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 Advice needed on building a 'Super-Home'

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DNo
Pandinus


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Age : 38
Location : London, UK
Registration date : 2012-08-12

PostSubject: Advice needed on building a 'Super-Home'   8/15/2012, 4:24 pm

Hey Guys,

I've been reading your posts for a while now mostly from the background - in stalker fashion. However, I thought it about time to say hello......plus I'm after some advice.

My girl bought me a scorpion last year for my birthday which was really cool but ever since then I've wanted to put him together a 'super-home' so he's all cosy. Then I'm wanting to get him a lady friend.

At the moment he's in a relatively small fish tank so the idea is to build the new one and move them both in at the same time (I read it's best to do it like that).

Ok....So I bought a 3ft x 1ft tank and I know it's pretty big but I'm going to fill it with lots of holes and rainforest decorations. I'm also hoping I'll be able to keep a few more in it in the future when they breed...but that's another story.

I've been thinking about this for ages and doing lots of reading but I still have some questions and hoped you guys could help;

The tank is made from untreated MDF as it was the only one I could find in that style, so first question is what's the best thing to waterproof it in? Some places I have read to use Yacht Varnish, others Ronseal floor varnish and some Epoxy Resin. I'm a little conscious that there's going to be lots of heat and humidity in there and I really don't want to poison him. Does anyone have any advice on this, maybe someone has used one of these in their builds?

Secondly, I'm still torn between false bottom vs external fogger that feeds in with a pipe. If I go the fogger route I'll be lining the bottom with pond liner, using hydroballs and then putting mesh on top before the coco fibre substrate. Does the water in the bottom not go stagnant using this method? Will it need to have some sort of nylon wick system built in to draw the water up? and I guess ultimately - do you guys and gals think a false bottom is better than feeding fog into it? (I have a system that can monitor humidity and pump fog in when needed)

At the moment I'm just spraying the substrate regularly but want to set something up where I don't have to keep doing so as I'm pretty sure I'm just annoying him by lifting the lid all the time.


Well, I have a lot more questions but would be grateful if anyone can give me a little feedback on the above so I can get started with the build. The new tank is sat on the table at the moment and I know he saw me bring it in so I feel kinda guilty Neutral

Other than that....good meeting you and I'm looking forward to getting involved in the forum Smile

Thanks
Ben


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Scorpion19981000
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PostSubject: Re: Advice needed on building a 'Super-Home'   8/15/2012, 5:40 pm

Welcome to the forum!

I'm not sure what you could use to waterproof it. Perhaps someone else could answer that?

I haven't used a fogger, but I wouldn't bother with one. A false bottom setup is sufficient and is less expensive.

EDIT:
You may want to read these:
[HOW TO] Create a Natural-Looking Forest Floor Habitat
[HOW TO] Build a Large Scorpion Vivarium

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shebeen
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Registration date : 2011-05-15

PostSubject: Re: Advice needed on building a 'Super-Home'   8/16/2012, 1:02 pm

The dart froggers over on dendroboard.com usually use a marine epoxy (i.e. WEST SYSTEM Epoxy) or an aquarium safe epoxy paint to seal their tanks and backgrounds. Both products are rather expensive ($50-$80/gal) so you might be better off spending the money on a large glass aquarium and using your wooden enclosure for something that doesn't require high humidity.

Personally, I think a false bottom is a better choice than a fogger. You want to get the moisture into the substrate, rather than into the air. If you keep the moisture in the substrate and close off 70%-80% of the top of your enclosure, the humidity in the air will take care of itself. If you use hydroballs or gravel in your false bottom, there's no need for any type of wicks because the substrate is in contact with the gravel. I use wicks in my false bottoms because the substrate is suspended above the water by a plastic grate.
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wodesorel
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PostSubject: Re: Advice needed on building a 'Super-Home'   8/18/2012, 8:35 am

If you can't find marine two-part epoxy locally, I used Enviro-tex Lite to both seal my wooden hermit crab enclosure and to create a false sand "stucco" for ramps and pipes in my fiddler crab tank. Three coats (it can be brushed on rather than poured) and the stuff is a perfect crystal clear plastic seal that is both water proof and dig-proof. It's both animal and marine aquarium safe when cured (takes a couple of weeks), and you can find it at craft and hardware stores. I would have got with West System or System Three, but I would have had to special order it and the shipping for two gallons of liquid was crazy on top of the cost of the epoxy.

Using a two-part epoxy is critical though as once the chemical reaction occurs all that is left behind is solid inert plastic. One-part sealers of any kind cure using solvents and they can continue to off gas deadly chemicals for months or years. This is especially true for sealed enclosures that are being kept hot and moist. If the two-part epoxy is done correctly it's just as safe and secure as glass. Smile

I loved how my wooden bottom enclosure (135 gallons total space) it turned out, and we'll actually be expanding the base again before winter using the same stuff to seal it. Two years in and the hermit crabs have only managed to chew through the corners that I stupidly patched with a soft water-based wood filler. Otherwise it's still completely water proof!

Edited to add: It smells bad and you cannot be on a closed room while working on it. It will ruin anything it touches so wear old clothes and have a box of disposable gloves handy. If you're working on or near anything you don't want to ruin use lots of drop cloths. The brush will have to be thrown away with every coat as it will harden in a few hours and you should wait a day between coats. Make sure you have extra paint stirers and get some cheap mixing cups from the hardware store with measuring lines on them so it'll be easy to mix up only as much as you'll need. It has to be a perfect 50:50 ratio of resin to hardener. I had never used anything like it before, but it wasn't hard to use, though I do have big strips of it still on the basement floor. Laughing
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