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Old 06-11-2019, 09:06 PM
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Unhappy Advice on tall paludarium build

So I have this build half done, x-terra small x tall (18x18x36 tall I think), with expanding foam background, hardscape, and waterfall with fogger already in. Also, the plumbing for sump and sump itself.

Pump from the sump will push water all the way up, where it will drip down the walls and waterfall. I have a valve inside the sump for bypass back to the sump, and I have a valve controlling waterfall, but it is installed after drips, each of which has little airline valves (that don't seem to close that tight under pressure). One of the photos in the album below shows bare plumbing.

When I glued everything in and was getting ready to silicone some coco fiber on the foam I realized I don't have a way to automatically control drips, so they will be on constantly, at whatever flow rate I set. So I effectively have an all drip wall paludarium with no dry place in sight... (and no planned barrier between the drip wall and substrate, because I just realized that was a thing)

In front there will be water section with some shrimps and/or guppies. Total water volume with sump is something like 20 gallon, so it is a question of cramped space more than filtration.

So a few questions:

- Are there any frogs that would love that kind of environment? Vietnamese mossy frogs I suppose? Any darts?

- Assuming I can make one wall dry and keep another one dripping and fix the substrate wicking problem, can I put darts in there, and what kind would like vertical layout?

- Should I pivot the build and turn it into a mossarium with lots of aquatic plants growing emerged and maybe some carnivorous plants ? The problem there is I kinda promised to have darts in there, but meh.

- Is pure coco fiber pressed into silicone layer a good choice for a drip wall? If not what else would look good and let mosses and plants grab on to it?

- Are there any other obvious problems I'm missing or other things it is not too late to think through?

Photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/3N1Xaj4MYKhsnPYy9

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

I won’t get into whether or not you should have frogs in there. It seems to be a VERY fraught topic in the painted frog community.

What I will mention is that you can never pay enough attention to the filtration if you do have a water feature. In addition to the usual issues with keeping the water clean enough for fish, adding in all of the biological input from your substrate and the test of the terrarium can prove too much for a ‘regular’ sized filtration system.

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Old 06-12-2019, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

I'll bite. I'm sure it will end up being a beautiful build, but it doesn't suit dart frogs well. You have left them almost no terrestrial space at all. Some darts might be more arboreal than others, but they all like to have some leaf litter to forage and hide in. Your setup just doesn't have that. If it had been a 36x18x36, there might have been enough floor space left, but that is a very tight tank to have a paludarium and dart frogs in. I can't comment on non-dart frogs because I don't know anything about them. I do like your idea of a mossarium :-)

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Old 06-12-2019, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

For water filtration I'll have 20g sump below, lots of space for all kinds of filters in there, I have even space for cleanup crew in the sump itself, refugium style. Will also help with water changes without disturbing main area. This part of the build I'm still happy about, aside form one worry about finding a pump that can push water 2 meters up and being quiet about it. The one I salvaged from my old aquaponics build is rather loud...

For the land area, ignoring drip wall problem for a moment, I will have almost 2/3 of the tank being above water, that area without false bottom will be full of sphagnum moss with bamboo growing out of it, and the area on top of the plumbing access will have a basket with substrate as well. So technically only area front-right (1/3 of the total maybe) is open water.

Now overhanging dripping background complicates things considerably. I see how there will be no space to hop around after I isolate drip walls...

Well, can anybody comment on other possible frog species and other questions (coco fiber especially) above?

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

On your pump need, here's some info that might help (I have a few of these pumps, and am quite satisfied):

Quick Compare - Sicce Syncra Silent Submersible Pumps
Model No. Flow Rate Power Consumption Amps Head Maximum Inlet/Outlet Dimension (Inches)
0.5 185 GPH 8W .12 4 Ft 0.5" - 0.7" 3.5" x 1.9" x 2.8"
1.0 251 GPH 16W .25 5 Ft 0.5" - 0.7" 3.5" x 1.9" x 2.8"
1.5 357 GPH 23W .43 6 Ft 0.6" - 0.8" 4.0" x 2.4" x 3.1"
2.0 568 GPH 35W .65 6.5 Ft 0.8" - 1" 4.8" x 3.3" x 4.1"
3.0 714 GPH 48W .43 9.9 Ft 0.8" - 1" 4.8" x 3.3" x 4.1"

Note max head of the 2.0 and 3.0 models. You'd need to divert a lot of the 3's flow right back into your sump. The 2 might work well, or you might be forcing it to work balls-out (and kill it young). Even if your outlet sits way up at 2m, the surface elevation of your sump is an essential part of the head equation. Anyway - like I said - maybe this will help.

These are pretty quiet. I'm running 1.5's on 36" tall vivs with sumps underneath. I'm making them lift water about 50-55 inches. Even though their max head is not much more, at only 72", I still need to divert almost all their flow back into my sumps (I have gentle streams, not raging torrents). My hope is with this kind of modest service demand, I will enjoy long life from these little machines.

I'm gonna pass on everything else after I share one last thought. Personally (given my experiences...), I wouldn't have made a drip-wall situation that's just constantly running. You're gonna be making some very strong tea. Very tannic, and I think, pretty acid. Some critters love that - focus on those if you're gonna operate it as-is.

Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

Thanks for the pump recommendation, I haven't seen those yet, look very promising.

