saltwater viv construction log

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ohbly

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Feb 9, 2006
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New Zealand
I'm building a vivarium thats inspired by the inner Waitemata harbour shoreline.
I'm using a cube tank and my goal is for it to appear that the tank was 'cut' out from a larger environment.
heres the new tank-

its a 450mmx450mmx450mm cube, about 91 ltrs in volume

To seperate the land and water areas Im making moulded foam fake rock.
I used two pot expandable foam that is used for boat building.
It is amazing stuff! about 5mm deep of liquid makes about 160mm deep foam!

Heres a mould I make out of cardboard-

The large shape it to devide the land, stream and pool and the smaller shapes are for rocks.

here it is full of foam-

I was expecting to build it up in layers but it expanded so much that it only took one pour(about 100ml).

here it is out of the mould-

Putting gladwrap in the mould was a big mistake! I should have taped the gaps and smeared vasaline on it as a release agent..

Now I have to carve it. I will be back with updates soon..
 

ohbly

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Feb 9, 2006
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ta:)
The two pot foam is very easy to carve, it can be cut, sawn, drilled and sanded.
Much easier to work with than greatstuff..

heres a lump of foam-

I carved it with a knife, a scaple blade and a drill bit.

here it is after carving-

Im going for a worm eaten look that it common for the marine sandstone in my area, but I had to exaggerate the holes so that I can coat it easily..

heres the main bit before I carved it-


here it is after-


this is where the wee pump will go-

The side cover is removable. Im going to have to make it heavier so it doesnt float out..

heres all the foam carved-

I have to bog it and sand it so it fits snugly in the tank.

Now I have to paint it, then epoxy and sand it and glue it in..
 

Ajordan

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Nov 21, 2006
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that foam looks like it is a lot easier to work with than great stuff. You mentioned its a two 'pot' expanding foam for marine applications. I assume you mean two part from my googling... looks like neat stuff
 

ohbly

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Feb 9, 2006
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yeah it is but its very $$$
Its not something youd buy just to make a viv unless you can get hold of small amount- one cup wet will make about 10 ltrs of foam!
 

cheungsta

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Nov 29, 2007
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neat project!! I wish i had that foam stuff when i built the basking platform for my Beardie.....woulda made life so much easier.

out of curiousity...what are you planning on keeping in the SW viv? very cool idea btw...
 

vampie

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Oct 25, 2006
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Technically, any saltwater aquarium would be a vivarium. Haha, but anyways, I'm interested in what fauna/flora's going in there as well.
 

ohbly

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Feb 9, 2006
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New Zealand
Im going to be stocking it with native flora and fauna.
The plants will be mainly small ferns and mosses.
Because there is going to be alot going on with the hard landscaping I want the planting to be soft and subtle.
The main creature is going to be a shore crab - Leptograpsus variegatus
they are very cool crabs, I see them when I go fishing from the rocks.
They live above the high tide mark and they seem to be very intelligent and easily tamed. They are also fairly colourful as far as crabs go.
The only problem is they are also ferocious and anything else that goes in there will have to be very fast and good at hiding.

I have been experimenting with epoxy and sand to make the foam look like rock.
I collected 3 different sands- black, brown and tan.
I read on the interweb on how to do it but I couldnt find any pictures so I will post some on here:)
epoxying the sand onto the foam made it look like blobs of sand:headshake2:-


they looked crap so I added a pinch of very find, very dry soil to the black sand and I got this-

I liked how it turned out:)

heres another pic-


and heres a not-so-close shot showing the sand and soil with the soilless sand-

looks much better I think

btw here is a shot showing how fine the foam can be carved-


finaly heres where Im up to now-

tis abit hard to make out but it will make sense latter on..

Now I have to coat the foam with expoxy, sand and soil and glue it in.
Then I will make the background.
After christmas of course!!!
 
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