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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am beginning to gather the basics for a paludarium. I am a somewhat experienced aquarium caretaker, and I would like to add some terrestrial variety to my collection of ecosystems. For those who are unfamiliar with the word (its a doozy, I know) a paludarium is basically a hybrid between an aquarium and a terrarium/vivarium. I would like to create an Amazonian environment with some cardinal tetras(imagine the common neon tetra, but with red running down the length of the body) which are a little more fragile than other similar tetras, but they are native to South America, so they would be a nice addition to a dart environment. I also plan to add Corydoras that are smaller, and perhaps more subdued in color, and would like to have about a dozen tetras and half that many cory cats. But enough of the piscean world where I have plenty of knowledge, and into the area where I defer to the experts here. I plan on a total of about 20 gallons of water, because I have already purchased an internal filter that handles... You guessed it! 20 gallons! Originally, I was thinking about doing a 24x24x24/30 cube with a false back to house the filter, and use the filter as a waterfall, because it is a whisper 20i, and would be easy to do. Now, however, I am leaning more towards something rectangular, because I think that if I did something like an L-shaped land mass where the foot of the L is somewhere in the left side, and the land is obviously along the back, with a couple islands with false bottoms to house hardware such as powerheads for river-like flow, and a heater. The left side could house the filter, and create a left-to-right flow for the tetras. I would create a slope on the right side, so any frogs that fell into the water could climb back out. I was gonna do just some simple cork wood foundation silicone'd in place, and then filled with a good substrate for planting, cork wall, plants all over, really beginner stuff that is hard to mess up. The "river" floor is probably going to be some kind of plant substrate covered with an inch or two of sand, and lightly planted with something long and thin, grass-like and stuff. The terrestrial plants are probably going to be just as simple and easy, maybe an orchid or two to add some flair. I am considering some kind of waterfall pump, as well as a misting/fogging system. For heat, a dual-lamp setup, with one for heat, one for the lighting-needs of the plants. There would be plenty of hiding places, in the form of coconuts, and litttle caves built into the cork wall. I have no idea as far as what to stock frog-wise, hardy species with bright colors are what I am looking for, if you could PM me with any suggestions about anything, I would really appreciate it. If I left any plans/ideas out that would be a good idea, I would really like to crowdsource as much of this as possible, so feel free to PM or reply!
 

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Depending on the species of frogs you want to try, you should have more than one area that allows easy escape from the water. The reason is that with the current etc, you could end up with a frog, that end up away from the easy escape shore swimming against the current and unable to get out easily. If the frog attempts to escape until it is exhausted you can end up with drowned frogs....

A lot of the frogs that are available (other than a number of dendrobatids) are not active during the day. I would have to refresh myself on a map to the range of cardinal tetras but your selection of dendrobatids is likely to be very limited..

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, I see... In that case, I would probably be widening my scope to any new world species, especially those that are easy to care for. And as for escape from the water, I was thinking that if I built a "bank" that was just barely submerged maybe with just a centimeter or two, and had that run the length of the border between water and land, and made that slope up to the rest, it would be both realistic and safe. Sketches of design, layout and hardware placement coming soon, with photos of the spaces I have available to work with.

Thanks!
 

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I am new to the hobby, but from what I have gathered, if you have water even an inch deep you are taking a chance that your frogs may drown. With a true paludarium most people only do fish, or sometimes get frogs that are more aquatic (Not darts). Either way the contrast between land and water looks awesome!

If you are into aquariums you may already have seen this site. Or if you have been poking around these forums much. But check out the paludariums people have on here.
AGA Aquascaping Contest
 

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I am new to the hobby, but from what I have gathered, if you have water even an inch deep you are taking a chance that your frogs may drown. With a true paludarium most people only do fish, or sometimes get frogs that are more aquatic (Not darts). Either way the contrast between land and water looks awesome!

If you are into aquariums you may already have seen this site. Or if you have been poking around these forums much. But check out the paludariums people have on here.
AGA Aquascaping Contest
That has been passed around for a long time.. The frogs swim quite well.... One of the original people had this to say about it
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-discussion/44331-deep-water-safer.html#post389747

Most of the time people skip the water features since they take up space that can be utilized by the animals and/or because it is difficult to ensure that the water remains in the feature and doesn't oversaturate the terrestrial section of the enclosure.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE: Found the place for the Paludarium!

I have been doing some figuring, and measuring with my hands, (holding my hands up to try and figure out where would be a good place to house a stand and tank of the approximate size I am going for) and I have figured out the perfect spot. The space I have available is about four and a half feet long/wide with a maximum of 15 inches deep (nearly 1.5 meters by 38cm for you metric folks). I was hoping to do something kind of squat, unless you would say otherwise, and I would love suggestions, because I am not very good with numbers, or things that I cannot manipulate with my own two hands, so if you wanna shout out tank sizes in gallons and/or dimensions, feel free to do so, but I would much rather err on the side of not using the ENTIRE space I have, rather than err on the side of using more than what I have kinda set aside. I have a pic of the space, as well as some of the other animals my family keeps (it feels sometimes like they got the idea for the movie We Bought A Zoo from us.) The tank I keep Alice, my companion since second grade, in is kind of the porportions I would like to go with, kinda squat, deep and long. I will post a pic of her later, I kinda went nuts because the family just got a fancy new camera for Christmas, snapped photos of all the animals.