I wouldn't have made a constantly running drip wall either if I actually thought twice (or once) about it
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

I run a Syncra 3.0 as a return on my 90g reef, throttled down with a ball valve to about 80% of full flow. Nice pump, but way overkill for a paludarium with a couple gallons of water in the display area.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

I would consider fixing the drip wall always being on for the health of the plants. If it's too soaking wet that will severely limit what you can put on the drip wall before we even talk about frogs. Also the plant load in the tank later moisture heavily too. When you first run the drip wall it might be drying out, once its covered in moss and lots of larger leaf plants are growing they will retain alot more water and humidity and you will probably want to dial things back.

Epipedobates anthonyi dont seem to mind much of anything IME, they would probably work fine and breed like jack rabbits in there.
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

Quote:
I run a Syncra 3.0 as a return on my 90g reef, throttled down with a ball valve to about 80% of full flow. Nice pump, but way overkill for a paludarium with a couple gallons of water in the display area.
Indeed; as I shared with him, I'm very happy with just my little 1.5's on 36" talls, which are on stands with 10-g sumps underneath. I still have to throttle back most of the flow, also with ball valves.

One nice thing about being slightly over-powered, is he could have some inline refillable cartridges with e.g. filter media, charcoal, whatever. He can select a pump that will be able to push his 20g's of water through that resistance, no problem, any number of times per hour.

Quote:
I would consider fixing the drip wall always being on for the health of the plants. If it's too soaking wet that will severely limit what you can put on the drip wall before we even talk about frogs
Excellent point. "Algae wall" or "slime wall" just doesn't have the same cachet as "moss wall". Ha ha.

cheers
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

lol, good point about the slime wall, I have plenty of that in my FW tank...

How do people normally run drip walls? Separate pump on a timer or a solenoid on a timer? Ideally I'll want waterfall running constantly (I'm redoing it now so that most of the water makes it cleanly into main water area through series of pipes), and drip wall either timed or throttled to avoid overload.

I'll check out epipedobates anthonyi, thanks.
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Old 06-15-2019, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

sounds like this is a build better suited for vampire crabs
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:39 AM
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Wouldn't crabs need a good sized flat beach-like area to burrow in?
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:06 AM
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Go with mossy frogs. If i could link you my latest build for mine on here I would. Just search for mossy frog paludarium, vivarium, etc. They like the tea colored water, my pH is anywhere from 6.2 - 6.8 at all times. I try to keep the temp between 68F and 75F. I've have a breeding pair, but don't ask me how to get the eggs to hatch, I've tried every technique and I've had no luck whatsoever. And in my water part I've got red cherry shrimp, white clouds, cherry barbs, panda garra, peacock gudgeons, and a magnificent specimen of a male paradise fish. I'm sure some of the shrimp larvae get eaten but my population has stayed the same. I built a internal filter chamber that is part of the background. The filter chamber acts a sort of refugium for the shrimp and their larvae, and you'll get them in your sump like I've done on many an occasion. Hell, I've found them in my canister filter before on other tanks. Anyways here are some pics of the build, tank, and frogs when they were in a different enclosure.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnFleshedOne View Post
Wouldn't crabs need a good sized flat beach-like area to burrow in?
Look up vampire crabs. Very similar care to PDFs, but will also take advantage of water areas.
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Old 06-16-2019, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Manhattan View Post
Anyways here are some pics of the build, tank, and frogs when they were in a different enclosure.
Interesting, do mossy frogs try to hunt fish and shrimp? Or do they only eat above water?

I saw a video of a vampire crab dive bombing a cricket, those look like they would eat everything that moves 🙂
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

Quote:
How do people normally run drip walls? Separate pump on a timer or a solenoid on a timer? Ideally I'll want waterfall running constantly (I'm redoing it now so that most of the water makes it cleanly into main water area through series of pipes), and drip wall either timed or throttled to avoid overload.
I have more tanks with only drip walls & no streams, but I do have several with both a drip and a stream/waterfall. My tanks with both a drip and a stream, all have 2 pumps. The streams are constant-runners, and my drips are intermittent, on timers. (This may seem like expensive overkill, but I like the redundancy - if either pump fails while I'm away from town for a couple weeks, I figure my plants are less likely to die of drought with the humidity bump of the other system still running.)

For my streams I like the Sicce pumps I shared before. For my drips, I like this one, which I learned of here on DB (https://www.avastmarine.com/products/diaphragm-pump). Any digital timer will work, as long as you can get run durations of a minute or less. The Avast will push a good amount of water, so besides short durations I also have to use the valve they include, to send part of the pump output straight back to my reservoirs. As it happens, I just run my drippers on the same timers as my misters - a quarter or a half a minute, twice a day. Works great for me, with my climate & amount of ventilation. Misting alone would not be near enough to keep those drip walls moist enough for moss.

good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 01:25 AM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

So uh, here; vampire crabs will be both terrestrial:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx_idEWl2ms/

aquatic:
https://www.instagram.com/p/By3VoCMHbiO/

and will climb up your vertical features:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bya_frCIBUA/

here is someone's vamp palu:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Byxd_GTA4nj/


hope you can handle the IG links lol
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Last edited by hypostatic; Yesterday at 01:28 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: Advice on tall paludarium build

Those are neat critters, thanks, I'll look at them closer.

For drip wall I guess I'll go with a mechanized valve that obstructs pump bypass and raises head pressure to make water reach drips (at lower pressure all water escapes through waterfall). Seems to work when I play with manual valves, but might be fiddly as hell if something grows somewhere and changes pipes throughput or pump performance.
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