How to make a tarantula safe wooden terrarium/vivarium

ledzeppelin

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
433
Hi guys, i apologize if this was already discussed here.

So, I really like the look of a wooden terrarium and I've decided to make a big one with separated walls for all my tarantulas.. (if this can be pulled off of course). i want something new instead of all these glass tanks all around my room.

What I have in my mind is basically a wooden box with a fixed front screen and a wooden lid.

My question to you guys is this: will this have any negative effects on my t's? Let me mention that I intend to use beech plywood as a main material. (nothing toxic here)

I personally see no problem with wooden terrariums with my B.Smithi, G.Rosea or A.Geniculata because those really prefer a rather dry soil so wood will not really rot. or will it?

I wonder about my Regalis tho.. is it safe to use some sort of polish (like for boats to make the wood water tight)? because regalis requires too much humidity foor wood to handle. or if self-adhesive foil is sticked over the ground and walls? would that work?

I know this is a big question but i will be glad if you guys have any ideas or experience with this, for i have none.
 

Le Wasp

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
245
I've never tried it, but quite a few frog owners have built this sort of thing. Here's a thread of quite a large wooden terrarium, discussing what kind of sealers he used for the wood: http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/sho...ld-for-DART-FROGS-with-waterfall-(SLOW-BUILD)

For multiple T's, just make sure you secure the dividing walls really well. Personally, I'd recommend making separate, modular boxes that fit into some kind of shelving. That way if you have to remove part of it (maintenance, rebuilding one of them, etc.), you can just pull out that one box. Plus you wouldn't have to worry about a tarantula finding its way into another one's house.
 

ledzeppelin

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
433
Hi Le Wasp! thanks for the link! and yeah I expressed my plan a bit clumsy there hehe. I definitely won't make it as a unit because i would have to tear the whole thing apart if something fails.. too risky. I will make separate boxes of course :) with separating I ment an aditional tile between the tanks hehe.
 

SamuraiSid

Arachnodemon
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
759
If I were you, I would make a shelving unit that can house multiple wooden enclosures instead of one large piece. This way you can take out individual enclosures for whatever reason. Decorating, mite control, etc. A custom built shelving unit could look really good and give the illusion of a single piece.

I would highly recommend sealing the wood. If your going take on such a large project do it right. It will last longer.

Several coats of polyurethane is all you need. Minwax and Varathane are two highly suggested brands. I used Varathane brand "Diamond Interior Floor Finish" for my varanid enclosure and its holding up nicely. Varathane also makes a product called "Paint on Plastic" that is safe and, as its name suggests, gives a coloured plastic finish.
 

ledzeppelin

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
433
Hi SamuraiSid!

Thanks for the suggestion. :) and I do intend to do multiple enclosures :) cheers!
 

edgeofthefreak

Arachno-titled!
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
496
I use Minwax "Oil-modified" polyurethane. It's fantastic. Cleans up with water, you can apply multiple coats over time, and the more you add, the better the protection. I made a nice little dollar store find into a spider cottage with just a few coats of this stuff:

01-005crop.jpg

This spider no longer lives in this enclosure, and I noticed that the bottom had a bit of swelling from moisture. I've added about six more coats, inside and out, feels very water tight now. And I've only used about a tenth of the 235mL container (about the size of a tennis ball) so far.
 

xTimx

Arachnoknight
Joined
Dec 30, 2012
Messages
187
sorry for the late reply! i really like to thank you for the awesome post you posted up on my thread and to the other dude that posted my thread up on here for inspiration! really means alot.

as far as making a wood viv, you're gonna wanna use epoxy, preferably marine grade. keep in mind it CAN get expensive. if you're going to introduce ANY kind of moisture into the enclosure, your gonna wanna seal it well.
Using my tank build as a reference, there was a product that i used called "Weather shield Flex" you can get it here in canada. its similar to drylok actually.
you could also use drylok for the viv, which would work too cuz its a waterproof membrane that you're applying to the wood. just make sure you apply alot of coats to it. and its tintable as well too. you can get it in light grey or white. given this is just a tarantula build, you're not gonna have that much moisture in the tank at all times. so drylok will be a good option for you. REMEMBER THOUGH. if you do this, MAKE SURE to apply the drylok first and THEN apply a bead of silicone in the corners, further sealing the tank from moisture.
in my tank build i did the opposite and the weather shield flex actually peeled away with ease.
since i was going to have water below my false bottom, i grabbed some pond liner, cut it to size and glued it in with a waterproof glue (gorilla glue). i then water tested it for 2 weeks straight, and there was no leaks at all.
above all else, when you're applying any kind of material thats going into your enclosure, whether it'd be for T's or Frogs. be sure its safe and BE SURE you let it cure for a minimum of a week.

oh and applying poly and oils to the wood is NOT going to water proof it.
 

ledzeppelin

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
433
Hi xTimx! i've seen your build and it is amazing! well i live here in Slovenia and all these brands are different here :/.. anyway, my terrariums won't be introduced to much moisture, only my P.Regalis tank which requires really high humidity. My other tarantulas will have a dry soil and a waterdish, so i don't really think sealing up 100% waterproof tank is necessary. For those tarantulas who like their habitat dry I think i'll just cover it in something to make wood resistant to the moisture. With your build its a rather more complicated issue, because you made a "pond" for your frogs and because of this you need water tight tank. It would be more professional if i made it watertight but i won't have water directly on the wood. I think it would be enough if i just protected the wood from moisture instead of making it watertight. Ive seen you spent over 2000 bucks on your tank.. this is soooo much over my budget my head hurts :D i know if it's worth doing it's worth doing right.. but wooden ones look so nice :( .. i will re read your post again to get more inspiration :) and again, congratulations on your build :)
 
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