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New tank extension - experimental

Discussion in 'HCRU Crabitat's - Biography's Of Our Crabitats' started by lbanimals, Jul 1, 2005.

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  1. lbanimals

    lbanimals Hi, I'm New Here!

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    I took my 40 gallon breeder and wanted to extend the height to allow for more climbing. So I built a screened in enclosure to "top" the tank. See pictures below.

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    The pictures don't do it justice. It looks awesome. Considering the dimensions, it should make my 40 gallon equivalent to a 70 gallon approximately.

    I only have 9 crabs regardless, and only 1 is a Ruggie. The rest are all PPs who I keep reading are "tree crabs" more than the others. So I now have all of the choya wood, each piece approximately 2 feet in length...three at each end creating a tripod, the single choya laying across like a platform, and then another piece leaning against the platform in the middle.

    I also have the large fake wood piece in the middle that I got on clearance at Petsmart a few months ago. That is what started this all! It was so cheap I couldn't pass it up, but it was too tall for the tank. So I made the tank taller, haha.

    The plants are all regular ol silk type plants from Michaels...including the fake bamboo at the tripods. I added other silk type plants to the fake wood piece in the middle to spruce it up.

    It is hard to get an idea of the size...the tank is 3 feet long and now nearly 3 feet tall as well...probably right around 2 and a half feet or a little taller.

    I went back and forth on what to use on the topper. I have had the frame built for over a month and have been deciding whether to use screen or plexiglass. The screen was easier and will allow for some fresh air.

    I know humidity is a problem with screens. I have added a tropic-aire and will also add a mister that can mist at intervals during the day. The tank is somewhat experimental in that respect as I have to be able to keep the humidity up to make it work. It is low so far but not horrible. I've only had it put together for a day, so a little tweaking will be in order. I also still need to paint the frame of the tank (black instead of the fake wood) and paint the actual stand which is still 'raw'. It'll be black as well so everything matches.

    I am going to try taking better pictures tomorrow during the day and with better (natural) light.

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    The full picture shows a 10 gallon underneath the stand, full of water and growing my mangroves (and some fish and decorations for good measure). There is an additional 10 gallon upside down on top of that tank to increase the humidity (and keep the cats out). So that somewhat gives an idea of size.

    The setup of the 40B looks awesome in person. Lots of room to climb and choya to EAT.

    PPs are underrated ;-) I love them and the way they climb anything and everything.
     
  2. Felicity Loves Animals

    Felicity Loves Animals (Small Crab)

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    WOW, great idea!
    And great pics!
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  3. Jennifer Leatherwood

    Jennifer Leatherwood (Micro Crab)

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    WOW,That tank looks awesome!! I hope you work out a way to keep the humidity up so that they can enjoy the extra climbing room.
    Jenn
     
  4. Eric

    Eric "First Molt, A Success"

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    [​IMG] Wow I love it. Great idea Nelly. Please keep us informed on the Humidity.

    Eric
     
  5. moire_eel

    moire_eel "Second Molt, A Success"

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    Wow, that is really cool! [​IMG] Since the there's a lip where the top is a bit smaller than the bottom, I wonder if you could make a plexiglass sleeve that slides down over the screen to keep humidity in. Like a box with no sides or top. Or leave the piece off the front, and just fit plexi on the back and sides.

    I love my PPs too -- they are such tough little guys, and some of my friendliest crabs too. [​IMG]
     
  6. lbanimals

    lbanimals Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Just an update thus far...

    Apparently, the addition is a big hit.

    Of the nine crabs in the tank, the lone Ruggie is down molting (again), and the other 8....are all up on the choya wood enjoying their climbing.

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    So everybody is enjoying it. The humidity is low but okay. Upper Sixties. I've been handmisting a few times a day for now which bumps it up into the mid 70's...and the tropicaire is hooked up, which bumped it up from high fifties and low sixties to where it is now. One crab was sitting on the output for the tropicare for a little while so I guess that was his way of enjoying higher humidity.

    I still need to add the larger freshwater pool and will add an air stone/airpump in it for more humidity. I may do the same with a saltwater pool if necessary. I'm also considering a fogger or mister for the tank.

    But so far, so good. When I was taking the pictures, it was 69% humidity. And the crabs all look happy. [​IMG]
     
  7. Crabbynana

    Crabbynana Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Awesome tank addition. You gave me an excellent idea for my 37.5 gal tank I have. I can't use mesh/screen, but plexiglass would work. I have absolutely no humidity in my house and have to use a humidifer for my tanks. I also have a filtered water system in the 37.5 and 75 gal tanks and air stones in the salt water to help with humidity. Did you use wood for the frame?
     
  8. lbanimals

    lbanimals Hi, I'm New Here!

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    I did use wood for the frame. Painted with regular non-toxic acrylic paint. It is more of a "safety" than a "security" as in theory the crabs won't be on the topper, just keeps them from falling out of the tank or my cats from getting in.

    Of course, theory only works when you don't put the choya wood within crableg's reach of the screen. D'oh. The top picture in this post shows a crab climbing along the frame already. I will fix it when I clean the tank.

    I have the deeper large water dish which will be filtered and with an air stone...just as soon as I get it into the tank. It is a few inches taller than the substrate, so I need some sort of ramp. I'm thinking I could use corks, or maybe even just pressed corkboard to frame it and make a ramp into the substrate.

    Prior to this, my humidity was in the 80's. I had glass tops on the tank with 90% covered with the glass. So I don't have real problems with the humidity. I'm going to get a fogger anyways, just because it'll keep it in the 70 to 80 range always and the crabs will probably enjoy the fog a few times a day.

    I really did plan on using plexiglass originally, but its way more expensive and this just seemed way easier. And I figured some fresh air never hurt anyone ;-)
     
  9. lbanimals

    lbanimals Hi, I'm New Here!

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    Just an update on this new tank thing and humidity, etc.

    It's been almost a month since I added the tank addition. The humidity is always low, as expected. I mist a few times daily and got one of those actual "misters' where it sprays the fine mist for minutes at a time. I did that yesterday for..maybe 10 minutes. Everything was soaked, and the substrate even got pretty damp. I figured that livened things up a bit.

    Either way, the crabs don't seem bothered. The ruggie finally came up from his (second) molt a day or two ago and hasn't climbed at all yet. Just eats his cuttlebone. The other crabs spend all of their time during the day perched up on the choya wood. At night they climb around on it, but during the day they pretty much just pick a spot and perch there.

    I have decided to remove the large fake wooden tree thing in the middle of the tank. I have that gigantor crab that is so huge she can barely get around it to move from one side of the tank to the other and doesn't like the choya bridge on top. Plus it takes up so much floor space that there isn't much room to do anything BUT climb. So I will be taking it out and adding a choya/cork bark thing in the middle of the tank in its place. I have a local mini pet store that sells cork bark by the pound in big pieces, so I will get a big hunk of that I can prop up on the extra choya wood that will be added.

    To celebrate the extra room, I went to my local petsmart that has a tank with no humidity and nothing to hide under and the most pathetic looking crabs...and got the three largest. They are currently chilling in the 10 gallon ISO and should be able to move in within the next month. They've finally come out of hiding in the last few days and move around normally at night.

    So that is the update. For those who want TECHNICAL info....humidity falls to mid 60's with the house air conditioning and ceiling fan on (darn heat wave). With misting it rises to 70-80. I did end up adding a large fresh water dish with an airstone in it which should be helping out that half of the tank. I still want to get a fogger but haven't decided for sure yet. In the meantime, daily misting is fine and the crabs are much happier and more active in this tank than without the addition.
     
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