The H. gigas Project.

conipto

ArachnoPrincess
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(If this should be in the watering hole, feel free to move it - ultimately the T will be put in, so I picked here)

Well, for those of you who didn't read the earlier thread involving my half-witted plan, I have decied to build a terrarium/aquarium that enables a tarantula to dive into water for fish prey (Hystocrates gigas). Many people have said that these tarantulas do this, and I want to see if I can get one to try it in captivity. Without further ado, I began this evening.

Lets hope the images will link from Angelfire - they have before...

Part One. - Aggravation, swearing, and shopping.

I began my evening with a trip to PetSmart, one of my least favorite places in the world (but the only place I know three blocks away with 7 dollar aquariums) There, I purchased a 10 gallon glass aquarium (a bit big, but the only size that would work with the smallest filter I could find - She'll live in luxury), a 5 gallon size Air pump(since I'm using only a quarter of the tank for fish) and an under the tank filter, designed for 5 and 10 gallon aquariums.

Next, on to Home Depot, where I purchased one sheet of 18"x24" plexiglass, a new drill bit, some aquarium silicon (never heard of it but I guess this would suit my purpose eh?) a set of hinges (for the lid) a plexiglass scoring tool, a steel carpenter's square (since things that flex are things that vex), a trio of C-clamps and of course, batteries for my digital camera.

Here's the loot:


Oh, and of course, some imported beer, which is essential to any thursday night project.

Well, first things first - I need to size everything up. The under-gravel aquarium is made of two halves, that fill up the whole ten gallon aquarium. since I want to only use a fourth of the aquarium for the fish, I'll have to cut one section in half.


But first, I decided to make the wall dividing the substrate area and the aquarium. There will actually be two, one fixed and one removable, but I still need to find some kind of rail for the removable piece, so I'll start with the fixed piece. I measure it out, and clamp the square onto the plexiglass (despite the look of the picture, I did not clamp it to the glass table). Next, I use the scoring tool to scratch a very deep groove where the plexiglass should break.


OK, so far so good. I've scored my plexiglass up pretty good, and it should snap like a twig, right?


Not even close.

So, now I'm angry at this inferior method of plastic cutting. Time to go into the closet and break out the big guns:



I was given this old dremel tool with a sears sticker on it about 9 years ago for a christmas present. It is the oldest tool I currently posess, and if it can't do it, nothing can. Having used it on plexiglass before, and made big messes in the past, the only thing I've found that can cut a straight line and not melt the plexiglass is a sanding disc, beleive it or not. They usually cost about 2 dollars for 25 and the arbor for them comes with most bit-sets for dremel tools. So, I then cut my piece with the dremel tool, which worked smooth as silk. Next, I cut the under-gravel filter in half (I was really enjoying the new-found efficiency of my old tool) and opened a beer, to celebrate finally making some progress. (As well as give the stench of molten plastic time to dissapate):



Ah, the sweet smell of success.

Anyways, next I fit everything into place, and assembled the filter, to make sure I had height clearance and see how wide the hose would be to cut out a slot in the lid.



One thing I should mention, is that in doing this I seem to have forgotten about the silicon on the bottom joints of the tank. Rather than leave a big gap along the bottom edge to only have to silicon closed later, I decided to cut some 45 degree corners on the piece:



Now, all that is needed on that piece are a few thin lines of silicon to hold it in place.

I decided to break for the night when my next door neighbor came to complain about the noise from me cutting the plexiglass with my dremel tool. In the next few days, I'll be cutting the lid (hinged so that I can maintain only the aquarium if I wish to) and devising the removable portion of the divider (this will be so that upon settling in the H. gigas doesn't fill up my pond with dirt, and also so I can freely maintain the water area without having to worry about a mean african burrower giving me fang.) Also, I've yet to silicon the divider in place, since I want to do that portion all at once. I still need an H. gigas, too, but that should be taken care of by weeks end.

More to come,

Bill
 
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Vayu Son

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><

Awesome Bill,

Since your not done yet, you may want to consider some kind of flooding system so that you can flood the burrow periodically. This is how I have kept H.gigas hydrated in the past... since they tend to not frequent the water dish, It becomes essential to add enough water so that it seeps into the substrate and keeps the burrow nice and damp... I do this with C.crawshayi as well.

Peace and good luck.

-V
 

krystal

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bill--
okay, who's the monkey with the red and yellow hat?

thanks for setting up such visually graphic pics that even the reading-impared tarantula enthusiast can get the jist of what to do when creating their own "h. gigas pond project."
 

conipto

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Originally posted by krystal
bill--
okay, who's the monkey with the red and yellow hat?

thanks for setting up such visually graphic pics that even the reading-impared tarantula enthusiast can get the jist of what to do when creating their own "h. gigas pond project."
That is Baby Bear's read along something or other. it follows some classic kids stories out loud - so I don't have to. I can't read out loud, no matter how hard I try.

Bill
 

That Guy

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Dude:eek: Good luck with that.......... Hope it goes well....
 

MrT

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Bill,
A little less beer drinkin, and a little more tank buildin. LOL

As soon as your done building yours, and decide all the ways you could have done it better, or how you could tweek it.
Let me know, cause I'll start mine then.

I have 80% of the materials for my setup. I,m just going to wait till you get done, to hear what you have to teach me.

Ernie
 

LPacker79

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That is Baby Bear's read along something or other. it follows some classic kids stories out loud - so I don't have to. I can't read out loud, no matter how hard I try.
"Hi, my name's Baby Bear. This is a story that happened one day when mommy and daddy and I went away. A little girl named Goldilocks came by....."

