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Thread: My Overkill Terrarium with Custom Rock Face & Waterfall

  1. #17

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    Nice progress! Can't wait to see the final setup.

  2. #18
    rcl27's Avatar
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    Quick progress update and change of plans.

    Still having issues with silicone. I am kind of damned if I do, damned if I don't at the moment as attempting to pull off the silicone almost always rips the paint layers off as well. I have purchased more aquarium grade silicone and just patch things up as they arise. Silicone onto silicone isn't the best option but it's better than nothing. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!

    Got a whole new problem but a decent idea to solve. My waterfall pump is too powerful for my desired water level. I got it to work in my initial test runs but I had to hit around a 5" water level instead of my prefered 4" (4 1/2" is my max). I was also running into circulation issues as very little water was being moved from the planted side back over to the filter.

    To solve this I first added a small false bottom out of plastic egg crate. The only thing this did was really show me how stagnant my water is haha. So I tried redirecting the output of my filter pump to the opposite side of the tank to "push" the water through. This helped to a degree but only exacerbated my waterfall pump air problems.

    Here is the idea I have come up with to hopefully solve both of those problems but I wanted to run it across you guys first to see if you had any input. I did another annotated picture like I have above to explain the flow and my thought process. In the picture the long black rectangle is the Fluval filter, the smaller circular rectangle above it is the UV filter, and the smaller rectangle in the back is the waterfall pump. Everything is color coded so Brown = Step 1, Blue = Step 2, Black = Step 3, and Purple = Step 4. The substrate may change but that is how it is currently setup. I am going to try and start building the bigger false bottom and piping tomorrow. I made this rather quickly in Photoshop so it's not the most professional of photos but meh.



    Thanks guys!!!

  3. #19
    rcl27's Avatar
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    It's a little difficult to read on here but if you click on the picture and then click on the original size it is much easier.

  4. #20
    Dog! maneatingmoo's Avatar
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    Breathtaking. Been itching hardcore to build a terrarium, and man oh man is this inspiring.
    Any updates? I'm very interested to see how it'll turn out!
    The following statement is true.
    The above statement is false.
    My growing growlist of growing things

  5. #21
    PsychoSarah's Avatar
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    The things we do for our plants.
    Come to me flies and crawling bugs. This plant wants to give you great big hugs
    Aren't I pretty, don't I smell good? I'd come to you if I could
    But I can't so you must come to me, I'm sure we will get along splendidly

  6. #22

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    I'm new here & glad to find another crazy person who will go to nearly any length to pull off an idea.

    There is a silicone made for bonding to plastics, Dow Corning 795. I found it when building an odd saltwater filter system, works great.

    Love the tank, looking forward to seeing it with plants!

  7. #23
    rcl27's Avatar
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    Figured I would give you guys a brief update. (Well this was brief until I wrote a whole novel lol).

    Conduit Base:
    I pretty much said screw you to the bottom conduit/base (the long bottom piece in the second photo of the original post). The amount of water it had taken on caused the Foam Coat to weaken substantially to the point that the sides sag and bend too freely. I attempted to rebuild it using plastic egg crate but the square increments it has to be cut in were simply too large. Some of the top pieces would fit but then the other half wouldn't. I finally said screw that idea too lol.

    Since I had built that small acrylic fogger I was like what the hell, why not try acrylic? I did some more research online, learned about acrylic solvent weld and how it adheres in minutes vs. a bloody hour for my silicone for acrylic (fullmonti - I have the GE stuff from Lowes. I am assuming it is quite similar to the Dow Corning. Did yours take forever to setup too?). The only downfall to this method was I needed extremely accurate edges for the solvent to work properly.

    That brings me up to where I am at now. I went by a local plastics fabricator in town today and gave them the dimensions I needed for all the pieces. I should be getting them tomorrow (05/29/14) and will attempt to weld everything together. Here's hoping for no random problems!

    Silicone:
    As for the silicone problems, I have still yet to discover the main culprit. I have been a bit discouraged so haven't got to troubleshoot as much as I would like, but I have everything prepped to go again. Two big pieces of advice though, DO NOT RUSH DRY TIMES. I got a bit ahead of myself and would jump to the next stage (i.e. paint, sealer, etc.) before things completely dried. As the silicone later peeled off, some areas took large chunks of paint with it while others were perfectly fine.

    The other piece of advice, when you finally submerge any piece in water let it sit long enough for the water to absorb into any holes and pull it out. This might take anywhere from an hour to a day. Once it is out take a sharpie (or just take a picture) and mark all of the discolored wet spots. Let it dry until they completely disappear and patch them with more silicone. Place it back in the water once the silicone dries and repeat if necessary.

    I made the mistake of saying screw it, I'm done, and just let it sit in the water for 4-5 days. The hole might have been the size of a pin head but since the water soluble paint/foam coat began absorbing the water the hole just turned into a giant straw. I let the other two submerged pieces sit out to dry for over two weeks and when I removed the silicone almost the entire piece was still wet to the touch. I will post some pictures a bit later to show how much damage I caused due to this. Luckily they are sides that are not visible so all is not lost.

    Misc. Stuff:
    I haven't messed with building the new pump system yet since I need the conduit base to fully test it.

    I think I am going to remove the sand from the substrate layer and use plastic window screen instead of weed barrier. I also bought some grape wood that I have been soaking to add a little 3d/natural look to the layout. Not sure how it will match the slate grey and the scale of my environment but meh.

    I also have a few ideas for some new intake/exhaust fans that use constantly wet air conditioner filters to stabilize humidity and provide fresh air but I haven't formalized any designs yet.

    That's all I can think of for now so yea! Thanks for the positive feedback and I'll let you guys know from there.

  8. #24

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    It is unfortunate that you are running into so many problems, but at least it gives others a chance to learn from them. I hooe it proceeds more smoothly for you and I can't wait to see the final product.

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