Habitat - Indoor :: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:47 am   Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Hey everyone -

So I've finally got some pictures to show of Tucker's new ATBA. The set up I had before was working fine, but I got bored with it and wanted to make a change. Also, Tucker was eating his dock and I had poop covered styrofoam floating all over the top of the water every day. I also wanted to make a nesting area for Tucker. I hope when the time comes, she'll take to it. I ordered some precut acrylic from an online place which was a huge help. It actually was cheaper than buying stock sheets at the hardware store. Plus it was less mess I had to deal with. I originally thought working with acrylic would be tough, but it's not. Once you understand how the cement works, there's nothing to it. If you do use acrylic cement, I recommend putting towels underneath your work area. I bubbled up some spots in the tiles downstairs with some drips! Nasty stuff! It's not even glue. It's more like acid and it "welds" the plastic together and it's like working with water. Be careful if you use it. So here's what my tank looks like before the basking area. There have been minor changes since this picture has been taken, but it's basically the same. Floating dock with lights above it.

Tank Front View.JPG
Here is what my set up was before the ATBA
Tank Front View.JPG (63.35 KiB) Viewed 8651 times


The plastic came in 4 pieces. I only had to cut a hole in one piece for the ramp and I cut one piece into different sections for the ends of the box and the nesting area partition shown here:

20120211_125028.jpg.jpg
This piece was cut for the short sides of the box, and the nesting area partition.
20120211_125028.jpg.jpg (48.18 KiB) Viewed 8651 times


I then attached the three big pieces together to make the bottom and two long sides to the tank. Shown here:

20120205_173844.jpg
I dripped some cement on the towel and the towel adhered to the bottom of the plastic! I ripped it off, but it left some towel fuzzies behind. This was when I decided I would carpet the bottom of the box.
20120205_173844.jpg (54.7 KiB) Viewed 8651 times
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
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Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:56 am   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Here is what I used to cut the plastic.

A 7 and 1/2 in circular saw.
Circular Saw.jpg
This was the best tool to use. Still messy, but cleaner and neater cuts.
Circular Saw.jpg (65.94 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


A 4 and 1/2 in. angle grinder with a stainless steel cutting wheel.
Grinder.jpg
I only used this to cut the hole in the bottom for the ramp to the water. Would have prefered to use a jig saw/scroll saw but didn't have one.
Grinder.jpg (57.03 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


Once I had everything cut, I wanted to make sure it all fit, so I pieced it together before sanding/glueing.

Fitting Sides.jpg
Fitting Sides.jpg (52.97 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


Every side I glued, I sanded with fine grit sand paper and wiped clean with a damp rag. This was important to get a good seal when using the cement. I learned about his from some videos on youtube. Here is the video I watched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT6Ow_cBTps

Once the cement is applied, it only takes about a minute or two for it to start holding. Fast setting stuff.

Once I had the side on, it was time for the nesting partition. The enclosure is 14 inches high and 42 inches long. I made the nesting area 8 inches deep. I read somewhere on this website I believe that the area for the eggs should be as deep as the turtle is long. Now, I know Tucker can get to 12 inches eventually, but my wife vetoed my want for 4 more inches. She puts up with enough from me!
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
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Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:03 am   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Here is the nesting area partition:

Nesting Area.jpg
Nesting Area.jpg (56.02 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


The white caulk dried clear. I put that there to help keep dirt from spilling through the cracks. I'm not a master plastic cutter and the divider was just a pinch too small on one side. Plus, the caulk helped hold the divider in place.

Partition.jpg
Partition.jpg (57.39 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


After that was in place, it was time for the part I wasn't looking forward to. The ramp. I mitered (cut on an angle) some scrap pieces of plastic I had and tried glueing them to where the hole was. It worked, but there just wasn't enough making contact to hold the weight of the ramp up. So, I took some more scrap and made braces for the ramp. I bent the pieces to the angle I needed using a propane torch.

Ramp Braces 2.jpg
Ramp Braces 2.jpg (66.2 KiB) Viewed 8650 times
Last edited by Tucker Allen on Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
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Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:10 am   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Here are some better pictures of the braces.
Ramp Braces.jpg
Ramp Braces.jpg (55.84 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


After heating up the plastic I noticed how clear it got on the sides where it was cut. So I took the torch and heated up the sides of every exposed edge I could get to on the box. Where the plastic had been cut it was cloudy looking, but after applying the heat, it cleared up and looked a lot better. The video I watched mentioned using a map gas torch. That would probably work better, but I had propane and used that and it improved the appearance enough for me.

