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The Nano Vivarium Challenge – Crested Gecko Enclosure

By PeckTec on


hey folks today we're going to take a look at this terrarium i made for the nano vivarium challenge it's all coming up right after this [Music] hey youtube this is pec tech and i can't stop looking at this new enclosure that i've created as you guys might know last year i had uh dabbled around on some terrariums kerrigan and i made some terrariums that i did a couple of other things too but i never it never really clicked like i got all the principles but it just it was kind of boring i think mostly because of the scale of it was so small so around the beginning of the year uh custom aquariums who i uh talk to every now and then they help me out with a sup that's underneath the 210 there they have another division of that company called custom cages and they make a product called the vision cage and they offered for me and many others i guess i don't know of all the people that didn't just know one for sure um to participate in this nano vivarium challenge now no idea what the other people aside from rachel o'leary is that who she and i've compared notes on these things a little bit but i have no idea what the other people were gonna do with this uh so i definitely took my own spin on it so i'd like to tell you right up front too that uh that custom cages has provided me with this vision 215 i believe this vision 215 enclosure and uh josh's frogs the co-sponsor of this challenge provided me with some of the materials in here i basically got to go shop on their website and you're going to see that in just a second so in this video i'm not going to attempt to sell you anything i'm just going to provide the show you as they are and then you can make up your own mind

but i did want you to know right up front that they gave me these for free also a big thank you not only to uh custom cages and josh's frogs but to my patreons because i still needed extra funds to kind of make this happen and you guys provided me with that little extra boost that it took to make this a really really special project to go a little bit above and beyond even what uh even what i could have imagined i was able to do with this that's all thanks to the help from my patreons and i really appreciate it so i was absolutely thrilled that they asked me to participate in this because i really wanted to work in something on a larger scale and uh i used to keep lizards a lot like between 16 and 20 something i i i always had a reptile around in fact even if you look at maybe my second video on youtube i can't remember what it is is a baby bearded dragons that i hatched right here in my house so i'm very familiar with reptiles i didn't feel like i got a lot out of that hobby and eventually moved on i retrospect i've enjoyed fish much more but i also didn't realize that things like bioactive enclosures were possible so i guess a huge thank you in this video goes also to tanner of serpee design and he taught me uh through his videos he taught me all about bioactive enclosures and i basically modeled a lot of the work that i did in this i modeled after his crested gecko enclosures of course he did like three at the same time and he also like created the wood cabinets and stuff that they went in i you won't see that here but those videos provided the framework for what i did here i took many techniques directly from those videos and uh so if you don't feel like you've learned enough here or if you'd like to get in a little deeper i encourage you to go check out his videos too if you haven't already the first thing i wanted to do when i

started this terrarium is decide what kind of creature i wanted to keep uh and i landed on a crested gecko i think they're really interesting they're not too small but they're not too big they don't eat just insects uh they eat other things so i could kind of vary the diet up a little bit and it wasn't wouldn't be just like having to wrangle bugs all the time so my last thank you is going to go to fluval who provided me with the light that i used in here one thing that i wasn't sure what to do when i first received this enclosure was how to light it i knew i want i knew what i wanted to do so if i went with a crested gecko crested gecko is a real active in the evenings right when the light starts to dim down and kind of changes color and uh and in the mornings too presumably i've heard it dawn they can be a little bit more active too but most lights today uh they just kind of come on and they go off now it's real important that they have a sense of day and night and if you're not doing live plants and stuff like that then you know your room lights kind of or the ambient light in the room unless you live in a cave or something is enough to provide that to them but i do have plants i need this to be planted a bioactive enclosure if you don't know already includes uh includes some small creatures in this case springtails and isopods that's going to eat up the detritus so i'm not going to have to go around necessarily and go find all the little poopy places that the gecko leaves in there those are going to get cleaned up for me as well as like dead leaves and mold and stuff like that that could develop in here because i need to keep it kind of humid inside uh all that'll be taken care of by these little insects in theory this will be the largest scale version of that that i've ever done so hopefully i don't have any missteps but so far and this has been up for a long time now or a couple of months now and so far so good so i needed a light that i knew would grow plants i needed a light that maybe wouldn't get too awfully hot

