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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I am new here. I am an avid fish keeper and reptile keeper as is my fiancee. I had an extra 10 gallon tank sitting around and decided to make a paludarium. When I posted it on one of the aquarium sites, one of the members instructed me to go here and check this site out. So I did. Now I want to keep frogs as well. Not in this 10 gallon of course, but in a bigger enclosure. (I have a 55 gallon tank sitting in the garage begging to be used.) Anyway, here is my attempt at a paludarium. At the moment, I am not planning on any animals in it save for some fish or shrimp. What I really want to accomplish with it is this: I would like to try my hand at making a fake background, making a false bottom, mixing a soil, and keeping plants alive. I don't really have a plant list yet. They will probably be a mix of terrestrial and aquatic plants. I really would like this to be a show piece, but it is, first and foremost, an experiment. Enough of my waffle, here it is.



Equipment is this:

Tetra internal filter
Incandescent hood with 1 full spectrum 10 watt mini CFL, soon to be 2
I have a piece of drift wood with some small pieces of Java Fern on it to see how it does.

The flower pots will not stay in there, and I am going to be dividing the tank to add a terrestrial part along with a DIY background.

Here is somewhat of a plant list:

Lobelia cardinalis
Bivittatus "ruby"
Creeping Fig
Moon Valley Pilea
Polystichum tsus-simense

Let me know if these will work, and if I should add any or omit any. I am thinking I am going to need more plants, but not sure yet. I want to see what I can do with this before I jump into any frogs.
I would love some plant suggestions. Even if it is 100 different species, I want to know what you would suggest so I can do research on them. Thanks all.

P.S. - For future reference, I want to keep Dendrobates azureus and adelphobates galactonotus Red.

P.P.S - I am also planning on Christmas Moss, Java Moss, and Peacock Moss for this tank.
 

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looks like a good start man. how are you planning to separate the water and land area? Personally, i would lower the water level an inch or so, use lava rocks around the terracotta pots and have them gradually sloping down into the pond area. You can add any aquarium substrate over that to hide them. Make the lava rocks go out of the water about an inch or so, then add some window screen over top. Then you can add your substrate mix on top of that. You will probably want ~2" of substrate. If you are unsure what kind to use, ABG (Atlanta botanical garden) mix is popular here. Personally, i haven't used it, but people who have say it is well draining, and lasts a very long time.

Are you planning on a background? If you are, there are a lot of methods that work for the above water part, but only a few that will hold up long term underwater. I think if you just painted the back side of the underwater portion black, you could just get away with not having a background there, and just do clay for the above water part of the tank. That will give your creeping fig something to climb up.

As for lighting, i would at least use two 15, or preferably 20 watt daylight cfl's. that will give you better growth than just 20 combined watts (maybe 1200 lumens all together).

Plants: the korean rock fern might get a little to big for the limited amount of floor space. In fact, it would probably take up the whole ground area once fully grown. I would stick to the moon valley and the cryptanthus. You could also put some smaller neoregelia bromeliads on the background to add some color and break up the look of creeping fig. Look into neoregelia "chiquita linda" (i have 2 in my 20 gallon) and neoregelia lilliputiana. I got my broms from tropiflora. PM me if you want vendor feedback because we are not allowed to post it in the open forum.

I can probably send you some rooted cuttings of some moon valley pilea and creeping fig for the price of shipping if you like. Again just PM me if you choose.

Hope that helped out some man. Good luck to you!


Ryan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
looks like a good start man. how are you planning to separate the water and land area? Personally, i would lower the water level an inch or so, use lava rocks around the terracotta pots and have them gradually sloping down into the pond area. You can add any aquarium substrate over that to hide them. Make the lava rocks go out of the water about an inch or so, then add some window screen over top. Then you can add your substrate mix on top of that. You will probably want ~2" of substrate. If you are unsure what kind to use, ABG (Atlanta botanical garden) mix is popular here. Personally, i haven't used it, but people who have say it is well draining, and lasts a very long time.

