Lily's Bioactive Build!

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi cham fam! Construction has begun on the bioactive enclosure revamp for my panther girl, Lily, hot on the heels of my first build! This one I don't expect to take me terribly long, as I feel I've gotten a much better hold on the do's and don'ts of construction with Great Stuff, and Lily's enclosure is half the size of that glass monstrosity destined for my boy Pickle Rick. I'm also on vacation, and have a heck of a lot more time than I usually do! :hilarious:

Lily's enclosure is a medium ZooMed (16x16x30 - yes, I know she could use larger, but she's a petite girl and it's going on a planter box, thus not losing any height), and my Grandpa very thoughtfully built me an external planter box for it! :love: I don't have the planter yet (I'll be picking it up next week), but I thought I'd at least get the rest of the building done in the mean time!

The plan right now is to have a foam background on the back panel, and willow expanding trellises on both sides. First step was to get the eggcrate and trellises cut to size, and let me tell you: those trellises were a real pain in the rear end to work with! They were poorly constructed, and I essentially had to keep them together with strategically placed twist ties. They're ugly, but I figure I'll replace the ties with superglue when it's time to actually install them, if they bother me. Please excuse the terrible quality of the first couple of pictures!

Eggcrate to provide structure for the background (damaged it a tiny bit while using my hands to snap it to roughly the right size):

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Rough mock up of the trellis:

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From there, I played with some positioning. I used a pair of cork half rounds to create a "stump" planter at the substrate level, and arranged a few 4" pots pointing at various angles for interest.

Picture of my focal background branch, and the cork stump for reference while I figured out my planter pots:

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Planter pots/initial layer of foam:

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I misted it and let it set for 4-5 hours, and then trimmed up the the edges, so I could check it for fit in the enclosure. The cork slipped a little (I weighed it down quite a bit on both ends of the egg crate to prevent warping), but it's not too bad and I can fix it with a bit of foam later:

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Checking that the branch fits where I want it:

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2nd pass with foam:

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I gave it another mist, and I'll let it dry overnight. I'll start carving it down tomorrow, after I go and pick up some more #12 scalpel blades, and then I'll throw some liquid rubber and some cocofibre on it! Tues/weds I'll add detail pieces, then I'll fix it in the enclosure, get the trellises set up, and get cracking with the sticks! I'm planning on fixing most of the sticks to the trellises, with some contact points on the back.

This is a lot of fun! :D I wish I could do more projects like these. Gotta find some locals willing to pay for fancy things, haha!
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi cham fam! Construction has begun on the bioactive enclosure revamp for my panther girl, Lily, hot on the heels of my first build! This one I don't expect to take me terribly long, as I feel I've gotten a much better hold on the do's and don'ts of construction with Great Stuff, and Lily's enclosure is half the size of that glass monstrosity destined for my boy Pickle Rick. I'm also on vacation, and have a heck of a lot more time than I usually do! :hilarious:

Lily's enclosure is a medium ZooMed (16x16x30 - yes, I know she could use larger, but she's a petite girl and it's going on a planter box, thus not losing any height), and my Grandpa very thoughtfully built me an external planter box for it! :love: I don't have the planter yet (I'll be picking it up next week), but I thought I'd at least get the rest of the building done in the mean time!

The plan right now is to have a foam background on the back panel, and willow expanding trellises on both sides. First step was to get the eggcrate and trellises cut to size, and let me tell you: those trellises were a real pain in the rear end to work with! They were poorly constructed, and I essentially had to keep them together with strategically placed twist ties. They're ugly, but I figure I'll replace the ties with superglue when it's time to actually install them, if they bother me. Please excuse the terrible quality of the first couple of pictures!

Eggcrate to provide structure for the background (damaged it a tiny bit while using my hands to snap it to roughly the right size):

View attachment 246238

Rough mock up of the trellis:

View attachment 246239

From there, I played with some positioning. I used a pair of cork half rounds to create a "stump" planter at the substrate level, and arranged a few 4" pots pointing at various angles for interest.