more on that a little bit and i wanted one that was cycle up and down so i wrote fluval and they sent me one of their bluetooth enabled lights and uh with that i can ramp up and ramp down the lighting that's in here uh we'll show you more on that in just a second but i think it's i haven't seen anybody doing this in one of these enclosures and i don't know why because i can artificially create that sunset mode for a long period of time and create something that i think that the gecko will really like but also having that nice peak light times and stuff so the plants in here will get plenty of light i can also extend that photo period out making it very dim and then going down and really providing a more natural sun up sundown kind of feeling for the creature that lives in here hopefully that's going to work out great so far it's growing plants really well i've got the temperature nailed down to the point where i like it and i think uh i think i'm just about ready to add a lizard all right so let me go into exactly how i put this together and we'll come back to wrap it up in just a second here we go another important sponsor of the nano vivarium challenge is josh's frogs they're a great place to go and get you started with a wide variety of products that you can get going with your vivarium with and i placed an order of about two hundred dollars the first thing you'll see is this beneficial insect guide these are beneficial insects that they use in their nurseries and that you might see on your plants but you shouldn't worry about too much another thing i got was a little care guide for the springtails and isopods that we'll see in just a second now i'm listing the names of all the different plants that i've got as they come up out of the packages they were all well packed and seem to be in very good health uh one thing that i really liked because i'm not really a terrestrial plant guy i don't know as much about those is i was able to shop by creature so i

knew i wanted a crested gecko so i bought a bunch of crested gecko friendly plants and they had a really large selection of plants that i could pick out for them something else i wanted to do is make this vivarium bioactive so i picked up some springtails and i also got some dwarf white isopods this was part of a little kit that they have they both came together in like a little bioactive starter set which i thought was really neat uh as we dig further into the box we've got a couple of things that i picked up that were just uh just to check out like these uh like these little cups for food that are biodegradable and uh these vines that i didn't end up using but i will probably use in the future sometime i also got a little bit of crested gecko food while i was in there and i thought i would try out this flavor and see how he likes it i also got some of this uh false bottom material that i didn't have i'm way overbought on that i also got um this thermometer hydrometer kit this thing has probes that i could put down into the vivarium so i thought that that was a really neat thing to have and last but not least i got this bio bedding which is really interesting it's got a lot of different types of material in there it's not just one thing there's like a couple of different things in here and you'll see more on that in just a second all right so here we have the vision cage i'll be working with uh the vision cage has about i guess uh one two three about four parts to it one is this uh this metal yeah we got we got a metal uh groove it's a little hard to see right here but these are grooved out and this is to put uh the glass it did come with tempered glass panes that are in the other room to keep

them safe came wrapped really nicely in these wood crates that actually took me a bit of time to open it also comes with this really nice [Music] plastic this is all one piece and basically this is turned this is turned so it's all one piece there's no seams to connect there's no uh taking it apart it's very heat resistant and it could be wrong but this seems like the same stuff that the custom aquariums uh uh seamless sump is made of so that's two of the parts we've got this metal piece here which is riveted on too by the way this is put on with rivets it's not going to come out i've seen other enclosures sometimes have double stick tape or glue or something ridiculous like that these are not coming off uh the other thing they have riveted on here is this stainless steel mesh that's used as a vent for the back it is a fairly large vent as you can see and you could also probably mount uh you can probably mount some lights here or maybe lift them up off the vent a little bit so you still get some airflow but you can definitely put uh you could definitely put some of those fluorescent lights if you had uvb that you wanted to add to your enclosure you'll see also it's got a number of these ridges and stuff that's because these particular enclosures are really shine when you stack them it is a rather industrial enclosure compared to like maybe an exoterra or something like that that's got the more traditional glass uh type of terrarium it it's funny it kind of looks like like if you're as old as i am it kind of looks like a television it really reminds me of the old uh tube televisions and stuff so there is a little bit of a lip here

