Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium - Dendroboard
Dendroboard

Go Back   Dendroboard > Dart Frogs > Beginner Discussion
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read Advertise

Support Our Sponsors
No Threads to Display.

facebook

Like Tree19Likes
  • 2 Post By fishingguy12345
  • 1 Post By BebopCola
  • 2 Post By Socratic Monologue
  • 1 Post By PBM3000
  • 1 Post By fishingguy12345
  • 1 Post By Socratic Monologue
  • 3 Post By davecalk
  • 2 Post By PBM3000
  • 2 Post By PBM3000
  • 1 Post By PBM3000
  • 1 Post By PBM3000
  • 1 Post By PBM3000
  • 1 Post By PBM3000

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-04-2019, 11:25 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Exclamation Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Hi all. Another no0b from UK reporting in.

I've been running a fully planted tropical aquarium for several years with moderate success but I'm bored with it and I can never seem to gain height in the display. So, my intention is to move to a paludarium; housing PDFs (because setup/upkeep will be easier, right?

I've studied what I think I'll need but have a few questions before I go ahead and buy stuff.

My existing tank is a 240l (55gal) (W140cm x D40cm x H55cm) which will be stripped down and converted. I've looked at many YouTube vids on how to construct a paludarium and have many items waiting in various baskets across the web ready for me to hit 'buy'. Before I do so, however, I need to get my head around some mechanics.

1. I'll be utilising one of my existing canister filters for the water side of things (4-6" of water) and I'd like to incorporate a drip wall to keep mosses and plants mounted on the back wall irrigated adequately, minimising the need for constant hand-misting. I've flip-flopped between having a 'plain' expanded foam drip wall (either concreted, DryLok'd or with coco fibre/sphagnum embedded in silicone). Will the drip wall cause erosion of the coco fibre over time? Would I be better off with EpiWeb or maybe Tree Fern tiles? If I leave it undecorated (as 'stone') will mosses grow well enough?

2. I'd like to have fish in the water part, namely Celestial Pearl Danios (about 1-1.2" long). I'd like to keep a few Amano and Cherry shrimp too (mainly as cleaning crew). There will be a sizeable body of water - around 40 litres - and I'm aware of the requirement to provide easy egress for the PDFs. Will these fish/shrimp cause any issues?

3. Materials I have in mind for the build include polystyrene board, expanding foam (Touch n' Foam Landscape) cement and G4 pond paint sealer although I'd prefer to use a UK equivalent of DryLok directly on the foam - that's if I can find an equivalent. I see many videos / tutorials with very wet rock/gravel/wood floors - how much substrate do PDFs/isopods etc actually need?

4. I currently use 1-2mm smooth quartz gravel. Will this be problematic for PDFs in the water?

5. Does a body of heated water assist with temperatures in the paludarium?

Sorry to dive in with so many questions but I'm keen to start the build and get it right for the animals.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-05-2019, 04:19 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 306
Thanks: 16
Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Starting in a hobby with a very complicated first attempt routinely leads to " this didn't work the way I wanted so I'm giving up and changing to a new hobby", which given that you're "bored" with your tropical aquarium is a second warning sign that this will not turn out well.

If you want to try dart frogs start simple, get used to, and experience with, their care then consider a complicated setup.

The answers to most of your questions can be found with a search on these forums. Search, research, research again. Paludariums are tricky even floor experienced keepers
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to fishingguy12345 For This Useful Post:
Socratic Monologue (10-05-2019)
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2019, 05:18 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Thanks for your vote of confidence!

I can see where you're coming from though, but the technical/engineering side shouldn't present any difficulties for me. Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'tricky'?

I was just more concerned about the specific questions I couldn't find readily with forum search (the answers to which will influence my engineering decisions). I know how forums work - I've owned an ran several and I'm acutely aware of how inadequate the search feature can be sometimes when you have specific questions on minutiae. I was just rather hoping for a gentle nudge as a new member and discussion amongst members who've done similar.

Anyhow, no offence taken - and thanks for replying.
Reply With Quote
 
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2019, 09:07 PM
BebopCola's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: South Texas
Posts: 20
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

I want to know the answers to your first 2 questions as well!
I've seen people use Hygrolon on their walls to help spread moisture, in place of a drip wall.

For the 3rd question, isopods typically utilize about 2-3 inches (5-8cm) of substrate depth, depending on the species.

I can't help with the dart frogs though. I've read they're not the strongest swimmers, and they can't understand that glass is a wall they cannot pass through. So there's a risk of drowning. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please.

