Hey guys, saw a few people on here are into their paludariums/vivariums and thought I'd make a thread to show you my paludarium which houses a Sorong green tree python and various fish/invertebrates It ONLY (lol) took about a year and a half to make! (after changing my mind about 12 times and several 'disasters').
Everything including the glass tank itself, rock structure, stand and lid were constructed by myself, so will try and give some insight as to how some things were made, as I couldnt even count the hours I have spent on here researching how to make various things! I did have many more pictures of the build process but unfortunately some lowlife stole my phone with all the pictures whilst on holiday.
Firstly, to save searching through this thread, heres a pic of the finished viv:
It is 36"x36"x24". I still want to get one more piece of redwood for the left hand side to cover the water heater, but apart from that I'm quite happy with how its all turned out. I would now like a bit of advice as to what plants would work well in the aquatic part of this setup?
As it started out about a year and a half ago:
When all the goodies arrived (sorry about some of the rubbish pics). Including a Fluval 205 external filter and Reptile Radiator:
This was my first idea when I was contemplating day geckos as the inhabitants of the vivarium. The 'Temple' has a hole in the eye symbol at the top, which the filter tubing was connected to. The water flowed down the staircase and into the water bowl section at the bottom, which also housed the filter intake. I was really pleased with this design, however as it was one of my first attempts at something like this it unfortunately eventually leaked in the bottom water section (Disaster #1 of about 20, haha!), and so I stripped the tank, during which I decided to go a different direction...
If anyone is interested I still have the 'Temple' apart from the bottom water/food bowl section (Which I can easily tell you how to make again.) If you want to make me an offer.
I've always loved paludariums, vivariums with large water features, and so decided this was the route I wanted to go down.
How it initially looked. I really liked the look of this 'Island' design, and intend to attempt this look again in the future, however in my naivety, I used real rocks which weighed a bloody ton, and due to the polystyrene underneath the whole tank being in two pieces and becoming slightly dislodged when we placed the tank on top, a crack formed in the bottom (Disaster #2!), cue 100 litres of water all over my living room floor at 3am!
As I said, unfortunately I dont have any of the pics of the making of the lower 'Rock' part of the final vivarium, however I'll try to explain it anyway for anyone wanting to attempt something similar. I used insulation polystyrene bought quite cheap from places like Homebase/B&Q, glued it together and carved it to shape, similar to this which is a vivarium I made for my brothers bearded dragon:
The polystyrene was then covered in concrete, left to dry, then painted with acrylic paints. I used a very dark grey as the base colour, then used a drybrushing method each time using lighter and lighter greys until the final coat was pretty much white. This method makes the 'Rock' look much more detailed and realistic.
One of the things I spent the most time researching, was how to seal the structure, as concrete leaches lime into water, and so could have been potentially harmful to any fish. After many, MANY hours researching I came across this, which is brilliant stuff (just dont get it on your hands!):
After about 4 clear coats of this, this was the result:
Various pieces of wood I had acquired were then screwed onto the wooden panel which was glued onto the top of the 'Rock' structure. Holes were drilled into the side of this panel to make 'planting' and removing the artificial plants for cleaning easier: