View Full Version : HomemadeTerrarium
04-22-2006, 07:18 PM
What up, herp freaks...I am in the process of putting together a terrarium in a manner that I have done twice now and thought I would share...this one is going to be much better than the first, which was a ten gallon tank with a busted end.
This is a long post, you might want to get a beverage...
This tank (20 long) has one of those built-in sliding screen tops. I had it arranged vertically (the sliding screen still worked fine this way) and the top (originally the right side or end) got cracked. This reminded me of the 10 gallon I did and I decided to do this one...it's really very simple...especially with the built in screen lid, on the regular 10 I had to make my own vent drilled door, used velcro...and it sucked. This one won't.
First I turned it over so the cracked side is now the bottom. This makes the 20 long thirty inches tall...not too shabby. I decided I wanted seven inches of substate (2" for drainage material and 5" for dirt). I then cut a piece of plexiglass for the "dirt wall" that is 12" x 7". I masked the tank off above seven inches (get the good blue masking tape for a clean paint line...you won't regret it) and will spray paint the bottom three outside surfaces of the tank flat black with the best Krylon I could get...and also painted one side of the "dirt wall". The dirt wall will then be siliconed (along with the freakin crack just for good measure) into position against the "lip" on the inside of the tank (black side out)...and BAM...you've got a thirty inch tall geckoarium ready for live plants and even with seven inches of substrate you'll still have 22" of vertical living space.
A few points...
- The only possible headache area will be between the screen door and the dirt wall on the bottom...an occasional blowing out should suffice if you're sure to keep the substrate below the edge of the wall. Considering one whole side will be screen extra misting may be necessary. Target sells purified water for a buck a gallon and I have had no mineral deposits on the glass from misting with it...I hate hard water deposits, don't you?
- The masking and painting of the tank is much easier if done while the tank is turned over.
- Two thicknesses of fiberglass screen will be placed between the drainage stones and the coco/soil mixture.
- You obviously don't have to use black paint but it will match the trim of the tank nicely...I don't think these come in wood grain...maybe they do.
- Coralife makes a neat little "aqualight" that is 9"L x 5"W x 2"H and holds two 9 watt compact flourescent bulbs...two of these units (4 bulbs) should fit nicely on top and hopefully provide enough light for plants and not get too hot resting on the glass...we'll see. If they do I'll raise them with blocks or something.
- This set up may not be large enough to house an adult trio (comments?), but should be awesome for raising young groups or breeding a pair.
I masked the tank off tonight and will paint it tomorrow. Once I have it done and planted I'll post some shots. I paid $40 for the tank and about $20 for supplies. The aqualights are $30 each (have to wait until my wife ain't lookin to nab those bad boys), and the plants won't cost much....so for approx $140 bucks and some time invested...should make a nice terrarium from something I almost pitched into the trash.
04-24-2006, 08:48 PM
Sounds cool! Can you post pics of the setup?
04-25-2006, 12:55 PM
Thanks, Sly. Here is the tank now completed, but unplanted.
I did not like the look of the edges (having a 'glass only' edge at the top front) and at the paint line, so I trimmed them (basset trim, painted black) between the original, (now) vertical trim to give the tank a more finished look. I also had to sand the end of the front added trim piece at the top to get the screen to slide all the way on. Also, I painted the entire outside surface of the back black. The screen can be seen on the right. I hope to get it finished in the next week or so...Icky is most likely hating the 2 1/2 gallon he/she is chilling in at present. It took a little more work than I thought, but still no more than three hours all together...it'll be worth it.
05-01-2006, 08:12 PM
Well...the construction is done and I've begun to plant. The only plant so far is a Sansevieria. I have a sprig of creeping ficus that I plan to run up the log once it gets well rooted. I want to keep the tank open as much as possible for ease of egg collection...this is also the reason I put the gravel down over the soil. I plan to take a portion of cork log, cut it lengthwise, make a bed of sphagnum inside, and hopefully she'll use it for egg deposition.
Hopefully this amount of area (12x12x22) will house an adult pair and keep them happy enough to breed. I'll also add some branches once I find the right ones.
05-01-2006, 09:38 PM
Great looking set up, it gives me some good ideas for my next projectwith Phelsumas.
05-02-2006, 07:53 PM
Thanks a bunch. It turned out to be more work than I thought...but I'm happy with it...and it appears Icky is happy with the Sansevieria...I found him here chilled and ready for the day's sleep at about 7:30 this morning at lights on...He/She stayed there all day.
Looks nice, one thing you need to be extremely careful of is that none of that gravel is accidentally ingested, if a Crested jumps for a cricket and accidentally gets that in its mouth it could easily be swallowed and that can cause some serious problems. Definitely keep an eye on it, and you may even want to reconsider using it, it's a bit risky to be honest.
05-03-2006, 04:56 AM
Icky is a CGD only guy/girl...so I hopefully will not have to worry about it. Thanks though.
I doubt it will be a problem but what if some of that cgd gets on the gravel and your gecko (with it's incredible sense of smell)decides to eat the whole thing?I have seen it happen with other geckos.Also your setup looks nice but it is a better Phelsuma setup than a crested.You might be promoting floptail with this setup.Also with gravel and that much screen you will have to watch your humidity without a humid hide.Just my thoughts.
Actually your cage is really a desert setup it's something I would keep Sceloporus or Crotaphytus in.Or Standings day gecko.
