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Future Cynops Orientalis Home [step-by-step]

This is a discussion on Future Cynops Orientalis Home [step-by-step] within the Photos & Pictures of Enclosures, Vivaria, etc forums, part of the Vivaria, Enclosures & Product Reviews category; Hi Everyone, For the past month or so I've been working on and off on a 25 gallon paludarium that ...

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Old 8th June 2007   #1 (permalink)
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Default Future Cynops Orientalis Home [step-by-step]

Hi Everyone,

For the past month or so I've been working on and off on a 25 gallon paludarium that will be the future home to a fire-bellied newt. I photographed the entire construction process so I decided I would share it with you all.

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Primary building materials

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Blank tank

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Great stuff foam

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Silicone black and coco fiber added

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Finished the three walls and siliconed a piece of cork into the corner (1st haul-out area)

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Added a leaf litter background and siliconed a piece of wood into the other corner (2nd haul-out area)

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The finished tank for now - plants are pothos, duckweed, java moss, and java fern

Sadly the leaf litter background doesn't show from all the reflection. There's no filtration system or waterfall in this tank. It will only house one newt. The pet shop is out of fire-bellies for at least a couple of weeks, so I'm going to let the plants grow in until then. I'll post close-ups a bit later on.



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Old 8th June 2007   #2 (permalink)
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wow thanks that gave me some great idea's
jody fabre



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Old 8th June 2007   #3 (permalink)
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Hey no problem. We're all here to help each other out. If you've got any questions about the set-up don't hesitate to ask.

Here are some more pictures from inside the tank:

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Old 8th June 2007   #4 (permalink)
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Super setup! I see you have some of the "jumbo-sized" duckweed. I have some of it too, but it grows more slowly than the smaller kind, so mine is dwindling.



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Old 8th June 2007   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, Jen! I didn't know there were different types of duckweed. I appreciate the heads up on that. I thought mine would grow like crazy. :-( I can't complain, though. I got all of that duckweed and then some for 75 cents.



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Old 8th June 2007   #6 (permalink)
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Lovely step-by-step account Tom, thank you. There was a point when I kept Tylototriton verrucosus and I spent a good 15 minutes every week trying to get rid of the duck weed because it completely blanketted the water and kept the light out ;(.



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Old 8th June 2007   #7 (permalink)
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Great set-up and pictures.
I am working on a similar project. The Great Stuff is shrinking after it cures. Three days after application it shrunk away from the glass on the sides and bottom approximately 3-4 inches! Any suggestions?
Thanks, Aaron



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Old 8th June 2007   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, John and Aaron.

Aaron: That's strange. Do you have the same bottle as in the picture in my first post? If anything, it should expand after use. My first suggestion was to just apply another layer of Great Stuff, but I'm worried that it would expand too much in the gaps and force the glass to break. I will have to defer you to the dendroboard parts and construction forum:

http://www.dendroboard.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=5

These guys use Great Stuff on a regular basis so they should be able to make a more informed suggestion. Sorry that I couldn't be of more help. Good luck!



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Old 11th June 2007   #9 (permalink)
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Thats a great looking tank! Ive been wanting to do something like this as well, but I want the WHOLE thing underwater, to look like a cliff edge. So I have to ask, do you have any suggestions on how to do this? I want to give it a rock or dirt look, not artificial like plain great stuff foam by itself.

In your 4th pic, I dont see what the black Silicone was for, to glue the coco fiber? And I may be wrong, but the fiber cant be used under the water as it will get mold right?

Ive never done anything like this so Im trying to learn how by others posts. Thanks



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Old 12th June 2007   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, the black silicone was used to attach the coco fiber. The goal for my tank was to emulate the muddy edge of a pond. I've seen an African Dwarf Frog tank with the coco fiber submerged in water, but I'm not sure how it's still holding up. I think it would be OK, other than the coco fiber making the water slightly brown. Just don't use peat moss, because it's acidic and could potentially lower the pH.



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Old 12th June 2007   #11 (permalink)
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Very nice tank! Great background, but why so few plants/rocks/woods underwater?



