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  1. #11
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    A couple of thoughts for you.

    For soil, I would skip the Miracle Grow Organics choice. In a terrarium situation, after a few months its going to compact quite tight, and suffocate the roots. You would be far better using ABG substrate instead. That can also be purchased from Josh's Frogs. It's a little more expensive, but will yield significantly healthier plants.

    As for your drainage later, personally, I like hydroton. An inch or two under the substrate, with a screen or weed block barrier in between, makes for plenty of drainage. Because it's fairly large, and clay, it seems to leave plenty of space for a good bit of water, but also helps keep the soil damn, but not soupy.

    I've done styrofoam backgrounds. Personally, I wasn't impressed. They were a lot of work, they didn't look very natural, and mine didn't seem to grow plants very well or last very long. Now I do cork bark mosaic backgrounds on all of my tanks, and I have excellent results. They don't take up much space, and the plants LOVE them. Here is a great tutorial on what they are, and how to do them. They're also WAY less work then the styrofoam method.

    For a cheap LED light, you might want to check out Beamswork lights. They sell them on Ebay, or over at aquatraders.com. An 18" fixture runs for 35-40$ shipped, depending on the model, and lots of people have great success. I haven't tried one personally yet, although I have an order being shipped to me now.

    I would skip the Jobes plant sticks. On the off chance your gecko digs through your soil, you don't want them uncovering such a thing. Also, with ABG, you really shouldn't need it. The plants grow plenty fast enough as it is.

    I have heard philodendrons aren't gecko safe. According to this resource, Philodendron- All parts of the plant are poisonous, due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Make sure to double check this vs. Pothos, they look alike and are generally mix together at most plant stores. Some say that this plant is safe but from my reading I do not agree they are for all herps. With that said, your mileage may vary, but I personally haven't wanted to risk it. The Selaginella may have a rough go of it in a gecko tank. If memory serves, they tend to like it a bit more humid then your average gecko appreciates. The ficus will probably need a good long while to settle in before introducing the gecko. It's a fairly fragile plant. I've had good success with Cryptanthus species before, and some of the larger pileas. Aluminum, and friendship are both spreading and growing like wildfire in my crested tank. I've personally never had good luck with Sansiveria. They really like the soil to get completely dry between waterings, and in a humid terrarium situation, I've never seemed to accomplish that, while keeping the humidity high enough for a crested.

    I've done a bit of research on that mushroom kit before. I haven't found anyone who's ever had luck growing it. However, a healthy terrarium will often have mushrooms pop up. They don't glow in the dark, but they do appear in mine on a semi monthly basis.

    I'm not entirely sure the sealant you want to use on your styrofoam is safe. I've never heard of it. You might want to swing over to dendroboard and see what they say about it.

    Also, one final note. My gecko definitely prefers eating from a platform, over eating off the ground. I got a super cheap suction cup soap holder for like 4 dollars that holds his food and water dish. Highly recommend.

  2. #12
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    New England Herpetoculture LLC - Vivarium Care Menu

    Here are a few articles and tutorials on building a viv and what you'll need. Check them out and also the DIY sub threads.

  3. #13
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    Thanks guys.

    Lots of things have changed since first writing this.

    I am doing cork bark background instead. I think I'll still make styrofoam hides to hang on the glass though for the moist hide and cheap platforms since I can make that easy. I've made a styrofoam hide for my Leopards and it wasn't the best but it was my first one and it came out pretty darned good so I have faith in my art skills lol.

    As for Philodendron, interesting! I can keep away from them then if it's even remotely not safe. Not a problem with me, I'd prefer to keep them safe so I'm happy you mentioned that. Pothos is just as easy to obtain! And thanks for the soil suggestion. I usually use Miracle Gro in my NPT's and we have to make sure substrate levels don't exceed 3 inches because then you get anaerobic soil and it's not fun to deal with; I have that in my 20 gallon long unfortunately but I live with it and so do my fish thankfully. But worth a look at the other soil. And I already have light fixtures, thank you. I have a lot of stuff left over from fish which are both usable for fish and reptiles.

