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Thread: The new terrarium construction material is here!

  1. #1
    swords's Avatar
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    The new terrarium construction material is here!

    Well since I let the cat outta the bag on the spray foam thread about my upcoming project I will show you the new material I'm going to build my double stack Highland vivarium and greenhouse terrarium out of.

    This is called AZEK PVC Trimboard, which is a waterproof "wood" made from PVC plastic. Like PVC pipes but in a handy board shape. I've just found out about it a while ago and they just started carrying it at my Home Depot - perfect timing! They actually sell it in several places around the store but be sure you get it by the regular pine lumber because it's 1/2 the price it is if you buy it over in the trim/moulding section. Those dirty bast...

    Anyway, this is the label, note the front side of the board has a fake wood grain the other edges and backside are smooth:


    Here's a shot of the two sizes I'll be using, 2.5" and 5.5". Currently being blessed by a greater daemon of Nurgle and the satan-in-a-mushroom-cloud sculpture shown on the cover of Onslaughts latest CD "killing peace".


    The "Master" Plan (subject to change ):

    Finished sizes:

    Upper Display Vivarium: 4 ft L x 3 ft H x 2 ft W

    Lower Greenhouse Terrarium: 4 ft L x 2 ft H x 2 ft W

    The tanks will be built from trim board frames - the 5.5" boards will make up the lower part of the frame to hide the false bottom and soil level.

    Waterproof fiberglass tub/shower surround panels will be used to cover the frames create the "walls" and a "floor".

    The whole thing will be constructed basically like a plastic aquarium. All joins attached by aquarium silicone or Azek cement which I believe melts the plastic together permanently. I bought the Azek cement to play with and see if it really works. In any case the inner seams will be siliconed again after they bond the first time.

    The bottoms will be lined with a puncture proof pond liner siliconed in place. They will both have 2" false bottoms installed so it can be drained periodically. On the frog board the guy who gave me the idea puts bulkheads in the bottom of his to drain the water with an external ball valve but I'm too scared to cut through the pond liner and frame. I'm already going to a lot of work to make it waterproof in the first place! So I'll just make a disguiseable internal siphon pipe - I'm used to that.

    The fronts will be sliding glass panels, I'm waiting on my white sliding door track to arrive Even though i have an abundance of the black sliding track I want to use white for these. I want these tanks to look really clean and spiffy both inside and out.

    The lids will be 1/2" plexiglass drilled for Mist King mister nozzles.

    There will be an adjustable air input fan that runs from 0 - 216 CFM to supply cool humid winds to the two chambers day and night. I shouldn't really need to go to a mini-hurricane force winds of 216 for these rather small tanks but I want to see if it helps during the hottest days of summer.

    A Greenhouse humidistat in the lower greenhouse terrarium will control the ultrasonic humidifier that will keep the air 80% RH in both tanks.

    If this project turns out the way I'm hoping then I will also be doing a Lowland double stack display vivarium and greenhouse terrarium.

    I am still up in the air about what lighting to use. The lamps will be mounted externally from the tank environment so low flow PC fans are definitely going to be used to expel their heat.

    HO T5 looks good on paper but I need cool running lights for this setup and they supposedly get raging hot. How hot are they when separated from the plants via 1/2" plexi which seems to be a pretty good insulator - anyone know? I think Av8tor said the bulbs surface ran some 160*F -woo!

    Lighting supplies onhand: I could use several giant 125W horticultural twisty CFLs which have a good depth reach and a 2 ft x 2 ft primary light spread from each lamp. I Also have two pairs of 100W reef keepers Power compacts, or two 240W (six lamp) setups of T12s. 400W HPS, not really wanting to use that cos it's so damned expensive to run the ballast.

    More on this project will be posted periodically as my busy January work schedule allows...

  2. #2
    blokeman's Avatar
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    i'll take the temps tomorrow, it's hot to the touch, but the glass separator is only warm, so i assume you will only see a slight difference in temps with a plexi divider between the two...

    eh, is that material solid, or hollow?
    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

  3. #3
    swords's Avatar
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    It's just like a wooden board but made from solid plastic. I've seen hollow plastic boards in the garage dept but for some reason that stuff makes me nervous, maybe it could crack or...?

    The 2.5" W stuff was $10.25 each and the 5.5" W was $21.95 each and comes in 8 ft lengths. Kinda spendy but still cheaper/easier than trying to assemble glass of the same dimensions.

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    jimmy uphwiz's Avatar
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    im watching this. but i wont rush, im doing another terr now and it does take time, for even this small project , it will be for my lowland neps mainly , not as big as my highland though 24 w, 16 h, 15 deep , but just about the same , except i stole the idea of thick plexi glass for the back half top piece , so i can drill holes for venting ,wires ,and such , will have the sliding doors too, i got my e track you suggested as well.
    thanks for the cool ideas im riding your coat tails. Havent tried any of the adheasives but have several ready to try, starting with the amazing goop (all purpose)

  5. #5
    swords's Avatar
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    I'm simply riding on others coat tails and perverting it for my own use, maybe we should form a local Vivarium Builders Coat Tail Riders Union!

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    jimmy uphwiz's Avatar
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    right on man LOL is that you on Halloween . or is it your sunday best ? the avatar i mean.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    LOL... the other day I poked my head into my boss' office to ask her a question. She can be pretty serious, even intimidating, and likes to shut herself up in her office when she needs to concentrate on stuff. To my surprise, when I opened the door she was listening to Twisted Sister, which seemed especially odd to me seeing as she'd mentioned she had a nasty headache that day. Other titles on her CD shelf include White Snake, Metallica, etc. In addition to classic metal titles, there's a smattering of notable but weird bands from other genres of around the same time. I used to really dislike my job, but the more I get to know my coworkers the more amusing it gets.
    I guess I don't need to mention, I dig your terraria and am chronically jealous. If I didn't have a bunch of other expenses to take care of right now I'd probably be following along. That plastic stuff sounds like it would be great to make a tank in the style of an old Wardian case.
    ~Joe
    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 /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    swords's Avatar
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    Jimmy just click my signature for a music video!

    LOL yeah Twisted Sister are terribly cheesy but they are so much fun to see live. It's great to go to a concert and the crowd is singing along so loud it almost drowns out the band! The funniest thing I've seen though was Quiet Riot cos their singer was almost bald from male pattern baldness in the 80s, now he has a huge hair farm... where did it all come from? All the old stadium rock bands play here at a place called The Medina Ballroom - which on Sunday mornings is where the town has a flea market/swap meet. Iron Maiden played there once and the only stage decoration they could fit was a giant Eddie head sitting on one end of the stage there wasn't enough room for a huge stage full of props and pyro. Death & Black metal bands play in Minneapolis but out in hicksville we get all the dinosaur bands like Alice Cooper, Lizzy Borden, WASP, etc. I feel like a 10 year old kid again when I go to a concert of one of these old hair bands. You may not have played the LP in 15-20 years but as soon as you hear the music the words come right to mind!

    A wardian case like "wood" and glass plates? That would be very cool! The guy I learned about this material from has a much better saw than me so what he does to install walls is cut 1/2" deep slots along each piece and build a frame with an open top with the slots inside the frame then he just slides the light diffuser panels down into the frame and then installs the top piece of the frame. You could do glass just the same I'm sure if you had a table saw to make those slot cuts. I just have nowhere to keep such a saw when not in use.

    I get to blow a bit of extra cash every so often cos we HAVE to work overtime on the busy months (every 90 days/business quarter end) whether we want to or not. I choose not but since they laid off a bunch of people we don't get a choice anymore. I've also sold off about 2000 books in the last month or so, now I have lots of space!

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