Picture of my focal background branch, and the cork stump for reference while I figured out my planter pots:

View attachment 246240

Planter pots/initial layer of foam:

View attachment 246241

I misted it and let it set for 4-5 hours, and then trimmed up the the edges, so I could check it for fit in the enclosure. The cork slipped a little (I weighed it down quite a bit on both ends of the egg crate to prevent warping), but it's not too bad and I can fix it with a bit of foam later:

View attachment 246242

Checking that the branch fits where I want it:

View attachment 246243

2nd pass with foam:

View attachment 246244

I gave it another mist, and I'll let it dry overnight. I'll start carving it down tomorrow, after I go and pick up some more #12 scalpel blades, and then I'll throw some liquid rubber and some cocofibre on it! Tues/weds I'll add detail pieces, then I'll fix it in the enclosure, get the trellises set up, and get cracking with the sticks! I'm planning on fixing most of the sticks to the trellises, with some contact points on the back.

This is a lot of fun! :D I wish I could do more projects like these. Gotta find some locals willing to pay for fancy things, haha!

Im excited to see how this turns out! If its anything like the last one, ill probably be impressed lol.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Im excited to see how this turns out! If its anything like the last one, ill probably be impressed lol.

Haha thank you!! It wont have the sheer scale of my previous build, but I plan to pack as much as I possibly can in a small space!

I also decided to pretty up Lily's Full Throttle feeder, just cause. I'm half asleep, so it didnt occur to me until after I already had foam on it that it won't exactly be friendly to clean. :unsure: Not the outside, anyway! Oh well. It's the inside that matters, and I can still clean that just the same. Not all that different from Pickle Rick's run, which is practically welded into the enclosure!

Ran out of black, so I used some of my remaining white. Figure I'll carve it up, make it look like a log!

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JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi cham fam! Construction has begun on the bioactive enclosure revamp for my panther girl, Lily, hot on the heels of my first build! This one I don't expect to take me terribly long, as I feel I've gotten a much better hold on the do's and don'ts of construction with Great Stuff, and Lily's enclosure is half the size of that glass monstrosity destined for my boy Pickle Rick. I'm also on vacation, and have a heck of a lot more time than I usually do! :hilarious:

Lily's enclosure is a medium ZooMed (16x16x30 - yes, I know she could use larger, but she's a petite girl and it's going on a planter box, thus not losing any height), and my Grandpa very thoughtfully built me an external planter box for it! :love: I don't have the planter yet (I'll be picking it up next week), but I thought I'd at least get the rest of the building done in the mean time!

The plan right now is to have a foam background on the back panel, and willow expanding trellises on both sides. First step was to get the eggcrate and trellises cut to size, and let me tell you: those trellises were a real pain in the rear end to work with! They were poorly constructed, and I essentially had to keep them together with strategically placed twist ties. They're ugly, but I figure I'll replace the ties with superglue when it's time to actually install them, if they bother me. Please excuse the terrible quality of the first couple of pictures!

Eggcrate to provide structure for the background (damaged it a tiny bit while using my hands to snap it to roughly the right size):

View attachment 246238

Rough mock up of the trellis:

View attachment 246239

From there, I played with some positioning. I used a pair of cork half rounds to create a "stump" planter at the substrate level, and arranged a few 4" pots pointing at various angles for interest.

Picture of my focal background branch, and the cork stump for reference while I figured out my planter pots:

View attachment 246240

Planter pots/initial layer of foam:

View attachment 246241

I misted it and let it set for 4-5 hours, and then trimmed up the the edges, so I could check it for fit in the enclosure. The cork slipped a little (I weighed it down quite a bit on both ends of the egg crate to prevent warping), but it's not too bad and I can fix it with a bit of foam later:

View attachment 246242

Checking that the branch fits where I want it:

View attachment 246243

2nd pass with foam:

View attachment 246244

I gave it another mist, and I'll let it dry overnight. I'll start carving it down tomorrow, after I go and pick up some more #12 scalpel blades, and then I'll throw some liquid rubber and some cocofibre on it! Tues/weds I'll add detail pieces, then I'll fix it in the enclosure, get the trellises set up, and get cracking with the sticks! I'm planning on fixing most of the sticks to the trellises, with some contact points on the back.