along the sides uh you can easily drill through this if you want to mount a light on the inside i i've got another plan for that which i'll share in a minute uh if you want to do a bioactive terrarium like like i do there isn't a lot of room there isn't a lot of room just on the base model for uh you know putting some substrate in a false bottom and all the things you need to do so it came with you can order this and this is like a little shield that you can put up and uh it's it's white here because it's plexiglas this this will peel off and it's transparent we'll do that later this comes up like this and can offer a little bit more of a transparent wall that's a bit much though like i don't know if i want quite that much so what i've left this uh plastic on here because my intention is maybe to cut this probably by about this much and uh that should leave me plenty of room to do a little bit of a false bottom there and then start to add substrate and stuff to the top and make this a bioactive enclosure now this is the sort of terrarium that uh mainly when i see them i see them in i'll see them stacked up and they can go they go well in pet stores they go well for the people that are going to just keep a lot of herps and they're going to stack them up a lot of the videos i've seen online have really basic setups inside of here i'm going to go a little nutty with my setup just because uh well that's kind of how i roll you know i do a little bit extra but that being said the way i'm doing this doesn't really um i know it probably doesn't really take advantage of some of

the key features of this so part of the reason that that these are so good is that they're really super easy to clean uh stuff that you'll use to clean on this doesn't react with this plastic this plastic is specially chosen because it's uh it's it's super easy to clean you can use cot sort semi caustic material on here to clean it and it won't degrade over time they're also made to last long a long long long time and for that reason the chain the modifications that i'm going to be making on the inside i'm going to try to not make it permanent i'm going to be adding some false sides and some false backs here but what i'm going to try to do is wedge them in between this little lip and the back and then of course along the back side i'm going to do that because uh my intention is to be able to pull them out so if if in 10 years for instance i decide that i want to do something else or if i want to pull it all apart and just kind of start over i'll be able to it's okay to plan ahead with this there are people that have been using these exact same cages for 20 years or more i believe that's true i've seen some testimonials that say almost 20 years not exactly sure when they started making these but they are but they're obviously very long-lived and your typical herp keeper is probably just going to throw a high to one side uh maybe some vines or something to climb on that'll be just kind of stabilized off the bottom or they'll drill into it or something like that and there'll be a water dish on one side to hide in another maybe some fake plants or something like that we're going to go way way way past that it really made this interesting it looking like a tv somewhat especially if you get kind of a quarter view like that um i'd love to just make a really

naturalistic uh terrarium inside of here and just make kind of a tv terrarium don't currently have any plans to get lots and lots of herps and stack these up and stuff but certainly over time i could they've been making these for a long time they're not going to stop making them hopefully anytime soon and i could always add more and more and more of these uh into a stack if i decided to go from fish to lizards or you know somewhere in between so uh i haven't kept lizards in a really long time i'm excited to put one in here though and let's move on with the project [Applause] um [Music] [Music] [Music]

so i left a little bit of room underneath here what i'm gonna do is i'm gonna just like let that uh let this stuff fill in underneath there so what this is is a window screen and i'm going to use this i'm going to put this over here to kind of protect my drainage layer uh keep some of the dirt out of it it goes up a little further it's going to ride up onto the sides of the container a little bit just to help protect it from uh from getting stuff in there from the uh you know just so dirt doesn't mix in with a drainage layer you always want to be a little bit bigger just to kind of help cut the stuff in there and i'm going to just kind of work with this for a minute get it just the way i like it before we move on to the next step uh here i've got some activated carbon and this is just uh something i'm not using in an aquarium somewhere i've ended up with kind of a lot of this over the years here and there and what this does is it'll kind of add a little a layer in between so the water will evaporate up out of here and then condensate and come back down and this uh carbon will sort of uh clean that off for a little bit of cleansing of that water as it passes back and forth and it absorbs things and just kind of help out the overall health inside of here not adding a whole lot either just just a little bit evenly distributed throughout the whole thing okay so up next we have the josh's frog's bio bedding and it's worth noting that this says that it doesn't require a drainage layer uh when you use this

