Awhile back another member on here, Okapi, built a masterpiece in a 75 gallon tank. I really liked his use of round river stones, cork bark panels and tubes. Inspired by this is recently bought a 54 gallon corner bow front aquarium by Aqueon. My Mossies are currently in this 24x20x18 deluxe reptohabitat by Tetrafauna. They're very happy, breeding like crazy although my egg rearing skills leave a lot to be desired. My reason for moving them is
A. I just want more room for them, the cherry red shrimp and my white clouds and panda garra.
B. To add another female. I'm afraid with just the one female she might get worn out.
For this build I've decided to use a product called EcoWeb as my background material. It's very similar to EpiWeb as far as I can tell. My idea is for this background to also act as a filter. In time I hope that moss will take grow on it. I'll have loc-line along the top to allow the water to trickle, not too forcefully down it. My main filtration system will be integrated, much like what a lot of the plug and play systems in the reef hobby have. I did lose some of the tank floor space but there's still an awesome amount of room for everything. I attached the EcoWeb to a 1/4" thick piece of white pvc board, glued in with Fuze It. Drilled my holes for bulkheads, and siliconed the side pieces of ecoweb in. In regards to my filtration system I'll have 2 pumps to do the work. The 58 watt one will power both the "drip wall" and my main outflow. The 24 watt one will be used to push water up a pvc pipe, them flow down over some egg crate with a piece of plastic sewing yarn loom thing. Can't remember what it's called exactly but people use for DIY algae scrubbers. Below that will be a bunch of foam filter cubes. I know this will make accessing the pumps not the easiest thing but once the biological process gets going I'm thinking once every 2 months I'll have to go in and rinse everything in old tank water. I got 2 choice pieces of driftwood from a local dry goods aquarium supplies distributor for real cheap, and the stone I'll buy using is a tumbled lava stone that looks real nice. Anyways here are some pics.
I'm not able to speak on the viability or practicality of paludarium setups, but I did want to say I admire the direction it's going aesthetically. I have always liked "sunken" habitats --- as far as that term can be stretched --- and the branches emerging from the water are very attractive and helpful in getting that feeling across.
Thank you for the kind words Kinstrome. I do plan on adding some extra large round stones to build up the back a little bit. My idea is a stream bank in the habitat where these guys hail from. I'd like to stick with the tumbled lava stone but any safe rock that is darker in color and rounded will probably work also. My filter chamber in the back is working great. I did decide to try an algae scrubber style rig above my filtration material and had some good growth already. But then I was thinking how I want algae to grow inside my tank for the shrimp, panda garra, and any other possible algae or aufwuchs feeders in the future and whether or not the algae scrubber in the back compartment would affect "in" tank growth. Maybe I'll just throw some creeping jenny or pothos back there instead and turn it into a vegetative filter instead.
My most pressing concern right now is the water temp. 78F. Not good nor correct for the "semi" biotope I'm aiming for which is Asian Hillstream. I do have fan plumbed in which knocks it down a good 5 degrees, but I really wanted the fan to go on for maybe 10-15 minutes every hour, not run all the time. I'm looking at drop in chillers but boy they aren't cheap. I'd like the temp to vary between 67 and 73 tops.
Since it's basically an aquarium with emergent space, could you try a drip wall as an evaporative cooling surface? I'm assuming you're sitting at 75 F. without any heater. Are your lights LEDs? Incandescents and fluorescents generate heat, and in an enclosed space..well that may be part of the issue.
Looks like some lucky Mossies.
That looks REALLY cool! I just finished my build on the exact same tank and stand. Its the perfect size for that type of setup! I did Paudarium with a waterfall. Currently Housing Endler guppies, Cherry Shrimp, Neon Tetras with clean up crew and Lemur Leaf frogs. Looking forward to watching your progress on this!
All LEDs for lighting. And yes I have loc-line all along the top of the Eco-web background dripping down through it. I installed a fan and run it during the day only. Water stays at 73 now. Night time it goes down to 71-72. Also yes to its in the basement. Which is finished though, so it never gets too cold or too hot which I guess is a good thing.