Making aboreal enclosure w/2.5 gallon

NixHexDude

Arachnoknight
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I'm somewhat familiar with the process of upending a typical terrarium for aboreals, but I need some specifics. I'm wanting to rehouse my P rufilata, and I'm planning to move it into a 2.5 gallon. I know I need to glue a piece of plexiglass or whatever to hold in the substrate. Anyway I need to know what type of adhesive to use and what specific material to glue on. I'm guessing I can find this stuff at lowe's? Sorry if there's already a thread on this, but I couldn't find anything with the search feature. Thanks guys
 

flyguycolorado

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Sep 7, 2009
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48
hot glue! Thats the short answer. But robc has a video on youtube step by step, hope that helps
 

bholmes

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Hot glue eventually comes apart. I second the vote for silicon.
 

Stan Schultz

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I'm somewhat familiar with the process of upending a typical terrarium for aboreals, but I need some specifics. I'm wanting to rehouse my P rufilata, and I'm planning to move it into a 2.5 gallon. I know I need to glue a piece of plexiglass or whatever to hold in the substrate. Anyway I need to know what type of adhesive to use and what specific material to glue on. ...
Hot glue will work - sort of. It doesn't bond well with either most of the plastics or with glass. As someone else offered, it'll come loose from either or both sooner or later. This is not all bad, however, because it's relatively easy to remove for when you want to use the cage for something else.

Silicone rubber is a good one to use, except that while it bonds well to glass (another silicone based substance), it doesn't bond well to any plastics. So, if you use a glass barrier, it'll form a nearly permanent bond to the barrier, but not to the plastic aquarium frame. If you use a Plexiglas barrier, it'll bond only loosely to both the barrier and the frame, and isn't much better than hot glue in the long run.

And, the silicone that you use should be the type used for manufacturing and repairing aquariums, not the stuff used by plumbers. And, you need to let it cure at least 24 hours (I'd prefer 48 hours) before you introduce the tarantula to the cage. Technically, aquarium silicone is a room temperature vulcanizing preparation that emits strong acetic acid fumes as it cures. These fumes are not good for your tarantula, although I've never heard anyone specifically claim that they had trouble with a tarantula after using it around them.

If you use a glass barrier you need to be careful to grind down the sharp edges before you install it so that you won't slice yourself the next time you try to catch an errant cricket! :eek: Also, the glass will break if you tap it with a ceramic water dish or ornament.

The Plexiglas most often used is the thin stuff from building supply stores. It's major problem is that it's not very robust, and tends to break very easily. Perhaps you could get a small scrap of thicker Plexiglas by perusing the Yellow Pages under Plastics and making a few calls to the listed dealers.

That was almost all the bad news. The good news is that if you cut the barrier to the correct size and insert it inside the aquarium, braced against the inside of the frame, you'll need almost no adhesive whatsoever to hold it in place. The weight of the substrate will be mostly adequate.

However, if you really insist on a bank vault, secure barrier, use 3/16" or 1/4" glass, cut it so it fits inside the cage against the plastic frame, sand off the sharp edges, and apply silicone rubber on the INSIDE so that it forms a nice neat seal to both the glass barrier and the glass wall of the aquarium. This seal should closely resemble the aquarium manufacturer's glass to glass seals. It's even possible to make a small guppy pond in the bottom of the cage if you do it correctly! (Although I'm not sure the rufilata would be impressed!)

Hint: Enthusiasts normally use FAR TOO MUCH silicone when making seals like this. By frugal.

Second hint: You can remove 95% of the silicone from glass with a single edge razor blade. NEVER TRY TO USE A DOUBLE EDGE BLADE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS!

I hope this helps a little. Enjoy your little 8-legged buddy!
 

kenzie

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We have 4 P. Rufilatas, and we love them! We have a huge female that we have in a large tupperware with the sides sanded down so she can climb. The other smaller ones we have in smaller tupperware that were really cheap and they stack nicely. I would love to build a big enclosure that could fit all of our collection, but until that day, cheap tupperwares are our friend.
 