Are you planning on a background? If you are, there are a lot of methods that work for the above water part, but only a few that will hold up long term underwater. I think if you just painted the back side of the underwater portion black, you could just get away with not having a background there, and just do clay for the above water part of the tank. That will give your creeping fig something to climb up.

As for lighting, i would at least use two 15, or preferably 20 watt daylight cfl's. that will give you better growth than just 20 combined watts (maybe 1200 lumens all together).

Plants: the korean rock fern might get a little to big for the limited amount of floor space. In fact, it would probably take up the whole ground area once fully grown. I would stick to the moon valley and the cryptanthus. You could also put some smaller neoregelia bromeliads on the background to add some color and break up the look of creeping fig. Look into neoregelia "chiquita linda" (i have 2 in my 20 gallon) and neoregelia lilliputiana. I got my broms from tropiflora. PM me if you want vendor feedback because we are not allowed to post it in the open forum.

I can probably send you some rooted cuttings of some moon valley pilea and creeping fig for the price of shipping if you like. Again just PM me if you choose.

Hope that helped out some man. Good luck to you!


Ryan.
Thanks man. I think for the ground part of it, I am going to do eggcrate and screen then divide the land from the water with some foam rock work. And as for the background, I think I am going to do the same thing with a foam background. I really want to try my hand at it to see how I can do. As far as the plants, I will pm you when I have some more progress with this. I am going out of town tomorrow for a couple of days, but I am going to hit this full force when I get back. I have not decided what I am going to do as far as the filter yet. I would love to have a small water fall, but I don't know if that will work out so well yet. Thanks for all the help man, and I will keep you and the thread posted as to what I end up doing.
 

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Thanks man. I think for the ground part of it, I am going to do eggcrate and screen then divide the land from the water with some foam rock work. And as for the background, I think I am going to do the same thing with a foam background. I really want to try my hand at it to see how I can do. As far as the plants, I will pm you when I have some more progress with this. I am going out of town tomorrow for a couple of days, but I am going to hit this full force when I get back. I have not decided what I am going to do as far as the filter yet. I would love to have a small water fall, but I don't know if that will work out so well yet. Thanks for all the help man, and I will keep you and the thread posted as to what I end up doing.
no problem man. eggcrate will work great too, and you can always sculpt foam around the filter to make a little waterfall. The drylok with acrylic tint would make realistic fake rocks. you can see my method here in my buttress root tree thread
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/68667-first-attempt-buttress-root-tree.html

I looked, and i have a medium size c. bivitattus "ruby" you can have also. It has never been in a frog tank. lookin forward to seeing the tank completed!

Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
no problem man. eggcrate will work great too, and you can always sculpt foam around the filter to make a little waterfall. The drylok with acrylic tint would make realistic fake rocks. you can see my method here in my buttress root tree thread
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/68667-first-attempt-buttress-root-tree.html

I looked, and i have a medium size c. bivitattus "ruby" you can have also. It has never been in a frog tank. lookin forward to seeing the tank completed!

Ryan
Thanks man. I really hope it is not going to take me long to do this build. I have been working on an enclosure for my fire skink for like a month and a half now. It is taking too long. And I saw that build on the tree roots. It was amazing. Did you ever end up selling it? I am thinking I am going to be using the drylok method. All the cement based ones are way too complicated and I don't want to have to soak it for a month before I can use it. I am going to for sure try to do the foam around the filter too. I want to hide it as much as possible but I really want the water fall in this tank. And I will definitely take you up on the plant offers. I am also going to try some aquatic plants in the water part of it. Probably some mosses as well. And I am thinking of building a new hood for it that will hold 4 6500K CFL bulbs. I am thinking in the 13 watt range. Also, can I use regular potting soil mixed with some coconut bedding for the substrate on the land side? Thanks for all your help man.
 

