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Building a unique terrarium


27 replies to this topic

#1 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 14 2021 - 4:35 PM

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It's time for me to create a new setup.
This time I have something special in mind.

If you don't know I like to make unique looking terrariums and I just had an idea I can't get out of my head.
A vague idea of what could be a crazy looking setup.

I hate the last setup I made (I'll post a pic under this post) but I like one basic concept of it.
A hanging tree as the focal point of the setup. I have a lot of ideas and this thread will take us through the process of putting it into reality just know it'll take its sweet time (and a lot of money too).

Things I want to include are a cave which is non negotiable in all my setups and a floating island if I can find a way to integrate it. It's overall gonna be a very dark and mystical looking setup to contrast my forest more uplifting one at the other corner of my living room.
More updates as soon as I threw out the old setup

#2 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 14 2021 - 4:39 PM

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That's the one that has to go.
I tried to improve on it but I just can't make it work and I know my new one will make this look stupid.

Also my messor barbarus in there are underground almost exclusively so I won't put them in my new setup.
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#3 Online SleepyAsianAnter - Posted March 14 2021 - 4:50 PM

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Is that a noose


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#4 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 14 2021 - 5:18 PM

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It is. lol
Gonna see a whole lot more in the new setup. It's from the norse mythology where Odin their God hung himself on a tree to gain wisdom and learn the runes (their symbols).

If that's too scary for you you'll hate the new setup.
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#5 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 14 2021 - 5:38 PM

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OK I think I have the basic concept.

I wanna make a floating island with a hanging tree made out of twisted ropes like those wire bonsai trees and the floating island should look creepy.

The setup underneath will look like a happy foresty area but the roots of the tree reach down the island and where the roots attach and twist around the darkness comes over that area.
Aka dying trees, dark substrate, burn marks, bones etc.

Basically the tree as the evil entity.
May sound weird but you'll see what I mean when I make it.
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#6 Offline cap_backfire - Posted March 15 2021 - 7:12 AM

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 I hvae to be honest I love this idea.   I love all 'unique' scratchbuilt vivariums though so please post as many pics as you can!   


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#7 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted March 15 2021 - 7:14 AM

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I made something pretty cool, I made wood formicariums out of these blocks of wood. It was something I just wanted to do because I was bored, but they turned out really good.  And my ants like to live in them.


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#8 Offline Antcatcherpro3 - Posted March 15 2021 - 7:16 AM

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Your right. All scratch made ant farms or formicariums are really cool. Antoholic, I am looking forward to seeing a pic of your idea, it sounds cool!


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#9 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 16 2021 - 10:44 AM

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Thanks for the feedback so far hope I can deliver.

Step1
I had hand pick 150 messor barbarus workers, a queen and some brood to house them in a smaller terrarium for now.
It sucked but I got it done and lost or injured almost none to my surprise and got all which is even more surprising.

Dismantling the thing sucked even more because I built it very solid and used tons of substrate.

As you can see I only have to get rid of some more silicone and clean it up and I'm good to go. I saved the different substrate to re-use it including all of the rocks that look good plus the tree that was on there.

Next step is gonna be building assets and let them inspire how the design is gonna turn out plus planning out all my special ideas for the fog machine for example.
I'll make sure to not waste too much time with progress
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#10 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 18 2021 - 2:58 PM

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What sucked so bad about the old setup is the lack of a background among many other design faults.

The tank is laying on its side and this is the foam layer for the back wall.
This also ensures that whatever I use to elevate the floating island can blend into the background better.

It's the same principal every time.
Apply foam, cut it into desired shape, silicone and substrate to create the look.
That's the main mission now and when I have that I'll build and buy assets like the island, the trees, rocks, fake vines etc.
The basic shape first and then I'll add more and more detail.
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#11 Offline Chickalo - Posted March 18 2021 - 3:14 PM

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Nice!  What foam are you using, I've been looking for ones that are non-toxic


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#12 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 18 2021 - 3:30 PM

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Nice!  What foam are you using, I've been looking for ones that are non-toxic


That's just basic hardware store expanding foam. I never really worried about toxicity to be honest.
The fumes are toxic when you apply it but as soon as it's hardened there's nothing to worry about.
I make sure the room is well ventilated until it's done. Pond foam might be the safest option I'd assume because it's safe for fish but no store in my area has it. Never had any adverse effects using what I have
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#13 Offline cap_backfire - Posted March 19 2021 - 8:47 AM

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I know that most folks who build vivariums/ terrariums/ palludariums use "Great Stuff" as it is basically guaranteed to be inert once dry.    


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#14 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:00 AM

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I now know the future shape of the setup and its gonna have a cliff on the left side with a bridge to the floating island.
I'll use cardboard to hold the foam in that position until it dries.
I found a rock that I'll combine with the tree tomorrow with the same foam and silicone method as always.
After that I'll make the floating island and use the ropes you see tied up on the right to let the trees vines creep down from the island.

#15 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:04 AM

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I made this real quick so you can see what I have in mind for the island
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#16 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:06 AM

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The fixture will be to the ground and I'll use the vines to make it look like a big root going down

#17 Offline ANTdrew - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:10 AM

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Clever use of that vodka bottle. Lol
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#18 Online Devi - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:14 AM

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Interesting!  I remember thinking the old one was pretty awesome, so I will look forward to see what you have cooking up for the second version!  I would play with lighting a lot for the final product - I think that will make or break it for the theme you are going for.  Looks great though, it would be awesome to see ants crawling up the tree!!


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#19 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted March 31 2021 - 9:56 AM

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Tank you very much I have a lot of ideas I wanna try out and lighting is always important. I wanna try out LEDs behind the tank to make the back wall glow.
Those cuts in the foam will be pockets for soil and they will glow at night.

I also have a something interesting planned for the island but I won't spoiler what it is until I can show it.

#20 Offline AntaholicAnonymous - Posted April 3 2021 - 1:00 PM

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I made a big ball of foam for the floating island.
Layer by layer every 2,5 hours because it will not expand and cure properly when it's applied too thick.

As you can see I carved it into shape and
I basically have 2 angles I gotta worry about which are front and side (you'd look at the right side if you're sitting on the couch). It's only the viewing points that really matter so the focus is to make that side look the most interesting.
The money shot if you will.

there's something special that you can't see from this angle more on that when I applied the silicone. It's something I wanted for a while
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