29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy) - Dendroboard
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:21 AM
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Default 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Hi everybody, I'm still pretty new to dendroboard. I don't keep DF's...yet ... but I am very much into all amphibians and reptiles, as well as plants and vivs.
I'm building a new 29 G paludarium for my japanese firebelly newt and I thought even though it's not a DF viv you might be interested. This thread will be very detailed, step by step as I go...hope it isn't too detailed and boring. My hope is it will keep the pressure on me so I don't slack off too much. If you are interested, let's get started!

A few years ago a humongous tree fell on my parents house in a storm. My mom and I were about 15 feet away from where the tree came crashing through the roof and destroyed their kitchen among other things! They had a guy grind out the stump; there were some nice roots leftover so I grabbed them (this was years ago!) I stashed them in some bushes back then, planning to use them for a viv build, but never go to it.

Fast forward to a few days ago, I went over there and found the roots still where I left them. I was shocked that they were still in pretty good condition. A few pieces had termite damage and rot, so I discarded them, but the rest looked ok. I scraped the outer layer of "bark" from the roots and brushed them thorughly with a wire brush. Next I baked them in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour, then 275 for a half hour, then 300 for half hour. I raised the temp slowly so I could gauge the effects of the heat and make sure not to damage the wood. I think the process went well. Here are the roots after baking.

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I am sure that this wood will rot at some point, but I'm not worried about it. It will give it more character and grow more moss! (I know I am probably crazy)

After scrounging up supplies and materials from years of aquariums and terrariums, as well as multiple trips to lowes and PetSmart, I have the intimidating heap of stuff shown below

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I had a 29 G tank sitting empty at my parents house literally for YEARS. The tank was sitting by the door next to the kitchen and the top glass lid had accumulated a thin film of cooking oil from all the times I made fried food and it was splattering all over the place. Below is the cleaning process to restore the glass lid. I used a concoction of vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon, and a squirt of dawn dish soap. After a bit of scrubbing, you can see a comparison of one dirty and one clean.
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The aquarium tank was cleaned the same way as the glass lid. Years ago I painted the outside of the sides and back with some kind of waterproof black paint. I think it was to reduce the sunlight from the window to inhibit extreme algae growth. Below you can see the cleaned tank and the disinfected roots.
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I have a relatively clear plan in my mind of how I am going to structure the paludarium layout, but I still need to "brainstorm and experiment" as I go. This was the first time I started trying to fit the roots into the tank. Obviously the chunky piece is a bit too big to fit as you can see below. So I needed to do some trimming; I cut a few of the long bottom pieces that were sticking out in opposite directions, then I made some flat cuts to fit the root against the glass in the corner. I also had to remove quite a bit of the top to fit it vertically where I needed it to be.
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Again, experimenting with placement options. I will probably break off some of the long lower root, as I don't like how it looks extending so far. I think I will seal the flat top of the chunk with some silicone to slow the rotting process.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Next step was to start planning the general location, size, and shape of the land areas. I put some painters plastic into the tank and sketched some rough shapes with a marker.
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I also added some string across the front to visualize the water level

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And then began a prototype out of cardboard, again for visualization. When I decide on a layout I will swap the cardboard out for plastic "egg crate" (white plastic with square grid from the lighting department at lowes)
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Click the image to open in full size.

Experimenting with a few other root pieces. Not sure on placement yet. When I am ready I will do a bit of silicone to attach the roots roughly and then foam up the back with GreatStuff and encase the top/back part of the roots chunks.

Click the image to open in full size.

So that's where I'm at so far. I am super busy with life, but this is so fun I will try to fit in as much as I can during the weekdays if possible. If you actually read this far, congrats on toughing it out
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

I also just ordered a minijet 404 pump and some black GE SCS1200 silicone (recommended by Grimm). All that should be here in a few days. I'm so excited!
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

loving it so far! that root is going to make an awesome piece, keep it up man! I'll be watching this thread
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Nice! Will definately follow this thread! What did you use to clean the tank and tree root?
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahatl View Post
Nice! Will definately follow this thread! What did you use to clean the tank and tree root?
Tank: I used a concoction of vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon, and a squirt of dawn dish soap.

Root: All I did was scrape the bark off with a knife then brushed the wood with a wire brush, then baked it.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Ok all, I've got tons of new goodies to show you:

A brand new air conditioner. One cannot keep a firebelly newt in a room that is 85 degrees F
Click the image to open in full size.