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Thanks man. I really hope it is not going to take me long to do this build. I have been working on an enclosure for my fire skink for like a month and a half now. It is taking too long. And I saw that build on the tree roots. It was amazing. Did you ever end up selling it? I am thinking I am going to be using the drylok method. All the cement based ones are way too complicated and I don't want to have to soak it for a month before I can use it. I am going to for sure try to do the foam around the filter too. I want to hide it as much as possible but I really want the water fall in this tank. And I will definitely take you up on the plant offers. I am also going to try some aquatic plants in the water part of it. Probably some mosses as well. And I am thinking of building a new hood for it that will hold 4 6500K CFL bulbs. I am thinking in the 13 watt range. Also, can I use regular potting soil mixed with some coconut bedding for the substrate on the land side? Thanks for all your help man.
No problem. glad to help out a fellow hobbyist.

Don't rush through a project though! i've messed up my fair share of stuff by going to fast and not really thinking it through lol. My dad has always said, if you're going to take the time to do something, might as well spend a little extra time to do it right and make it look good haha.

I haven't sold the tree stump yet... its still sitting on top of my speaker system gathering dust haha. Scott richardson said he would take it, but i haven't heard from him in a while. The drylok method should work just fine for this project. Just make sure that if you detail paint it, don't use straight acrylic paint on the outside. Mix the acrylic with small portions of drylok to make it inert and waterproof.

One thing about the aquatic section you might want to consider is the agitation of the filter/waterfall outgassing your co2. You could always have the aquatics turn emergent and get the co2 from the air. Personally i think that would be cooler.

4x13 watts would be a great amount of light for this tank. If you do decide to make a diy fixture, be sure to put in a cooling fan. CFL's get hot!

For the potting soil thing, it really depends on your plans for this tank. If you ever plan to have any inhabitants other than plants then no. There would be too much of a risk of fertilizers and other chemicals leeching out of the soil causing harm or possibly death to the animals/ fish/ shrimp, or whatever in there.

Good luck man

Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No problem. glad to help out a fellow hobbyist.

Don't rush through a project though! i've messed up my fair share of stuff by going to fast and not really thinking it through lol. My dad has always said, if you're going to take the time to do something, might as well spend a little extra time to do it right and make it look good haha.

I haven't sold the tree stump yet... its still sitting on top of my speaker system gathering dust haha. Scott richardson said he would take it, but i haven't heard from him in a while. The drylok method should work just fine for this project. Just make sure that if you detail paint it, don't use straight acrylic paint on the outside. Mix the acrylic with small portions of drylok to make it inert and waterproof.

One thing about the aquatic section you might want to consider is the agitation of the filter/waterfall outgassing your co2. You could always have the aquatics turn emergent and get the co2 from the air. Personally i think that would be cooler.

4x13 watts would be a great amount of light for this tank. If you do decide to make a diy fixture, be sure to put in a cooling fan. CFL's get hot!

For the potting soil thing, it really depends on your plans for this tank. If you ever plan to have any inhabitants other than plants then no. There would be too much of a risk of fertilizers and other chemicals leeching out of the soil causing harm or possibly death to the animals/ fish/ shrimp, or whatever in there.

Good luck man

Ryan
I am for sure going to take my time on this one.

I will do that with the drylok. I am not too good at painting, so I may have to rethink that a little bit. Not sure though. I am going to try the painting first and if that fails I will try something else. I don't want to have to use grout or silicone, but if it comes down to it, I just may.

I was going to aim for emergent growth. I am thinking some crypts and/or sword plants. Probably try some Java Fern too if I can swing it. And I want to grow some moss on the waterfall if I can.

I already have a plan on the light fixture, but it will include a fan for sure. I am also wondering how I am going to put vents in the tank for air circulation in the tank. I have not figured that one out yet.

And I will probably steer clear of potting soil then and scour the boards for some good ideas, and look into the one you mentioned. Would organic potting soil be OK? I know people use it in natural planted tanks all the time.

Thanks for all the info man. It is greatly appreciated. And keep your eyes open for an update involving power tools on weds. :)
 

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drylok is easy. i have confidence in you haha. I think crypts would definitely be cool, and they are super easy to grow emersed. Just high humidity and medium light. I've done it a few times. Anubias are cool emersed too. I threw a 2 leaved rhizome in my 20 gallon viv, and it has already sent out a new one without any standing water or a lot of light. I think my favorite is anubias gracilis, but i heard it gets big and is somewhat challenging.

