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Old 05-09-2020, 01:34 AM
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Default 8g paludarium material suggestions

Hey everyone, I'm a newb to paludariums and was hoping to get some suggestions for materials. I have an 8g CAD aquarium leftover from my nano Reef days. I wanted to post a picture, but I'm having trouble figuring out how on here lol. It has the compartment in the back that hides equipment. There's a hole at the top left where the powerhead was connected and a water intake at the bottom right. I was thinking I'd have a little pump with a stream/waterfall out the top lead to the bottom of the tank. My plan is to have the back panel covered and two levels, the middle/top where the stream is which then leads down to some rocks and a little pool of water at the bottom.

I originally wanted to make the structure out of light diffuser egg crate followed by covering with great stuff foam. Since it is a small aquarium, I'm going to have to make the entire landscape on the outside and then insert it into the tank. I was thinking maybe carving a block of styrofoam would be a better route than light diffuser and great stuff for my situation. Is there anything easier to work with than styrofoam?

Sorry about the pictures, going to try and figure that out to give a better idea of what I'm talking about. Still new to this forum. Open to all advice!
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:44 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Originally Posted by Jamest0o0 View Post
Hey everyone, I'm a newb to paludariums and was hoping to get some suggestions for materials. I have an 8g CAD aquarium leftover from my nano Reef days. I wanted to post a picture, but I'm having trouble figuring out how on here lol. It has the compartment in the back that hides equipment. There's a hole at the top left where the powerhead was connected and a water intake at the bottom right. I was thinking I'd have a little pump with a stream/waterfall out the top lead to the bottom of the tank. My plan is to have the back panel covered and two levels, the middle/top where the stream is which then leads down to some rocks and a little pool of water at the bottom.



I originally wanted to make the structure out of light diffuser egg crate followed by covering with great stuff foam. Since it is a small aquarium, I'm going to have to make the entire landscape on the outside and then insert it into the tank. I was thinking maybe carving a block of styrofoam would be a better route than light diffuser and great stuff for my situation. Is there anything easier to work with than styrofoam?



Sorry about the pictures, going to try and figure that out to give a better idea of what I'm talking about. Still new to this forum. Open to all advice!
When you say you have an 8g aquarium, that's 12x12x12" (or thereabouts)?

What animals are you planning to stock in the tank? That tank is practically too small to house any reptile or amphibian comfortably, let alone create a paludarium.

In terms of build material, styrofoam that is sealed properly works, so does egg crate and expanding foam(again if sealed properly).

But considering the small space you're working with my recommendation would be to do as little background as possible so that you don't use up what little space you have.
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Originally Posted by fishingguy12345 View Post
When you say you have an 8g aquarium, that's 12x12x12" (or thereabouts)?

What animals are you planning to stock in the tank? That tank is practically too small to house any reptile or amphibian comfortably, let alone create a paludarium.

In terms of build material, styrofoam that is sealed properly works, so does egg crate and expanding foam(again if sealed properly).

But considering the small space you're working with my recommendation would be to do as little background as possible so that you don't use up what little space you have.
Yeah that is about right on the dimensions. I plan to keep vampire crabs in there. Was considering frogs of some type, but thought it may be too small.

The back ground is mainly just to cover the black panel, nothing extensive. I wanted two levels to add more surface area for the crabs to crawl on.
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

And by paludarium, I guess I'm more talking a water feature(stream->waterfall->little pool of water at bottom for crabs to submerge).
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Originally Posted by Jamest0o0 View Post
Yeah that is about right on the dimensions. I plan to keep vampire crabs in there. Was considering frogs of some type, but thought it may be too small.



The back ground is mainly just to cover the black panel, nothing extensive. I wanted two levels to add more surface area for the crabs to crawl on.
It's going to be too small for dart frogs.

For a background, I personally love the cracked cork mosaic look. It also tends to be thinner than doing a styrofoam build.

Another option is to use titebond iii and tree fern fiber to create a background.

There are descriptions of it in another couple of threads here.
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Old 05-09-2020, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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It's going to be too small for dart frogs.

For a background, I personally love the cracked cork mosaic look. It also tends to be thinner than doing a styrofoam build.

Another option is to use titebond iii and tree fern fiber to create a background.

There are descriptions of it in another couple of threads here.
Thanks for getting back to me.

So my main thing I'm going for is the looks of a rocky rainforest stream/waterfall. The cork or the tree fern could probably mix well with that. Would you attach the cork to titebond or do you think great stuff would be better?

I wanted the top level to be like a rocky overhang with some soil/leaf litter/small plants. This would be where a lot of the springtails and isopods would be. Then below I'd have some rocks and a little pool of water.

I need to be mindful of ph considering vamp crabs need the ~8.0.

Any suggestions on the rocks? Wasn't sure if I should buy some or make some using grout/paint/etc. I'm just going for whatever would look the best.

I think I saw a video somewhere of a person carving out a blue foam block, looked like the insulation type. Seemed easier to work with than styrofoam. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Originally Posted by Jamest0o0 View Post
Thanks for getting back to me.



So my main thing I'm going for is the looks of a rocky rainforest stream/waterfall. The cork or the tree fern could probably mix well with that. Would you attach the cork to titebond or do you think great stuff would be better?



I wanted the top level to be like a rocky overhang with some soil/leaf litter/small plants. This would be where a lot of the springtails and isopods would be. Then below I'd have some rocks and a little pool of water.



