and I just got my Reptile Relief yesterday.

    I've taken both terrariums apart and "nuked" the heck out of them with Permethrin spray.(not anywhere near my snakes of course!)
    I'm just so worried that every pore of that foam stuff is filled with zillions of mite eggs!
    I'm probably going to cut up and trash the back-wall construction/painting. But I'd like to save my fake stump hideboxes if I can. I've sprayed them extensively with insecticide and left them out on the balcony for the last week or two. I'm going to keep spraying them and then rinse them really well. Then, once the other stuff is out of the freezer, I'll put those in for a week or two. Then rinse them again with water.
    Talyn really loves those hides, so I hope I can save them.
    Since the terrarium is completely taken apart and Talyn is in a plastic box for a few weeks, I'm just going to paint a rainforest scene directly onto the back wall. When it dries, I'll spray it with clear matt acrylic sealant.
    I'll post pics when it's done.
     
  12. Chantel

    Chantel New Member

    I noticed that you used the single component foam in a can, I also read further along the forum that you had experienced problems with mites. The problem with the single component foams are two-fold: The first issue is that they moisture cure and problems have been experienced in that if they have not fully expanded, they might continue to expand several weeks or months after you have sprayed them if they come into contact with water. The second problem, as you now know, is that they have an open cell structure, which means that they act as a sponge for moisture and also as lovely housing for mites.

    There is a 2 component spray foam, which basically gets round all of these problems. Handi-Foam manufacture the stuff. The foam has a closed cell structure and cures exo-thermically. It also cures within a maximum of 5 minutes. You can actually cut it with a bread knife after 5 minutes... lovely stuff. It is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. www.spray-insulation.co.uk has a whole lot of information on the stuff. Have a look at their stage props page - off the articles page, very interesting.
     
  13. Dominick

    Dominick Founding Member

    Welcome to Herp Center Chantel!

    You seem to offer a good solution to the issues surrounding spray-foam installation. Thanks for the info.

    We look forward to more informative posts!
     
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