The Quest for Digital Geckos

In my quest to digitize my geckos rather than make 3d models of them scratch I began to experiment with different software and image capture set ups to get better models than my proof of concept provided.  I created a known size box, as was suggested to me online, moved the apparatus to a bathroom, put tape on the walls, and improved the lighting on the gecko subjects. I also build a sort of parallel bars for geckos out of bbq spears and rubberbands for them to sit on.

Digitizing Geckos

I did a proof of concept test for the 3d scanning portion of Gecko Condo's last cosmetic step tonight and figured I would share the results.

Microfauna for Vivariums like Gecko Condo

In order to keep a vivarium clean and healthy a lot of people add microfauna to create a cycle. Microfauna are secondary animals, usually insects, that are added to vivarium primarily to serve as janitors. They tend to be quite small. The herp defecates, microfauna eat it and turn it into fertilizer for the plants, plants eat what the microfauna produce and stay healthy which in turn helps keep the humidity up for everyone. If you are working with very small herps the microfauna may even be able to serve as a supplementary food source for them or their offspring.

Substrate and Planting for Gecko Condo

Gecko condo is planted!  Read and see how the substrate is set up for Gecko Condo, a list of the plants used, and a video of the misting system in action.

Creating Naturalistic Backgrounds with Great Stuff Foam

Over the weekend I made 10 naturalistic backgrounds for gecko condo. I do not know of anyone else who made their backgrounds on removable pieces of plastic like I have, but Gecko Condo is all about options and I want to be able to change things around as I need to over the years. Most people just make their backgrounds directly into their tanks, which is fine, but not what I wanted for this.

My main tools/consumables for this portion are:

Waterworks for Gecko Condo

The plastic for the naturalistic backgrounds was ready yesterday and it has been picked up. I also recently placed the order for the misting system from mistking.com. I spoke with the owner, Marty, who is well known in the poison dart frog community about the setup. It turned out to be a little more complicated than I thought but not by much. He also suggested adding a drain to each of the 3 sections which I felt was a good idea, so I will pick up a 1.5" hole saw and add those.

Finishing the Structure of Gecko Condo

Gecko condo phase 1 is complete! It is now up to the same point it would be if purchased commercially. 315 gallons worth of gecko housing is ready for the next steps...

1. Build supports and bottom cabinet (completed except some paint)
2. Build the 3 tanks that make up the condo
3. Line up and drill the holes for securing the tanks to the supports.
4. Build the skirts for between levels.

Continuing to work with Acrylic for Gecko Condo

Back from a holiday visit to Wisconsin! With the basic frames of the tank together it was time to move on to the next step, adding in the plastic bits that will serve both as stabilizers for the main walls and as guides for the removable partitions and the tops of the tanks.  The first thing I need to do is measure out the proper spacing for the partition guides and then tape them into place. I used a 1/4" thick piece of MDF to keep the spacing between the guides accurate and to make things easier on me.

Building Acrylic Tanks for Gecko Condo

Yesterday I put together the external portion of the first level of the condo. I took much longer breaks than I needed to so things could cure. I am going to try and get a second one done tonight so will be giving it less time to rest between joins.

My main tools in this are:

Construction Begins on Gecko Condo

After some re-work of the initial design of Gecko Condo and consulting with various people online I ended up changing the design some from the first post on gecko condo. The main changes are that I will be going with steel to use as the primary supports rather than acrylic, and that I will be adding a storage cabinet to the bottom to contain the misting system and supplies.  Here is an exploded view of the new support system:

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