Here I will share with you my latest design for hosting my Water Dragon's. I've put a lot of thinking, planning, studying, reading and more planning into this design. The idea was to create a low maintenance large enclosure for optimum view for both owner and water dragon, with the view of creating an equlogical environment to emulate the natural habitat of the tropical rainforests these lovely creature live in.
Firstly I had to do a lot of research regarding humidity level's, temperature, water conditions and air flow. I started out with a couple of drawings on paper (yeah, I still use these). The idea was to come up with something that will be gentle on the eye, yet practical, easy to maintain and most of all, be suitable for my Water dragons and live in (and I mean LIVE in...)
From here I started with planning using Coral Draw 11™ , this took me quite some time as I used the multi layer capability to create each phase of the design on its own field. For users of Coral Draw 11™, you can contact me for a download location of the file. I can not include it as the file is 108Mb in size (as I designed it on a 1:1 scale) and can not be compressed. Unfortunately I do not have the web space to make the file available for download.
Right, now that I have my idea on paper, lets start the construction.....
For the outer shell I used 304 Stailless Steel 20mm square tubing. (Angle Iron is way too expensive. 3x the price). The size of the frame is 2000x1550x900 (width/height/depth).
I used 10mm Glass for the outer shell. The reason for using this thickness is to prevent the glass from breaking (my little girl (human) can be a bit wild @ times), as well as to help with noise and insulation for better temperature control. I used a marine based silicone designed for glass bonding and fish tank use. This means no toxic elements in the silicone! (Please do not use any silicone the constructing aquariums/vivariums/terrariums etc.).
The water trap (6mm Glass) is 300mm high. This will allow enough water for swimming. (I suppose I'll add some fish......)
Never try to wipe down the silicone that pushes out from the sides when you place your glass. Give it 24hours to cure, then you can use a sharp knife to cut the silicone away from the frame/glass.
And finally after 7 days work I could introduce my Water Dragon to his new home.....
Water Treatment Unit.
The water treatment unit I used is a biological filter/purifier designed for Large Fish Ponds.
How the filtration unit work and how I set it up:
Water is force pumped through a substrate of special pebbles (large black unit). With introduction of bacteria inside the filer (you can buy the culture, otherwise the bacteria will start to develop on its own after about 2 weeks) they break down any solids that passed over them. After filtration of the solid particles the water passes through a set of ammonia removing agents and again through activated carbon to remove unwanted gasses and other toxic elements, and then finally to a UV-Zap tube to sterilise the water and kill off any unwanted germs/bacteria the could be in the water. With this type of system you do not have to replace the water as frequent. All you need to do is add water now and then to keep the levels up. (Do not use direct tap water, first let the water stand for 3 days, or add chlorine removal agents (get this from your local pet shop). The chlorine in the water WILL kill all the bacteria in your filter.)
Well, that is it. From here you lay the required cabling, heating (I use a 300W Tank Heater) and lighting, sit back, and watch your Dragon examining (and probably criticizing) its new home....