Introduction: Converting Clothes Cabinet Into a Multiple Vivarium Enclosure

Picture of Converting Clothes Cabinet Into a Multiple Vivarium Enclosure

In this Project I decided to convert my old and redundant Clothes cabinet into a multiple vivarium and utilizes from some functions of cabinet by keeping one drawer and making a small door access to enclosure for the misting system , lighting , electrical , the drawer for the food and other things .

Step 1: Introduction

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1- In this Project I decided to convert my old and redundant Clothes cabinet into a multiple vivarium and utilizes from some functions of cabinet by keeping one drawer and making a small door access to enclosure for the misting system , lighting , electrical , the drawer for the food and other things .

The project involve with some carpentry work but I used my lovely tools ( Dremel 4000 with all its attachments . ) and also the driller .

Step 2: Construction

Picture of  Construction

After that I remove the doors , drawers , making the holes by hole saws attached to drill for drain

Opening for lighting, fans, pipes and other requirements..

Step 3:

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Here also I close all

the corners gaps with black silicon in order to make it tight.

Step 4:

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To start the work in the main tank I need lighting hood and some electrical, So I start with Main Electrical in ( I name it control or service enclosure ) .

Step 5:

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After the converting it will be three vivariums with one drawer and cabinet for services as below :

Step 6: Lighting Hood

Picture of  Lighting Hood

Lighting Hood :

Lighting hood I make it from wood plates with dimensions similar to the unused or redundant from drawers to eliminate cost and time, I cut the opening for the light food from above.

Then I used as I said before the wood pieces from drawers to built the hood and install lighting holders , I used 3 lighting holders two for fluorescent / UV bulb and the other one for Blue / night light .

Step 7: Lighting Hood

Picture of Lighting Hood

Fan will be mounted above this fan can work to extract the air with lighting heat to help to prevent over heat the tank or work opposite by open it and re install it to pump the air with lighting heat into the vivarium ..

Step 8: Breathing Tube or Duct

Picture of Breathing Tube or Duct

Breathing tube or duct :

A method I think about it to inlet the air to the vivarium and then extract it be fan from the top , the pipe will be near the bottom and opening covered by mesh :

Step 9: Drain

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Drain :

Two drains I installed for the main tank and one beside thanks to mist king, I drilled the bottom and installed..

Also some piece cut to let the pipe come out..

Step 10: Other Fans

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Installing another fans for the other two vivariums .

Step 11: Construction of the Bio Topic

Picture of Construction of the Bio Topic

Construction: Now we will start with construction of inner vivarium side and back replicas of tropical biotopes: first cleaning of the inside flat panels then point out the pots for plants then the foam plates and blocks and imagine the shape that you want and I hide all wood or the appearance of the clothes cabinets and lighting bulb, I use masking tape to support temporary before the foam applied on it..

Also I used some screws and nails for fixing .

In the bottom I protect the drain by masking tape and isolate all the bottom my foam in order to reduce the water effect on wood with slope to the central of the base which drain installed to take as much as of the drain water before come in the wood .. Silicon will apply after the foam dry to reduce this chance.

Types of foam used

Step 12: Construction of Bio Topic

Picture of Construction of Bio Topic

Foam board or blocks installed inside

Step 13: Construction of the Bio Topic

Picture of Construction of the Bio Topic

Foam spray applying on the bottom

Step 14: Construction of Bio Topic

Picture of Construction of Bio Topic

Foam applying on the foam blocks to glue and full gaps ..

Step 15: Using Tools for Shaping and Carving

Picture of Using Tools for Shaping and Carving

After one day of construction, now I start with trimming, cutting and shaping by using my amazing PROXXON hot wire cutter and Einhell hot gun..

Cleaning and vacuum by vacuum cleaner all the waste , glue and reinstall any weak , soft or moving parts of the decoration or replica .

Step 16: Mixture Used ..

Picture of Mixture Used ..

Now we will start place the cover of cement / concrete material :

I use for 5 Liter jar shown:

100 to 200 CC adhesive or Tribond

100 to 200 cc cement

4 letter of peat moss

1 spoon of black cement colour

1 spoon of brown cement colour

Mixing all with water, and now will be ready to establish by shoot them by hand (unfortunately no body to help me photo this process – but it is similar to any building works), Also some brushes similar used in painting with different kind , also small spoon and knife which help to applying the mixture to the corners and deep groove which can not by normal tools , try to use different kind of lighting from different corner to see if there any parts missing from covering by mixture ..