    And for Polycrylic, it's safe for dry environments but usually not used in underwater situations, for that you'd have to use Plasti-dip or an epoxy/resin, or grout/cement but that has to be soaked about a month until it's leeched out and won't cause pH fluctuations.
    @CrestedRick, I actually plan to visit NEHerp soon to check them out. I already know about the actual building of the vivarium, that isn't the issue. I just wanted to make sure those plants I listed would work is all.

  4. #14
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    Ah ok. Mike and Jess are good people. As far as the hides that's up to you. I've never needed to offer a moist hide and I'm in CT. They have a huge selection of plants and are pesticide free. When you say "visit" do you mean visit the website or when you pick up supplies? You can't actually go there, it's not a store anymore. For insurance reasons you can only pick up orders, you can't actually browse the warehouse.

  5. #15
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    Oh geeze, well I'm glad you told me that! I would have been terribly disappointed lol But yes, I will be ordering from them. I like their gallon baggies of cork bark and they're plants all seem great too.

    I assume no moist hide is because the humidity is higher in their tank versus something like a Leopard? I know our humidity get's nasty up here (lived in RI my whole life and not a fan of humidity lol) but during the winter/fall months, it's rather dry in my house since we've got a wood stove. Even my Leopard tank is a bit on the dry side of things even with a nice big water dish and a moist hide.

  6. #16
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    I actually have a hard time getting my humidity below about 60% in my planted terrariums. I have one that hovers between 75-95% almost constantly, and another that I can occasionally get down to about 62%. Thus far, I haven't had a need to put in a moist hide. Especially with sphagnum moss on the soil, it keeps everything humid, while not being soggy.

    I've made several orders from NEHerp and I've had excellent success. I highly recommend their Mahogany ferns. I picked one up for my crestie and it's HUGE, and grows beautifully. I order my ABG or NEHerp soil from them as well. I've been very pleased with the growth I'm getting. I build my terrariums to last me years. I tried one with a miracle grow/ABG mix once, and within 2 months the soil was anaerobic and killing my plants. Never again.

    Given how high of a humidity planted terrariums, and gargoyles like to be, I would probably skip the Polycrilic and go with the grout method instead. Better safe then sorry.

  7. #17
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    Well if there's no need for a moist hide then I won't be building one.

    I'm glad to hear good reviews from them, I'll definitely be ordering soon ^_^

    And for the Polycrylic, it's a water based water proofer, so it can be under wetness but no one has tested it in a full blown aquarium is what I mean. It'd be fine for a regular sealer to something like Sculpy if it weren't painted but it's supposed to protect the layer of paint underneath it and make it safe, which, so far, it has done. I didn't want to use the grout because of the style I was going for and I'm an artist so I had everything else handy But if I do decide to do anything for this new tank, I'll probably go grout method.

  8. #18
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    If you're using a natural viv with a good substrate the humidity in the winter won't be a problem. I use a piece of sheet glass to cover most of the screen top to hold the humidity in. The sansaverias will do wonders with the humidity. I use NeHerp "original" Viv substrate but they have a viv substrate V2 sonic gomeithneither of those. The types of lighting you use also plays a role in heating the substrate. Just tell them you have a crested and what type of plants you'd like and mike or jess will put something together for you.

  9. #19
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    It's not the winter I'm worried about, it's the summer.

    As I noted before, I'm not doing a Crestie but a Gargoyle, though care is basically the same I know.

    Can I do a small water feature without issue? It wouldn't be anything extravegant, just a small little 1 inch puddle where I can grow Azolla and Java Moss from and have it creep up a Mopani Driftwood piece? I realize, this aids in humidity as well. It'd be sort of set in the substrate with a small ring to keep the water in. I'd use styrofoam and grout for this one though so I can set it how I want. I realize then, I have to fish out bugs that may get caught in there, I also realize that it probably wouldn't be used for drinking from the Gecko if I have a ledge where water/food is, so it's more just for me than for the Gecko. Would that be okay? Or no go?

  10. #20
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    I've done something similar in my cresties tank.



    With the rocks in there, it keeps it from getting to terribly deep, but still standing water. I've actually found him drinking from that spot in the last month more then I ever saw him drink from a water bowl in the year and a half prior.

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