but it says uh if you're just doing hand misting which i'll be doing at first but i'd like to eventually incorporate a automatic misting system in this because you know why not it says also to add three inches i hope i've left enough room for for about that much oh wow i got two bags of this which may have been too much it's interesting mixture though it's like it's kind of in layers this is the same stuff that came in the [Music] um they came in the uh little bugs came in the isopods and stuff came in the stuff oh wow i got two bags of this because i wasn't sure if i'd have enough i guess probably probably do another project eventually soon i'll be able to use that other bag but wow that went a long way that one bag filled this whole thing right up filled it up really nicely too i'm gonna kind of mix this up it's got some sand in there some light bark all the good stuff the plants will enjoy growing in hopefully i pitched this up towards the back a little bit more well i think we're to the point where we're just gonna have to wet this down and then we'll add some uh start adding plants definitely was a good idea to add this thing uh i probably could have made it a little bit taller than i did i cut it down i cut a pretty good amount off probably about that much off of it uh i think it's gonna work out though so i wanted to try something really special with this vivarium and i want to include something i love on aquariums and that is a fluval led light this is the fluval plant 3.0 and what it does it's especially cool is it ramps up and down so i can have a really true

daylight simulator and extend the evening as much as i want so what i'm doing here is uh when you make some initial settings with your light you can you can kind of do a preview uh this is on this is about 300 percent so you can kind of see that it kind of goes up and down it ramps up for day and then goes down for night i did have to make some adjustments in order to make sure that that light cycle didn't generate too much heat i actually toned it down a little bit because it gets a bit warm in there my initial setup here also for the plants is to mist this down so i got it nice and moist i kind of mix it up a little bit i get it kind of moist and mix it up a little bit again uh again i'm not i'm not super savvy with the with the terrestrial plants so i decided just to kind of uh place them in places that seemed attractive to me of course the goal was for them to kind of grow up and above uh some of these branches at some point and i for the most part i think i did okay with the plants i had to rearrange things as they go along i really had a lot of fun kind of putting this together though it was it was and i did it a lot like i would do an aquarium where basically i would uh i'd miss some plants i plant some things i missed it down again all right so here i'm adding some spring tails from one of my propagation bins this is one of the bins that i use to grow out moss and other stuff like that and uh then after that i went and i added some other plants now these are some other plants from terrariums and uh most of them didn't do as well and ended up dying and i pulled them out later those little vines uh seem to be doing pretty good but of course my that anubias just wasn't humid enough in there for it to live uh the last thing i'm gonna do is i went through and i rated my botanicals

i've got a bunch of uh botanicals in there that are already kind of pre-processed they've already been baked and stuff so they're nice and safe to put in there uh i ended up putting some shells and other things in there too and the last thing i did was i added some springtails from the josh's frogs order uh i didn't put the dwarf white isopods in there at first but i did and end up putting them in there uh maybe a couple of days later and i don't think i show it i was really really psyched especially at the beginning looking at this it was it was really a lot more interesting than i thought it would be the next thing i had to add though was a misting system i got tired of spraying it pretty quick and decided to add this this is one of the least expensive misting systems there are that that possibly still works it got some mixed reviews but it's really easy to use a self-contained and uh in a base really really basic setup it comes with a hose and one mister it can accommodate up to two and i eventually did replace it the first thing i bought was the mist king simply because it did so well but uh the setup for that is a little bit more convoluted and not as as attractive as i would not be hiding this inside of a cabinet or anything the way i installed the misters is i just kind of drilled a hole through the back and i ran the hose up through there then i drew the little misting part kind of so it would kind of sit tightly on there and i could kind of make adjustments with it you know it's real uh it's really easy to adjust that you can kind of bend it every which way you want of course the hose goes back and inserts into the system it's got a lot of different settings for how long and how often you want to use uh you want it to run for they do recommend