For question 5, I'd assume it would keep the enclosure warmer, but it might also increase humidity to undesirable levels. You'd really need some fans in there probably.
This is just an assumption though, hopefully someone with more experience can chime in.
PBM3000 likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2019, 09:08 PM
Socratic Monologue's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central WI
Posts: 1,204
Thanks: 51
Thanked 145 Times in 139 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

I'm certain no offense was intended.

You asked technical questions, when in fact the relevant questions here are about frogs. That's (likely) why fishingguy answered as they did.

The 'gentle nudge', I think, is in the direction of learning about (and gaining experience with) the animals. Which, after all, are the center of attention here.

It is hard to come at the dart frog hobby from the POV of aquarium keeping. Some (most?) aquarium keepers buy the glass box and set it up all pretty and then put whatever fish into it (which is -- you guessed it -- boring, in the long term).

Many dart keepers are more like the serious fishkeepers (ever seen a real fish room? Tanks aren't much to look at, but OMG the fish!) -- it is all about the frogs. Sure, the viv has to be suitable, but the viv is not the center of attention. Paludariums don't play a role in these folks' hobby, because (1) paludariums are a complicated PITA, and (2) the frogs don't care.

You got a couple answers from the latter kind of folks here. Maybe someone will come along and prove to me that I'm all wrong about being down on paludaria for a first go at dart keeping, but I doubt it.
PhylloBro and fishingguy12345 like this.
__________________
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd.

- Whitman

Last edited by Socratic Monologue; 10-06-2019 at 09:10 PM. Reason: spelling
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2019, 09:59 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

The more I read, the more 'encouraged' I am to bin the 'body of water' side of things (I've been browsing here today for about eight hours ). I'd still like to have it (and the mechanics don't phase me in the slightest (I love a technical challenge too!)) but I'm not stubborn enough that I won't change my mind when presented with evidence and, I suppose, weight of opinion.

Again, a drip wall is a nice to have but I'm now thinking that misting will keep things moist enough to sustain moss growth, right? There's the ground space argument too. This I readily concede.

I had a look around my local hardware store and picked up a roll of black polypropylene weed control sheet. I doubt it'll wick very well or retain moisture for extended periods but I figure it'll be good enough to grow moss on, given it's 'fibrous' in structure? I can silicone patches of it to the sculpted foam walls I'm planning. Anyone used this? Again searching for this term only brings up a few threads on its use in the false bottom layer...

Thanks for the replies so far.
Socratic Monologue likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:16 AM
fishingguy12345's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 306
Thanks: 16
Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

I certainly meant no offense, I'm glad none was taken. I'm fairly blunt in general, even more so when only in text on a screen.

The balance for a paladarium involves making a suitable space for the terrestrial inhabitants (presumably the frogs), and the aquatic inhabitants (fish) all at the same time. This is tricky without strong expertise with both inhabitant groups.

You will lose Isopods into the water portion of the tank. They're pretty unintelligent ;-). I've had them drown in a puddle that came from spraying the side of the enclosure ...

The gravel size shouldn't be a problem since the frogs shouldn't be in the water...

Even something "simple" like a waterfall or drip wall is going to be prone to failure.
PBM3000 likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 10-07-2019, 02:08 AM
Socratic Monologue's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central WI
Posts: 1,204
Thanks: 51
Thanked 145 Times in 139 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

You pose many good questions; I wish I could help answer them, but I keep my vivs very simple (I don't even make backgrounds).

If you can't find what you are looking for through keyword searching, it might be helpful (and pleasantly time-consuming) simply to browse build threads. There are lots of little details that can be gleaned in passing, details that are nearly impossible to find if you look for them. (This browsing advice goes for all aspects of the hobby, actually; if you want to know, e.g. how many tincs can dance on the head of a pin, just read everything everyone's said here about tincs and enjoy the feeling of your mind expanding. )
BebopCola likes this.
__________________
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd.

- Whitman
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 10-10-2019, 08:28 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

I'll say one thing - a 55g tank doesn't stay that way for long once the background and all layers of substrate are in. Quite surprised. On the plus side, it'll mean I'll need fewer 'decorations' and fewer Ranitomeya (thus fewer £$£) to stock it.

