The Planted Tank Forum

The Planted Tank Forum (
-   Riparium/Terrarium/Vivarium (
-   -   my weekend warrior project, 125G paludarium (

Fishies_in_Philly 09-03-2012 04:34 PM

my weekend warrior project, 125G paludarium
yes, i have definitely been bitten by the vivarium/paludarium bug. i have been planning this project for quite a while, so since i had a 4 day weekend this weekend, i figured i might as well get on it. it's a standard marineland 125g tank, 72"x18"x21". my intention is for it to be a stream side bed. dart frogs will live on the land and i am leaning towards cardinal tetras and abn's in the blackwater stream section. however, i keep flip flopping between that and shrimp and oto's. that will probably be decided upon at the very last minute. now for the pics:

this was my original footprint of my land section, the idea was to have 2 waterfalls, one on the left and a large one to the right, that would feed the beginning of the stream:
that may still be the plan, if i can figure out the design of the waterfall in my head. i want it to be a removable section so i can access equipment.

so while i am working on design for the right side, i decided to build the left side. basic structure built:

i built a "shaft" that will house the pump for the water feature on the left, and it will be removable to access equipment. the tank heater will be suctioned to the floor of the tank under this section, as well as a small powerhead to keep circulation up under the land section to avoid stagnant water. also, the pvc pipes are all drilled with extra holes to prevent stagnant water from building up inside of them and raising toxic levels. here's the left side, foamed in. you can see the shaft i built, now i just have to trim the background so it slides in and out easily.
that's all for this week on this one. i'll post another update on what i get accomplished this upcoming weekend.

Wasserpest 09-03-2012 05:32 PM

Very cool so far, looking forward to the process. What is that foam you are using? Is it water-proof, animal-proof? Or will you cover/paint it with something else?

Fishies_in_Philly 09-03-2012 06:18 PM

the foam is great stuff. the home construction expanding foam. it is waterproof/animal safe. the submersed section will be covered in brown silicone and a mix of pebbles, coconut fiber and peat moss. (just to make sure it stays a black water tank :)) the land section will be covered using titebond III wood glue and coconut fiber. the exception to the land will be the water feature(s) will be covered using silicone. the titebond is waterproof when it cures, but i want to avoid any problems with "erosion". water is a pretty destructive force when it gets it's groove on, and i know silicone can hold up to constantly moving water.

duff 09-03-2012 10:02 PM

Hey Bill - looks like your off to a great start, I'm so excited to see you starting on thins! I have one suggestion that would make filtration easier - how about a canister filter - drill glass for bulk heads and you can slip the filer intake /outflow through them. I have a 37g paludarium I am just finishing up the back ground on and took the plunge and drill the tank -After much debating and playing around with pumps, I left enough room for a small internal filter and my arm to fit down the back corner (about 4x5). The intake is below the water line on mine and the outflow about 7 inches about the water line with locline coming out the front on one corner and the opposite end of the tank has a small screened section (creating a circular flow across the front of the tank. I put the outflow above the water line to be able to unscrew the bulk head in the event I even need to clean it. Since the area is so small there would be no way to unscrew it from the bulk head from the inside, if the makes sense? I also have a small internal pump and hooked up a 6 port manifold to it and ran drip line to 4 spots where the water will flow down one side of the tank. I added drip flow regulators to each line and can adjust the drip to a flow and back. Anyway, just a thought :) Looking forward to seeing your updates!

Fishies_in_Philly 09-03-2012 11:17 PM

hey duff, thanks :) and thanks for the suggestions. i am actually at the point of going with a canister, except i am going to plumb it so the tubing and pvc won't be visible. i gave drilling it a LOT of thought, and finally decided against it for no other reason other than altering it's value and usefulness if i ever decide to upgrade :D and i am learning the same lessons you did when building a palu, space. i never thought i would have so many tight spaces in a 125g tank!!LOL i am at the point right now, that i think i am going to control flow under the land and in the "stream" with powerheads and the return for the canister will be a drip wall in between the 2 "water falls" (remember, both water falls will be removable). my plan is to cut a notch into the great stuff, tie in a piece of solid pvc, the foam over it again. after it cures, i will drill small holes into the pipe, through the foam. that way i have a bit more control over where the dripwall runs. i can even control flow rates for each spot, if that makes any funny how when talking about this stuff, we can envision it in our heads, but to put it into words? forget about it!!LOL

ThinkTank 09-05-2012 01:14 PM

Nice start Bill! I'll be watching!

Have you thought about cutting some holes for potted plants in the land section? Kinda like the kits hydrophyte sells if you know what I mean. I know you have a plan already, but thought it might be worth considering (if you havent already).

Fishies_in_Philly 09-05-2012 01:21 PM

Yup.....already have that in the plan. Just haven't decided how many to put in. I'll get a better idea after this weekend. Then i really need to get with devin(hydrophyte) to discuss plants.

Wy Renegade 09-05-2012 04:17 PM

Tagging in to follow along. Looks like you're off to a great start, looking forward to seeing how all this comes together for you. Waterfall features are something I'm hoping to incorperate into my next build, so I'll be following closely.

duff 09-05-2012 11:43 PM

Yes, hours of thinking it through and then putting it to words is quite hard! Sounds like you've got a good plan in action. It is funny, the thought of trying to conserve space in such a large tank but the space goes so quickly! I ended up going with a taller tank (23 tall x 13 x 30) just to be able to have land and water in the same tank! by the time I add up 5 inches of water, a bit of air space, a layer of foam and planting substrate I now have about 15 inches of height left to play with!

Good luck - looking forward to the next round of updates!

Fishies_in_Philly 09-06-2012 03:10 PM

Did a little siliconing last night. Ended up doing more than expected because i had some silicone drip onto one of the back walls, so i covered it as well. I'll grab some pics tonight if i can remember to bring my long gasket scraper home from work to get the silicone off the front glass. Lesson learned there, leave it removable until after it's been

Fishies_in_Philly 09-12-2012 11:22 PM

update: built the water feature for the left side of the tank. made it completely removable for maintenance reasons. learned a few things this past weekend as well. while water testing the water feature, i filled the tank to it's planned water level, and guess what i found out? the whole land area floats!! dumb me, should have figured it would, since it IS all polyurethane foam. like trying to sink a giant rice anyway, i added 4lbs of lead fishing sinkers to the inside of the land mass. i'm in the middle of covering it with coco coir, so i will hopefully test to see if this is enough weight over the upcoming weekend. now for the pics:
prep work: in order to keep the foam from sticking, i covered the area i was working in in plastic wrap, which worked brilliantly :-)
this is the top of my water feature, water enters through the tube and exits upon overflow. the reason for the cup is because the ultrasonic foggers work on vibration and they spout up some water, this is my attempt to curb having a fog volcano. LOL
water feature foamed up and ready for carving:
a couple of views if the water feature out of the tank:
here's a couple pics after carving and after a bit of coco coir on it:
i will try to update earlier next week, i just got caught up in my own little Doctor Who marathon this

Fishies_in_Philly 09-12-2012 11:24 PM

oh, i also built the right section of land and another piece that i built to creat the effect of a stream (hopefully). i will post pics of those next week :)

Fishies_in_Philly 09-23-2012 12:48 AM

ok, been a bit since i updated, actually got a lot accomplished. i'll just let the pics do the talking.
current plant inventory.....adding more tomorrow

Silmarwen 09-24-2012 10:01 PM

Thanks for sharing the process with us! I look forward to watching this come together :)

schoolzoo 09-27-2012 09:00 PM

Looks great.

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.