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twitch_doberman
03-27-2008, 11:31 PM
ok so i have already layed down my great stuff and sculpted. I'm working with a 50 gal tank. now 4 cans of great stuff later i want to find the best idea for what to add on top. I read athread on vivariumforum.com where someone layed down black silicone and added pebbles and then sand where the pebbles didn't cover. i would love to see the result. was also think doing that and a combo with coco husk. or instead of the pebble idea habacrete. but now that i read about it i'm really liking the pebble idea since i can't afford the $40 for habacrete and i don't know if 3lbs will be enough for 50 gal tank. i dunno.. I have some photos from the start to where I am now
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So this is what i have so far. the last 2 pics are of a hide for the geckos. will be attatched once the inside is covered in either coco fiber or something else . very open to any ideas. and yeh i finnaly came across a post that said something about black silicone on glass on the sides before applying GS after i applied it. XD even though i've been going through posts on here and vivarium forums and never found anything nor did anyone care to mention it to me. oh well. maybe i just get some balck paint for the outside. I'll figure sumthin out! or you can all give me ideas to! XD

Elphaba
03-27-2008, 11:48 PM
Hi there,

Pebbles are going to make your tank extremely heavy! You might want to go the route of smearing on silicone and then dumping on either coconut fiber or just plain milled peat moss. Sand works too, but since it's so fine it's going to scrape off really easily under the toes of your geckos. I have a lot of experience with the GreatStuff + silicone + coconut fiber/peat method, and I think this would work for you. I prefer peat because it's darker.

Either way, do this in sections so you don't overwhelm yourself! Silicone fumes can really make you dizzy.

Black or brown silicone works wonders for looking natural, even if it does end up showing through your background.

1) After you've applied and spread the silicone -- make it thick but not gobbed on there -- be sure to dump whatever substrate you're going to use on quickly and press down HARD if it's loose. Pack it on there! It's a good idea to do small sections at a time, because silicone cures (dries) very quickly and if you spread it all over your huge background, then go to apply your substrate, some of it is going to be dry. USE GLOVES! Getting a mixture of silicone and substrate on your hands isn't harmful to you, but it sure does look gross.

2) Once you've completed the background, don't start putting plants and stuff in there yet! Get your vacuum and gently suction off the excess substrate. Do this several times. You'll then be able to see where you need to touch up places -- the foam will inevitably peek through somewhere, so best not to worry about it too much.

Here's what my day gecko tank looked like with the GreatStuff + silicone + peat method before real planting:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v231/serpensortia/latitank.jpg

And then, when I got serious:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v231/serpensortia/Geckotank.jpg

The smaller bromeliad in the background has since been replaced with a larger one, but you can see how the background works! Hope this helps you! If you have any questions or I wasn't clear, let me know!

~Ash

twitch_doberman
03-27-2008, 11:57 PM
omg thank you! lol yeh i've been really leaning twords the cocofiber but the peat method looks really nice. with the oebbles i didn't want to do a whole lot of area with them since it would be so heavy especialy this a tank this big. do you know of a good site to get the cocofiber or peat from since any store here i've been to i haven't found anything. you're tank looks amazing and i'm sure you're geckos are quite happy!

Elphaba
03-28-2008, 12:03 AM
You can get some milled sphagnum moss or peat, or really just any potting soil without fertilizers and all those nasty additions, at Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe's. :) They all work! They're all also really cheap -- about $3.59 will get you a fairly large bag. Try to get a brand that doesn't have a ton of extras added, as said above -- the main thing to avoid is perlite (little white things in the mix), as if your geckos happen to swallow one of those while going after prey, it could spell death for them.

Hope this helps! Please feel free to ask away. :) I'll do my best to answer your questions!

Best,
Ash

twitch_doberman
03-28-2008, 12:07 AM
thank you! you have been the only help i've gotten during this project :) as soon as i get some cash i'll have to go check it out we have a home depot and walmart and lowes all very close. I'll keep updating and if i have any more questions i'll definitely shoot you a pm!

firereptiles
03-28-2008, 08:25 PM
I agree with Ash, just use potting soil because they are light and cheap. And you really need to press Hard to make the substrate attached to the silicone.

I usually put the substrate right on the "great stuff" without silicone, because simply it is faster this way. But you can't really sculpt the great stuff nicely if you put the soil right away..
I'm just impatient, and like the random results when the great stuff dries up. :D

Keep us updated!

twitch_doberman
04-09-2008, 05:09 AM
I'm done! whoo hoo. just need a longer light and a cage top. :) i'll also be adding some more wood pieces and some more colorful plants. can't wait until it all grows in. tried to get some decent pictures but the lighting was sucky.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone009.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone008.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone007.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone006.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone005.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone004.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone002.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v340/rabid_mouse/tankdone001.jpg

phearamedusa
04-09-2008, 10:11 PM
I think you did a really nice job. I hope you put the bamboo in some sort of container, I believe it can be a bit unruly once it starts to grow. As in invasive.

hayseeds
04-17-2008, 09:23 PM
Wow, I'm impressed. Has anyone tried sculpting the background using aluminum window screen and then covering it with the foam? Anyone up for trying it and posting pictures? You could get your ledges and hides then and still be able to put the peat/coco substrate on the foam while still wet.


Newbie,
Mary Ann
1 terrarium sitting lonely and forlorn in the window waiting for mourning geckos.

Riverside Reptiles
04-17-2008, 09:54 PM
That turned out to look really nice. Good job!

phearamedusa
04-17-2008, 11:20 PM
Wow, I'm impressed. Has anyone tried sculpting the background using aluminum window screen and then covering it with the foam? Anyone up for trying it and posting pictures? You could get your ledges and hides then and still be able to put the peat/coco substrate on the foam while still wet.


Newbie,
Mary Ann
1 terrarium sitting lonely and forlorn in the window waiting for mourning geckos.

the problem, I think, would be that GS foam doesn't always go or do what you want, IT has a mind of its own. I did think of trying that myself, but thoughts about how it might go wrong made me change my mind.