05-03-2006, 05:24 PM
Yeah...it looks a little deserty right now...I'll give ya that, but the humidity in the room is around 50% (aided by a trusty humidifier), so with added misting a couple times a day...it should be alright. Icky really seems to love the smooth feel of Sansevieria. It won't look so arid once the other plantings are in. The food bowl is positioned so the lizard can eat hanging head down, so I don't really forsee problems with the rocks...although I know it is a possible hazard. I may switch to larger stone in the future though...
I am curious about the floptail condition...what is it and why would this design promote it?
Most cresteds will choose to get right down in that bowl and not eat upside down.Possibly getting the food on their feet and spreading it all over the cage.Then going back later and licking or eating it for a snack.Without the proper conditions your animals may choose to spend the majority of their time hanging upside down,which could promote floptail.Also it might be that your crested likes the sansevaria so much because it has no better alternative for a place to hang out.Its just not a natural Rhacodactylus set up.They don't live on gravel plains or dry creekbeds.They live in forest litter with lots of cover.You can keep them as you wish just giving my advise.
One more thing.Is that picture in the first post the same place you are keeping your cresteds?It says that the humidity is 39% outside the cage.If this is true your open air design might be less humid than the room because the air might suck the moisture out of the soil in the cage.
05-04-2006, 02:46 PM
Here's a link to another thread about Floppy Tail Syndrome:
The thing with your tank is that almost every surface in there is vertical. It's good that you have a diagonal log, but when you add more plantings etc. you ought to consider some horizontal or gently diagonal perch areas too. Of course, my female with FTS slept and still prefers sleeping against the glass, although she doesn't always sleep upside down.
05-04-2006, 05:08 PM
Wow...I almost made a smart aleck comment that appears to be the truth? Floppy tail is caused by gravity? In an arboreal gecko? That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. I guess it's a good thing Icky has always slept either terrestrially or head up...
The point (a good one) is taken that there is no horizontal suface in this tank other than the ground...and I will change that. I will also get some bigger stones so there is no chance of swallowing them. The log is a much better hide than the Snake plant...but Icky will not sleep there...crawls on it at night... but won't sleep in it. I'll remove it and get something horizontal going....
Yeah, Jay...39%...welcome to Indiana. It's worse in the winter, dude. I've got a humidifier going that keeps it at around %50, but I may get a piece of plexi that will fit the right side up to about what...3/4 up the side?
Thanks guys for the heads up...no pun intended...seriously.
Have you seen where I live?Kansas City is no different,as far as humidity goes.Cresteds are arboreal but not in the typical manner.They do not live on the trunks of trees,or any other vertical surface for that matter.If they did they would be eaten by R.leachianus.They live in bushy foliage.I wonder if the reason leachianus doesn't have a long prehensile tail is because they evolved to live on the trunks.It should be assumed that any animal with a long strongly prehensile tail is an animal that would not spend any real amount of time on a surface that would render it's tail worthless.(ie.a smooth surface that is too big for it to wrap its tail around)I also don't agree at all with the use of gravel as a substrate,I just think it's a bad idea.Just giving my thoughts,I haven't been keeping geckos very long.
05-08-2006, 06:16 AM
Okay guys...made some changes. I am going to look into getting some moss going on the bottom. I decided that if I plan to breed these guys the rocks were just an unnecessary risk...thanks guys for the help in this development. It would be nice to occasionally give some crickets as well...CGD is awesome...but so is predation...so I jerked the rocks.
Anyway, in less than ten minutes after introduction I saw Icky jump from one branch to another...really drove the point home. Thanks again.
05-08-2006, 06:59 AM
Nice tank and setup... I think it looks a lot better with branches and no rocks. You might consider adding some leafy plastic vines up around the top - I bet the little guy would like them too, and it would be a nice touch. :)
05-12-2006, 02:32 PM
I agree with Nick. Stop at the local craft store and pick up a couple 8 foot garlands of fake Pothos and wrap them around the branches. Or, stop at home depot and pick up a Pothos hanging basket and pop it in there on one of the branches.
Way I judge foliage in my tanks is how many geckos I can see. I figure if there are less than 5 in there I shouldn't see any. 5- 10 (for group housed babies) I should be able to see 1-2 on a quick glance. If I can see more than that it means I am not providing enough cover for them to hide in.
07-20-2006, 10:06 AM
how did you manage to make a front for the 10 when you didn't have the sliding screen? I have a 20L tank at my disposal, and that would be a wonderful idea for my cresty! let me know if you can, if theres any way i can fashion a front to a 20L
07-20-2006, 05:10 PM
I bought lexan and cut it to fit the inside groove of the ten gallon. Measured and drilled about fifty air holes, and painted the outside surface black.
Worked like a charm except for the staying in part over the long term. I used velco, attaching it to the outside of the door and having the receiving (fuzzy) end on the outside of the tank's trim...but it looked like crap and eventually some of it started to come off. There has to be a better way that won't look like crap...I'm sure someone on here has a good suggestion.
By the way...here is a shot of Icky's tank now. I finally found some Scindapsus. I plan to cover the front with moss soon. There is a small Ficus pumila in the lower right, so the tank should be a jungle a year from now.
07-20-2006, 06:04 PM
The tanks looks great and I think the crested will be much happier with the new setup.
I really love to see fully decorated tanks and there constrution, take more pics in a few months so we can see the progress.
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