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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody! I am doing a 29 G Paludarium (not vivarium) build for my newt. I ran into some "obstacles" so to speak, and I am hoping to get some advice. The questions below are excerpted from the build thread I have going here: http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/72637-29-gallon-paludarium-build-post-i-go-details-very-pic-heavy.html

To summarize, I have created a couple plexiglass partitions shown below. After doing the plexi partitions with silicone I learned from some other people on here that the partition WILL inevitably eventually leak because silicone does not form the proper bond to plexiglass. (Nor will it bond to the aquarium tanks original silicone at the seam on the bottom :eek: )



I have always planned to have a false bottom in the partitioned land section, and to drain stagnant water that accumulates beneath the substrate via a vertical pvc pipe. Now that I know the partition will leak eventually, I think I am going to change my approach to the paludarium build. After all of the effort to seal off the partition and be fancy schmancy, I have decided I should actually drill holes in the partitions to purposely allow free flow of water throughout. Here's why:
- the partition will eventually leak anyway
- the water under the land area will become stagnant if sealed off and would require constant draining
- if the waterfall leaked into the partitioned land area it will be bad news unless there is drainage
- it just seems more natural and less of a battle to just let everything "be together"
- and probably a bunch of other reasons :p

It makes tons of sense (to me) to drill several large holes in each partition. I will have a false bottom within the land area created with "egg crate" and LECA. I'll just make sure the holes have some mesh to exclude my newt from squeezing in and keeping things on their respective sides of the partition. This will allow free flow of water to keep things fresh and eliminate the need to suction out the partitioned land area. Drilling the holes doesn't mean the partition was a waste obviously because it will still keep the shape and general separation I need for the scaping of the paludarium.

Question 1. What do you guys think of the idea of drilling the partition?

Question 2. I am not sure of the order of things that are layered into the land area. Do I go false bottom plastic grid with mesh with nothing beneath it, then LECA, then mesh, then substrate? Or LECA then grid with mesh then substrate? Or multiple layers of LECA below and above? It seems a good idea to have false bottom with nothing under it, to allow maximum water flow. What do you guys recommend? Keep in mind this is a paludarium not a viv.

Question 3. I hear a lot about LECA floating and being a pain in the arse, do you think it will be an issue?

Another "issue" is now that I know the water will inevitably be in both sides of the partition at the same level, I am going to have to have the substrate more shallow and plants higher up than I had originally planned. This is a bummer in a paludarium because you already are limited on vertical space for planting. I'll have to use plants that are ok with wet feet which is not what I wanted, but that's the way the cookie crumbles I suppose. I'll still be able to do some "regular" plants up in the foam wall perhaps.

Anyway I hope you guys can offer some advice/suggestions/opinions on this, and thanks for reading this extensive post :)
 

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Well if you're just gonna drill the partition I would just take them out completely and make some pillars to hold up the land.
Take some pleaxiglass strips and put them in the back corners making a shelf.
Make them almost as long as your land is gonna be and this just will give something for your edges of the false bottom to rest on.
Get you some PVC and take like a serated knife and scratch it all the hell lol
Or you could use a wire brush like what is on a tabletop grinder and take off every part of the smooth surface so the silicone will stick better. Or you can spray Great Stuff on them and carve into it making it look like a tree trunk. This will get rid of the straight round look.
Then take the pillars and slap a bunch of silicone on there and cover it in peat or eco earth.
If you make the GS look like a tree trunk then cap off the top then you won't need to drill holes or anything to let the water flow through to prevent it from getting stagnant since no water will get into it.
Make the bottom silicone and peat/eco earth free.
Silicone the pillars to the bottom....let that cure...the gravel or aquarium soil will cover the silicone if any shows. Make sure you seal it good.
Then you can make your false bottom sit on the pillars and the edges will rest on the shelf.
This is how I plan on making my paladrium :)
The best part about this is that you can remove the land if needed.
I will be having my false bottom in sections cause I will be doing a 55g.
It will be in about 4 peices so I can just pull out certain areas if needed.
I will be using a 501 Zoo MED Turtle Filter and it will be outside the tank.
Drill a hole in the back where you want the water line to be and that will be your intake.
It might be best to make it about an inch lower than your waterline
Then drill a hole up where you want you return to be for your waterfall.
The partition idea isn't a good idea IMO
With the pillars you have all the space underneath as roaming room for your newt...and you're not sacrificing and area underneath your land.
Also what I would do is make a ramp that goes down into the water so it can climb out really easy. I would use the turtle dock idea if it was me.
Get a peice of plexiglas and spray Great Stuff all over one side and let it set then flip it over and do the same but put some weight on one end(could use fishing sinkers). Let it cure then carve it and get all of the outer layer off of the GS(so the silicone sticks better) then drill two holes through the bottom only half way up the make some holes in the side for your zip ties to come out so you can tie it to your false bottom. Slap some silicone on it and silicone or peat moss and you have a nice ramp for him to climb in and out with ease. With the weights on the other end it will sink into the water a bit. Plus with this being peat moss or eco earth the live moss will grow on it ;)
You just wanna try to seperate that ramp from your substrate so it doesn't wick up water and keep the substrate all soggy.
You're gonna need a ramp/embankment somewhere cause you're gonna have to make some sort of barrier to keep your substrate from falling into the water and it is gonna be hard for that newt to climb up and over it.
lol I can come up with just about anything man.
this is how I would do it for a newt. I've have firebellies newts and toads and my setup was just one side land and one side water with a peice of plexiglass slanted towards the land like / (not so much of an incline) for them to crawl out with ease :)
I can draw some stuff up to make it more clear if you want to make it a bit more clear lol

