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Crabitat construction! -WIP-

Discussion in 'HCRU Crabitat's - Biography's Of Our Crabitats' started by Digall, May 27, 2007.

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  1. Digall

    Digall Hi, I'm New Here!

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    I currently have my hermits in a 25litre tank, de-stressing for a couple of weeks after purchase and a molt, so in the mean time I thought I would convert my old 175 litre aquarium tank for them to live in, wanting it a little more dynamic for the little buggers I thought I would add some gadgets to keep them entertained. (suggestions welcome!) and make the tank more natural (to a degree).. so here goes the start of the phase 1 tank conversion.

    Ingredients:
    PU gun foam
    Grey slate grout
    polystyrene
    2 x mini roller paint trays
    sandpaper
    2x garden sprinkler taps(mini)
    trickler hose
    elbow joints and various garden sprinkler/trickler connectors
    1x submersable water pump.
    1x old baby wipe container,
    acrylic paint
    acrylic varnish -matt
    MDF
    'o'rings
    Silicone

    so first pic - the materials:

    [​IMG]

    Building the frame:

    [​IMG]

    Adding the initial plumbing and water tank with the water pump

    [​IMG]

    Arrangement on the tray and water tank

    [​IMG]

    next
     
  2. Digall

    Digall Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Re: Crabitat construction! -WIP- pt2

    a hole was drilled in to the tray and an elbow punched through and connected to the water tank. with an o ring for sealing.(below)
    [​IMG]

    Next I raised the frame with chocks to heighten the tray so gravity would take place and feed the water down the hole into the tank.

    Then I did a wet test to ensure the water cycling works correctly.
    All works!! bar a few leaks which were prompty remedied...

    [​IMG]

    second tray added..(left side fresh water - right side salt water)

    [​IMG]

    Next the messy bit...

    [​IMG]

    Liberally applying PU gun foam I created a rock formation. and then with MDF I added a background element to hold the plumbing into place.
     
  3. Digall

    Digall Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Re: Crabitat construction! -WIP- pt3

    [​IMG]

    Realising I had placed the pump and pipes in the wrong place I moved the rig to one side, and then added a larger pipe as a sheath around the smaller pipe for future maintenance (enabling the pipe to be removed). I then reformed the rock which will be the lid for the tank.
    [​IMG]

    adding more foam and a shelf (the pipe you see hanging out will be trimmed away and form part of a waterfall).

    [​IMG]

    next with a hacksaw blade, I cut and shaped the foam to suite what I wanted.

    Then I mixed the grount to a thick cremey consistancy and applied the grout over the foam, then before drying I used a small sieve with unmixed grout to give the rock more texture.

    [​IMG]

    (the lid of the rock is in the right tray, this will make the tank accessible for filling and tending to pump issues), after drying, I sanded the grout to make the rock a little more realistic.
     
  4. Digall

    Digall Hi, I'm New Here!

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    What happened to the taps you may ask? - well I mounted them to next to the pipe and one connects the waterfall and the other connects to a micro difuser - this will spray a fine mist across the tank.

    [​IMG]

    What next? - well I'll paint it -I'll show those after my next session!

    cheers

    digall!
     
  5. crazy4crabs

    crazy4crabs "Second Molt In Progress"

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    thats interesting its going to be quite nice when your finished
     
  6. Crabbybeach

    Crabbybeach (Medium Crab)

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    Wow alot of work but it's worth it.
     
  7. heather77

    heather77 (Micro Crab)

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    I want to see it all finished.
     
  8. froggz37

    froggz37 "First Molt, A Success"

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    Sorry to nitpic here, but I'm worried that a few of your matierials may be toxic to the crabs.
    I researched the medium density fiberboard, and found that in austrailia its mostly made from pine. Pine is toxic to hermit crabs. Further reading at wikipedia shows that its usually made with formaldahyde.

    Also the grout could possibly be toxic as well as arcryilic paints are mostly a no-no.

    Just something to think about. It will be a wet enviroment and water leeches chemicals.
     
  9. Digall

    Digall Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Thanks for your concern,

    I have done thorough research regarding the materials, you're right, the MDF is in fact made mostly of pine, but its the sap which is toxic to hermits, and MDF is heated to around 200 degrees celsius, which IMO would eliminate any leakage of the offending stuff. as with the formaldehyde(urea based), phenol formaldehyde is now used because of the health risks involved, and at less that 2%, I would say it should be ok.
    The acrylic paint I am using is merely kids paint, which is also non-toxic.
    The grout I have used according to Dunlop is non-toxic - there were no warning signs on the packaging that I could see).
    and to be safe - I will for-go the acrylic varnish but use a non toxic water sealer such as AFM safecoat water sealer or grout sealer, this will inhibit any water penetrating and is also non-toxic(and hypo-allergenic!).

    I have read plenty of forums regarding this, although I have to admit the recipe for this kind of thing is only posted on aquarium, reptilian and amphibian websites, and they have not had any issues yet. Obviously toxicity to animals are slightly different to humans, but I am pretty confident that it will be ok.

    again thanks for the input!.:)

    Digall
     
  10. froggz37

    froggz37 "First Molt, A Success"

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    Lol if we were on an amphibian forum I wouldnt have said anything ;) Hermit crabs are more prone to picking at things if not something from their natural habitat. They are also a bit more sensitive than amphibians in their own way.
     
  11. msdiamonddawg

    msdiamonddawg "Third Molt In Progress"

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    Yeah, I found that out... my little one was sitting on top of his hut, (which stupid, stupid me wasn't even thinking, is painted) and he was just chewing away on paint chips! Yikes! That came out in a hurry. I'd be very careful about what goes in because they pick at anything and everything!
     
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