Step 17: Artificial Roots

Picture of Artificial Roots

Making Roots :

It is one on the beautiful things which will add some naturalistic touch in the vivarium are the droopy and suspended roots or dried air roots .. to make these we need some ropes and yarn string which manufactured from plastic , I used several types with several widths , just make a full bucket of the same mixer but without the beat moss and sink these ropes inside , after calculating the length required , take in your consideration that it will be twisted to mimic the real environment .

After that put a news paper and lay the beat moss with 3 to 4 cm thickness layer on the newspaper , now take the rope from bucket and place it on the beat moss , spread some of beat moss on it and roll the news paper to make sure that all the rope become covered with beat moss ..

After one day open the newspaper carefully and take the rope.. Fix it inside the vivarium by using same stationary pins, but two or three and twist the rope as you want and supported by these pins..

Now some of areas of ropes, pins need to repair with same colour of the rope , using brush ( same to paint small brushes used in painting picture to do the work ) try to use same materials ..

Step 18: Other Two Tanks

Picture of Other Two Tanks

Other Two Tanks :

For the other side two tanks, I decided one of them (The upper one to be tropical the lower one desert terrarium)

The tropical one will be equipped with drain, light and fan as explain previously, only the lighting will be changed I used IKEA light , I need light to not taken as much as size and not release too much heat , led light used ..

The construction process will be same as main vivarium..

Step 19: Lower Tank

Picture of Lower Tank

For the other lower tank which is the smallest one will be a desert type terrarium , I try to hide the pipe and the drain of the upper tank .. by put some foam and cover it by different colour cement and without beat moss , I used same foam spray to do that and putting only two small pots for plants ..

Lighting is by IKEA light. I like White light similar to florescent, But I cannot find it..

Step 20: Doors :

Picture of Doors :

Note : Like any artist you need to think

about your terrarium , caves , holes grooves , potting places , lighting and shading , and these need from you a brain storming , sketches and imagination and also see some movies , programs and reading some books about the natural habitats ..

Doors :

I used Acrylic panels door , I order some sheet which is cutting
according to my dimensions ( 8 mm thickness ) , after that I make some holes for air inlet in the bottom , big hole for the Temperature / Humidity digital meters ( from EXXO Terra ) , also one hole in the middle of the door for grapping ..

The slide I used aluminium rail, it is only this type available which is big and ugly (Unfortunately the terrarium / vivarium supplies here not available here in our area)

Step 21: Drainage Installation

Picture of Drainage Installation


Now we will connect the two drains pipes by using PVC cement with one main pipe , don’t forget to put a slope for the pipes and a small container as a drain sump ..

Step 22: Electricals and Sprinklers

Picture of Electricals and Sprinklers

A view inside the enclosure , where I put the timer , pump and tank and other lighting , small shelve for different uses and also a drawers for any food ... etc .

Step 23: Enjoy ...

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Finally the Big day: Now Purchase the plants and plant, arrange and water

.. Enjoy your time..

You will need beat moss , water and ceramic bubbles for drain which will be laid first , then the beat moss and then planting the plants with heavy watering ..


jeremycraig (author)2016-04-21

I am really curious about your method of shooting the concrete mixture on the backgrounds. Please explain what tools you use and how it is done.


eatteyah (author)jeremycraig2016-04-21

Thanks ..

Is Nothing I am using my Hand ! I through the mixture and then I use a brush and some water to curve it as I want .. I wet the brush and press it to the wall of the tank and let the water drop on the mixture which will reflect the same .. when the rain fall down on rock and develop a torrent or stream ..

Sorry That I don't have anyone to video me when I am working .. I live lonely ..

keleze1 (author)2016-04-02

I would call you an artist but that word doesnt completely explain what yourve created here-What a wonderful and beautiful accomplishment-Well done Im in the process of making something similar for my bearded dragons thanx for the awesome tips....

eatteyah (author)keleze12016-04-03

Thank you ..
You can do it .. it is simple ..
I don't have time to put more projects .. But I will try in the future nd as soon as I have a time ..
Thank you .. I appreciate every word you wrote ..

Akin Yildiz (author)2015-12-10

great stuff, plants everywhere.!!

EmilyD12 (author)2015-11-09

I saw this and was absolutely mind blown. I've been looking for some way of creating a natural looking vivarium for my orchids, bromeliads, air plants et cetera and I think this will really do the trick. I'm curious about more of the mechanical installations such as the fans and misters. Those sort of pieces continue to be a point of confusion for me in my own set up; any pointers are welcome!

eatteyah (author)EmilyD122015-11-09

Thanks ..

