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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Mar 2010
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    NYC
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    10

    Question Making a Rock Wall

    Our penn-plax cage is on its way and we are starting to dream up the inside schematics.

    We seem to have decided on a 1/2 water bottom, supporting the dry sides with bamboo shoots, possibly a rock wall or slope with natural rocks.

    But what we're most concerned about is creating natural background/sidescapes. We want to create a false wall and online reseach seems to suggest that we make our own from carved styrofoam. We believe that we should then coat the styrofoam with a concrete and gravel mixture. But beyond that we have little knowledge.

    Where do you buy styrofoam?
    Can I get it at loews?
    Any particular kind of gravel?
    Any particular kind of concrete?
    How much gravel with how much concrete?
    How thick does the stuff cover the styrofoam?
    Am I covering all 4 sides of the styrofoam?
    How long does it take to set?
    How do you affix it to the paludarium?
    How do you pronounce that word?

    These concerns are really our biggest focus right now, however we do have other questions we'd like to accept answers to..
    What sort of durable live plants do you grow in your paludarium (that are safe for Escapé, my Chinese Water Dragon)?
    Do you use a water filtration system in your bottom water, if yes which one?
    What do you think of using an inwater exo-terra fogger in my bottom of tank water area?
    Do Chinese Water Dragons respond to colors?






  2. #2
    Elite Member cslammon's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Chicagoland
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    762

    Re: Making a Rock Wall

    I can't answer any of these questions, but I can suggest you use Great Stuff expanding foam to make the backing. I did it on mine and I love it. You just foam the wall (its sticky so it will stick) let it cure for a few days, then paint it with safe paint, then put some type of sealer over it, I used fish tank silicon and it turned out great.

    You can really see the quality of it in this pic

  3. #3
    Elite Member HydroDragon's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    ND
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    423

    Re: Making a Rock Wall

    What size is this enclosure first off?

    Now to construct the Faux rock is pretty simple. Get the Styrofoam from a hobby store for the fancy shaped stuff. But if your just looking for flat surfaces not rounded and curved (like some of the things in my custom Chinese Water Dragon home.) You can use regular Styrofoam that you can find at Menards are Lowe's/home depot. Just look for 1/2" Siding Insulation backer.

    You can layer the flat 1/2" foam to create landscape and elevation changes, its easily carved with a steak knife or Utility Knife.

    As for what to cover it with. I used Epoxy Grout. Its used in Tile Showers and stuff that sees a ton of water. It gets almost as hard as concrete. And you can get it in a variety of colors. If you want to put rocks in the mix you can use Aquarium Gravel of any size from a pet store. Spread the Grout over the styrofoam so its about a 8th inch thick layer, If its to thick it could crack. While its wet and after everhthing you can get to on one side is covered. Place the stones one by one in place and once its dry they should stay well. Flip it over and do the next side after waiting ATLEAST 4 hours to dry. I believe its 48 hours before it completely cures and is safe in water.

    If your using water in the habitat make sure you can change it DAILY! I have 20 gallons of water in my Habitat and yes, it gets changed every day in about 15 min. I also use a external water filter in my setup to make sure that any bacteria is filtered out. Sitting water is a breading ground for bacteria. So I use air stones to create water flow and movement. Expect your dragon to use any water he can get in as his bathroom.

    Onto the rock questions again. You should cover everything that is exposed. If its attatched to the enclosure use aquarium sealant to secure anything touching the glass.

    Any More question feel free to ask. I just got done building my Chinese Water Dragon cage 2 months ago. And Just finished my custom Vivarium for Red Eye Tree Frog's last night. Used both the Faux Rock method and the Great Stuff method. So ive been working with this stuff alot as of late.

    Oh and you can check my Profile area for pictures of both Enclosure's

  4. #4
    Elite Member jono's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Location
    Palm Bay, Florida
    Posts
    235

    Re: Making a Rock Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by HydroDragon View Post
    What size is this enclosure first off?

    Now to construct the Faux rock is pretty simple. Get the Styrofoam from a hobby store for the fancy shaped stuff. But if your just looking for flat surfaces not rounded and curved (like some of the things in my custom Chinese Water Dragon home.) You can use regular Styrofoam that you can find at Menards are Lowe's/home depot. Just look for 1/2" Siding Insulation backer.

    You can layer the flat 1/2" foam to create landscape and elevation changes, its easily carved with a steak knife or Utility Knife.

    As for what to cover it with. I used Epoxy Grout. Its used in Tile Showers and stuff that sees a ton of water. It gets almost as hard as concrete. And you can get it in a variety of colors. If you want to put rocks in the mix you can use Aquarium Gravel of any size from a pet store. Spread the Grout over the styrofoam so its about a 8th inch thick layer, If its to thick it could crack. While its wet and after everhthing you can get to on one side is covered. Place the stones one by one in place and once its dry they should stay well. Flip it over and do the next side after waiting ATLEAST 4 hours to dry. I believe its 48 hours before it completely cures and is safe in water.

    If your using water in the habitat make sure you can change it DAILY! I have 20 gallons of water in my Habitat and yes, it gets changed every day in about 15 min. I also use a external water filter in my setup to make sure that any bacteria is filtered out. Sitting water is a breading ground for bacteria. So I use air stones to create water flow and movement. Expect your dragon to use any water he can get in as his bathroom.

    Onto the rock questions again. You should cover everything that is exposed. If its attatched to the enclosure use aquarium sealant to secure anything touching the glass.

    Any More question feel free to ask. I just got done building my Chinese Water Dragon cage 2 months ago. And Just finished my custom Vivarium for Red Eye Tree Frog's last night. Used both the Faux Rock method and the Great Stuff method. So ive been working with this stuff alot as of late.

    Oh and you can check my Profile area for pictures of both Enclosure's
    i dont have much to offer as far as advice but i checked out hydrodragons Chinese Water Dragon viv just for kicks and man it looks sweet! lol. seems if you follow his advice and that of others you are on the road to success. when i first started building my beardys enclosure i planned on using the faux rock idea to make hides, caves, basking shelves, background, etc. but since then ive decided it may be too time consuming. not that i dont think it would be worth it but i have already spent a lot more time than i thought i would on just the construction i dont want to drag it out even longer because i want to get him into his new cage soon! lol
    but anywho there are a lot of resources out there to educate you on projects like this. youtube has some pretty good vids on it and there is also a website (cant remember the url though, sorry!) that is dedicated to showing step by step instructions, vids, and pics. they have instructions for everything from simple backgrounds and hides to intricate waterfalls and mountain landscapes. i think it was something along te lines of lizard landscapes.. a quick google search should do the trick for ya.
    im done rambling but good luck and post pics when youre done!!

  5. #5
    Elite Member HydroDragon's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Location
    ND
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    423

    Re: Making a Rock Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    i dont have much to offer as far as advice but i checked out hydrodragons Chinese Water Dragon viv just for kicks and man it looks sweet! lol. seems if you follow his advice and that of others you are on the road to success.
    Thanks jono! I love building things, always have. And ive been in construction a good portion of my life so it helps haha. Id love to build custom cages for a living. But theres no sorta demand for that stuff around my area to my knowledge.

    Oh and to keep this on topic. Make sure you look in the Forum's page here and check out the "General Construction - Reptile Forums - Herp Center" area under Habitat's for idea's. Lots of great info there as well.

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