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First time building paludarium


Auratus

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Hello everyone,

 

This is a project I've wanted to do for a while but never got around to trying it until now. Got a 55 gallon used tank from a coworker and was using it to house extra plants and neo culls for months. Now I finally took the first steps to turn it into a paludarium. 

 

I've always kept the tank at about 1/3 with water and I am keeping it that way.  Top part will be for semi aquatic and terrestrial plants. Got some poret foam to use as background in the aquatic section so I can hide pumps, heaters and false bottom support in the back.  Spent some time to net all the shrimpees from the back to the front- I didn't want to take all of them out for this build.

 

Making slow progress each day and will update along the way. :) Comments and suggestions are welcome.

 

A

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Cool project!
Is this primarily to grow plants for use elsewhere (judging by the light) or is it going to be a show tank?
If the former, I'm curious to know if you can get slow-growing mosses to kick it up a notch with this light (mini pellia, mini fissidens, mini anything really).

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Aotf,

The tank was originally for growing plants, so yes the lights were chosen for that purpose. I did not have mini pellia or mini fissidens in there, but I do notice all the plants become more plush and have better coloration after being in that tank for a couple of months.  Now that I am setting this tank for a paludarium, I removed some of the  plants and put them in 2 smaller tanks behind this one. You can see the glow of the growth light on the left side of the first picture. I believe it helps quite a bit.

A

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Made some progress constructing the land portion.

 

As is common for paludarium set-ups, I used egg crate to form a "false bottom" above the water line. The egg crate (or plastic light diffuser) was trimmed to shape and spray-painted dark green so it is less conspicuous. The paint of choice was Krylon Fusion after doing some research.  Folks have used it for aquarium decor with good success.  The egg crate is supported by PVC pipes cut to the same height as the poret foam wall. 

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Over several days I assembled a shale rock tower which acts as a water feature in the corner of the tank. The shale pieces were glued together with aquarium silicone and allowed to cure outside of the tank.  The tower is now placed in the tank.  A pump in the back of the foam wall pushes water to the tower. More shale pieces line the bottom of the tower to direct he water stream to the front edge of the false bottom. image.jpg.0ade9209ee3b048b0fe6406203e61bcd.jpg

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Extra pieces of shale were then used to line the edges of the land section. As you can see, I laid some Brazilian pennywort on the rocks for decoration.  Don't know if they would do well from submerged/floating growth to emersed- will need to keep a close eye on them.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some wood decor pieces have been added prior to getting live land plants. Those are put over a window screen mesh on top of the egg crate. The mesh prevents small pieces on top from falling through.  I feel like I should have gotten a bigger tank. :P

 

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WalterJay - you are too kind. I have a few full-water tanks (aquariums) and they are not as pretty as some I've seen on this forum. This one partial-water tank (paludarium) is a change up and it keeps things interesting as there are many new things to learn.  Finding the right plants that would work with temperature and humidity levels in this setup is quite different than other things I've done in my aquarium hobby. Learning and trying new things is what I'm after.

 

 

 

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Pokeshrimp- I am planning only to do plants on the land section, and shrimps/snails in the water portion. I thought about frogs and fish, but I'll keep the fauna simple for now as there is enough complications on the plant side of things. Maybe on the next setup... :)

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Finally, terrestrial plants went in for acclimation. Purchased some bromeliads, moss, tillandsia, pilea depressa, African violet, and purple wandering Jew plant together with a humidity and temperature digital meter. 30F9B759-3F08-4472-81F0-6BCC5827E666.jpeg.77aa392bccc5826ee16de8782f962c89.jpegF8C3CED0-D0F8-4CAE-BEFA-3CE1A0DA0562.jpeg.b50ca90b838b7ac024af334199998818.jpeg9BF90A51-E4E5-4000-8142-3BDF27CEF329.jpeg.c8ec94617248498539c35bc7a4b30e03.jpeg12DC5A13-BECF-43CE-826A-F600076D6E96.jpeg.67fc3c53f54f2ea0405b2bf3caca48e4.jpeg

 

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Trying to keep temperature high enough (in my cool basement) while not upping the humidity too much. It will take several weeks for full acclimation. Hopefully I did my research well enough and the plants will thrive in this environment. Over time the background should be covered with moss and vines. It will take a while though. Can’t wait!

A

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