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Turbocoffee's Crested Gecko Vivarium Build

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by TurboCoffee, May 24, 2014.

  1. TurboCoffee

    TurboCoffee Member

    Hi guys. I posted this in the geckoforums also but figured some eople over here with other reptiles might aslo want to see this and wouldn't see it over there. I recently bought 2 young crested geckos from the local reptile expo. They currently reside in little 2 and 2.5 gallon containers while i hurry up and get this tank set up. So here goes.

    I started with this 30 gallon long tank. Which I know isn't ideal for these geckos as it has low walls. But that's what I had available so it'llbe fine for a year anyway or wwhenever I build a bigger one.

    The tank is drilled near the bottom corner as I used it for a salt water system years ago. So I decided to use that to my advantage and make a false bottom and keep that open for an easy drain spot via turkey baster.
    I also wanted the tank to have a clean look and not just a dirt floor so I'm trying something a little different by using foam floor boards with cut out "garden spots". This also will hopefully make it less likely for these guys to ingest dirt. You may at first think that this layer takes away more crucial vertical space but if these 1 inch thick foam boards weren't here it would just be another inch of soil anyway.
    So here you can see I cut 8 pvc pipe piece at one inch and placed a sheet of egg crate over it giving me 1.5 inches of space under the false bottom. This is then covered with a fine stainless mesh. I added sides to the false bottom just to keep everything clean as possible but it's not necessary if you egg crate the whole bottom. But mine has a border so the dirt won't be against the glass.
    I also cut out a few little water dishes.. I added coins to give them a little weight.


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    Then I went along the Hudson River and found some driftwood. Baked it for 25 minutes at 250 degrees and cut it to fit and bored a few holes.

    then I started working on the background using egg crate as a base and then coating it with great stuff. One word of caution. . The great stuff kinda warped my egg crate so it isn't straight anymore. I've yet to address this issue but I'm sure I'll figure something out once it dries up and all. If I were to do it again I would nail down the 4 corners or try to find 1 inch thick egg crate for back instead of half inch if they make it. But here it is

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  2. TurboCoffee

    TurboCoffee Member

    I built a little hide in the wall with a little hill to go over the raised section of false bottom for the drain. I also carved all the great stuff to resemble rocks.
    then I painted a base coat of dark gray by pouring black acrylic paint into the drylok waterproof sealer. Drylok covered everything good. No issues with the great stuff other then that it makes some air pockets that are hard to get into but I'll work on those after this first base coat dries. Of course it's rainy and humid and may be for a few days so this is as far as it goes for now. I have a fan on it and hopefully it will be dry enough by tomorrow to do more work and test fit it and mock up with some plants. I may add detail to the 3 foam floor panels if it looks too fake or sterile. But I may like it with the flat floor. We will see soon. Should look cool either way. Something different. Thanks for looking. Comments and criticism welcomed.

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    K. Everything is dry today. Put everything together to make sure all fits well and to take a couple mock up pictures to get an idea of it. I think I like the flat featureless ground. I think it will look good once plants and soil are in. So I'm gonna keep it like that for now. Abg mix and moss and a couple plants and screen top are in the mail. So probably Monday or Tuesday for that. Today or tomorrow I will paint everything again but I need to go buy more black paint so I might not get around to this until tomorrow. Well here it is for now. Looks pretty cool.

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  3. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Little late now but 20mins at 250f seems a bit light, the heat is not getting inside the deepest parts of the wood yet. Hope things go well.
     
  4. TurboCoffee

    TurboCoffee Member

    From what I read that was the recommendation for baking. I saw lots of dead bugs on the baking sheets but the big piece might still have had some safe spots in it. I'll reheat the one big piece as it goes in last. Def a little late for the wall pieces but they are relatively thin and hopefully lifeless. More pictures tonight.

    Speaking about hitchhiking organisms, I'd like to take leaf litter from my house plants on the deck. Also I want to use regular moss from outside and local fern plants.is this all just a bad idea? Or is there any way I can sterilize them without killing them? Or is the risk the same when buying plants and leaf litter from anywhere else?
     
  5. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    One advantage to using your own stuff is that you do have an idea whats in it. That said there is no way to sterilize it (kill all organisms) and keep the plants alive, but you may be able to sanitize them to a degree but it's unlikely to work as you wanted. If your an organic (no chems direction) planter or have not used chem fertilizers than your leaf litter may be fine. With out doing a leaf litter analysis you really have no idea whats living in the soil.

    All doable but there will be higher risks of dangerous organisms in your system.
     
  6. TurboCoffee

    TurboCoffee Member

    K I put more dark gray in all he recesses. Then went over all the tops and some sides with a lighter gray. Then finally dry brushed everything with a very light gray for high lights. U can see one picture has it half done to show how much difference in depth and details it makes. Also put a little paint on 2 dishes for water and food. Just waiting on abg mix in the mail. Not sure when it's gonna come :(

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    These pictures are a bit clearer. You can see all the deep air pockets still yellowish and how sloppy I was near the wood. But you can't really see any of it when it's all together plus I will be putting some mosses in those areas. And I glued on the stick that I forgot about when I sprayed the foam on. Hopefully it sticks well.

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