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New Member Vivs

Discussion in 'Vivariums' started by CelticAaron, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    We are fairly new herp enthusiasts. These are the enclosures that we currently have for 1 MHD, 1 crested, 2 leucs, and 2 White's. Feel free to make any comments. All advise is welcome...though we conducted a fair amount of research for our pets, we know that we have a lot to learn. Thanks.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2013
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Looks great! What size are they?
  3. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    Thanks. All are relatively small...3 are about 33 gallon tall (MHD, crested, and White's), and 1 is a 20 gallon long (leucs).
  4. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    Oops. I hit reply too quickly :)... We are constantly learning and upgrading :) I am sure that most of you can relate to that.
  5. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I can definitely relate to that :). You'll want a larger enclosure for the MHD, but I'm not familiar with the others. What are you using to measure temps and humidity? What type of lighting do you have for the MHD?
  6. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Youre off to a good start! I like your eye for design and what you are trying to achieve. I say these comments below with the hope that you will take it not as a slight to what you are trying to do, but with a sincere desire to help you get to the goal you are looking for.

    I can tell from some of the materials you are using that you have done some good research. Its hard to see, but with the research youve done, can I assume you have some sort of screen between the soil and the drainage layer of balls? With that first enclosure there is a glaring issue. You have a nice drainage layer, but not nearly enough soil substrate, especially for the plants you have chosen. Those plants are going to want a much deeper soil to grow in, and will have roots that spread quickly. You would want at least six inches of soil for those plants. Both the second and the last enclosure dont seem to have a drainage layer, which will be a problem in any enclosure with plants. The third one looks like your masterpiece! Much better soil depth, decent lighting and placement. All around though you might want to reevaluate the type of plants and size you are using for your enclosures. The dracaena you're using in the third enclosure is already at the top of the lid, so there is no where for that plant to grow. Same with the Schefflera in the first picture. Thats a fairly fast growing plant, so if you put it in there, you want to make sure it has some space to grow. Otherwise you will have to be taking it out and/or trimming it a lot. The fern you have in that second enclosure is going to want more shade than you have directly under that bright bulb, and will probably burn fairly quickly. It looks like a sanseveria in that last enclosure, which is a great low light plant for a reptile enclosure. If you were to increase the soil substrate and plant it directly in it, youd find it would spread out and practically overrun your enclosure floor. This could be a great thing or a negative thing depending on your goal.

    Believe it or not, I find plants much harder to get right sometimes than the reptiles are. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the best matches with reptiles to plants, especially when you figure in the lighting, humidity and heating needs. Luckily plants are cheap and dont feel pain. ;) Keep up the good work!
  7. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    Thanks for your feedback. I will certainly have to check into getting a larger enclosure for my MHD at some point. With regards to the lighting, I am using a 15" Exo Terra 5.0 in an 18" fixture for UVB and a low-wattage Zoo Med day bulb for UVA and a small amount of heat. We measure temp and humidity with a portable thermometer/hygrometer with Velcro tape. I measure the temps and humidity levels at different levels of the enclosures to ensure proper conditions. We use a combo of misting and fogger to increase humidity levels. In addition, our MHDs enclosure is actually a small paludarium with a waterfall and pond at the very back of the enclosure separated using acrylic and silicone. We also have a small portable waterfall for our leucs.
  8. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    I want to begin by saying that I appreciate the feedback and do not take it as a slight at all. I am proud of what we have accomplished but know that we have a lot, and I mean a lot to learn. I will admit that the research on my plants to this point have been somewhat limited and focused mainly around whether or not it would be safe for my herps. With that said, I am very appreciative of your sharing your obvious enthusiasm and knowledge in this area.

    I realize that I need to be sure that I have false bottoms in all of my vivs. Cheap and lazy do not work well in the long run, nor are they the best for the herps we have in those enclosures. I am finding that it actually creates more work for us with regards to cleaning and maintaining proper humidity. In order to prevent soil from staying saturated, I actually spend time churning the substrate. I know, I know. Then I find that we have to rotate out the substrate much more often. With the false bottoms that we do have, there is mesh screening made by Zoo Med between the substrate layer and the hydro balls. I have since seen where people use other variations of false bottoms, which I may like try here in the near future. Thoughts?

    With regards to substrate depth in that first viv, I know that it is deceiving, but the Pachira in the back corner is planted up using a rock to maintain the depth and support for that tree, and the zebra plant is planted in a cork round, again above the soil depth that you see. I am certainly not suggesting that I still have the correct depth for those plants, but it has much more soil than it appears. I was trying to get creative with the planting using cork rounds and such :). What are your thoughts about using cork rounds or other alternative objects for planting?

    With regards to the size of the plants, lighting, etc, I have to plead ignorant :). We are certainly going to take your advice and work on improving on what we have done so far. I certainly have to agree with what you had to say about the plants being tougher than the actual animals :). Thanks again for all of your help.


  9. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Ah, a money tree. Sorry for calling it a schefflera, I shouldnt have used my phone to look at the pictures. Sounds like either way you have more soil than I thought, so thats great.

    As for the screen, there are much cheaper options. Unfortunately anything you buy with a pet store brand is always about 300% more expensive. You can just buy fibreglass screen from the hardware store, the kind that you would use in your window screens. It does just as well and here it costs around a dollar for a 1x3 foot piece. (I live in NYC so I assume everything is cheaper everywhere else in the world) Hydro balls are much cheaper if you buy them online or from a plant place as well, rather than the reptile ones.

    Dont worry about the plant sizes this time. Its a good learning experience to see which ones will really grow well/quickly in your enclosure conditions and which will need some work. Youll find that some will respond better than others to the lighting or soil conditions you have. Its fun to tweak things and experience what works and what doesnt.

    As for the cleaning, there are ways to help with that. Look online for isopods and springtails. These are often sold by frog breeders or other types of vivarium supply companies. You can find them in your garden/yard outside too but I like to get the tropical species in as they hold up a bit better in my experience. These little cleaners will take care of any reptile wastes and mold that might develop. Makes for a great bioactive set up.
  10. rhinokeeper

    rhinokeeper Elite Member

    My veiled cham/crested gecko/red eyed treefrog vivarium. Yes they all live together happily! :) year 2

    Attached Files:

  11. CelticAaron

    CelticAaron Member

    That looks like an awesome viv. It must be difficult to keep all of those critters happy at the same time. What size tank are you using, construction of tank, etc?
  12. rhinokeeper

    rhinokeeper Elite Member

    Its a 40gal tall and its not hard at all, its actually very hard to find anything but the cham during the day. They were all introduced to the viv within 3days ofone another and they were all babies.

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