I need to be mindful of ph considering vamp crabs need the ~8.0.



Any suggestions on the rocks? Wasn't sure if I should buy some or make some using grout/paint/etc. I'm just going for whatever would look the best.



I think I saw a video somewhere of a person carving out a blue foam block, looked like the insulation type. Seemed easier to work with than styrofoam. Any thoughts on that?
You have me out of my depth, I'm not great with styrofoam questions, hopefully someone else can offer you advice on those.

For the cork bark, you could use titebond or regular aquarium safe silicone to attach it to the wall.
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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You have me out of my depth, I'm not great with styrofoam questions, hopefully someone else can offer you advice on those.

For the cork bark, you could use titebond or regular aquarium safe silicone to attach it to the wall.
Cool, well I appreciate the help.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

You should checkout the builds Asu does on youtube. He is in Japan so some of the stuff he uses you won't find in the states, but most of it is pretty self explanatory and easy to find or easy to find something essentially identical. Here is one of his waterfall builds:

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Old 05-10-2020, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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You should checkout the builds Asu does on youtube. He is in Japan so some of the stuff he uses you won't find in the states, but most of it is pretty self explanatory and easy to find or easy to find something essentially identical. Here is one of his waterfall builds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZIiGZD3AQ0
Thank you, I was actually watching that video a few days ago. Might be my best bet to just attach rocks the way he did.

I guess a concern I have with rocks or wood is to not mess with the ph too much.
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Old 05-10-2020, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Originally Posted by Jamest0o0 View Post
Thank you, I was actually watching that video a few days ago. Might be my best bet to just attach rocks the way he did.

I guess a concern I have with rocks or wood is to not mess with the ph too much.
Wood will lower the pH slightly but not much. Some rocks can increase kh and pH. An easy (but not complete) way to test is to dribble some vinegar onto the rock you want to use. If you see tiny bubbles it will affect pH. The foolproof test is to fill two cups/buckets with water and add rocks to one of those cups/buckets. A week later test pH and kh. If the same in both buckets then good to go.
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Old 05-10-2020, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Wood will lower the pH slightly but not much. Some rocks can increase kh and pH. An easy (but not complete) way to test is to dribble some vinegar onto the rock you want to use. If you see tiny bubbles it will affect pH. The foolproof test is to fill two cups/buckets with water and add rocks to one of those cups/buckets. A week later test pH and kh. If the same in both buckets then good to go.
Ah okay thanks, think I remember reading that somewhere a while back. I got mixed results for this, any thoughts on just adding rocks from my yard/woods? I'm not a rock expert lol so I'm not really sure what they are, but i feel they could look pretty good in a paludarium. Would there be any danger in using them if I tested their ph and it was fine? Not sure if I should be concerned of anything else. And I assume boiling would be best for cleaning them off?
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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Ah okay thanks, think I remember reading that somewhere a while back. I got mixed results for this, any thoughts on just adding rocks from my yard/woods? I'm not a rock expert lol so I'm not really sure what they are, but i feel they could look pretty good in a paludarium. Would there be any danger in using them if I tested their ph and it was fine? Not sure if I should be concerned of anything else. And I assume boiling would be best for cleaning them off?
It depends on what you are planning to do with this and how good you plan to be at maintenance. If this is just for plants and not planning to add any animals (and this is my recommendation since its likely your water feature will probably be under a gallon), then you are likely fine not worrying about ph and kh. You will likely still want to do a water change once a month or so unless you know your ph and kh are not an issue. If not an issue then you could get away with just top offs for a long time... 6 months 8? You will want to use RO water or distilled though, if you don't you will end up with a lot of hard water marks which will be annoying to deal with. If you plan to add animals to this (snails, shrimp, whatever) then you need to know your water parameters. An API Master Kit costs 25 dollars and the KH/GH kit costs another 12... I think? Haven't looked in a while so that's from memory. Anyway you will need that if you ultimately decide to put animals in this.

Last edited by minorhero; 05-10-2020 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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It depends on what you are planning to do with this and how good you plan to be at maintenance. If this is just for plants and not planning to add any animals (and this is my recommendation since its likely your water feature will probably be under a gallon), then you are likely fine not worrying about ph and kh. You will likely still want to do a water change once a month or so unless you know your ph and kh are not an issue. If they are not then you could get away with just top offs for a long time... 6 months 8? You will want to use RO water or distilled though, if you don't you will end up with a lot of hard water marks which will be annoying to deal with.
It will be for vampire crabs. My understanding is they only need enough water to submerge for molting and are mostly terrestrial species.

I have an RO unit that I'll most likely use. Or I'll just buy some distilled since it won't need much.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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It will be for vampire crabs. My understanding is they only need enough water to submerge for molting and are mostly terrestrial species.

I have an RO unit that I'll most likely use. Or I'll just buy some distilled since it won't need much.
I've not kept crabs before but from watching videos I know they are escape artists. You will want a tight fitting lid. This may or may not cause issues for you with condensation if you also are using a fogger. You will want to play with it to find the right balance.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: 8g paludarium material suggestions

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I've not kept crabs before but from watching videos I know they are escape artists. You will want a tight fitting lid. This may or may not cause issues for you with condensation if you also are using a fogger. You will want to play with it to find the right balance.
Good point you bring up, I'm sure there's some way around it though. I'm mostly just trying to get the land/aquascaping down with safe materials for now. A lot of the husbandry equipment is still up in the air (lids, watering, filtration, supplements, etc)
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