Misters I used three from Mist King on the Top of the Tank near the light hood .. Light hood it self is removable with fan inside and this for the maintenance because these need maintenance and replacement more than the sprinklers ( i.e. Lights if UV need to be replaced every 6 months ) , You can check the steps -I think I put a photos somewhere - there is three lights holders and fan - I will try to put photos and update the vivarium after more than one year of work ..

cgray30 (author)2015-06-03

My son and I love this. Now he wants one meaning I would have to make it lol maybe a bed side table one.

eatteyah (author)cgray302015-06-08

If you need any information , help .. please tell me

Rubeus Hagrid (author)2015-06-08

brilliant you thought about everything!

eatteyah (author)Rubeus Hagrid2015-06-08

Thanks ..we try all our best to copy a part of the fantastic tropical rain forest inside our homes .. don't you ?

LynxSys (author)2014-07-25

Wow, that looks like some of the animal exhibits at the Museum of Science! It's a very tall environment, but it looks like an underground space. I'll be curious to see what animals it is suited for, and what modifications you need to make for them to be comfortable and happy.

eatteyah (author)LynxSys2014-07-25

Thanks ..
Yes I need to purchase some animals and I study now some of them which can climb vertically , Lizards will be OK for the tall one , Chameleon ( Pygmy Chameleon ) but need to change the lighting to UVB light .. For the desert one may be Desert Gecko or Whip tailless scorpion ..
You know any vivarium need at least one month for recirculation ( working all the equipments without animals : fans , lights and sprinklers ) to know and fix any problem and also read in daily basis the humidity and the temperatures ..
Thanks for your comment ..
Eyad A. Atteyah
Dubai - UAE

Mielameri (author)2014-07-24

That looks so amazing!!! I wish I had empty clothes storage haha

eatteyah (author)Mielameri2014-07-24

Ha Ha .. You can buy one old if it is available in your area .. I will help you in Construction ..
Thanks for comments .. wish you the best ..

samalert (author)2014-07-24

Great my man ! I was feasting through my eyes how about some frogs jumping in !

eatteyah (author)samalert2014-07-24

Yes I plan to put some lizards and frogs ..
Planning also for fogging system ..
Thanks for your Comments ..

Miss Sarcastic (author)2014-07-23

Oh my gosh, you just blew my mind! Nice job!

eatteyah (author)Miss Sarcastic2014-07-24

Thank you .. and you welcome ..

masoon (author)2014-07-22

Wow! This is one of the coolest projects I've seen in a while. I love how you custom made all the natural features and how real the final product looks, great job. The larger vivarium reminds me of the set of Fraggle Rock a children's show by Jim Henson .

eatteyah (author)masoon2014-07-22

Thanks .. I don't believe my self when I make this ?!!, but I take my time for months to built it , I just want to be eager when I did every step and keep project running with limited budget and using basic tools and utilize from it features and functions , I have only drill ( Bosch ) and Dremel ..
For the fake rock or sculpture , I stick with this method as you said similar to the children's show by Jim Henson , can't be more advanced like Atelier Paul Louis duranton : and his method of Eco sculpture which is really incredible :

patsheldon (author)2014-07-22

You're going to make some pets very happy! Looks great! :)

eatteyah (author)patsheldon2014-07-22

Thanks ..
Actually I go opposite by built the terrariums and then check what pet suitable !?
Anyway , I search for lizards , geckos and may be archands ...

masoon (author)2014-07-22

Wow! This is one of the coolest projects I've seen in a while. I love how you custom made all the natural features and how real the final product looks, great job. The larger vivarium reminds me of the set of Fraggle Rock a children's show by Jim Henson .

Quadrat (author)2014-07-22

You just blow my mind OWSOME

eatteyah (author)Quadrat2014-07-22

Thanks ..

ZaneEricB (author)2014-07-21

WOW!... so ....what is going to live in there?

eatteyah (author)ZaneEricB2014-07-22

Lizards and Geckos , .. species not decided yet , I m looking for them in the net ..

tcolson (author)2014-07-22

Amazing project. Your critters will be very happy to move in!

eatteyah (author)tcolson2014-07-22

Yeahhhh ..


jessyratfink (author)2014-07-22

This is really impressive! You made great use of the space. :)

eatteyah (author)jessyratfink2014-07-22

Thanks jessyratfink ..

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