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Old 09-20-2010, 10:38 AM
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Default New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

As a part of the website I’m in the ever continuous process of designing, I made a paludarium and recorded the method. I wanted to be able to show that the replica rocks that I make can be used for paludariums and needed an example. Total build time ~ 5 hours.





The tank was an old beat up custom sized snake cage made by a local company. I got it for a steal and had it sitting around in my garage for at least a year until I decided to make it into this.

I re-siliconed all sides and edges and removed the top trim. I kept the bottom trim for stability.

From there I basically made a retaining wall of my foam replica rocks and then foamed them together using the pond sealant GS. This glued together all of the replica rocks and keeps them from floating. The spaces between the rocks were covered with mortar mixed with black concrete colorant. It started off a nice dark black color but ended up a grey.












After that I placed down a layer of LECA, put some filter fiber over that and then added some specialty pond “soil”. It’s fired clay by PondCare called “Aquatic Planting Media”. I like the look of it and its really light weight. Not as light as LECA but still lighter than gravel. From there I added the plants and put on top a layer of black aquatic plant soil. This was also used for the front section substrate.







The entire setup: glass, plants, replica rocks, mortar, foam, substrate weighs very little. If it was a little bit smaller I cold have carried it upstairs by myself. If these were real rocks, it would have been a HUGE undertaking to move this thing.

The system is run by a Cascade 500 canister filter. The filter has a single IN tube but two OUT tubes. One goes to a small waterfall and the other goes to a spraybar I added into the back and covered in the black substrate. The spraybar is to help keep water moving evenly though the back section to avoid any anaerobic gas buildup.





The lighting is basic track lighting with 23 watt “daylight” 6500k spiral compacts.
















This is the first little bit of what I’m planning for this tank. I plan to put a bunch of tillandsia on a log whenever I find the right to piece to do it with. I’m also thinking about adding black plexi to the back and sides as a back splash so I can hand water everything without soaking my blinds.

The broms on the left side are sectioned off from the rest of the back by a covered section of foam. This way they won’t rot out, I just have to remember to hand water them.

Duckweed and some kind of algae were obtained from a local client’s pond.

I’m thinking of putting some fish in it at some point and maybe my stinkpot turtle, but we’ll see. I have a feeling the stinkpot will try to climb though.

And yes, yes, yes, I know the website is taking forever. As soon as its done the replica rocks will be available for purchase. As for a timeline, well, before X-Mass.
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

looks amazing!!
what are the dimension of the tank?
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Beautiful!
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

35.5" Long
17.5" Deep
11" Tall
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Looks great.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Looks amazing, but would look better with some java moss on those rocks XD
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Looks fantastic

I want some of the rocks
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Old 09-20-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Very nice tank!
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

wonderful realism in the rocks. Would you post your method/ process?
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:39 AM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

To post the method by which I make my rocks would be useless to anybody but another larger scale company, who would then compete with me. For anyone to make just 1 rock is over $300 when all costs are factored in. So unless you plan on making the side of your house in them, it will cost you way more than to purchase them. Its because of this reality that I decided to even start making them in the first place. I wanted to make my own utra-realistic rocks but couldn't justify the cost of making just a few, so I started to incorporate them into my already existing small business model.

I will however have a method that IS affordable on my website in the very detailed and extensive tutorial section. It still will cost more than to just buy them, but it is much less expensive than the methods/materials I use. The method that will be on the tutorial section is one I have used with success out the field as well, which my production one is not. So if you wanted to go find a unique tree stump or rock formation, you can make a replica of it in place rather than having to cart it back to your garage. I've done this while on vacation out in Hawaii with great results. I just brought the materials with me in a separate suitcase and mailed the molds back to myself, allowing the room in the suitcase for 52lbs worth of mosses.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: New Paludarium w/ Replica Rocks

Very nice! I wish I had the time/money/knowledge/space/etc... to complete tanks like this. Are you planning on putting anything special in there? (fishies!)
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