This is a lot of fun! :D I wish I could do more projects like these. Gotta find some locals willing to pay for fancy things, haha!
You claimed to have stopped last night! You lied to me :eek: You love yourcage build! Just come to America already and help me with my cage! You can live in a tent by the river:love:

I’m really jelly of your cage builds
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi cham fam! Construction has begun on the bioactive enclosure revamp for my panther girl, Lily, hot on the heels of my first build! This one I don't expect to take me terribly long, as I feel I've gotten a much better hold on the do's and don'ts of construction with Great Stuff, and Lily's enclosure is half the size of that glass monstrosity destined for my boy Pickle Rick. I'm also on vacation, and have a heck of a lot more time than I usually do! :hilarious:

Lily's enclosure is a medium ZooMed (16x16x30 - yes, I know she could use larger, but she's a petite girl and it's going on a planter box, thus not losing any height), and my Grandpa very thoughtfully built me an external planter box for it! :love: I don't have the planter yet (I'll be picking it up next week), but I thought I'd at least get the rest of the building done in the mean time!

The plan right now is to have a foam background on the back panel, and willow expanding trellises on both sides. First step was to get the eggcrate and trellises cut to size, and let me tell you: those trellises were a real pain in the rear end to work with! They were poorly constructed, and I essentially had to keep them together with strategically placed twist ties. They're ugly, but I figure I'll replace the ties with superglue when it's time to actually install them, if they bother me. Please excuse the terrible quality of the first couple of pictures!

Eggcrate to provide structure for the background (damaged it a tiny bit while using my hands to snap it to roughly the right size):

View attachment 246238

Rough mock up of the trellis:

View attachment 246239

From there, I played with some positioning. I used a pair of cork half rounds to create a "stump" planter at the substrate level, and arranged a few 4" pots pointing at various angles for interest.

Picture of my focal background branch, and the cork stump for reference while I figured out my planter pots:

View attachment 246240

Planter pots/initial layer of foam:

View attachment 246241

I misted it and let it set for 4-5 hours, and then trimmed up the the edges, so I could check it for fit in the enclosure. The cork slipped a little (I weighed it down quite a bit on both ends of the egg crate to prevent warping), but it's not too bad and I can fix it with a bit of foam later:

View attachment 246242

Checking that the branch fits where I want it:

View attachment 246243

2nd pass with foam:

View attachment 246244

I gave it another mist, and I'll let it dry overnight. I'll start carving it down tomorrow, after I go and pick up some more #12 scalpel blades, and then I'll throw some liquid rubber and some cocofibre on it! Tues/weds I'll add detail pieces, then I'll fix it in the enclosure, get the trellises set up, and get cracking with the sticks! I'm planning on fixing most of the sticks to the trellises, with some contact points on the back.

This is a lot of fun! :D I wish I could do more projects like these. Gotta find some locals willing to pay for fancy things, haha!

Cant wait can’t wait can’t wait !!!!.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
You claimed to have stopped last night! You lied to me :eek: You love yourcage build! Just come to America already and help me with my cage! You can live in a tent by the river:love:

I’m really jelly of your cage builds

See, I stopped... and then couldn't sleep! So I checked on the foam, and it was cured enough to trim up the edges a little. And onething led to another! :LOL:
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Halfway done with the carving! I was skeptical, but the black pond and stone stuff actuall seems to be denser/easier to carve! I'll be using it exclusively going forward, I think. I did get some minor warping (got trigger happy with the foam!), but it's nothing that zip ties to the frame ofthe enclosure won't fix. Also carved my feeder, cause why not! I need to go back through and tidy it up s bit still, I think. I was aiming for sort of a "cork bark" texture, but... ehh. I'll probably like it more once I get it covered in cocofibre/moss/epiphytes!

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246285
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Making some progress! Fully carved the wall and feeder, and now we're onto the next step! As I carved the background took on a life if its own and decided that it wanted to look like stone, so ill be using acrylic paints to pick out detail so that it looks (hopefully) like a cliff face! Currently, I'm anticipating somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the wall will be stone textured, while the rest will be cocofibre "dirt". I'll be sealing the acrylic paints with Varathane water-based outdoor polyurethane.

I'm also reworking the lattice idea. The willow premade lattice I had just wasnt cutting it, so I'll be making my own from bamboo stakes and gluing it together (go go Gorilla Superglue!). I'm also playing with the idea of covering the whole lattice with liquid rubber and cocofibre afterward, help it blend in more! It'd also give vining plants more of a "grip", and probably make it much easier to attach live moss. Should be interesting!

Carved wall:

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Close up of some of the detail work:

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Feeder run. I was going for a cork bark-esque texture, and might purchase (or forage!) some decorative lichen or something to really sell the look!