A mini-jet 404 pump. It's WAY smaller than I thought it would be, which is a good thing. It's the cutest thing ever! I love everything about it. The vertical orientation of the power cord and outlet is awesome.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

GE SCS1200 black silicone...used by experts! (in the construction industry and the viv industry )

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What's this you say? A box?

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A box with a brand spankin' new light fixture setup in it!

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Tubing to hook up to the 404 pump for some trickling waterfall action

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Ok guys, I'm not gonna lie, I have been struggling with the layout of the paludarium and how I want to set it up in regard to the wet/dry. I finally opted for the partition method as you can see by the picture below of the plexiglass.

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Instead of doing the typical straight across partition I think I'll make it sexier (and much, much harder to do ) by creating bends in the plastic. I plan to use a torch to slowly heat the plastic and then carefully bend it over a pvc pipe or something. Then heat the next spot, bend it, and so on. There will only be a few bends. I believe it is a much better idea to have one solid piece for a divider than a bunch of small flat pieces siliconed together. Stronger, less chance of leaking, etc

Hopefully I'll have some more step by step pics up soon for you guys, where I am actually DOING something lol I'd really like to get this partition bending process underway tomorrow. I know once I get the partition shaped up and in, the rest is easy (right?)
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

I'm loving this idea...
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Ok gang, things are on track. Let's get right into it:

There's been a slight change in layout and plans since the pictures in the first post of this thread. Today I "re-prototyped" the land area dividers. NOTE in the pictures below I used some cardboard that is slightly shorter than the plexiglass, to account for some length that will be lost when the plexi has curves in it. This is far from scientific, I pretty much just 'winged it' the whole way through

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Safety first!!! (NOTE in the below pictures my brother is not wearing any protective gear whatsoever ) Also, the two different gloves make a nice fashion statement don't they?

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Bending the plastic. Do only 1 bend at a time. Turn the torch on medium and hold 2" away from plastic. Sweep slowly side to side on the front and back until the plastic starts to bend. Then heat a little more, then SLOWLY and carefully bend it to the desired shape. It will be very floppy and extremely hot as well, so go about it gingerly. Bend it on a flat surface (that can handle the heat) so the edges remain perpendicular. Place board on top with weight until it cools solid again. Repeat proces. Heat and tweak as needed after all bends are made. This is my brother in all the pictures doing the handy work.

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Note the black pen marks at the top and bottom edge. We found that this was a huge help in gauging where to heat and bend.

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I found that the preexisting silicone along the aquarium bottom edge interfered with the partition sitting flat, so we did a bit of grinding to seat it over that.

Click the image to open in full size.

Next I scuffed the surfaces that will be contacted with silicone to improve the grip. I used a very coarse sandpaper, and scratched the plastic gently with a coping saw blade. Below you'll see a side by side comparison of smooth edged vs scuffed.

Click the image to open in full size.

Next I rinsed the pieces off with the hose and let them dry in the sun.

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Here are the partitions, siliconed in. I used 3M 100% silicone Window and Door, clear. I made sure to select a silicone that did not advertise mold resistance ( I do NOT recommend GE type II or anything with "Microban" or other toxic chemicals.) I used the big tube with a caulking gun. It was super messy, sticky, and stinky. Wear eye protection, a mask to reduce fume inhalation, rubber gloves, and do this in a very ventilated area. I put a very thick bead of silicone all the way along the bottom and side edges of the partitions that I scuffed, then carefully seated them into the tank. Then I used my index finger to gently smear the expelled silicone into smooth seal on each side. I also added some extra silicone where my gut said to

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When this cures I will do the dreaded leak test . If the water leaks into the dry side, I am pretty much screwed. Putting more silicone onto the cured stuff will not adhere properly, so that would not be a fix (if it leaks, which I'm hoping it does not of course!)
To be honest, if it leaks I will probably chalk it up as a huge fail and just use plants that are amphibious/marginal and like to be in a bog type habitat. I really would not want to try to fix the leaks (I say that now anyway)

The next step will be to coat the back and sides of the tank with silicone, with the roots in and secured with some tape or something. Then will be the "Great Stuff" foaming. Since I'm a noob I posted a thread for advice on GS foaming and got lots of great advice. I will be doing a test on some cardboard to gauge how the foam comes out and expands. Until next time!
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Forgot to say some things about the partitions.