Here is how the ramp turned out. I don't have a picture on the computer yet of the little bumps I glued to it for traction. Those will come either tomorrow or monday.

Ramp.jpg
Ramp.jpg (51.72 KiB) Viewed 8650 times


I will finish this build thread tomorrow. I'm too tired to keep going! I have all the decorations and everything. I just have to put it all together. The first morning I had it on the tank, as soon as the lights came on, Tucker crawled all the way in to check it out. It was awesome! Can't wait to show more pics.
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
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Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:11 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Looks amazing. I can't wait to see the finished product.
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:42 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Cool! Can't wait to see it done! =)
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vear
 
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:24 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Looks great, I'm looking forward to see the finished product too!
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steve
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:38 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Alrighty so I got all the decorations put in and everything's almost ready to go. I have to make some changes though. I need some more sand and peat moss for the nesting area. Also, since my basking light is higher, the temperature isn't quite what it should. It's at 85 degrees. I have convinced my wife to let me buy the more expensive Mercury Vapor Bulb. Plus, having that one bulb will eliminate one of the light fixutres on the tank so it should look better. Anyway on to the pics!

I got anxious once the box was complete and wanted to try the new ATBA out before it was completely decorated. I only put some astro turf in the bottom and I attached it using adhesive backed velcro. Here's what it looked like:

ATBA Before Decor.jpg
ATBA Before Decor.jpg (55.04 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Tucker got in the first morning I had it up. Made me happy because I was worried he'd have trouble on the ramp, but he didn't.

On the bottom of the ATBA is more adhesive velcro to help hold it in place. My original idea was to have the ATBA mounted to shelf brackets on the wall behind the tank. There was too much of a gap though and it wouldn't work. It sits nicely on the tank and it was much easier to do!

Next, I decided I wanted a 3 - D background and I decided to get a fake bark background and attach fake leaves to it. For the nesting area I got some reptile peat moss that I dried out, and some glow in the dark reptile sand. I mixed it together 50/50. I put it in the nesting area and found out I'm going to need a lot more! Here are all the decorations I bought:

Decorative Materials.jpg
Decorative Materials.jpg (57.48 KiB) Viewed 8631 times



Here is an upclose picture of the nesting area that's not yet complete.

Nesting Dirt.jpg
Nesting Dirt.jpg (58.23 KiB) Viewed 8631 times
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
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Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:42 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Here are some up close pictures of the ramp. I cemented little plastic bubbles to help with traction. Tucker's saying hello too.

Tucker and Ramp 1.jpg
Tucker and Ramp 1.jpg (69.65 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Tucker with Ramp 2.jpg
Tucker with Ramp 2.jpg (69.85 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Here's the whole set-up:

Whole Setup.jpg
Whole Setup.jpg (55.14 KiB) Viewed 8631 times
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
User avatar
Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:45 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

I used hot glue to attach the fake leaves to the bark background. Just some more nesting substrate, a MV bulb and another bud light and I'm all set! Here are some additional random pics:

Basking Area.jpg
I put some treats in there on the left. If we leave the house and come back, I'll know he's been up there if they are gone.
Basking Area.jpg (66.55 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Nesting Ramp.jpg
I'm going to buy more of these ramps to complete the width of the tank so he doesn't go evil kinevil on me and jump off!
Nesting Ramp.jpg (54.19 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Basking Area - Ramp.jpg
Basking Area - Ramp.jpg (57.83 KiB) Viewed 8631 times


Thanks for looking! Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements. And thanks again for having this site. It's made my turtle keeping experience much more informed and we have a happy turtle because of it!!
Last edited by Tucker Allen on Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
User avatar
Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:49 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Also, if anyone wants more details on how I made this, feel free to ask! I'm not an expert by any means, but if I can make this, anyone can!!
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
User avatar
Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:52 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

More details, that would be awesome to make eventually for our Spencer. I'm far from an expert, but we are getting out of this apartment in a month and I'll have more room to do stuff like this.
RedEar
 
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:54 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

I just signed a petition to stop "Snapperfest." If you are reading my build thread, please sign it too: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
User avatar
Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:08 pm   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Here is a link to a video I posted on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ2QXl9ISZk
STOP SNAPPER FEST! LETS GRAB SOME HILLBILLIES BY THEIR MULLETS AND THROW THEM TO THE GROUND!
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stopsnapperfest/

My build thread!
http://www.redearslider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31728
User avatar
Tucker Allen
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 4, 2011
Location: Central Illinois
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:56 am   Re: Clear Acrylic Above the Tank Basking Area

Nice video, it was very thorough :)
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steve
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