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Then I spent a long time making it look as real as I could

Then I mocked up a tree

Then I found driftwood

Here is a picture of the rock base put together with blue insulation foam sheets that I modified.

Here it is after I got the 1cm thick lexan ( Acrylic Sheet )cut and I bonded the panes together with chemical solvent

Here is my design before the build

 A sample project using artificial vines : 



First off are the goals.


[1] LIGHTWEIGHT- I have two flights of narrow stairs separating my apartment from the outside world and transporting large tanks in the past has been tricky and dangerous.
[2] Not likely to shatter
[3] Ability to take apart for my upcomming move (~1 yr)
[4] Easy to clean

[5] Not too overbearing, lots of small details adding to the big picture
[Euro style ventilation to keep the door relatively water droplet free
[6]False bottom?? I would like to have minimal soil, lots of leaf litter but not much in the way of soil. I want most of the plants to be rooted to the backwall and outhanging wood
[7] Mistking irrigation

Vivarium Design and build ..


Back to the Main Vivarium Page ..

moss- 3 types of spagnum

Orchids (2) P.mannii

Video For the Project :

[1] Mistking starter kit with 3 spray nozzels aquired
[2] Novus plastic polish to get the scratches out of the lexan
[3] I wired and sodered the top lights, now just need to calculate the amperage required for maximum power.
[4] Ordered some rare bulbophylums off ebay- hope they come in alive.
[5] I'm getting deck restore (a thick textured armour coat used to cover shitty old decks) to coat my rock base to prevent flaking and the foam from breaking off. I may mix some acrylic paints to make the rock look nicer. (By may I mean I will)

Orchids Bulbophylum sp.

 climber  ?

microgramma lycopoides and monstera siltepecana

foliage plant

NEXT steps


1) Seal the rock base to make it more frog safe
(2) Install 1 or two high powered fans that I have into the tree, one at the top, one at the bottom.- frogsafe them by building a mesh cage around the fans
(3) Install perforated sheet metal a few mm thich (stainless) and silicon strips to attach a metal vent area around the top outer area between the perimeter of the centre substrait retaining square and the sides of the tank. (ref to blueprint if confused)
(4) Figure out drainage...
(5) Install LED lights using corner strip lights (cool white 50/50 SMD) housed in long U-shaped aluminum fittings, and top blue/warm white 50/50 LED strips in high density on the roof of the tank.
(6) Install mistking with 3 misting heads. Maybe more?
(7) Make and install a PVC square shaped tube ontop of the enclosure to act as hygrolon water wick store
(8) Make liana vines lined with hygrolon to carry water to certain areas of the treebark to support orchids and moss
(9) Put a fogger somewhere...
(10) Add plants
(11) Find out what species of arboreal communal frog to add to the tank
(13) Relax finally



I used eggcrate to hold up the LED light strips which are also mounted onto a waterproofed fiberboard back

The eggcrate narrows the light and allows me to look at the top of the viv without straining my eyes. It also allows for airflow to disperse the heat created by the lightstrips.


Next I used a product called deck restore to make the rocks real, waterproof and solid. They look bad-ass now and they dont flake whatsoever. The texture will allow moss to cling to it for sure. I don't believe it has any toxic properties either.

It dried very quickly, under 5 hours and I put two thick coats on. 

plants :



I also found 4 large computer processor heatsinks with mounted fans for the 30W LEDs to cool them down. I will be getting a ridgid aluminum sheet metal 20" by 20" to mounteverything to. I'll have to cut out 4 holes for the large LEDs. These things are very very bright.

Here is the list so far..

-60 degree optics (x10)
-CREE LED fakes (x10) Royal blue
-Heatsink grease
-WARM white 30W LEDS (x2)
-COOL white 30W LEDS (x2)
-4 CPU processor heatsinks w/fans
-36V-9.6A Power source w/ internal heatsink and fan.

I also found 4 large computer processor heatsinks with mounted fans for the 30W LEDs to cool them down. I will be getting a ridgid aluminum sheet metal 20" by 20" to mounteverything to. I'll have to cut out 4 holes for the large LEDs. These things are very very bright.

So I bought a vintage fogger back when they used to make things right. Here is the mock up.


The fog comes out very dense and very fast. the tank fills in a few seconds and then rushes out the ventilation at the bottom of the tank. I may need to block off some of that ventilation.

-not enough light- LED's keep on dying- need to get new lighting up and running
-many orchids have dropped their leaves
-things have been drying out too much
-need to find a robust pump to recycle the dirty water in the moat to the top of the tree to continuously flush the hygrolon because it is drying out too fast

So I bought a strong pump from Germany (through ebay) and the next step is to build a simple water filtration sump/ collector to replace the bucket that collects the overflow water from the tank. The pump will recirculate the water (which at first was very orange/brown but now is fairly clear) that overflows and push it back up into the milk bag at the top of the tree to saturate the hygrolon growth fabric. I'll get the pump to run at the same time cycle as the misting heads, 8 times a day for 40 seconds or so on average.


I have moved things around and made 3 large cuttings from the amazonica to replant at the base of the tree. Two of the 3 are being tested right now. Hopefully they take (I had them in moist plastic bags under the lights for a few weeks to stimulate root growth)

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