Last week I converted my aquarium into a paludarium.
I started with about 40lbs of lava rock that I glued together in 'modules' using GreatStuff Black Pond Foam. I don't like the look of the foam as a fake rock but I am very pleased with it as a glue. I sanded and dremeled visible foam as much as possible and i feel it looks great.
There are 3 main 'modules': The left module creates the left cliff, water goes all the way to the back of the tank there. This module also has a 2" pipe glued to it that runs under the soil to the pump area.
The front module makes up the front cliff to just about where the waterfall comes down. I just picked pretty somewhat interlocking rock and used the GreatStuff to glue this section together.
The biggest module is the waterfall. It's made almost entirely of foam and is hollow inside to create room for pump and mister. The waterfall structure is also glued to this module. This was the hardest part to make. I covered the PVC pipe and an empty box in parchment paper, sprayed the foam structure, then removed the parchment paper once the foam was dry. This worked pretty well. I then started foaming the waterfall structure to the main body, which made the structure front-heave. Since the foam is somewhat flexible it left a gap at the back of the structure where gravel trickled into the pump space. I had to build up the gravel and loose rocks around it carefully while pushing the structure back against the glass. It all worked out in the end and I am glad I managed to build this without actually glueing anything to the tank.
I used about 40lbs Flourite Black for the substrate. Here's the tank with about 25lbs of the substrate in place
I bought some invitro plants from Petco and added my own Anubias from the aquarium to it. Here's all the plants so far:
They should all do well. I heard the Anubias might have a hard time transitioning from submersed to emersed but so far it is looking good.
Here's an overview (sorry that the top is cut of)
The tank is much taller than in the last picture. I have some Alternanthera Reineckii Rosaefolia, and Rotala Colorata coming in to hopefully fill some of the height.
Also getting some Salvinia Minima as a floater and Riccardia Chamedryfolia (Mini Pellia) as ground cover on the left.
Eventually might add some Geosesarma crabs or Dendorbates Auratus, not decided yet.
Also curious if introducing springtails would benefit this environment as a cleanup crew and food supplement.