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Red Eye Tree Frog Vivarium Build.

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by HydroDragon, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Just starting this thread beacause today Im starting to assemble parts for a RETF habitat. The cage is going to be roughly 34"L x 24"D x 34ish"T. It will have a bottom made of Plexi glass, and 3 sides made of Great Stuff Expanding foam/Eco Earth substrate for the background. The front will be made of plexiglass/wood for viewing and access. And Of course a Wood Top.

    Start off with the parts list to get this done.
    Miter box: for cutting wood
    Skill Saw: Cutting more wood
    Jig Saw: Detailed or curved wood and plexi-glass cuts
    Utility Knife: Multiple uses
    Tape Measure: Got to have things measure up.
    Power Drill: dont forget to pre-drill
    (handy)Electric Stapler: I use this to sheet the outside of the cage with 3/8" Underlayment for finishing.

    This is where things can get spendy depending on your connections :).
    -2 2' x 5' sheets of 3/8" plexi glass (i get mine from Lowe's)
    -1 Tube of Aquarium Sealent.
    -4 1"x2" Pieces of Oak Finish wood (Lowe's) they use this for cabinets.
    -3 4' x 5' Sheets of 3/8" Underlayment (Lowe's)
    --- Cans of Great Stuff Expanding Foam (as much as you need or want)
    -2 Tubes of GE Silicone II brand Caulking. Brown or black blends in the best.
    -2 bricks of Eco Earth or Exo Terra makes some as well Coconut Substrate.
    --- Cork bark
    --- branches
    --- Cups or bottles for Planters
    --- Any other sort of stuff you wanna incorporate for decoration and climbing Just be sure is Herp Safe!

    Start By Building from the ground up so to speak. Base or (tank portion) first and so on. Pictures of construction soon to come. Its time for another step in Aquarium Sealent.
  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Sounds like you have a plan.
    Good way to start.
    Keep us updated with progress pics please.;)
  3. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Picture/Progress update, Still a junky camera but this will show you my step by steps.

    Get your supplies ready, I already Sealed one piece of the plexiglass on in this picture (Shows you how strong Aquarium sealant actually is.

    Apply a thin bead of Aquarium sealant and put the plexiglass in it to create the first initial "seal" Also the first hold.

    Make sure you have someone around to supervise and make sure things are getting done properly. Here is my Foreman Scrappy Doo!

    After getting all 4 sides in place and letting the Aquarium Sealant cure for a good couple hours (this is solid enough to apply another layer) Apply a beat along all seam edges and smooth it down ensuring a seal and no bubbles and also remove the excess.

    This completes the plexiglass bottom portion. Building of the frame now starts.
  4. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    foremen are very important.

    Attached Files:

  5. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    More Progress Pictures. This is the rough frameing portion.

    First off your going to want to Pre-drill any hole's your doing. Just find a drill bit the same size as the shaft of the screw. NOT the size of its threads. You will want the screw's threads to still bite into the wood.

    After getting all my pieces on the bottom attached in the correct spots. I attached the "risers." This will be your overall height of the habitat, give or take a half inch.

    Your looking at the back side unsheeted. But Here are 3 of the sides rough framed. The front portion will get a few more support pieces, for viewing window's and a access point to be attached. (blurry pic, this is why my camera is junk hah sorry)

    Next step is sheeting the framed area with 3/8" Underlayment. Those pictures soon.
  6. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    More Progress Pictures:

    Adding on pieces to fill the gap from the Plexi Glass, I used 3/8" Masonite board or paneling.

    Then I was ready to add the outside walls of the enclosure. in this case 3/8" Underlayment stapled in place. To finish you can fill the small staple holes with wood putty and sand smooth.

    Here is my Plexi-Glass sandwhich. There may be other methods of accomplishing a good seal and attaching the two. But this is just what I came up and its working great. These are all materials and layers. Plexi, 1x2's, 3/8" masonite, and 3/8" Underlayment.

    Walls Are up. Im leaving the front off untill I do the Great Stuff background just for easy access, so that I dont need to squeeze through stuff.

    Now Im onto Foaming the walls for good insulation and shaping, and then onto spraying the expanding foam and placing stuff in position! Those pictures will probably be up tonight if things go as planned for me here.
  7. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Still Moving Along. I ran out of Great Stuff. So here is the progress for today.

    Started by placing the enclosure on its back and putting stuff sort of where I wanted it and securing it in place. This can be tricky with branches.

    This is the side getting things set in place. I created some high spots and put spray can lids in them for shallow feeding dishes or air plants.

