Rainforest Canopy | Epiphyte Laden Branch Viv
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  #1  
Old 06-22-2012, 01:54 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Rainforest Canopy | Epiphyte Laden Branch Viv
Default Rainforest Canopy | Epiphyte Laden Branch Viv

Rainforest Canopy | Epiphyte Laden Branch Viv

I just started on this project. I have seen a few other similar ones around. I plan to do this one in a 30 X High fish tank (24" wide X 24" tall X 12" deep), which isn't a lot of room. I want to take some time to find real small epiphytes that will scale well with the branch that I am making and the enclosure.

Earlier this morning I started making the branch feature. I might have selected a thick piece of manzanita for it, but decided to use Great Stuff foam. All that I did to start the shape was to place a piece of waxed paper over my bench top with a few scraps of wood underneath to make a more dimensional surface, then I just sprayed out a twisted branch shape about 24" long. After it cures I will flip it over and apply more GS to the other side to get a more or less cylindrical branch form. I would shoot a picture of it now, but it's pretty ugly and not much to see. After the whole thing is cured I can start shaping with this fine coping saw that I have and coarse sandpaper

I don't see very many very memorable pictures of wild trees with epiphytes on the Interent, which is surprising because trees loaded with epiphytes can be so visually striking. Back in the day I climbed a few tall trees down in Costa Rica and it was really amazing. Here is a Wikimedia Commons image that shows a tree with some larger bromeliads and aroid climbers and stuff like that.


(Wikimedia Commons image: FileirkvdM epiphytes.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

I'm going to do this as a Forest Floor setup with false bottom. It might also be engaging to pick out terrestrials for the planter pots. Terrestrial plants will need to be very short to fit with this idea. It would be great to find some more unusual mini terrestrial orchids, aroids and gesneriads. The bottom area might need some extra illumination because the epiphyte branch above will be well-lit but throw a lot of shade.



I don't know about livestock yet. I understand that there are some dart frog species (Ranitomeya spp.??) that are almost entirely arboreal. I might just make this a plant display. Some sort of insect might also work. There might or might not be connection between the branch and the bottom planted area with some fake vine features.
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2012, 04:51 PM
Arenalbotanicalgarden Arenalbotanicalgarden is offline
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Study Tilandsia.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:53 PM
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WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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very cool! I look forward to seeing how it progresses
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:12 PM
Paul Mc Paul Mc is offline
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Spectacular! Now if I could construct a terrarium that looks like that!!!!!
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2012, 08:47 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Here's the GS branch feature all expanded.



Now I need to start carving away at it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:12 AM
kevin1217 kevin1217 is offline
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Looks very cool
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2012, 01:08 AM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Hey thanks!

I just remembered this older picture that shows scale in that 30 X High tank pretty well. I took it apart some time after getting this shot. This new setup will just have the single artificial branch in it, but the picture shows pretty well how much space there is in there. I want to use mainly very small epiphytes and also use very short terrestrials underneath. I want to do some research and try to incorporate some more unusual terrestrials that I haven't tried before.

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Old 06-27-2012, 12:49 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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I carved away at the branch feature to get the general shape. Now I am going to coat it with the Drylok. I'm also going to have to stiffen it with some kind of reinforcement; I might use some of this thick anodized aluminum bonsai wire that I have. The Great Stuff foam is really flimsy and the branch shape just bends with any weight at all.

The expanded GS foam has a lot of air pockets in it and I bet that epiphytes would like the surface a lot. I'd like to get a can of the black GS for ponds and try some of it unfinished for growing orchids and ferns.

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Old 06-27-2012, 08:10 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Well I was able to skewer the branch end-to-end with three pieces of thick bonsai wire and I only poked one little hole through the side. It's rigid enough now.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2012, 08:51 PM
hydrophyte hydrophyte is offline
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Here's the foam branch with Drylok and a steel eye bolt. There is another eye bolt on the other side too.

I left the foam surface rough and with the Drylok it made a more or less convincing bark-like finish. After getting this shot I covered the log with sphagnum moss. I'll post a picture of that in a bit.


1-VII-12-epiphyte-branch-I-m by hidrofit, on Flickr
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