Wood rotting, alternative for real wood? PVC?

MedicMan1

Established Member
Hey guys!
Looking for some input. I have a large clear side atrium cage for my Panther Cham, he’s been in it for about 3 years. When I built it, I used a lot of cured madrone wood as perches and supports running between dragon ledges and holding up pots. I sprayed a ton of pond and stone foam everywhere to decorate and further secure things.

Over the last couple of years, a lot of the madrone has rotted due to constant moisture, and I subsequently have lost a few mounting points for plants.

I’m looking for a solution that mimics branches and will be strong and long-lived enough to hang pots, but will also eliminate real wood so I don’t have to rebuild the cage again in a couple years, like I’m about to have to do.

I was kicking around the idea of using trex type fake wood (recycled plastic deck boards, and ripping them into 1x1s. I also saw an Instructible about making fake branches with PVC pipes, twisting them with heat to shape them and then coat them with burlap and moss. I’m looking to make supports for pots, AND replace all the wooden perches with a solution that won’t fall apart due to heat or moisture...

If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them!! I need to get cracking on this rebuild. I can’t wait much longer.

Thanks a million!
-Chaz
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
I have seen PVC shaped and coated with polagen (sp?) for aquariums. It can be stamped to mimic bark and give it texture. That would be permanent and just need periodic cleaning.
 

MedicMan1

Established Member
I think that is going to be my go-to. I was kinda curious about the long term effects of PVC on a Cham, but I imagine if I get the water line quality stuff, it should be perfectly safe!
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think that is going to be my go-to. I was kinda curious about the long term effects of PVC on a Cham, but I imagine if I get the water line quality stuff, it should be perfectly safe!
If you try something like monkey ladder vine, do a how to please? I've watched the pvc vids for snake cages but can't wrap my head around mimicking that particular shape to try it lol.
 

MedicMan1

Established Member
I just saw a video about making PVC look like wood by sanding and gouging it with a file, then staining it. Looks good enough for an enclosure and would be MUCH MUCH cheaper than buying the zoo poxy.

Does anyone know of a terrarium-safe stain, or if normal wood stains would be terrarium safe?
 

MedicMan1

Established Member

Let me know what you guys think! I saw another trick for bending the PVC, filling it with sand and capping it so it doesn’t kink! Pretty cool stuff.

many research says pretty much any stain would be fine if covered with polyurethane. Or I can just go the acrylic paint route and maybe have to redo the paint in a few years. Whatever. I’d rather have to redo the paint than the whole infrastructure!

I should have sealed the wood in the first place! I didn’t even think of sealing it when I started the project. I guess I was too excited to think big picture!

No worries though, I’ll take the opportunity to revamp a few things in the cage for optimal layout and function while I’m at it. PVC is friggin CHEAP, and a can of stain/seal will go a LONG way.
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member

Let me know what you guys think! I saw another trick for bending the PVC, filling it with sand and capping it so it doesn’t kink! Pretty cool stuff.

many research says pretty much any stain would be fine if covered with polyurethane. Or I can just go the acrylic paint route and maybe have to redo the paint in a few years. Whatever. I’d rather have to redo the paint than the whole infrastructure!

I should have sealed the wood in the first place! I didn’t even think of sealing it when I started the project. I guess I was too excited to think big picture!

No worries though, I’ll take the opportunity to revamp a few things in the cage for optimal layout and function while I’m at it. PVC is friggin CHEAP, and a can of stain/seal will go a LONG way.
Only issue I see here would be the smooth surface would be difficult to grasp. That is why I liked the idea of using the polygem. It could be textured like real bark.
 

dshuld

Chameleon Enthusiast
Only issue I see here would be the smooth surface would be difficult to grasp. That is why I liked the idea of using the polygem. It could be textured like real bark.
If they take the time to rough it up more then the example video, especially with the rasp, do you think it'd work? I agree that polygem would be better but can understand their point on it's price lol.

As far as clearing it after the stain, water based poly with uv inhibitors or if you want to go with a clear spray paint(matte so it's not shinny) I've used these over the years for diy filter intake and spray bars on my fish tanks...

Krylon fusion (not sure if there is a clear and only lowes carries it these days that I'm aware of) - tank safe after 1 day cure/ off gas

Krylon colormaxx (has a matte clear) - tank safe after 3 day cure/ off gas

Wal-Mart cheap house brand ( I think they have a matte clear) tank safe after 5 day cure/ off gas.
 
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