that you use either ro or distilled water so that uh it doesn't clog up the misti misters so uh i went ahead and i made some initial adjustments i had to play with this quite a bit over the course of the next month or so to kind of get the humidity where i wanted and the amount of water that i wanted uh it was uh it's just kind of one of those things you just keep playing with i noticed with just one uh with just one mister it just wasn't working well enough so i eventually did buy a second one and a little splitter this is the most that this little system can hold so uh i just have the two running now i in in hindsight i wish i got maybe a bigger one that i could install like four of them i think that that would be really neat but that these two running a couple of times a day i think they go they go off for about 40 seconds three times a day and uh it seems to keep everything doing really well now as time went on i decided i want to add another plant and unfortunately i think i picked a plant that's probably going to be way too big for this thing but i thought it would look nice in there and i added it and also something else that i got later on was some more isopods i decided i wanted to get maybe some bigger ones and i found these orange isopods that i really liked i got this on ebay and uh these guys breed really fast and uh do really well and i i thought that they were cool so i went ahead and added them into the mix inside of here i think at this point i started adding the dwarf whites also i had them pulled aside in a culture but i quickly got tired of maintaining that culture and decided just to go ahead and add them in to the mix as you can see in this i've got thermometers all over the place because uh i'm trying to kind of gauge the both the humidity and the temperature from the light and kind of make adjustments and i spent a lot of time over the next month or so

adjusting exactly how i want this thing to work later on as you can see the plants are growing like crazy the zz plants especially are coming right up and uh something i noticed too as i move some things around is uh how all the other little insects are doing so the springtails if you look closely you can see those springtails running around on here eating mold and other things so they're really thriving in there if i dig around in the dirt a little bit i could also see those uh dwarf white isopods kind of moving around inside of the substrate these were things that i wasn't sure i'd ever see that these are really small isopods and i wasn't sure i'd ever see them again or how the culture was doing but all you got to do is kind of dig kind of an inch into the substrate and you start to see things start to see things moving around in there and i thought that that was really neat it's been a while since i added them it's actually been quite a while since they've been in there so i think that they'll end up doing really well especially once i get uh once they get the lizard in there there's even more for them to eat and more for them to feast on of course all these things can just live off the leaves that i put in there and other things as they disintegrate in there so so really no worries there a bioactive terrarium takes uh something that can be a pain like maintaining a reptile enclosure and makes it makes it much much easier they're going to eat the detritus and and stuff that's left behind by the lizard even food if it gets kind of knocked into the onto the ground there they'll also eat up dead leaves and and other things that happen they're going to take care of mold that'll would inevitably take over inside of here because uh of all the moisture from all the different things

so i was uh i'm really excited to include them uh in this terrarium i was once i found out that you could make a bioactive terrarium it really changed changed my perspective on on keeping lizards and stuff i was also glad to see that the orange isopods were also doing really well i've got more of those i don't see them very often but but every now and then i can pull back the substrate and find some and i think that that's really cool i'm really glad to see that they're doing well all right now so here it is grown out uh as opposed to when i first planted it of course i added this this thing i think this is called a money tree and i've already had to trim it back because it's just it's going to be too big for this aquarium or this terrarium so i'm going to have to eventually remove it for right now it seems to be doing okay the zz plants have got grown tremendously i've got these i got two sheets right here and one right here that's just come right up through the wood which is cool exactly what i was interested in doing i i think it was neat that these ones that i planted just stayed exactly the same size in fact there's another one coming up on the other side over here but uh these ones that i planted all just kind of stayed exactly where uh you know exactly the size that they were when i put them in and they just kind of put these new ones out hopefully these don't just go all the way to the top and bend over and end up being a big problem it kind of looks like they've slowed down like these kind of came out and then they slowed down right about there so maybe um maybe they'll get to the point that's kind of optimal for them and then stop i've also added some moss uh here and along the sides and different little places uh that i got on ebay uh the best i