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Side by side:

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I originally planned for this to be a quick and dirty project, but since I've had to hold off on buying a baby panther for now (I hate being responsible with my finances!!) I'll be taking my time a little more, sinking some serious thought into it!

If anyone has plant suggestions, lay them on me! I'm probably going to incorporate the other half of my fluffy ruffles boston fern, but otherwise thete' nothing in my plant collection that's really speaking to me. I'll have to go to a nursery and poke around!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Painting done! My crappy phone camera doesnt quite capture the detail... I need a better one haha! most of the darker sections will have the traditional cocofibre and/or moss on them - hopefully I achieve the look I'm going for! Feeling a lot more confident in the process this time around. Moderately concerned about getting addicted to building, haha!

I'm heading down to the coast for the next few days, so I'll do some foraging and plant hunting. I'll be picking up the planter box on my way back, so I should get this up and running within the next two weeks!

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A closeup of some of the detail:

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Next step: Varathane! I have 1 coat on, now, and have another 3 to go. Since I forgot that it it needs to be sanding if you want to apply another coat after the 24 hour mark, I guess it'll be a late night! :oops:
 

KobaOregonherper

Chameleon Enthusiast
Painting done! My crappy phone camera doesnt quite capture the detail... I need a better one haha! most of the darker sections will have the traditional cocofibre and/or moss on them - hopefully I achieve the look I'm going for! Feeling a lot more confident in the process this time around. Moderately concerned about getting addicted to building, haha!

I'm heading down to the coast for the next few days, so I'll do some foraging and plant hunting. I'll be picking up the planter box on my way back, so I should get this up and running within the next two weeks!

View attachment 246461

A closeup of some of the detail:

View attachment 246462

Next step: Varathane! I have 1 coat on, now, and have another 3 to go. Since I forgot that it it needs to be sanding if you want to apply another coat after the 24 hour mark, I guess it'll be a late night! :oops:

Im officially taking a 2 week vacation at the end of october when my quad fixture and Large D.S clearside atrium show up, because you have proven to me there is no way I'll be able to start and stop. Super pumped! :cool: (apologizing in advance for stealing oh so much inspiration from you Amanda, but you nailed the look I was going for!)
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
Im officially taking a 2 week vacation at the end of october when my quad fixture and Large D.S clearside atrium show up, because you have proven to me there is no way I'll be able to start and stop. Super pumped! :cool: (apologizing in advance for stealing oh so much inspiration from you Amanda, but you nailed the look I was going for!)

Haha, do it!! Having the time off to actually get things done is SO much nicer than trying to work around my crazy shifts - I highly recommend! I'm excited to see what you come up with; nothing better than a good build thread imo!! :D

I'm hoping to do a big build about equivalent in size to a DS large atrium at some point... I'm considering converting a hutch and increasing the depth! I'm not terribly good with power tools (other than dremels. I'm a wizard with rotary tools!), but I'm a reasonably smart cookie. My dad's a civil engineer and loves to build things, so I might be able to recruit him for a father daughter project. I have the artsy side covered if nothing else, haha!
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
No further progress today cause i'm out of town, but I thought I'd share this lovely planter box my awesome grandpa whipped up for me! I need to stain the outside and waterproof the inside, but I love doing that sort of thing. I'll go and find some stain tomorrow- maybe walnut? :unsure: I'll likely double down and use both Liquid Rubber and pond liner. Not entirely sure yet!

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246577
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
No further progress today cause i'm out of town, but I thought I'd share this lovely planter box my awesome grandpa whipped up for me! I need to stain the outside and waterproof the inside, but I love doing that sort of thing. I'll go and find some stain tomorrow- maybe walnut? :unsure: I'll likely double down and use both Liquid Rubber and pond liner. Not entirely sure yet!

View attachment 246576

View attachment 246577
I am working on something similar tot hat, just bigger. My question is "How do you plan on making that WaterProof"?
I
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am working on something similar tot hat, just bigger. My question is "How do you plan on making that WaterProof"?
I

I plan on appling several coats of Liquid Rubber (very similar to liquid FlexSeal, but Canadian) and possibly installing pond liner on top of that.

Really, I suppose it doesnt need to be waterproof so much as water resistant. Standing water is highly unlikely - I've been spraying the heck out of my big viv, and there's nothing even close to the drainage layer! I'm half considering doing away with drainage entirely on this one, see what happens.
 
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