It's looking good so far - I'd start a build log but I seem unable to post pics yet...
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2019, 08:26 PM
davecalk's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Portland, Or.
Posts: 507
Thanks: 9
Thanked 92 Times in 49 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBM3000 View Post
The more I read, the more 'encouraged' I am to bin the 'body of water' side of things (I've been browsing here today for about eight hours ). I'd still like to have it (and the mechanics don't phase me in the slightest (I love a technical challenge too!)) but I'm not stubborn enough that I won't change my mind when presented with evidence and, I suppose, weight of opinion.

Again, a drip wall is a nice to have but I'm now thinking that misting will keep things moist enough to sustain moss growth, right?
Drip walls are excellent.

One note about drip walls is that you might want to mount them so they lean a bit... with the top being further towards the front of the tank and the bottom being closer to the back of the tank. This will cause the water of the drip wall to flow towards the front of the drip wall thus keeping the moisture toward the outer face. This water flow allows moss to more easily grow on the wall with less misting required.

I have used rectangular janitorial buffing pads to create drip walls for years. It is biologically inert, is much cheeper than epiweb, and is very easy to use / install.




Another reason a drip wall is beneficial is that it allows excellent bio filtration of the water in a false bottom or paludarium, as it helps remove nitrates and nitrites. The biofilm that grows and filters is a great in tank food source for springtails. The lattice work provides tons of living space for springtails and is an excellent in tank breeding area which provides a continuous source of food for the tank.
jeffkruse, Tijl and chillnvillian like this.
__________________
Dave
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to davecalk For This Useful Post:
PBM3000 (10-13-2019)
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 10-13-2019, 09:59 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Thanks.

The drip wall is also binned now - I'm keeping things simple in line with the weight of advice here. Besides, that frees up a £275 filter I can sell on.

I'm still looking at wall solutions for moss etc so I've picked up a sheet of Hygrolon which I'll be cutting to a 'chaotic' shape and pinning to the 3D wall I made (yes, it's not your regular 'mud wall' but I wanted something different). I had thought of those scrubbing pads but considered them perhaps too abrasive and might catch their legs? Maybe not if you seem to have had success with them.

Has anyone tried microfibre cloth?

Here's a pic of progress up to yesterday. Basic horizontal landscaping done, now to work on the verticals.

BebopCola and chillnvillian like this.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2019, 05:28 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Verticals in, a few plants added and microfauna in.

Leaf material, 'top cover' plants and Broms to add.

Scream if you wanna go faster!





BebopCola and chillnvillian like this.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2019, 06:00 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Italy
Posts: 91
Thanks: 35
Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

I like it! I love the cork tunnel, I've wanted to do something similar. Keep us updated!
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2019, 01:19 AM
BebopCola's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: South Texas
Posts: 20
Thanks: 4
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Also, How did you make that background?
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2019, 01:48 AM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

A couple of sheets of cavity wall insulation . It's similar to expanding foam but pre-cured in sheet form although a bit more dense. I couldn't be bothered with the hassle and mess of using GS then curing, carving, adding, curing carving.

chillnvillian likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2019, 06:29 PM
Socratic Monologue's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central WI
Posts: 1,204
Thanks: 51
Thanked 145 Times in 139 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

That's looking pretty cool. The sheet background is a great idea.

I notice you've used what I'd call 'aquarium plants'. Can they tolerate the relatively ventilated conditions in a dart viv?

Is the top layer of substrate coco fiber? It doesn't look like ABG to me.
__________________
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd.

- Whitman
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2019, 06:51 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

Thanks. A large majority of so-called aquarium plants are simply terrestrial ones who ‘tolerate‘ being submerged. Most of these will do okay if I keep them wet during transition.

I did look for ABG but in general, we’re poorly served by even specialists here. It’s ‘Eco Earth’ to which I’ve added some charcoal and orchid bark.
BebopCola likes this.
__________________
R. Amazonica Iquitos [3.4.0] | 55gal
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2019, 11:10 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBM3000 View Post
It’s ‘Eco Earth’
Correction: Arcadia EarthMix.
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 10-17-2019, 03:32 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Hand misting gets tiresome real quick, doesn't it? MistKing on order...

Just a little bit more foliage at the background and we're done for now. I'll let the plants grow out some before adding leaf litter. A few seed pod thingies here and there in the middle to soak before placement.

It's a shame most broms only flower once.. so I'm lead to believe.

A point on leaf litter; how you do cover everything? Will PDFs just avoid earthy areas?





chillnvillian likes this.
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2019, 01:28 AM
Socratic Monologue's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central WI
Posts: 1,204
Thanks: 51
Thanked 145 Times in 139 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

On leaf litter: it isn't so much that you cover all the 'soil'; the point is to provide as many little crevices as you can, and as much easily decomposable organic matter as you can. I think many of us would not plant those 'groundcover' plants (the Anubias and Sag and Buce in the front) and instead drop a few layers of LL there.