Oh god how I hate that stupid bear! My nephew has one and he's constantly playing with the stupid thing.

Your project looks fabulous. I'm anxiously awaiting for the next installment.

Leanne
 

Tarantula Lover

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hey

Nice step by step! Good Luck on your project Bill! Cant wait for part 2!


keep em comin'


James
 

chid

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Just a thought, when shopping for materials get 2 packs of Becks next time.

Chid
 

conipto

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Part II - Lid making 101.

Well, the next part I've done is make the lid. This part I decided to go into quite a bit of detail on, because I know alot of people have asked questions in the past about making terrarium lids.

To start off, as I had said before, the tank is in two sections. So, I needed a two section lid, so that I can mess with just the fish if I have to. I began by cutting the two pieces, and leaving about a quarter inch(5mm) gap between them (for the hinges).



Next, I affixed the hinges, using a very small drill bit so that the screws would fasten tightly. (this is the underside view)



You'll notice that the screws protrude quite a bit, and are very sharp. Knowing my knuckles will be rubbing there when I remove the divider later on, I needed to cut them down. (also, My T might not like them much) This part, I should mention is best NOT to do with a dremel tool. I used a flush-cutting pair of dykes, because the heat from a grinding or cutting bit on a dremel may have built up on the brass screws, and caused the plastic that it is screwed into to weaken or warp, and make my hinges useless.



Now that my hinges are in place, and working smoothly, I thought that that smaller lid might be prone to escapes, because of it's relative lack of weight. Therefor, I devised a knob with a lock, using some machine parts I had laying around. Basically, a couple washers, nuts, and a male to male electrical connector that I am using for the latch.



I assembled them as pictured below, and there are a few reasons I did it as such. The washers both before and after the plexiglass will ensure that I can freely rotate the knob without loosening it. The three nuts under ensure that the latch will stay secure, and that my knob won't be rattling around over time. (they are all tightened against each other)



The knob was drilled off center, because apparently the aquarium was made to be locked by means similar to this, and had an off center ledge. In the next two pictures, you can see the functionality of the locking knob.




Next, I realized that I needed an exit for the tube going out of the tank, so I dremelled out a notch for that real quick.


Now, my lid is complete:



Next up, devising and installing the divider, then.. if all goes well, adding the occupants.

Bill
 
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conipto

ArachnoPrincess
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Oh, one more thing - I'll be maintaining the substrate and fish without the T for a while, and measuring humidity. I'll be drilling holes in the lid as needed, and will be adding the H. gigas only after I am satisfied with the humidity level.

Bill
 

krystal

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wow bill--not only are you incredibly sexy, but you are quite an engineer, too! very brilliant and well-thought-out project! _and_ you're giving the instructions away FOR FREE just to benefit the hobby!

since you've done such a spectacular job, i think a naming of the revamped tank is in order!

krystal
 

That Guy

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dude:eek: Your my hero! I hope I can build my own design of it( I always haft to do something more to the final project ;P) I hope you get a end result :)
 

MrT

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Wow

Damn Bill,
That setup is super sharp. Really nice job..
How thick is the lid? Looks at least 1/4".
What kind of fish will you be keeping?
How will the gigas get out of the water after it goes fishing? A stepped, walk out, or swim and grab?
Do you think the filter will clean out the substrate the gigas dumps in the water?

You've got me all pumped up. I'm going to home depot tomorrow.
This is pretty exciting.=D

Ernie
 

conipto

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Hey folks, for anyone following this thread, It seems Angelfire does not like me linking pics here. So, until I find something else, sorry for the Big Red X's.

Bill
 

conipto

ArachnoPrincess
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In the mean time..

Here is Subject A, who will be chilling in this container for another day or two.

Bill
 

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Nixy

Arachnoprince
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Are you making a page with the pictures and step by steps?

Cause I'd Love to see the pics. :)
 

conipto

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Re: Wow

Originally posted by MrT
Damn Bill,
That setup is super sharp. Really nice job..
How thick is the lid? Looks at least 1/4".
What kind of fish will you be keeping?
How will the gigas get out of the water after it goes fishing? A stepped, walk out, or swim and grab?
Do you think the filter will clean out the substrate the gigas dumps in the water?

You've got me all pumped up. I'm going to home depot tomorrow.
This is pretty exciting.=D

Ernie
Yeah, it's quarter inch plexiglass - one of two things to put on my 'list of screw ups for ernie' I should have gone a little thinner, though there is no harm in having it a little too thick (it still sits below the lip on the aquarium) I'd probably use 3/16ths if I did it over. The other screw up, was not knowing the right way to use the plexiglass scorer. I did all the lid cutting with it, and once I got the hang of it, it makes way cleaner cuts than the dremel tool does. Just requires alot of patience and light scratches.

As far as the fish go, at this point I'm thinking feeder goldfish. Lots of people have fed them flopping on the ground to T's with no problems, and they are fairly active (which I am guessing may increase the chance of the T noticing them) If it won't take those, I'll try a few cheaper varietys more local to madagascar.

And the filter, well.. I hope it doesn't, actually. If my divider stays in place long enough for Subject A to settle in at home, I'm hoping it won't move much dirt into it. If it does, it should get caught up in the thin layer of gravel I am putting in there.

Getting out! Well, I had hoped it would be able to manage, but if not, the way I'm putting the removable section of the divider in, it should have ample gripping area. The filter will be placed just below the water line too, so it can climb out on it if need be. I'll be watching like a hawk when I first open the gate for her.

Bill
 
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