    As far as I could get without more Great Stuff. You can see most of the potters in place. The big plants will get planted in the bottom. And the right side is going to get 2 more potters and a few more decorative pieces. (notice my foreman, still making sure things are right)

    Tomorrow I will probably be finishing the great stuff portion and get my vents cut in.
  8. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    So its been a few days and after lots of Great stuff and trips for random things at stores heres where im at.

    The great Stuff is all finished up with the potters and branches in place. There is a vent for air circulation down low.
    Also I went plant shopping (exciting!) and picked up the first few. And set them in place for pics

    Here is the other side. I used a rock that I had bought for my CWD Cage. Its supposed to be magnetic for glass cages. Junk and doesnt hold well so now its a permenent rock/potter in the Vivarium. Also another Vent down low. I plan to have a tall plant grown in this area so i left room for growth on this side.
    Im thinking of putting Bamboo in this potter on the rock beings its water tight. I put my Peperomia "Golden Gate" just for the pic's

    The top is off and I used Great Stuff (turns out its a great bonding agent) to tuck my strip light behind the front of the Viv so its hidden out of sight. the cord will be covered once the top goes on. And it runs out the back through a small hole. Oh and Shout out to my Pretty Lola Bunny. Shes my 6 yr old litter trained Rabbit.

    And here is the Front almost finished up. All the Rectangles are for plexi glass (already cut). Its going to be aquarium sealed in, and then the front piece can go on to finish off all the seams. The center large rectangle is the door. Dont plan on chasing animals around in this comfortably as to they wont be handled often or at all almost.

    Heres my next step, the top. Im just about to glue it up and put down my Dura Ceramic tile's. This is where the Ceramic Heat Emitter will be placed. The lines are all to tell me where to stop my tile so that it all sits flush in the Viv (pics later.) And of course where to start. I do flooring professionally for a living :)

    Next pictures should be of the finished product. Going to be a nice weekend project hopefully if i have time.

    Attached Files:

  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Coming along nicely!
    One thing I would suggest, if you haven't thought of it already, is to have a drainage hole in the areas where the plants will set. Otherwise they are liable to end up sitting in a puddle of water and that will kill the roots.
  10. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Your saying just in the ones that are on the walls correct? Not one in the bottom of the plexi glass. Cause there will be about 6 inches worth of organic potting soil in the bottom
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Right. Anything that will result in the plant sitting in a bowl of water.
  12. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Ok. No Biggy I will pop some holes in them before I do the Eco Earth/Coconut Fiber.

    Thanks for the compliments and info :)

    Oh and should my one strip light be enough for the plant growth and Tree frog health. My research tells me the RETF doesnt benefit any from the UVB so its just a Grow light in there now.
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    That depends on what plants you use and how high their light requirements are. When I was growing indoor bonsai I used 2 fluorescent bulbs in a 2 tube shoplight.
  14. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    Well if I find that some plants arnt doing well, it wont be impossible to add another light later by any means. It just wont be all fancy hidden like in the pics :)
  15. Johnny

    Johnny Elite Member

    Are you going to have pure soil at the bottom of the tank? I'd advise havin' a drainage layer down there too, just in case. Not havin' one might not be a problem if you're really careful about your waterin', though.
  16. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    It was suggested that putting in a drainage was more hassel than its worth because i assume the plants and soil will absorb a good amount of water daily. And since its almost entirely sealed up im hoping the humidity levels will stay fairly high so i should not need to mist alot. Ultimatly I wont know till its all set up here in a few weeks.

    Then I can start preparing it for its new inhabitants :) how exciting.
  17. Johnny

    Johnny Elite Member

    Ok, I gotcha. Yeah, as long as you're not throwin' buckets of water in there you'll be fine.

    Sounds good, man. From your pics so far it looks like it's shaping up to be a really cool set up.
  18. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Looking good. Can't wait to see the final product.
    Now you got me itching to do a frog setup.
    My wife hates you right now.;)
  19. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Re you going to have branches going from side to side? Think tree!!!
  20. HydroDragon

    HydroDragon Elite Member

    I plan on adding branches and stuff as well yes. Im most likely going to order some exotic looking vines and branches to run from top to bottom and side to side. So to fill some empty space and wrap plants around once things get good and growing. Im going for a Jungle feel of course.

    My method for years has been using Zip Ties to secure stuff in place and brace stuff where needed. Im excited as heck to do the decorating portion, thats why im trying to assemble the enclosure As Soon As Possible.

    I never intended on making a frog setup untill I seen pictures of other peoples as well haha. Guess you could say I caught the itch.

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