First of all, I used the beefy thick plexi, 1/4", as it barely flexes at all and there is more surface area for silicone contact as well. I would certainly never use the 1/8" flexible stuff. It's worth the extra money to get the beefcake one.

Next, after hearing all of the horror stories of partitions breaking loose or leaking, I was going to do small triangular plexiglass braces on both sides attached with silicone at the same time the partitions were seated. However, after thinking about it, I realized that my partitions are against the side and corners AND are a bit smaller than the water area (and will have less weight in them), which means that the pressure of the water against them will only strengthen the seal against the side of the tank (theoretically )

I guess we'll see what happens!

Last edited by flyingSquirrel; 09-05-2011 at 05:32 AM. Reason: fix wording
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Old 09-05-2011, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

thats really cool and interesting.
if it leaks, you rip it out, scrape off the silicone and try again.
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Looking good! Cant wait to see more and to see if the leak test worked..
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

You could just use the glass as a barrier, and fill up the land area with hydroton or gravel (gravel might be a bad idea) so if it does leak, it's not an issue.
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Old 09-05-2011, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

hate to rain on your parade...but silicone will eventually fail...you can't silicone "plastic" to glass...they are incompatible...so having a sort of false bottom under the land mass will be an end run for the eventual deterioration...and you can suck the extra water out of the land portion by following previous posts on how to do that...the only way to really have a dedicated water portion is to just have a 100 % seperate "container" for all the water/pump, waterfall, etc. and have the water spray contained within that water area...I learned all the hard way... I have a 30G paladarium with frogs, and the water portion has Endlers Live Bearers...the "land" portion is just aquarium stones over bioballs, and plants that survive/thrive with their water roots...I do water changes--1/4--every week or so...mopani wood as the waterfall, 404 pump...but wish I had a better way to filter the crap before it sticks into those little slots. I had made a circular, plastic netting "tube" into which the pump is inserted..easy to access...will subscribe...have a blast
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy S View Post
hate to rain on your parade...but silicone will eventually fail...you can't silicone "plastic" to glass...they are incompatible...so having a sort of false bottom under the land mass will be an end run for the eventual deterioration...and you can suck the extra water out of the land portion by following previous posts on how to do that...the only way to really have a dedicated water portion is to just have a 100 % seperate "container" for all the water/pump, waterfall, etc. and have the water spray contained within that water area...I learned all the hard way... I have a 30G paladarium with frogs, and the water portion has Endlers Live Bearers...the "land" portion is just aquarium stones over bioballs, and plants that survive/thrive with their water roots...I do water changes--1/4--every week or so...mopani wood as the waterfall, 404 pump...but wish I had a better way to filter the crap before it sticks into those little slots. I had made a circular, plastic netting "tube" into which the pump is inserted..easy to access...will subscribe...have a blast
Thanks for letting me know this info; I just looked it up to see what you were explaining and now I understand. Obviously (and unfortunately) I didn't research that topic enough. However I don't consider it rain on my parade, I consider it a great learning experience and now I will be able to warn other people about this when I am contributing on forums.

Additionally, from the beginning I had already planned on implementing a combination of the ideas that you and others have posted in this thread so far.

Regardless of whether the partition was going to leak or not, my plan has always been to:

Construct a false bottom inside the land area from plastic grid, elevated several inches on pvc. It will be covered with mesh or weed block fabric. Then a layer of gravel (which now I may plan on using clay balls, which I know nothing about). Then a custom substrate mix (which in light of the fact that the partition will eventually leak I must make the soil above the water line)
I am also going to have a vertical pipe that extends from the top of the land mass down through the substrate, through the false bottom, to just above the bottom of the tank glass. I can then lift off a rock or moss from the top of the tube to gain access so that I can remove stagnant water as needed.

So since I had planned this out all along, things are not looking too bad, even with the partition fail (or near future fail)

Keeping in mind the fact that I don't need a whole lot of hydroton, does anyone know if this is a good deal?
Amazon.com: Hydroton Clay Aggregate Grow Media - 10 Liter Bag - HYD310: Patio, Lawn & Garden Amazon.com: Hydroton Clay Aggregate Grow Media - 10 Liter Bag - HYD310: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Thanks again for everybody's advice and info. Please keep it coming! I must know everything
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Looks great! Can't wait to see then ending tank.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post
Thanks for letting me know this info; I just looked it up to see what you were explaining and now I understand. Obviously (and unfortunately) I didn't research that topic enough. However I don't consider it rain on my parade, I consider it a great learning experience and now I will be able to warn other people about this when I am contributing on forums.