NixHexDude

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Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm leaning toward the hot glue and plexiglass. I believe I've seen a video on cutting plexiglass, and if memory serves all I need is an exactoknife? I think you score both sides, and it should snap off easily right? If I had a power drill, I'd be tempted to make something like robc's lids, but I think this will work just fine. This won't be the last house I make for this T anyway, since it'll eventually outgrown the 2.5 gallon if I'm not mistaken. Maybe I'll invest in some tools when I have to adapt the 5.5 gallon. Thanks again, everyone!
 

jebbewocky

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Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm leaning toward the hot glue and plexiglass. I believe I've seen a video on cutting plexiglass, and if memory serves all I need is an exactoknife? I think you score both sides, and it should snap off easily right? If I had a power drill, I'd be tempted to make something like robc's lids, but I think this will work just fine. This won't be the last house I make for this T anyway, since it'll eventually outgrown the 2.5 gallon if I'm not mistaken. Maybe I'll invest in some tools when I have to adapt the 5.5 gallon. Thanks again, everyone!
If you don't have tools, you might want to check and have the store measure and cut it for you for a fee.

Also, not to contradict Stan, but personally, I'm not a fan of having such a tight fit on the lid. I prefer to hot glue the bottom portion, and leave a tiny little gap between the lip of the aquarium and the top part of the plexi, and make a closing mechanism. That way, you don't scare the crap out of your spider with the force needed to pry it open--plus, it you have a Pokie or an H.mac or something in there it can give you a little jump too! :D
 

Stan Schultz

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If you don't have tools, you might want to check and have the store measure and cut it for you for a fee. ...
Good point. Or, if you whine and beg a little, for free!

... Also, not to contradict Stan, but personally, I'm not a fan of having such a tight fit on the lid. ...
No, no, no! What I'm proposing is not a lid. In fact, I interpret the OP's question to pertain to a dam to hold in the substrate apart from a cover or lid:

"... I know I need to glue a piece of plexiglass or whatever to hold in the substrate. ..."

This is an illustration from TKG3. Click it for a larger version.



(Uploaded with ImageShack.us)

I hope this helps. Enjoy your little, vertically oriented, 8-legged miracle!
 

NixHexDude

Arachnoknight
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If you don't have tools, you might want to check and have the store measure and cut it for you for a fee.
Do I need a circular saw or something? I was under the impression all you need is a straight edge and a razor. And I was talking about a dam to hold the substrate not a lid. Last item: does Lowe's have/cut plexiglass?
 

NevularScorpion

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Jun 30, 2007
Messages
917
Hot glue will work - sort of. It doesn't bond well with either most of the plastics or with glass. As someone else offered, it'll come loose from either or both sooner or later. This is not all bad, however, because it's relatively easy to remove for when you want to use the cage for something else.

Silicone rubber is a good one to use, except that while it bonds well to glass (another silicone based substance), it doesn't bond well to any plastics. So, if you use a glass barrier, it'll form a nearly permanent bond to the barrier, but not to the plastic aquarium frame. If you use a Plexiglas barrier, it'll bond only loosely to both the barrier and the frame, and isn't much better than hot glue in the long run.

And, the silicone that you use should be the type used for manufacturing and repairing aquariums, not the stuff used by plumbers. And, you need to let it cure at least 24 hours (I'd prefer 48 hours) before you introduce the tarantula to the cage. Technically, aquarium silicone is a room temperature vulcanizing preparation that emits strong acetic acid fumes as it cures. These fumes are not good for your tarantula, although I've never heard anyone specifically claim that they had trouble with a tarantula after using it around them.

If you use a glass barrier you need to be careful to grind down the sharp edges before you install it so that you won't slice yourself the next time you try to catch an errant cricket! :eek: Also, the glass will break if you tap it with a ceramic water dish or ornament.

The Plexiglas most often used is the thin stuff from building supply stores. It's major problem is that it's not very robust, and tends to break very easily. Perhaps you could get a small scrap of thicker Plexiglas by perusing the Yellow Pages under Plastics and making a few calls to the listed dealers.

That was almost all the bad news. The good news is that if you cut the barrier to the correct size and insert it inside the aquarium, braced against the inside of the frame, you'll need almost no adhesive whatsoever to hold it in place. The weight of the substrate will be mostly adequate.