Yeah, thanks in advance for all the help! Planning on using a nice, tall stand, so that we do not have to stoop to get a good look at the frogs and fish. All of my family is very tall, so I like to keep creatures you have to "peer" at close to eye level. At one point I fantasized about cutting into the wall beside the tv, and putting the paludarium there, as it separates the dining room from the living room, but it would prove too complicated and costly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That has been passed around for a long time.. The frogs swim quite well.... One of the original people had this to say about it
http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/general-discussion/44331-deep-water-safer.html#post389747

Most of the time people skip the water features since they take up space that can be utilized by the animals and/or because it is difficult to ensure that the water remains in the feature and doesn't oversaturate the terrestrial section of the enclosure.

Ed
I was going to use a trick I read about in a series of issues of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, where the author (owner of mellowvision.com) used plastic egg crates (I believe the author of the article was referring to the kind used in fluorescent light fixtures to diffuse light) and window screen mesh to separate the substrate/soil from the water. That way, there can be water under the ground, but the soil does not become saturated. I may use some sort of mulch or other somewhat aquaphobic substrate to keep the moisture in one place.
 

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I was going to use a trick I read about in a series of issues of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, where the author (owner of mellowvision.com) used plastic egg crates (I believe the author of the article was referring to the kind used in fluorescent light fixtures to diffuse light) and window screen mesh to separate the substrate/soil from the water. That way, there can be water under the ground, but the soil does not become saturated. I may use some sort of mulch or other somewhat aquaphobic substrate to keep the moisture in one place.
That is one of the most common methods of creating a false bottom in this hobby (and has been around a long long time). I'm going to tell you now that if the water is contacting the substrate it will wick up into the substrate regardless of "hydrophobic" substrates.. Oversaturation of the substrate impacts a lot of the health of the ecosystem not just the frogs. An anerobic substrate doesn't process waste materials well, it also can cause problems for the plants.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Duly noted, make sure highest water level is still at least a half inch below false bottom... I think I might just make a cut in the cork somewhere at the height I place the false bottom, or where the lowest false bottom is, so I can have a guide for water changes for the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yay! Finally got my Tank and Stand!

ElkHi, finally got some free time this holiday to post. Over the break I stopped by Petsmart (having previously worked at a competing local pet store, I felt like a traitor) to simply price enclosures. I ended up walking out with a Marineland 27gal. cube with a stand, glass canopy, and Marineland light. It works perfectly for the space I have, and the photo.s prove it. The enclosure will be visible from three sides, and will be visible from the front door. I am excited to finally have dimensions to work with, and will probably be running ideas by the community here a lot more in the next few months, so while you are here , please subscribe!

Pix soon, I promise, posting from my phone means no attachments.
Also- dimensions are 20"W x 18"D x 20"H; Have fun!
 

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You probably know this, but standpipes are your friend! Changing water levels is easy with a small standpipe located somewhere discrete.

I don't know how firm you are on species selection, but Vietnamese Mossy Frogs can be a good frog for a paludarium. I saw a really nice paludarium with them in it, in person, and those mossies swam just fine. They are a pretty hardy frogs, and they can get fairly large. They might blend in with the background though, if you don't plan your colors right. Just a suggestion to look into.

Edit: I'm not sure how much space they need, a 27 might be too small. Again, you might want to do some reading :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Right, I have the tank and stand already in place, and I have an Amazon wishlist all set up so I can keep a list of all the stuff I am still in need of. If ya wanna contribute, I can send ya the link, there is some really cheap stuff. If you contribute, I can paint a thank you on the inside of the door of the stand. It's just an idea, figured I could put it out there.

Also, on the topic of species choice, I am thinking an orange morph of D leucomelas(spelling?) Or D tinctorious, one of the bolder yellow and blue ones.

I dunno about a standpipe, I have a friend who worked for Marineland, I will ask him about drlling a standpipe into the cube, because the tank had a sticker on the bottom that said tempered, but I dunno if that meant just the bottom, or the entire tank. I will get back to ya on that one.

Also, feel free to leave your two cents, I love constructive criticism and helpful pointers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, if I did a tank with the Reed frogs, I would probably do a species tank somewhere in the range of fifty gallons. I am only looking to do just a just a few darts at the present.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, finally got pictures, here they are.

Also, as I was waiting on the upload, the bulk box of cork bark came via UPS, so I probably will not be posting at all for a few days while I figure out the configuration of the hardscape. Will be back with pix of possibilities.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi, got some free time today, so I figured I should post my progress. I have the rough outline of the cork bark background threshed out, all that I need to do once it finishes curing is place the two parts in and do a little cosmetic touching up over the places I used aquarium silicone that are still visible, as well as large holes/cracks. Pix when I have it out of the clamps and in the tank!
 

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That LED strip you have might be rough.

I used the exact same light for about two weeks and noticed my plants were dieing. Switched to 6500K CFL's and noticed an immediate improvement.

Now that thing sits in the misc. junk pile. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A standpipe is something I had no clue about either until it was brought up on this thread. I googled it, and from what I can tell, a standpipe is something you put in an overflow for fish tanks, basically it eliminates the "sucking" noise you get from the overflow. It looks a bit like a cane, and it really is simply put, a pipe that stands... in your overflow box and makes the water take a less noisy route. Since the bottom of my tank is tempered, I cannot use this, all my hardware is going under the false bottom of the landscape, out of the way and all. Thanks for the lead on the idea though, I may do another frog tank in the future with something like that, like a chopped-off overflow box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That LED strip you have might be rough.

I used the exact same light for about two weeks and noticed my plants were dieing. Switched to 6500K CFL's and noticed an immediate improvement.

Now that thing sits in the misc. junk pile. :cool:
Yeah, I was talking to my friend who worked at United Pet Group (Conglomerate of Tetra, Marineland, and a few others, zoo med or exo terra maybe?) and he told me that the Marineland Double Bright LED Light would work great for plants. Guess what light came with the aquarium, hood, and stand? Marineland Double Bright LED.
 
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