could made sure that they were pest free i put them in a propagation bin for a little while like i kept them there no uh interesting little critters came out of that so uh they've gone into here now they kind of helped it's a little rough right there where i had the where i cut the phone away for the for the wood and stuff the wood was attached with it that seemed to work really well the one thing i do regret on this one is i didn't integrate any kind of place for food like i i really meant to do that and i even uh consider taking these little these little botanical shells and stuff uh consider taking those and and making those in the food dishes perhaps maybe in the branches and stuff and i still might do something like that right now i'm just kind of keeping my options open uh i'll probably be putting freckle in here next week right now he's just living up here on top of this thing he's in his little hide he can't hardly see him in there he's in his little hide right now uh oh actually no he's not there he is yeah he's in here hoping that uh maybe i've decided to feed him early i guess but yeah he just lives in this thing right above it for now right here is the humidity probe and uh the the temperature probes all actually all the way up here towards the top it does get rather hot this light gets pretty warm and the vent is actually down below so the heat kind of stays in this area now there's some holes uh there's a hole there for the power cord and there's a hole for these probes on the other side so there is a little bit of ventilation there for the for the heat to escape but not a lot so what i did is i turned the lights down so they never come up to the actual the maximum and i've got a nice gradient so it does get up a little bit above 80

during the day and i've taken this measurements over several days and the measurements are all coming from are mostly coming from here so right here right here at the top here it does get about 81 degrees for a couple hours during the day but it gets all the way down to like you know 72 degrees by the time you get down here so i've got a nice gradient between the top and the bottom and there should be plenty of areas for freckle to move to to find a nice comfortable place i've got a lot of dark areas it actually with your eyes it doesn't look as dark as it does with here let me let me brighten it up a little bit there's some darker areas uh down underneath here and underneath here i've made a little hide uh on this side with like a little shell and some um that's stuffed with some moss and you know some sphagnum moss and stuff like that just to try and make it uh make him someplace that's that's comfortable for him to hide out in i think next week i'm gonna add him to the terrarium and that'll sort of finish this up and there it is uh it took a while it took a while to put this together and kind of get all the little pieces uh going in the right way a way ever bought some stuff and josh's frog so i've got enough to in theory make another one i'm not sure if i'm gonna just stack a bunch of these up and uh and do it but oh no custom cages you want to hook me up oh we could do three or four more of these that'd be great i think the big trouble with uh keeping a gecko is trying not to keep hundreds of geckos he's a super cute little lizard and i was gonna do the uh the experience of going and purchasing him before this video but i decided to kind of push that back to afterwards uh because at the end i'd like to add him in here and i want to give it maybe one more week before i do that so tune in next week where kerrigan and i go on a little shopping

excursion to a reptile convention and we buy a crested gecko named freckel it's all coming up next week until then follow your bliss keep a clean bavarian and i'll see you soon [Music] bye i should be playing bloopers hey folks today we're going to take a look at this terrarium i made for the nano terrarium challenge we pick out our new forever friend okay so i wrote fluval and they sent me one of their cool bluetooth them able that was very uh carrick and kerrigan and i hey folks today we're going to take a look gotta spend a lot experience that was hey folks today we're going to take a look  

About PeckTec

Sean Peck (PeckTec on YouTube) uses a Seamless Sump filter system to clean his 220-gallon freshwater planted display aquarium.

Sean's tank is a freshwater planted tank with a seamless sump system. Sean really wanted to solve the issue of filtering a really large aquarium. Sean actually interviewed members of Custom Aquariums staff and that is where Sean learned about Custom Aquariums seamless sump system and is quite impressed.

Pecktec posts videos every Sunday about his aquarium projects, so stay tuned!

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