Additionally, from the beginning I had already planned on implementing a combination of the ideas that you and others have posted in this thread so far.

Regardless of whether the partition was going to leak or not, my plan has always been to:

Construct a false bottom inside the land area from plastic grid, elevated several inches on pvc. It will be covered with mesh or weed block fabric. Then a layer of gravel (which now I may plan on using clay balls, which I know nothing about). Then a custom substrate mix (which in light of the fact that the partition will eventually leak I must make the soil above the water line)
I am also going to have a vertical pipe that extends from the top of the land mass down through the substrate, through the false bottom, to just above the bottom of the tank glass. I can then lift off a rock or moss from the top of the tube to gain access so that I can remove stagnant water as needed.

So since I had planned this out all along, things are not looking too bad, even with the partition fail (or near future fail)

Keeping in mind the fact that I don't need a whole lot of hydroton, does anyone know if this is a good deal? Amazon.com: Hydroton Clay Aggregate Grow Media - 10 Liter Bag - HYD310: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Thanks again for everybody's advice and info. Please keep it coming! I must know everything
That hydroton is a bit expensive. Check out Josh's Frogs - Largest online herps feeders and reptile supplies store they sell 10 litres of hydroton for 11$ and the ABG mix for 11$ (8 quarts). I made my own ABG, it made more than 20 quarts of substrate, but costed more. I bought 1-8 quart bag of Zoo med's forest floor, 1-80 cu. inches of spagnum, 10 quarts of tree fern fibre, already had a 4 cu ft bail of peat moss (No ferts), and finally I bought 11oz of cheapo aquarium charcoal. cost about 35$, but made a lot. More than enough for your tank, in fact, enough for a 40b or a 55g.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Black Jungle sells a really nice product that is expanded glass, makes for a very, very lightweight substrate/drainage area. The first bags I got were sort of a pink color, but I just kept that in the middle and surrounded it with regular looking Hydro. It has a lot of surface area for the good bacteria to grow on..I've also used washed lava rock...but this stuff is better--and they are good vendors (oops....)
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Forgive my ignorance but Judy are you saying he should not have a designated area for just water and one for terretrial? It other words he should have a false bottom for the land part (with media under the eggcrate/substrate) and basically the whole bottom be water?
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

sorry for any confusion...I'm suggesting that there will be seepage eventually from the water side into the land side because silicone does not form a "permanent" bond to glass...the plexi was what he intends to use as a separation...the force of the water/earth will keep each other from forcing into the other side,but the creep will come at the silicone holding the plexi in place.That's why even in our glass tanks that there can be a failure... My suggestion was that he use a substrate on the land side that could be siphoned off if the water creates a problem...maybe in a month, maybe a year...who knows. But having the substrate with the ability to withdraw the excess and also have a method built in to keep the "earth/land" portion from wicking excess water into the soil...
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Ok support crew (hope you don't mind that reference, but you guys are great!), I've been thinking a lot about the partition fiasco. I've pondered it, mulled it over, slept on it (not literally), and a bunch of other things.

The conclusion I have come to is that the smart solution is to convert to a hybrid of the partition vs false bottom / water table approach. I have always planned to have a false bottom in the land section, and to drain stagnant water that accumulates beneath the substrate via a vertical pvc pipe. However I am thinking of a crazy and radical idea and I'd like your opinions. After all of the effort to seal off the partition and be fancy schmancy, I have decided I should actually drill holes in the partitions to purposely allow free flow of water throughout. Here's why:
- the partition will eventually leak anyway
- the water under the land area will become stagnant if sealed off
- if the waterfall leaks into the land area it will be bad news
- and other reasons

It makes tons of sense to drill several large holes in each partition. I will have a false bottom within the land area created with "egg crate" and LECA. I'll just make sure the holes have some mesh to exclude my newt from squeezing in and keeping things on their respective sides of the partition. This will allow free flow of water to keep things fresh and eliminate the need to suction out the partitioned land area. Drilling the holes doesn't mean the partition was a waste obviously because it will still keep the shape and general separation I need for the scaping of the paludarium.

Question 1. What do you guys think of the idea of drilling the partition?