A possibly relevant question: what species of frog is going in there?
__________________
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd.

- Whitman
Reply With Quote
  #21 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2019, 01:46 AM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Gotta be quiet / gotta be good in groups so I have my eye on R. Amazonica. The issue with being UK based (apart from the serf thing!) is that there aren't many sellers and the situation appears to be getting worse. Tincs, no problem but thumbnails...

Last edited by PBM3000; 10-18-2019 at 01:48 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #22 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2019, 01:48 AM
Socratic Monologue's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central WI
Posts: 1,204
Thanks: 51
Thanked 145 Times in 139 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBM3000 View Post
I have my eye on R. Amazonica. The issue with being UK based (apart from the serf thing!) is that there aren't many sellers and the situation appears to be getting worse. Tincs, no problem but thumbnails...
Ack, yeah, I recall you saying that. Sorry, I looked above and didn't see it.

In that case, maximize the leaf litter. Especially when a froglet pops up unexpectedly, lots of litter (LOL!) will be appreciated.
__________________
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd.

- Whitman
Reply With Quote
  #23 (permalink)  
Old 10-18-2019, 02:26 AM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Will do. Just going to let the plants bed-in for a while and make adjustments here and there. Fitting a Mistking is next and going to get a glass cover installed (currently walled polycarbonate). I suspect it'll be Feb/March at the earliest before I get any froggos so no rush here.
Reply With Quote
  #24 (permalink)  
Old 11-06-2019, 11:13 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

One month-in (time flies)...

Just added some Dust Moss Mix. I'm mildly concerned it's too wet in there (MistKing 10 secs twice daily). It's also developed a moderately acrid/bitter smell but I'm assuming that's the biological processes kicking in?





Reply With Quote
  #25 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2019, 04:46 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 24
Blog Entries: 1
Thanks: 5
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I really like your build!

From what I understand, Acrid is ok, forest smell is ok, even fish tank-y smell is ok (but on the edge). it’s if it starts getting funky that you have to worry.

Folks might have added that you’ll also want to practice culturing food bugs before you get frogs, so that’s a good thing to do while you’re waiting for plants to grow in.

The bromeliads bloom once but most types then put out pups or grow another version of themselves right next to the original so don’t worry about that.

For me, misting depends on my ambient humidity - winter vs summer, rainy ha sunny day.

I have mine on for 4 s twice daily, 12 h apart. My digital hygrometer and temp meter is located at the top of the tank (sensors don’t like to get wet so they have to be out of misting range) and it’s regularly about 20% more humid at the bottom of my tank than at the top. I’ve got computer fans on top on low or medium speed.

The tanks have been established about 2 months so about the same amount of time as yours. I got frogs yesterday (couldn’t wait any more! I had promised that I was gonna wait til spring like you but then ...) and they’re loving it. It turns out that once I dusted fruit flies and dumped them into the tank the excess calcium powder is kind of stinky so I’m gonna have to find away to lessen the amount of powder that gets into the tank. Just FYI.

Hows yours going?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBM3000 View Post
One month-in (time flies)...

Just added some Dust Moss Mix. I'm mildly concerned it's too wet in there (MistKing 10 secs twice daily). It's also developed a moderately acrid/bitter smell but I'm assuming that's the biological processes kicking in?





Reply With Quote
  #26 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2019, 10:35 PM
PBM3000's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 121
Thanks: 36
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default Re: Aquarium tear-down for PDF Paludarium

Thanks. It's doing okay so far but I'm doing a fair amount of adjustments as I find things aren't working or aren't going to work long term. I've filled in a lot of the 'cave' work I created as there were too many hiding places (I'd never see them) and, I suspect, potential for cave-ins from the earth above.

I'm blasting it with light from a 59W Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 to get the flora going with the aim of turning it down for the frog's comfort come move-in day.

Frogs expected mid-late December but they'll be going into quarantine (observation) for a few weeks at least.

Regarding the smell, it has died down somewhat. Still mildly acrid but improving I'd say. It's absolutely overrun with springtails but I suspect the future residents will take care of that soon enough.

Melanogaster production seems to be going well. Just about to start week 3 over the weekend.
Encyclia likes this.
__________________
R. Amazonica Iquitos [3.4.0] | 55gal
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.