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Old 13th June 2007   #12 (permalink)
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I agree: I'm pretty sure coco fiber would be OK underwater (no mold). It would brown the water a bit at first, and eventually it would decay away. I've had tanks where the animals tracked a considerable amount of cocofiber into the water, and I think I even used it once as a planting medium in the water. I had no problems from this.



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Old 13th June 2007   #13 (permalink)
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It's stunning. It's like something you'd see at the public aquarium, or a zoo. Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing



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Old 13th June 2007   #14 (permalink)
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Yahilles, for now I want to maximize the swimming space for the future newts to be housed. I might add more decorations later on.

Jennifer, I just need your input on the bubbler system I installed a few days ago. I trapped the surface current of the airstone in a corner as seen in this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/tomthlee/...8cx8_newtarium

but I'm wondering, will limit the amount of oxygen given to the entire tank? And is it OK to turn the pump off at night? I posted these questions in my other thread, but I don't think too many people saw it. Thanks in advance.

Mike, thanks for the compliment! I've never had someone say that about one of my tanks before, so thank you kindly. I hope the future newts like it as much as you. :-D



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Old 14th June 2007   #15 (permalink)
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Tom, Id think its okay to simply run the airstone during the day and turn it off at night. So it would be off 8-10 hours? Itll be on most the time and should do its job during that time. I have one airstone going for my 2 tubs of juvie newts and I switch it back and forth every 12 hours.

Thanks for the answers Jenn and Tom, but I have 2 more. Where do I even get coco fiber? I was at the petshop today and didnt see anything. Also, Ive never worked with Silicone. How do you spread it and how did you attach the coco fiber to it; with your hands or something special?



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Old 14th June 2007   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, ravenous.

Coco fiber is usually found in compressed bricks. It's widely available at any Petsmart or Petco around your area. You could even order it online. It goes by many names... Bed-A-Beast, Eco Earth, Forest Bed, etc. Just follow the instructions and drop it into a few litres of water. It'll eventually expand. You can use your hands to break it up (this will speed up the process). From that point, grab as much coconut fiber as you think you'll need for your background and let it dry out completely.

Silicone is a bit messy to work with. You can use a spatula, spoon, or a gloved finger to spread it over the great stuff foam. From there, you must immediately press DRY coconut fiber into the silicone. This is best done in patches. I used this tutorial to guide me through the process:

http://www.crestedlady.com/howto.htm

It's very simple and easy to follow. Good luck with yours!



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Old 14th June 2007   #17 (permalink)
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Hey thanks for the great link! Itll help. This is a project Ill be tackling in the next few weeks. I was wondering, is the Great Stuff easy to shape and mold? Could I handle it with gloves to shape it? Most importantly, is it easy to carve and cut through with a knife in order to make caves and stuff?

I cant wait to see your pics when you get a newt in there. Are you only going to get one though? I would think 2 would be okay.



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Old 15th June 2007   #18 (permalink)
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Great Stuff is very difficult to shape and mold when you first spray it on. It is sticky and doesn't always cooperate well. On the upside, it's actually VERY easy to cut and carve with a blade or a knife once it is solid. So I'd recommend spraying on the general shape you want with the Great Stuff and then carve it to make specific details.

I might get a pair of newts. Right now I'm just having trouble finding a place that sells fire-bellied newts. There's a place nearby me that sells Pleurodeles waltl, but I think my tank is kinda small for that species.



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Old 16th June 2007   #19 (permalink)
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Thats great to hear that its easy to sculpt once its dry. I went shopping today and was able to price both items. However I could only find clear silicone. Ill look around some more for Black. Did the Great Stuff expand alot when you used it, or does it stay the same thickness. Also, how many cans of great stuff, tubes of silicone, and bricks of coco fiber did you need for the project?

That was a great vid you had in your other thread as well. Keep em comin!



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Old 17th June 2007   #20 (permalink)
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The Great Stuff expanded a little bit when I used it. It's just the nature of the product, because it's used to fill in gaps in the house. Here's the final rundown of how much I used:

- Great Stuff: 1 can
- Black Silicone: 4 tubes
- Coco fiber: less than a 1/4 of a brick

I hope yours turns out well! Again, it's not a very hard project but just very time consuming.



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