Question 2. I am not sure of the order of things that are layered into the land area. Do I go false bottom plastic grid with mesh with nothing beneath it, then LECA, then mesh, then substrate? Or LECA then grid with mesh then substrate? Or multiple layers of LECA below and above? It seems a good idea to have false bottom with nothing under it, to allow maximum water flow. What do you guys recommend? Keep in mind this is a paludarium not a viv.

Question 3. I hear a lot about LECA floating and being a pain in the arse, do you think it will be an issue?

Another "issue" is now that I know the water will inevitably be in both sides of the partition at the same level, I am going to have to have the substrate more shallow and plants higher up than I had originally planned. This is a bummer in a paludarium because you already are limited on vertical space for planting. I'll have to use plants that are ok with wet feet which is not what I wanted, but that's the way the cookie crumbles I suppose. I'll still be able to do some "regular" plants up in the foam wall perhaps.

Anyway I hope you guys can offer some advice/suggestions/opinions on this, then I'll post another installment with another possible change in my setup that I have been thinking about. I'll save that for next time though.

Thanks a lot! And sorry there's no pics or exciting progress
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Hey guys, actually I just posted my questions from the above post into a new thread here: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...tml#post644241

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Old 09-11-2011, 04:18 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

how about this for a wacky idea that would solve ALL your issues about water...since you are already working with acrylic, why not make yourself a "pot" that would snugly fit into the viv...it would be a self-contained unit just for the water elements...having a section in the land area for water accumulation and drawing off is still necessary, but the water area will have your curves...and it's own sides and bottom if you are skilled enough to make curves, you can certainly do this, and seal the acrylic with its own "glue" You'd have essentially a fish tank in a viv tank...!!
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:50 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

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how about this for a wacky idea that would solve ALL your issues about water...since you are already working with acrylic, why not make yourself a "pot" that would snugly fit into the viv...it would be a self-contained unit just for the water elements...having a section in the land area for water accumulation and drawing off is still necessary, but the water area will have your curves...and it's own sides and bottom if you are skilled enough to make curves, you can certainly do this, and seal the acrylic with its own "glue" You'd have essentially a fish tank in a viv tank...!!
Hmmm sounds interesting. My main concern with that idea is since it's a paludarium, I need to have most of the front open to see underwater for viewing the aquatic plants, newt, landscaping. So I'd need the plexi "water container" to have a flat front up against the front glass of the aquarium tank. I think it would look weird having plexi against the glass and it would probably get dirty and grow algae in between. And even if I could somehow prevent that I think it would still be distorted somewhat to view underwater through both layers. Too bad I don't just have a big sexy acrylic tank Thanks for suggestion. I am letting everybody's advice/ideas sink in and we'll see what direction I go.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

My room has been pretty hot all summer, tell me more about your Portable Air Conditioner? Does it need to be vented outside? Or more like a swamp cooler?

My windows do not open to put in an AC vent, don't think my wife would let me cut a vent hole into the wall....

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Old 09-12-2011, 02:54 AM
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My room has been pretty hot all summer, tell me more about your Portable Air Conditioner? Does it need to be vented outside? Or more like a swamp cooler?

My windows do not open to put in an AC vent, don't think my wife would let me cut a vent hole into the wall....

Steve
Steve, yeah the AC has to be vented to the outside. And you mentioned the two options- window installation or hole in the wall. The pic I posted of the AC was showing it not installed yet. It's installed now and I have the duct hose going to the window. I had to customize the window panel because it was not tall enough.

I love the AC unit I got, which is the Whynter ARC-12s. It is super nice and works great. The only problem is that I didn't realize how much power it draws when the cooling pump starts up. It is maxing out the circuit panel when it turns on so the lights dim and the other power outlets in the room drop power...good thing I have a very good battery backup surge protector on my computer. The AC draws 15amps when the coolant pump kicks on and the room it's in is wired at 15amps...so yeah, bad idea but I didn't research it first so it's my fault. Anyway it works great and is nice looking and pretty quiet for an AC.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

I had to get a portable AC as well...my computer burned out from the heat, so I had a legitimate reason to force my husband into accepting it. It could not be vented outside, so the hose with its flexible hose just runs "wild" out into the kitchen and a fan blows the heated air out of the surrounding area. It's the only solution that I was able to come up with...
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

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I had to get a portable AC as well...my computer burned out from the heat, so I had a legitimate reason to force my husband into accepting it. It could not be vented outside, so the hose with its flexible hose just runs "wild" out into the kitchen and a fan blows the heated air out of the surrounding area. It's the only solution that I was able to come up with...
I might have to do this also, vs cutting a hole in the wall. Or replace the window with a new one that actually opens. Mine are planted and screwed shut with some crazy springs. The house was built in 1959 and these might be the original. BUT I could get a real long hose and run it down the hall and out into the kitchen or living room..

