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Re: [Frognet] Your experience with bentonite/peat backgrounds?

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  • edwardk674@comcast.net
    quote What is the largest background you have used bentonite on?  I ve had mixed results with bentonite and still find Flevopol type backgrounds the most
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 14, 2011
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      quote "What is the largest background you have used bentonite on? ��I've had
      mixed
      results with bentonite and still find "Flevopol" type backgrounds the most
      durable and attractive. ��On large backgrounds I've had problems with
      shrinking and swelling of bentonite due to inconsistent wetting across the
      area. ��But where I find bentonite in backgrounds really works well is to
      fill in the cracks in flevopol based backgrounds after they dry. ��There are
      always large fissures and bentonite is excellent for filling those and
      containing moisture retaining pockets. �� But I don't think I've found the
      perfect background yet."endquote



      The largest tank I've set it up in as a background so far ��was about 28
      inches in height above the substrate. This tank did include using the clay as
      a drip wall. I have found that if you use a different clay (in my case, red
      art clay) as most of the clay in the mix, you still get a lot of plasticity
      but it doesn't shrink as much if it gets a little dry. As you noted the
      formation of the biofilm and microbial growth cannot be underestimated. I have
      had the best luck when I've let the clay mature for at least 3 and preferably
      six months before really stressing it. Using that method I was able to get the
      clay to even withstand heavy outflows.



      As you mentioned, the establishment of the biofilm is crucial, until this is
      throughly established it is likely to not funtion well..����



      I found that over time, the clay retains enough moisture that it only needs to
      be dampened at most once a day.��



      To some respect, I'm starting to question the need for a full coverage
      background and want to start trying a more patchy type of coverage...





      Ed
    • Scott MacDonald
      This is my approach. I started using it a few years ago. I pick a corner and very lightly foam from the side to the back on the corner - about 1/3rds of the
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 14, 2011
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        This is my approach. I started using it a few years ago.

        I pick a corner and very lightly foam from the side to the back on the corner - about 1/3rds of the side panel and 1/3rd of the back panel.

        Before foaming - I use a couple of pieces of smaller wood to define the boundaries. These provide structure and places to attach plants as well (also, calling platforms for the frogs). I then foam within the boundary of the wood that has been siliconed on. Once the foam has cured - I carve it way down so that it isn't so obtrusive but still has some interesting textures.

        I cover the foam with a heavy coating of silicone, and then press in a combination of peat chunks and small orchid bark in to the silicone. This adds a further layer of texture.

        I'll also silicone a few pieces of wood on to the back and the other side of the tank. These add features that the frogs use - and also provide places that you can tuck plant cuttings in to.

        This approach has worked well with me as I've never liked the "complete" foaming approach you occasionally see.

        Scott
        Tucson, AZ

        "To some respect, I'm starting to question the need for a full coveragebackground and want to start trying a more patchy type of coverage..."
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      • Tony Casler
        I have a few bentonite/peat backgrounds that have been up for close to a year. For the first 6 months they did very well, plants were thriving and lots of
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 14, 2011
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          I have a few bentonite/peat backgrounds that have been up for close to a
          year. For the first 6 months they did very well, plants were thriving
          and lots of random mosses popped up. As the backgrounds aged they seem
          to have kept absorbing more water and have become very soft. I haven't
          had any trouble with the clay sliding off (yet), but it is too soft to
          support bromeliads now, they will fall out under the weight of a frog or
          even just from having a full cup after misting. I do plan to try Ed's
          suggestion of a redart/bentonite mix in some new vivs to see if it holds
          up better.

          Tony

          On 6/7/2011 1:58 PM, Ron Skylstad wrote:
          > I am working on a large enclosure (4x2x3 ft) and currently have about half
          > of the background covered in a bentonite/peat mixture. However, I have
          > heard a handful of reports from folks that, over time, this does not hold up
          > well at all. Some have reported it dissolving away or dripping off.others
          > that it dried and cracked. My assumption is that this is from it either
          > being kept too wet or too dry and am curious if something in the middle is
          > possible.
          >
          >
          >
          > Has anyone been using this sort of a background for a while (i.e. a year or
          > more) have any experiences, positive or negative, with this method?
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Ron
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        • edwardk674@comcast.net
          quote ----- Original Message ----- From: Tony Casler To: frognet@lists.frognet.org Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:16:31 PM Subject: Re:
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 14, 2011
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            quote "----- Original Message -----
            From: "Tony Casler" <tony@...>
            To: frognet@...
            Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:16:31 PM
            Subject: Re: [Frognet] Your experience with bentonite/peat backgrounds?

            I have a few bentonite/peat backgrounds that have been up for close to a
            year. For the first 6 months they did very well, plants were thriving
            and lots of random mosses popped up. As the backgrounds aged they seem
            to have kept absorbing more water and have become very soft. I haven't
            had any trouble with the clay sliding off (yet), but it is too soft to
            support bromeliads now, they will fall out under the weight of a frog or
            even just from having a full cup after misting. I do plan to try Ed's
            suggestion of a redart/bentonite mix in some new vivs to see if it holds
            up better.

            Tony"endquote





            Tony, did you start bromiliads in it to see how they rooted into it? My
            experience is that they root pretty deeply into the background resulting in
            good adherence and support. The one I still have up, has moss that has
            effectively turned into very��dense solid base. I��don't make the backgrounds
            very thick... usually��half an inch or so.

            Ed ��
          • Tony Casler
            I placed the bromeliads when I set up the vivs. They rooted into it, but eventually the clay gets so soft that the whole rootball falls out with the plant. I
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 14, 2011
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              I placed the bromeliads when I set up the vivs. They rooted into it, but
              eventually the clay gets so soft that the whole rootball falls out with
              the plant. I did make the backgrounds pretty thick at the base, 1.5" or
              so then tapered until the top is about 1/2" thick. The bromeliads are in
              the low to mid part where it is thicker.

              Tony

              On 6/14/2011 1:59 PM, edwardk674@... wrote:
              > quote "----- Original Message -----
              > From: "Tony Casler"<tony@...>
              > To: frognet@...
              > Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:16:31 PM
              > Subject: Re: [Frognet] Your experience with bentonite/peat backgrounds?
              >
              > I have a few bentonite/peat backgrounds that have been up for close to a
              > year. For the first 6 months they did very well, plants were thriving
              > and lots of random mosses popped up. As the backgrounds aged they seem
              > to have kept absorbing more water and have become very soft. I haven't
              > had any trouble with the clay sliding off (yet), but it is too soft to
              > support bromeliads now, they will fall out under the weight of a frog or
              > even just from having a full cup after misting. I do plan to try Ed's
              > suggestion of a redart/bentonite mix in some new vivs to see if it holds
              > up better.
              >
              > Tony"endquote
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Tony, did you start bromiliads in it to see how they rooted into it? My
              > experience is that they root pretty deeply into the background resulting in
              > good adherence and support. The one I still have up, has moss that has
              > effectively turned into very� dense solid base. I� don't make the backgrounds
              > very thick... usually� half an inch or so.
              >
              > Ed �
              >
              >
              > _______________________________________________
              > Frognet Mailing List: Frognet@...
              > http://lists.frognet.org/listinfo.cgi/frognet-frognet.org
              >
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              >
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