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Thread: Custom terrarium hardware finally found - gimmie some input!

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    swords's Avatar
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    Custom terrarium hardware finally found - gimmie some input!

    Hi folks! I've finally found some parts I've long needed for building a custom landscape vivarium which I didn't know where to get until now. I found them at the most unlikely place: Rockler's woodworking shop. I'm going to go buy them on Thursday if they're available in the local retail shop otherwise I'll order online.

    The parts in consideration:

    Here is a free swinging (no drill) glass door hinges for 1/4" glass panels:
    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=132

    Here's the low profile magnet catches to go with that (I would use a magnet set on top and bottom)
    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=142

    And what seems for me the creme de la creme, the "dutch" sliding door track that holds two 1/4" glass panels:
    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=2275

    If you were going to build a custom vivarium of 4 ft W x 3 ft H x 2 ft D with most of the whole front as glass (24" W x 24" H doors if swinging and 24" x 26" panels if sliding) would you use the sliding track or the magnet/hinge setup? Could the magnet/hinge setup "go bad" in a very high humidity environment as a jungle viv with possible waterfall?

    My 56 gal viv so far only has one female Anole (hatched out of an egg hidden in a plant pot a year or so ago) but I was thinking if I get the new one setup and stabilized nicely by mid summer or fall I'd like to get a group of dart frogs or some other sort of small, colorful & singing frogs in there. Any species suggestions for these criterion I could do some research on?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Seems to me that the slider would be less prone to accidental breaking. The only real advantage in swinging doors is that you can open both at the same time. With sliding doors, you can take the panels out of the track to get the whole doorway open, but it is a bit of a hassle. On hinges, you always run a risk of opening/closing the door too hard and breaking it (which should be pretty unlikely with 1/4" glass,) or leaving the door open and then cracking your head on corner (something I do regularly on my kitchen cabinets.) All in all, it's a pretty even call. Unless you're particularly accident-prone, I say go with whatever you like the look of best.
    Definitely off-topic, but why did you italicize "small, colorful & singing?"
    ~Joe
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    i think the swinging door would be a sharper look, and what about those magentic touch latches, those would absorb/damper more swining motion (in regards to the accident prone comment), more than the low pro one's at least, but might run the risk of jamming up i suppose. GREAT FIND! my friend is making a custom terra, i'll let him know about these products...
    Grow list...
    http://terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114907

    “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” C.S. Lewis

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    swords's Avatar
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    My main fear is the critters escaping the enclosure as I mist or otherwise work on the tank. They won't last with my two cats around, lol!

    My fave design is the sliding track, after years of lusting after the European vivariums. I'm just wondering if there's anything I'm not considering about a sliding door.

    I guess I italicized the words cos those are my main requirements for a set of frogs. I'd definitely like them to be daytime active as well. I love the Red Eyes but since they sleep all day that's rather dull.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Who cares if they sleep all day? Put in a set of night lights ("moon lights," perhaps?) in the blacklight or far red spectrum so that you can see at night without disrupting the photoperiod. If you're interested in that kind of frog, I say you should find a way to make it work. (Don't tell me you're not up at night to enjoy them, heh.)
    As for the slider, I think it would definitely be a better choice over swinging doors if you have jumping critters. With a swinging door it's either open or shut - as soon as it swings wide enough to allow access, something as small as a frog should have little trouble getting around the edges. I agree with bloke than swinging doors look nicer, but it sounds to me like they aren't as practical for your application.
    Have you seen the vivariums where the doors are raised above the base of the tank? There's a strip of solid wall that runs along the base of the front and the doors are mounted above it, so that the bottom of the tank is totally walled in and you have to get in through the top half of the front wall. I think that might be a good design choice for frogs since they'd need an upward trajectory to get out - my thought is that hopefully that would make it easier to notice them as they escape.
    This sounds like a really fun project - I'm totally jealous. Keep us posted.
    ~Joe

    PS - About frogs, have you read about how people find frogs hunting in Heliamphora pitchers? I think it would be really cool to do a tank with some Helis and associated frogs. You could do some interesting waterscaping stuff with mosses, rock shelves and waterfalls - maybe even make a "cloud waterfall" with an ultrasonic fogger? How unbearably cute would it be to see some little tree frogs nestled into pitchers, waiting for their dinner to come along? Arg, now I need to make one for myself!
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
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    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    I have swinging doors on my 3 foot terrarium, it has two of them on the front and it makes it very easy to access the plants. One thing I would like to say is that glass is heavier and easier to cut yourself on if it is not beveled. I built the tank out of glass but the doors are plexiglass, you can't tell the difference.
    view my growlist
    http://grwlist.notlong.com

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    swords's Avatar
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    Yup Seedy, you've got it! The front doors will be raised 8" off the bottom (and 3" down from the top). There will be an 8" brace at the bottom and 3" brace at the top where the door track or magnets would sit.

    The viv itself will be built of wood that's covered inside with fiberglass tub surround (making the wood waterproof), after assembly all interior joins will be siliconed like a fish tank.

    Next goes in a huge but shallow (4" deep) under bed storage bin that just fits the inner dimensions of the tank as a "for sure" waterproof resivor. The back and side walls and probably 2/3 of the resivor bin will have "organic land masses" built up with Good Stuff urethane spray foam impregnated with driftwood, rocks, net pots and cork bark tubes. All foam will be hidden by black silicone and coco coir, so moss, orchids and other goodies can easily grow all over it.

    Not sure if I'll do a waterfall coming out of the back wall or just leave the resivor as a place to collect run off from watering and the daily misting, like a mini "bog".

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    JMurphy97's Avatar
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    Nice I'm trying to get ideas to build something like this for my plants, just out of wood. Post pics when it's done.

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