However, if you really insist on a bank vault, secure barrier, use 3/16" or 1/4" glass, cut it so it fits inside the cage against the plastic frame, sand off the sharp edges, and apply silicone rubber on the INSIDE so that it forms a nice neat seal to both the glass barrier and the glass wall of the aquarium. This seal should closely resemble the aquarium manufacturer's glass to glass seals. It's even possible to make a small guppy pond in the bottom of the cage if you do it correctly! (Although I'm not sure the rufilata would be impressed!)

Hint: Enthusiasts normally use FAR TOO MUCH silicone when making seals like this. By frugal.

Second hint: You can remove 95% of the silicone from glass with a single edge razor blade. NEVER TRY TO USE A DOUBLE EDGE BLADE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS!

I hope this helps a little. Enjoy your little 8-legged buddy!
nice info :) thanks
 

webbedone

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410
Dont use silicone it lingers forever inside the tank and the fumes arent healthy for the T. use food grade caulk you can get it at http://www.emisupply.com in any colour its relatively cheap. It smells like the 9th circle of hell at first tho so you might want to work with it outside but within 24-48 hours the smell will be completely gone forever it will not linger behind and its food grade so its 100% safe for your T if you are concerned. Also if you are using hot glue dont use cheap walmart sticks they are low temp glue and will barely hold onto anything. you wanna scour the internet fro high temperature glue sticks i dont remember where exactly i got it from i just remember that the pack was roughly around 12 bucks and it lasted me since
 

NikiP

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Do I need a circular saw or something? I was under the impression all you need is a straight edge and a razor. And I was talking about a dam to hold the substrate not a lid. Last item: does Lowe's have/cut plexiglass?
Yes we do. My store, & the last one I worked at, doesn't add the cutting fee if you have the plexie cut when you buy it. Even if your local store does, it's only 25 cents.

Dont use silicone it lingers forever inside the tank and the fumes arent healthy for the T. use food grade caulk you can get it at http://www.emisupply.com in any colour its relatively cheap. It smells like the 9th circle of hell at first tho so you might want to work with it outside but within 24-48 hours the smell will be completely gone forever it will not linger behind and its food grade so its 100% safe for your T if you are concerned. Also if you are using hot glue dont use cheap walmart sticks they are low temp glue and will barely hold onto anything. you wanna scour the internet fro high temperature glue sticks i dont remember where exactly i got it from i just remember that the pack was roughly around 12 bucks and it lasted me since
I've used aquarium silicone in several tanks & none of the Ts appear to be unhealthy. I let them cure for several days outside before adding the Ts.
 

Motorkar

Arachnobaron
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If you would like to make a glass terrarium you can make something similar to mine, wich I poseted step by step guide here. Its 5,5 gallon tank, but it can be redesigned to suit your needs and to be smaller. Or you can make something similar what Dangergirl makes.;)
 

Stan Schultz

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Dont use silicone it lingers forever inside the tank ...
Just set the cage out in the open air in the sun for an afternoon. If there is any vinegar smell after that, repeat additional days as necessary. Again, almost everybody uses way too much silicone, and the thicker you lay it on, the longer the smell lingers. You're only trying to hold a few pieces of glass together to cage a small spider, not Godzilla.

... you wanna scour the internet fro high temperature glue sticks i dont remember where exactly i got it from i just remember that the pack was roughly around 12 bucks and it lasted me since
You are correct that the low temperature hot glue isn't very strong. It's used mainly for arts and crafts and such where it doesn't have to be very secure.

Most hardware stores and building supplies also stock the high temperature hot glue. Just read the labels so you know what you're buying. Or, ask for help. If one place doesn't have it, the next one will.

Enjoy your little 8-legged monster!
 

robc

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Hot glue eventually comes apart. I second the vote for silicon.
I have had hot-glue on mine for 4-5 years with 85% humidity in the room and it has not come apart.
 

blooms

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Is that a high temp or low temp glue gun? What about using the glue gun to make an all plex enclosure? WOuld that hold together or fall apart?
 

robc

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Is that a high temp or low temp glue gun? What about using the glue gun to make an all plex enclosure? WOuld that hold together or fall apart?
I use it for decor mainly, I would use aquarium grade 100% silicone to hold the actual tank together.
 

blooms

Arachnoknight
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I read that silicon only binds glass, what do you use to bind Plexiglas?
 
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