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Hey everybody,
I have spent a lot of time reading these forums and browsing the gallery to get ideas and tricks for my paludarium... here is how it ended up turning out. I welcome any questions or comments!



It starts...

I am going with the egg crate, silicone (ge II doors and windows) and greatstuff (pond and stone, green can) process and included some "creative recycling"



I did a few practice set ups and decided on the one I like, making sure to label the pieces to avoid confusion later on... I find by the end of these projects I am rarely sober so that helps to avoid careless mistakes (I am brought back to a canopy I built awhile back and shudder)



Next I started applying everything
 

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Next I cut the recycled material to height and silicone in the land portion and divider (I don't want to give any spoilers but I probably should have used more silicone on the latter)


siliconed in egg crate for the greatstuff to adhere to...



tested out the waterfall... spoiler alert, that inner black piece... turns out it ISN'T coated in rubber as I had thought... it's metal...



word to the wise (or th unwise, I donn't judge), when working with silicone, always keep those blue J-cloths nearby. If you get silicone on your skin and just wipe it right away with one and you leave no sticky residue on you.
 

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Then I siliconed window screen on to the shelf to hold substrate for plants.



Then I did the same to the land portion and bare spots on back glass.



I siliconed a piece of card board (that replacement for styrofoam in packing... yay working in an office) to divide the fountain's spot from the "garden" spot




 

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started applying greatstuff





the funny thing is these two foams... same brand, same type exactly, same color... both black. Sure greatstuff... sure...



applied a rim of greatstuff to hold substrate.



wow.... my hand hurts from squeezing greatfoam cans...
 

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I put in what I have so far to get an idea of what the space will look like... everything still going good...



I used a dremmel with a sanding stone to carve GS the way I want it. If you do this... WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND HAVE A VACUUM NEARBY!!! Even with safety glasses on I got a piece of styrofoam in the eye and it swelled for 2 days! Also put another rim of GS on the "shelf".



a whole lot of sanding and sucking... vacuum sucking...

 

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We took a trip to Scotts Bay, NS and collected some small gravel. This beach is known for being a favorite spot for rock hounds due to the abundance of semi-precious stones and beautiful rocks for collecting. I have furnished many tanks from my various collecting trips.



I wash the rocks to remove salt.

finishing touches on GS



started applying rocks and started waterfall (see tube on top of tank)



From above...



siliconed first layer of patch for waterfall

 

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I started siliconing coco fibre on shelf...





covered fake log in silicone. The log will hold the pump for the waterfall... Until I learn better :mad:



I loved the damn log



started applying cocofibre mixed with plantation soil to silicone on the back wall.



quick tip, when my (gloved) hands got covered in gooey silicone and substrate I just dunked my hands in the box of rocks and it did he trick! enough to remove the big cumbersome chunks anyway.
 

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Whole lot of silicone!



Always check your expirations dates people... that many bottles of silicone in, that much back ground done, I ended up getting a bottle that expired in 2009!!!! Put me back a day while I had to remove and re-do it all.



Getting closer!



applied some brown silicone to mimic mud and cover some stratigic spots.





I like the highlights it adds.



Started filling the tank... didn't think water would leak in the left, it did, but thats why I designed the way I did... so there is space for moisture to go as a water table in case of leakage. I wish I threw my extra pump in there for occassional cleanings.



I added more silicone and rocks to slow the leakage. Didn't work, oh well.



The pump hidden in the log. Stupid metal log, yeah I see the metal now and should have known better but I was blinded by GS!



mixed some potting mix from a combination of actual potting mix, cocofibre, plantation soil and moss.



gravel, fluval stratum...



covered in riverbed sand, in deep spots for planting purposes.



finished in riverbed sand



fountain base in, home made potting mix in... I'm really glad I kept the planting shelf removable so I could replace the log/pump.

Water in, some plants in...



Almost done, light is only temporarily



some of my land plants



all done (with full spectrum lighting)... apart from the emergency log replacement, all done :)




It's now home to a family of cherry shrimp and I will be adding dwarf aquatic frogs too.
 

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Thanks guys, got a clutch of axolotl eggs last week so I've been up to my eyeballs in bbs and water changes since they hatched. I'll try to get a few this week :)
 

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Not sure which part of the egg crate you mean but I covered most egg crate in greatstuff, then brown/black silicone, then rocks or a mix of plantation soil and cocohusk.

The axies won't be living in this tank, way too small... I've had axies for a few years now so don't worry, I wouldn't do that to them :). Luckily my husband is understanding of my hobbies and doesn't mind the fact I have a half dozen tanks :D
 

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Sadly I had what I think was a PH issue due to using a different water source and my axolotl larvae all expired :( So I thought I'd take the (sad) opportunity to take some pics and update you guys on my tank.




 
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