Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bearded Dragons: Furnishing the Terrarium

The Bearded Dragons need a home. We could just stick them into the larger terrarium, throw in some sand, a few stones, and branches and off we go. ... Or we make this a bit more interesting ...

After reading through several descriptions on the Web on how to build terrarium "furniture", we settled on the styrofoam + grout method. I wasn't quite convinced how well this would work, so we first built a test piece: A couple pieces of styrofoam glued together and then coated with sanded grout. We chose sanded grout because it is supposed to be less susceptible to develop cracks. Of course I mixed waaaaay to much grout, and most of that first batch ended up in the waste bin as leftovers when it had dried.

The grout coat  took a day to harden, but looks very solid now.

With that experience under our belt, we started building the real thing. Ah yes, working with styrofoam is so much fun. The little white balls are going everywhere! ...

Pretty quickly the left side was built up enough that we decided to test the fit in the terrarium.

Approved! From then on out we went into high productivity mode, and maybe went a little bit over the top.

The concept is pretty simple: a cave on the left, a overhang on the right, and two potential basking spots on the second level. While Artemis and Apollo are quite small today, they will add a foot in length over the next year, and gain quite a bit of weight, so everything needs to be solid and well supported. We built up the land forms from layers of styrofoam board of various thicknesses, and then attacked the edges with a knife and a basket rasp (more white balls flying around, the shop vac got a good workout).

Another test fit, and then we attacked the rear wall to add a pattern for visual interest, instead of having a plain flat background. The result can be seen at the top of this post. Next up is coating everything, except bottom and outside rear wall, with several thin layers of grout.

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