I hope this helps some
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well if you're just gonna drill the partition I would just take them out completely and make some pillars to hold up the land.
Take some pleaxiglass strips and put them in the back corners making a shelf.
Make them almost as long as your land is gonna be and this just will give something for your edges of the false bottom to rest on.
Get you some PVC and take like a serated knife and scratch it all the hell lol
Or you could use a wire brush like what is on a tabletop grinder and take off every part of the smooth surface so the silicone will stick better. Or you can spray Great Stuff on them and carve into it making it look like a tree trunk. This will get rid of the straight round look.
Then take the pillars and slap a bunch of silicone on there and cover it in peat or eco earth.
If you make the GS look like a tree trunk then cap off the top then you won't need to drill holes or anything to let the water flow through to prevent it from getting stagnant since no water will get into it.
Make the bottom silicone and peat/eco earth free.
Silicone the pillars to the bottom....let that cure...the gravel or aquarium soil will cover the silicone if any shows. Make sure you seal it good.
Then you can make your false bottom sit on the pillars and the edges will rest on the shelf.
This is how I plan on making my paladrium :)
The best part about this is that you can remove the land if needed.
I will be having my false bottom in sections cause I will be doing a 55g.
It will be in about 4 peices so I can just pull out certain areas if needed.
I will be using a 501 Zoo MED Turtle Filter and it will be outside the tank.
Drill a hole in the back where you want the water line to be and that will be your intake.
It might be best to make it about an inch lower than your waterline
Then drill a hole up where you want you return to be for your waterfall.
The partition idea isn't a good idea IMO
With the pillars you have all the space underneath as roaming room for your newt...and you're not sacrificing and area underneath your land.
Also what I would do is make a ramp that goes down into the water so it can climb out really easy. I would use the turtle dock idea if it was me.
Get a peice of plexiglas and spray Great Stuff all over one side and let it set then flip it over and do the same but put some weight on one end(could use fishing sinkers). Let it cure then carve it and get all of the outer layer off of the GS(so the silicone sticks better) then drill two holes through the bottom only half way up the make some holes in the side for your zip ties to come out so you can tie it to your false bottom. Slap some silicone on it and silicone or peat moss and you have a nice ramp for him to climb in and out with ease. With the weights on the other end it will sink into the water a bit. Plus with this being peat moss or eco earth the live moss will grow on it ;)
You just wanna try to seperate that ramp from your substrate so it doesn't wick up water and keep the substrate all soggy.
You're gonna need a ramp/embankment somewhere cause you're gonna have to make some sort of barrier to keep your substrate from falling into the water and it is gonna be hard for that newt to climb up and over it.
lol I can come up with just about anything man.
this is how I would do it for a newt. I've have firebellies newts and toads and my setup was just one side land and one side water with a peice of plexiglass slanted towards the land like / (not so much of an incline) for them to crawl out with ease :)
I can draw some stuff up to make it more clear if you want to make it a bit more clear lol

I hope this helps some
Hi, thank you very much for your advice/suggestions/ideas. There is a lot of info there! :) I will consider some of the ideas and think more about my setup and I might be able to use some of them in my build. I really appreciate your help and that you took the time to write all that out :D
 

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Hi, thank you very much for your advice/suggestions/ideas. There is a lot of info there! :) I will consider some of the ideas and think more about my setup and I might be able to use some of them in my build. I really appreciate your help and that you took the time to write all that out :D
No problem.
I plan on doing the tree trunk pillars and then make roots that will come off of it.
It's gonna look nice.
 

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Sweet, are you posting a build thread? I can't wait to see how it comes out :cool:
Nah man I'm broke....eating off Rahmen noodles.
Ole lady ran off with my kid and she had the job.
I was a stay at home dad making reptile products for a local pet store.
Been trying to find a job but it's not looking good thus far.

Hopefully one day it will happen.....I hope
Sorry for getting off topic a bit lol

Can't wait to see this tank done :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nah man I'm broke....eating off Rahmen noodles.
Ole lady ran off with my kid and she had the job.
I was a stay at home dad making reptile products for a local pet store.
Been trying to find a job but it's not looking good thus far.

Hopefully one day it will happen.....I hope
Sorry for getting off topic a bit lol

Can't wait to see this tank done :)
Wow, really sorry to hear about your hard times. Trust me, I know a thing or two about struggles in life though. Hang tough my friend! :)
 
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