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Old 12-12-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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Need to Pick Your Brains on a Water Feature for a Terrarium

So, in my horticulture and landscaping class, one of the projects that we do is related to interiorscaping. I have students come up with a design for on of my terrariums, and then I select the best one or ones and we build it. For example, last year in the spring, we did this in a 10 gallon tank;



This fall, the students designed a subtropical terrarium;


In the past, I've always avoided water features, because I wasn't sure how to do them on this small of scale. However, I've been learning , and so when they proposed on this year I said ok. We built it out of foam and covered it with epoxy then added sand and rock to give it a more natural look;


Here's what it looks like in the tank;


and we've got some "arrow-leaf" type plants to plant around it.

Now I know that this isn't perfect, and we're limited in our plant selection this time of year to Home Depot and WalMart, so not a lot of choices. Unfortunately, I got in a hurry and didn't get enough epoxy down before adding the sand, so it leaks. So for the final project for the course, I've proposed to the students that they rebuild it. However, I would like to upscale it. I want to add a hose and pump to create water movement and perhaps a sonic fogger to keep humidity in the terrarium up as well. At some point I'd like to add anoles to the terrarium again.

Upscaling it means that it needs to be deeper on one end, with a structure built in to cover up the pump and fogger. We're looking at a total length of about 18", a width of 9", and a maximum depth of about 4.5".

I'm open to suggestions on alternative materials to use to create the thing, although it can't be too complicated. Suggestions on how to get a watertight seal. And suggestions on pumps or anything else you can come up with LOL.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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Pond liner and then cover to make it look natural, same goes for a rubber of some sort. otherwise I'm following along because I've been thinking of doing something different.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:42 PM   #3
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Hey, those look great! Wish I'd had that project in school. The pond liner is a good idea (I have tons of scraps left over from the last pond I built), but you could just as easily use great stuff or a similar non toxic foam, just carved out and sealed.
I'm across the country, but if you want to use the pond liner idea and you can't find a closer source, pm me.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:43 PM   #4
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Another idea but it would probably stick is melt plastic to shape it
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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I've thought about both the pond liner and the melted plastic. My issue with both is being able to punch holes for the pump hose to enter and exit. I suppose it could be sealed with silicon? From what I seen of the liner though it seems pretty thick for use on such a small project? Plastic on the other hand usually has a lip and straight edges which IMO make it look pretty unnatural. Keep the ideas coming!
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wy Renegade View Post
I've thought about both the pond liner and the melted plastic. My issue with both is being able to punch holes for the pump hose to enter and exit. I suppose it could be sealed with silicon? From what I seen of the liner though it seems pretty thick for use on such a small project? Plastic on the other hand usually has a lip and straight edges which IMO make it look pretty unnatural. Keep the ideas coming!
Darn I tryed ill keep thinking
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #7
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You could always mold the plastic if you have a heat gun .
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #8
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You could always mold the plastic if you have a heat gun .
I believe this would be one of the best options with a heat gun or even a torch just holding it away that it doesn't blow threw it. It should make it soft enough to cut so it doesn't have straight edges and you can drill a holes or poke threw it while its soft. The silicon would seal it and is probably what I'd recommend for something that small. Plus you could silicon things like rocks and sand to hide the plastic. Idk it sounds good and sounds like a fun project but as I'm sure you know sometimes things just don't work out.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:06 AM   #9
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When I had started my 55G (still bumming) I just used canned foam and concrete, the outer edges just had silicone and it sealed fine. If your looking for a pump IMO just get one of those little fountain pumps from Lowes. I bought mine for $9 which I'm thinking its only 25 GPH? I can't remember but its just a small one. I was looking at a few others at that time but you have to keep in mind that you don't want something that's so powerful that's its going to create a rooster tail in the tank so just a small fountain pump works perfect.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondatek View Post
You could always mold the plastic if you have a heat gun .
Might indeed be the way to go - thanks for the suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew McFadden View Post
I believe this would be one of the best options with a heat gun or even a torch just holding it away that it doesn't blow threw it. It should make it soft enough to cut so it doesn't have straight edges and you can drill a holes or poke threw it while its soft. The silicon would seal it and is probably what I'd recommend for something that small. Plus you could silicon things like rocks and sand to hide the plastic. Idk it sounds good and sounds like a fun project but as I'm sure you know sometimes things just don't work out.
Yes well, trial and error is the name of the game right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly_koi View Post
When I had started my 55G (still bumming) I just used canned foam and concrete, the outer edges just had silicone and it sealed fine. If your looking for a pump IMO just get one of those little fountain pumps from Lowes. I bought mine for $9 which I'm thinking its only 25 GPH? I can't remember but its just a small one. I was looking at a few others at that time but you have to keep in mind that you don't want something that's so powerful that's its going to create a rooster tail in the tank so just a small fountain pump works perfect.
Yes, I'll definitely be sticking to a small pump - I think I have one laying around off of an old Whisper filter that should work. If not, I"ll check Lowes out. I figured the foam and epoxy would seal too, but not a 100% watertight. I would think concrete would have to have some type of water seal as well. I'm still bummed that didn't work out for you as well - it sure looked cool.
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