Organic soil will work fine. Me and a friend used MGOC mixed with some peat moss and repti-bark in his 50 gallon tokay gecko viv.

Don't worry about vents in my opinion. I just have a glass top, and everything is doing great. Plus the emerged aquatics probably wouldn't like the drop in humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well. Not much to update. Well, actually, nothing. Just got back from Michigan, so I am going to be getting back to this build tomorrow. I will be making a new light hood for it then, and, hopefully, wiring it up next week along with some foam work. Stay tuned....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
drylok is easy. i have confidence in you haha. I think crypts would definitely be cool, and they are super easy to grow emersed. Just high humidity and medium light. I've done it a few times. Anubias are cool emersed too. I threw a 2 leaved rhizome in my 20 gallon viv, and it has already sent out a new one without any standing water or a lot of light. I think my favorite is anubias gracilis, but i heard it gets big and is somewhat challenging.

Organic soil will work fine. Me and a friend used MGOC mixed with some peat moss and repti-bark in his 50 gallon tokay gecko viv.

Don't worry about vents in my opinion. I just have a glass top, and everything is doing great. Plus the emerged aquatics probably wouldn't like the drop in humidity.
Lol. Thanks man. I am going to be doing the Drylok and foam work next weekend sometime. I am also going to be looking at some crypts and am thinking of pulling my Anubias out of my 10 gallon and most likely putting it in this one. I am also going to get some Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil next week so I will have it on hand. And I will keep the glass top I have then and I will not really have to worry about getting another one. As far as lights go, would you suggest 3 or 4 13 watt CFL or should I just do 2 26 watt CFL bulbs. I am going to be doing all the wiring and all that myself next week. Just want some feedback first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, so there was supposed to be a fun update today. Well, due to some material issues, (I HATE MDF) it is not going to happen. I started making the hood, and got 90% done with all the sawing and wood working aspect of it, and hated it and tossed it in the bin. I will need to get a good piece of plywood to do this, as MDF is crap. So it will happen next weekend instead. Stay tuned.
 

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MDF is worthless in my opinion. not water resistant at all either. I say use some nice pine 1"x6"s. 1"x4"s work too but give you less room to work. Plywood just looks ugly to me unless it has some nice oak veneer or similar over it. you could look into Baltic birch plywood also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
MDF is worthless in my opinion. not water resistant at all either. I say use some nice pine 1"x6"s. 1"x4"s work too but give you less room to work. Plywood just looks ugly to me unless it has some nice oak veneer or similar over it. you could look into Baltic birch plywood also.
I was thinking of 1"x4"s, but I think I am going to use plywood. I plant on painting the outside black to match the tank and other furniture in out room. I am going to try doing it again today. I am going to go way slower this time around and hopefully get something usable out of that crap MDF. And I am never going to buy it again.
 

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sounds like you have discovered the golden rule of carpentry: it has to work, and it has to look good doin it!

P.s. i'm expecting picture updates when its finished!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sounds like you have discovered the golden rule of carpentry: it has to work, and it has to look good doin it!

P.s. i'm expecting picture updates when its finished!
Lol. I figured out what it was. The saw will not set at a 90 degree angle. I tried again yesterday and another epic fail. I am going to try again next weekend. I am just going to see if Home Depot will cut it for me and then I will put it together. And I will use better materials. And I will take pictures for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok. I have been away from this project for a while. I took out the pots and added some more Java Fern. I also added another light bulb since the hood build failed for the moment, and added a glass top over most of the tank. I am going to use saran wrap over the back 2 inches to keep the humidity in it. Here is how it looks at the moment. The big piece of Java was added yesterday.



I am hopefully going to get this done soon. I am still in need of some materials to finish it, but I am hoping that will come in the next few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok. This tank is quickly becoming a catch all for the plants I don't know what to do with. That is ok though. I added some gravel that I had left over from my 2 gallon and some plants I don't have anywhere to put yet. Here is how it looks ATM.




Flame and Java Moss. They will get separated into a couple different tanks.


Guppy Grass. Not sure what I am going to do with it, so it will stay put for the time being.
 
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