How much does it heat up your kitchen by doing this? My terrariums are also in my computer room. So between the computers and terrariums the room is usually 80+'f in the summer. My central air can't cut it. But maybe I can install another AC vent in that room. But that might be as expensive as replacing a window?

thoughs on cooling?
steve
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

really liking this set up. i'm only doing a 5.5G and resorted to... well plastic containers...

i did the initial set up right now but, may redo it if i can find better supporting foundations.
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

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Originally Posted by gnod View Post
really liking this set up. i'm only doing a 5.5G and resorted to... well plastic containers...

i did the initial set up right now but, may redo it if i can find better supporting foundations.
You're doing a 5 gallon tank? Or is that a typo?
If it wasn't a typo then why would you be doing a tank so small?
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:23 AM
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... The house was built in 1959 ...
Steve, this may be a silly question on my part, but I assume your house's electrical system and breaker panel has been updated to a modern and safe setup? Seeing as the house was build in '59. I am sure it's modern but I am just checking...like I said the AC draws a ton of power.

Good luck with cooling, I hope Judy can offer more insight into the tube out the room method
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

The hose is expandable...stretches out quite a bit and at the very end I have a pretty hefty fan on the floor which directs the hot air toward the front door. It made me chuckle reading about the 1950's house...ours is a very old, 1800's log house..so there is NO way to make a window through the logs just for my computer and frogs.. The room I'm cooling is only about 8' x 12' so the area is small...and in the winter I have to use a supplementary source of heat...since the only place where there is heat is in the kitchen, over the furnace, with a grate cut into the floor...the "pioneers" were a hardy lot...
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Greetings friends, I am back with more random pics and ideas, but first an update on the partition situation.

I DID drill holes in the partitions, but the holes are not as large as I'd like. The problem was the larger the hole the more the plexi cracked and splintered. I am still debating whether or not to just rip out the partitions or to leave them in and mask them with natural objects. (if you are asking yourself if I am insane enough to drill the plexi while it's siliconed into the aquarium tank, yes, yes I am ..I did put wood behind the plexi each time I drilled so I wouldn't punch through and hit the glass) I like the partitions merely because they provide an easier way to keep the land area "in place" and in the shape I want. But I dislike them because they will be difficult to mask and will probably make it a pain in the arse to arrange rocks and wood. I am letting all these things float around in my mind but I am definitely going to gather up a bunch of nice rocks from my garden.

Once I have the rocks I will experiment with placement and see how they work with the partition. The result of that experimentation will be what pushes me one way or the other regarding the yay or nay on keeping the partition. (In my newt's current paludarium I just have a crapload of rocks and wood built up to lock in some land area. It's mostly a bog and very mucky, but it works and looks pretty good)

I have added a layer of silicone to the inside of the back and sides of the tank where I will be spraying GS foam. So, things are progressing, albeit slowly.

Well, this is embarrassing but now I am doubting whether I want to use the tree root that I've been showing since the beginning.
It IS nice and looks cool...

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

....... but ........

THESE ARE WAAAAY COOLER!!!

Click the image to open in full size.

The mopani on the left is new but the rest of the wood there I have had for many years in a few aquariums. In fact I have another sweet piece of bogwood in the current paludarium. I think I will take it out and disinfect it to use in the new build. So, I am torn between my idea of the original tree root in the corner of the tank vs using a few of these awesome pieces on the background and a few in the water section (and maybe emerging from the water up to the land area). I would probably do the mopani wood on the background and the bogwood type submerged. I definitely cannot use the "original" tree root shown earlier AND this wood in the same build because they look so different. Opinions on the new wood choice vs original tree root? (warning, I really really like the new wood pieces )

Got some hydroton at a local nursery for a decent price, probably would have paid the same on the internet after shipping is added.
Click the image to open in full size.

Also at said nursery I saw a few cool plants. I've never seen a brom this small, I want it so bad. I think it's Vriesea racinae? Either way I will probably not have broms in my paludarium because I am limited on vertical planting area and it's only a 29 Gallon

Click the image to open in full size.

Also saw this orchid which was absurdly large and of course would not be for a viv. I didn't know orchids could be this large

Click the image to open in full size.

And finally for those that are interested, the AC installed
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

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Originally Posted by Judy S View Post
hate to rain on your parade...but silicone will eventually fail...you can't silicone "plastic" to glass...they are incompatible...so having a sort of false bottom under the land mass will be an end run for the eventual deterioration...and you can suck the extra water out of the land portion by following previous posts on how to do that...the only way to really have a dedicated water portion is to just have a 100 % seperate "container" for all the water/pump, waterfall, etc. and have the water spray contained within that water area...I learned all the hard way...
Judy I'm wondering.... would it be okay for him to use glass as the dividing barrier instead of the acrylic? I mean would the silicone properly seal glass to glass and not leak?
I like your "tank inside of a tank" idea btw... I can see that one working out correctly if you were able to find the perfect sized/ shaped bowl.
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

that might be a possibility...but I think his original configuration involved angles...so unless it were a "geometric" shape, it would probably be too difficult. Might be an interesting experiment with a smaller tank...let me know how it works for you...lol...
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Hey guys, it's been a while, but yes I am still alive . I have a bazillion pics to show and a novel's worth of story to write up, so I will have to do it in chunks. I will tease you though and tell you that the background of the build is already done and curing! It still smells a bit like a toxic waste dump so hopefully that will clear up soon.

I thought I'd start off showing you a few pics of the * OLD * paludarium that my newt is currently still in.

Again, this is the OLD one, not the one in this build.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

How about this for a deal...aquatic plant fertilizer bottles for 82 cents per bottle instead of $13 per bottle!!!! I bought all 6 bottles lol yay! I wll of course check first to make sure they are safe to use in my newt tank, but I suspect that it should be ok if I use tiny bits of it pushed into the substrate...it is fish safe after all.

Click the image to open in full size.

Bought some insane pieces of mopani wood and soaked em for a few days, changing the water each day to remove tannins and junk.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is the beginning of the false-bottom build. In this paludarium the water will flow under the land area, and some of the substrate will be soaking wet since it's not tall enough to allow me to fully have the substrate above the water table. The main purpose of the false-bottom in this build is to allow better flow of water so it doesn't get stagnant beneath the land area.

Used some beefy wire cutters to cut the light diffuser "egg-crate" and they worked beautifully.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I drilled some holes in the pvc risers for zip-ties and notched the bottoms to allow water flow. I used an air tool with a grinding bit to create the nice clean notch shape, then used a knife to remove the ragged pvc shreds (lol it looks like I missed a shred in the pic below). Then I zip-tied everything together as you can see in the pics below.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I'll try to post more soon, as there is tons to share with you and I am super pumped about this build. Hope you are enjoying this thread!
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

whats this tank for again?
that's now much land at all.
I thought you was gonna lay a false bottom across the entire back of the tank.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: 29 Gallon Paludarium build (post as I go, details, very pic heavy)

Quote:
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I'm wondering.... would it be okay for him to use glass as the dividing barrier instead of the acrylic? I mean would the silicone properly seal glass to glass and not leak?
I like your "tank inside of a tank" idea btw... I can see that one working out correctly if you were able to find the perfect sized/ shaped bowl.
yes you can use glass it's actually preferred over acrylic.
the acrylic will warp but the glass won't..
also tho it depends if you're splitting a tank vertically or horizontal.
I haven't seen anyone take like a 55g and split it into 2 vert.
I kinda want to but lighting would be a pain...

but yeah I would use glass cause te acrylic or plexiglass will eventually warp. i made somewhat of a paludarium for my green tree frogs and the plexiglass eventually warped and developed a small leak.
Click the image to open in full size.

eventually the water started filling up the land side where my false bottom was
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:33 AM
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whats this tank for again?
that's now much land at all.
I thought you was gonna lay a false bottom across the entire back of the tank.
This is a paludarium, and it will be housing my 99% aquatic newt. I thought I was going to have land at the back as well but as time went on it evolved.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:42 AM
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This is a paludarium, and it will be housing my 99% aquatic newt. I thought I was going to have land at the back as well but as time went on it evolved.
if i'm not mistaken your newt is large?
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:59 AM
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if i'm not mistaken your newt is large?
Not really. About 4" long.
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